The fourth and fifth chapters of Revelation are connected. In chapter four we are given a vision of God's throne in heaven from which he rules over the universe. In chapter five there is a narrowing of focus.
It is as though the camera zooms in on the right hand of God who sits on the throne of the universe, and in his right hand we see a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. Not only do we see a scroll but at the same time we hear a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice: "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" But it is as if his words echo through heaven because John tells us that no one in heaven or earth or under the earth is able to open the scroll or even look inside it.
It is best to understand the sealed scroll to be the plan of God for the universe. His plan of redemption and judgment. It is sealed because it has not been executed or carried out. The unanswered question of the angel and the tears of John in response to the lack of a suitable savior indicate that there is no one who is able to carry out the will of God. There is no angel in heaven, or human being on earth, or anyone anywhere else who can do what needs to be done to save the people of God from their sins and carry out God's judgment on earth.
There is no one, except for one! The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, who is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the king who descended from Judah while at the same time being the one who is the root of David. He is the God-man and as such he is the only one in the universe who is qualified to open the scroll and its seals.
However, when John turns to see this Lion, he sees a Lamb. But not just any lamb. He sees a Lamb that looks as though he has been slain. This is a symbolic way of representing Jesus as the King who conquers by dying on the cross for our sins. He is the Messiah who deals with the underlying problem with the world and human beings in particular, which is our sin and rebellion. He died and rose again that we might live.
And this is exactly what is celebrated in the rest of the chapter. Having been presented with the unique qualifications of the Lion, who is also the Lamb, to accomplish the salvation and judgment of God, the remainder of the chapter sings a new song to the Lord. He is worthy to be praised. He was slain and with his blood has purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.
In our day we need to remember that Jesus is not a local deity. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He alone can save from sin and judgment and hell. He is to be praised now and he will be praised for all eternity.
Although his people may seem to be a small remnant, in the end he will save a great multitude that no one can number. And we who have been saved by grace through faith will praise and worship him forever. We will inhabit the new world that he will bring into existence. A world without sin. A world where we will enjoy his love and presence forever.
How thankful we should be that the Lord Jesus Christ is able to execute the plan of his Father!