“And they sang a new song, saying: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth’ ” (Revelation 5:9-10).
As Christians, we are very grateful that Jesus came and died on the cross for our sins (John 3:16; 1 Peter 1:18-19). However, how do we feel about his role in pronouncing judgment upon the world?
As the apostle John writes down the things which Jesus has told him to the seven churches of Asia (Revelation 1:11), he beholds an awesome sight as he writes, “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this’” (Revelation 4:1). He sees what appears to be God sitting on His throne in heaven, 24 elders sitting around the throne and 4 amazing “living creatures” there as well (Revelation 4:1-7). He sees the 24 elders and four living creatures praising God (Revelation 4:8-11).
Beholding this incredible sight, John writes, “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?’” (Revelation 5:1-2). What was this scroll and what is the meaning of its seals? Later, as John sees loosing of the seals, he sees the unfolding of God’s plans and judgments upon the world (Revelation 6:1-17; 8:1).
Initially, no one is found who can open the scroll containing the seven seals and John begins to weep (Revelation 5:3-4). However, John is soon stopped: “But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals’” (Revelation 5:5). John sees Jesus as a Lamb that had been slain remove the scroll from the hand of God (Revelation 5:6-7). As He does so the 24 elders and the 4 living creatures sing, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:8-10). Then as the opening verses above indicate the angels in heaven join in singing (Revelation 5:11-12) as do every creature in heaven and on earth (Revelation 5:13-14).
Jesus is the Lamb Who is a Lion (Revelation 5:5-6). Jesus came to the earth the first time as a Lamb to be slain our sins (Isaiah 53:7). However, when He comes again, He will come as a Lion to Judge the world. When Jesus comes again with His angels, He will come “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). I am grateful for what Jesus has done to save me from my sins; however, I will not be ashamed that Jesus is coming again to judge the world. Rather I will rejoice that Jesus, because of His sacrifice, is worthy to do this because for God to be just, His judgment must be carried out!
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).