Osborne, Grant R. Revelation. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2002. Location: Ellis BS 2825.53.O73 2002
III. God in Majesty and Judgment (4:1-16:21) pp. 218-602.
- God’s Sovereignty in Judgment (4:1-11:19) pp. 219-450.
- Throne Room Vision - God and the Lamb in Heaven (4:1-5:14)” pp. 220-268.
Revelation chapter five continues the throne room scene begun in chapter four. Osborne emphasizes that “worship throughout the Bible is completely monotheistic, intended to separate God from his creatures (the worship of whom constitutes idolatry)” (Osborne 2002, 245). But here the worship of God on the throne leads to worship of the Lamb. This makes it very clear that God and the Lamb are one.
Osborne finds the chapter divided into four portions, each introduced with, “and I saw” (5:1, 2, 6, 11). In the first portion, God on his throne has a scroll. In other prophetic writings, when a scroll is found on God’s hand, it has words of sorrow. Osborne assumes the same here (Osborne 2002, 247). Sealed scrolls, written on both sides, like this one, were normally private documents, secrets not to be disclosed (Osborne 2002, 248). Osborne considers the documents which could be understood here, coming to a conclusion that, consistent with some other apocalypses, the scroll is a summary of God’s plan to redeem his people and care for them in the future (Osborne 2002, 249). Osborne notes that some consider this scroll to be the same one mentioned in chapter 10 and that the events described beginning at chapter six are related only to opening the seals, rather than to the contents of the scroll (Osborne 2002, 250).
Revelation 5:2-5 describes God seeking someone worthy to open the scroll. The search is called for by an angel, in a loud voice.Osborne notes that in the three places in Revelation where an angel calls out this way, it is always a matter of great importance (Osborne 2002, 250). The inquiry yields a predictable outcome. There is none in the created order worthy to open the scroll and examine it. This results in John’s weeping. He seems inconsolable because the future will not be revealed (Osborne 2002, 252).
Osborne observes that Revelation 5:5-6 draws together several important christological themes. God the Son is the lion of Judah, and the root of David, both Messianic promises which Osborne traces in brief (Osborne 2002, 253).
Verses 6-10, introduced with another “and I saw,” are central to Revelation chapter five. Osborne notes the mixed metaphor, as the author looks at the lion of Judah, only to see a “lamb standing as if slain” (Osborne 2002, 254). He finds it very significant that the vision’s transformation is from the powerful and deadly lion to the gentle lamb, the center of much sacrifice. This lamb is subsequently transformed into the conquering ram (Osborne 2002, 255). Osborne goes on to review some of the different biblical images of the role of a lamb. What is central here is the fact t hat the lamb has been slaughtered for sacrifice, pointing to the passover and to the suffering servant in Isaiah (Osborne 2002, 256). The transformaton of the lamb into a conquering ram reflects the military motif introduced by the “root of David.” As in other passages, Osborne notes the use of the number seven (horns and eyes) to indicate complete power and complete vision (Osborne 2002, 257).
In verse seven, as the Lamb takes the scroll, Osborne observes the position of authority shifting in the narrative (Osborne 2002, 257). The Lamb is now at the center of our attention. Those surrounding the throne prostrate themselves in worship, each holding a harp and a bowl of incense - awkward as Osborne notes, but corresponding to items held in vase paintings of worship to Apollo (Osborne 2002, 258). They sing a “new song,” which speaks of th worthiness, the saving work, and the good result for the followers of the Lamb (5:9-10) (Osborne 2002, 259). In the text the Lamb is worthy to open the scroll because of his death which purchased a people for God. The terminology used is both that of a sacrifice and a payment of ransom to God (Osborne 2002, 260). Osborne further observes that the people of God are explicitly drawn from every people group (Osborne 2002, 261).
Revelation 5:11-12 brings in an angelic choir. Osborne notes that it would seem to be part of the prececing passage except it is introduced by another of the transitional “and I saw” statement (Osborne 2002, 261). The great multitude, uncountable, surrounds the throne with a hymn of praise, this time a sevenfold acclamation, again pointing to the complete perfection of the Lamb (Osborne 2002, 262). He is the one who is perfectly powerful, wealthy, wise, and strong and who receives honor, glory, and praise.
Revelation 5:13-14 expands the atmosphere of worship, bringing in all the assembled beings (Osborne 2002, 264). All the themes have been introduced before, but are repeated here. Again, Osborne finds an emphasis on the unity of the Father and Son (Osborne 2002, 265). This scene draws the worship around the throne to a satisfactory conclusion, as the Lamb is ready to open the scroll.