TEXT: Revelation 5:1-14; John 1:29
The students will be able to explain that it was Christ’s office as the sacrificial Lamb of Calvary that makes Him worthy to take the Book and unloose the seals.
TEACHER’S NOTE: This lesson is out of order in considering a chronological sequence of the events described in Revelation. However, we felt the subject appropriate for the Thanksgiving season. The junior level story treats this occasion as a flashback. Senior teachers may wish to explain briefly to their classes the reason for the break in continuity, to avoid confusion.
This revelation was given to John, the beloved Apostle. It is thought to have been written about A.D. 96. John was an old man when he was put on the Isle of Patmos by the Roman emperor Domitian. He was put there because he gave witness to the Word of God, and “the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Christ, in the message to the Seven Churches, appeared as a warrior. In Revelation 5:5 He is called the “Lion.” The Lion, when seen, is a “Lamb” (Revelation 5:6). Lion represents power, but lamb represents sacrifice. The secret of Christ’s power is in His suffering. In Revelation, Lamb is the favorite name for Christ:
The Lamb took the sealed Book, and opened it.
The living creatures and elders worship the Lamb.
More than 100,000,000 angels worship the Lamb.
The great day of the Lamb’s wrath is come.
Multitudes from all nations worship the Lamb.
Their robes were washed in the Blood of the Lamb.
The Lamb leads them to fountains of living waters.
They overcame Satan by the Blood of the Lamb.
The 144,000 follow the Lamb.
They sing the song of Moses and the Lamb.
The Lamb is Lord of lords and King of kings.
Marriage of the Lamb to His Bride is come.
The Lamb is the Temple and Light of the City.
Only those in the Lamb’s Book of Life shall enter.
The Water of Life comes from the Throne of the Lamb.
The seven-sealed book spoken of in Revelation 5 is generally thought of as a scroll or a series of scrolls, each portion being sealed with an individual seal. It is thought by many that this book has to do with the price and purchase of redemption. God’s plan for the salvation of mankind from sin had to be fulfilled before the seals could be broken. As we begin our text we find this question, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?”
- In reference to the seven-sealed book in Heaven, John wept when the strong angel proclaimed that “no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.” He then was comforted by an elder who assured him that there was One who was worthy, One who prevailed. Who was worthy? What is significant about the name which the elder used as a title for Him?
Response: Although no man in Heaven or in earth could open the book, Jesus Christ, the Lion of the Tribe of Juda, the Root of David, prevailed. Discuss with the students that in His first coming to earth, Jesus was meek and humble as a lamb, sacrificing Himself for our sins (John 1:29). But in His second coming He is to be the Lion, mighty and powerful to rule and reign. Ask the students to give a few of the titles by which Christ is known that show His rulership. They may respond with such titles as: blessed and only Potentate (1 Timothy 6:15); Prince of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5); King of Kings, And Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16).
- In Revelation 5:6, John speaks of seeing a “Lamb as it had been slain.” Who is the “Lamb,” and what is the significance of the Lamb to the Christian?
Response: The students should establish the identity of the Lamb as being Jesus. Point out that John the Baptist addressed Jesus as the “Lamb of God,” before He had been crucified. Read Revelation 13:8 to show how the plan for Jesus to die had been established from the “foundation of the world.” Lead into a discussion of the importance of Jesus’ death, and how only Jesus can forgive sins. Depending on your class, you may want to go into the subject of salvation in depth. See John 3:16; Romans 6:23; 8:32; 10:13; Ephesians 2:8; 1 John 1:9.
- Why was only the Lamb worthy to open this Book and the seals?
Response: Verse 9 indicates the Lamb was the only One in Heaven or earth worthy to open the Book and the seals thereof, because He was slain for our redemption. Only the sacrifice of Jesus, God in the flesh, could avail for the redemption of mankind, because He knew no sin. Jesus died on earth as a man, but He rose again, the triumphant Son of God, to ascend into Heaven. Only He is worthy.
- After we are redeemed, it is important to offer our thanksgiving and praise through prayer. Verse 8 tells us that these prayers are not wasted. Explain, using our text and Revelation 8:3-4.
Response: Include in the discussion that some of our prayers and praises on earth stem from glorious victories that God has given, while other prayers are the results of sore trials, hardships, or severe pain. Regardless of the reasons for the prayers, the truth should be emphasized that God values all sincere prayers to the point of preserving them in golden vials in Heaven.
- In Revelation 4 and again in this lesson, the description is given of twenty-four elders and four beasts (or living creatures). What is their position in Heaven (Revelation 4:4,6), and how did they arrive at this exalted state?
Response: The position of the twenty-four elders is around about the Throne of God, seated in twenty-four seats. The four living creatures were situated in the midst of the Throne and around about the Throne. Our text tells us that all these were redeemed out of the earth through Jesus’ Blood. Bring out through discussion that it may not be our lot to be exalted to such a degree, yet the Scriptures reveal that the redeemed shall be near to God and have a voice in the universal praise due to Him. See Revelation 7:9-17.
- What was the theme of the “new song” sung by the four beasts and the elders?
Response: The theme of their song was that Christ was worthy to open the Book because He provided redemption through His Blood. Bring out in your discussion the fact that the redeemed are from every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. Through Christ, the redeemed of God will be made kings and priests and they shall reign on the earth.
- In our key verse, we read that mankind was created for God’s pleasure. How can mankind live to please God (Hebrews 12:14)? Find at least two additional Scripture references which give other ways to please God.
Response: Hebrews 12:14 brings out the necessity of having holiness. Allow time for your students to give any Scriptures they may have found. Their verses may include Psalm 147:11; Hebrews 13:16; 1 Peter 3:4-5; 1 John 3:22. Your students should see that pleasing God is one of the ways we have of praising and offering thanksgiving to God.
- Verses 11-14 speak about the universal worship of the Lamb in Heaven. What are some ways we worship the Lord while we are still on earth?
Response: Discuss ways in which we can worship other than prayer; for example, church attendance (Psalm 122:1), singing hymns (Ephesians 5:19-20), giving of offerings (1 Chronicles 16:29), giving testimony (Psalm 107:1-2).
Wrap a wide strip of paper around a book and seal it with wax to represent what a sealed book would be like. Then bring out the fact that the Book spoken of in our text is sealed with seven seals and no one but Jesus is worthy to unseal it.
Have your class make a poster to portray what will happen when the Book is to be opened.
Have the students copy the words to the “New Song” that rang out to Jesus. Rephrase the New Song into words of our everyday language.
Opener: Have the students write down the three things they are most thankful for this Thanksgiving season. (Write your own list too.) Discuss the choices, beginning with number three. Show your students that, on your list, Jesus the Lamb of God is Number One! As you explain why, you will have introduced today’s lesson.