VI. THE PRAISES
"And when the four living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits upon the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall before Him who sits upon the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever; and they will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, for You have created all things, and because of Your will they were, and were created."
In Revelation 4:9 "thanks" is given. The four living creatures are the representatives of the redeemed creatures. Since they have been redeemed, they give thanks. In 4:11 the twenty-four elders do not give thanks but speak of the Lord being worthy of authority. The elders do not have the experience of salvation; they only know authority. But when the twenty-four elders see the four living creatures praising, they are not jealous but rather join in: "And because of Your will they were, and were created." According to Mr. Govett’s investigation, the best manuscript reads, "According to God’s will all things were not, and were created," meaning that formerly God’s not creating was according to His will, and later His creating was also according to His will.
VII. WHO IS WORTHY TO OPEN THE SCROLL?
A. Revelation 5:1
"And I saw on the right hand of Him who sits upon the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed up with seven seals."
"Him who sits upon the throne" is God the Father. What kind of scroll is this? It is the New Testament. The New Testament speaks of how God will save the church, the Israelites, the world, and the universe. This scroll also records God’s view concerning the church, the Israelites, the world, and the universe. "Sealed up with seven seals." This does not mean that with the loosing of each seal one sees a little more of the scroll. Rather, one has to loose all seven seals before he can see what has been established. This scroll is the New Testament established by the blood of the Lamb. It is the whole of God’s plan in the New Testament.
B. Revelation 5:2
"And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals?"
Because the voice has to reach heaven, the earth, and under the earth, a strong angel is needed to proclaim loudly, "Who is worthy?" This is not a matter of power, but a matter of qualification. Who is worthy to bring in God’s plan? No one.
C. Revelation 5:3
"And no one in heaven nor on the earth nor under the earth was able to open the scroll or look into it."
Among the angels in heaven, the human beings on earth, and the spirits under the earth, no one is worthy to open the scroll.
D. Revelation 5:4
"And I wept much because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look into it."
Because John saw that God’s plan could not be accomplished, he wept much. Here is a heart that sympathizes with the heart on the throne.
VIII. THE LION-LAMB
A. Revelation 5:5
"And one of the elders said to me, Do not weep; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so that He may open the scroll and its seven seals."
"The Lion of the tribe of Judah." The Lord is from the tribe of Judah. Before God, the Lord is the Lamb, not the Lion. But to the Jews, the Lord is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, not the Lamb. The Lion has power and is the king.
"The Root of David." David was after God’s heart and was the first king chosen by God. The Lord Jesus is the sprout of Jesse because He came out of Jesse (Isa. 11:1). But the Lord Jesus is not the sprout of David. Instead, He is "the Root of David" because David is out of Jesus. David became a king after the pattern of the Lord Jesus. God needs a victorious king to open the scroll so that His plan may be accomplished.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 16: Study on Revelation, Chapter 4, by Watchman Nee)