The Search for a Legitimate Heir — Revelation 5:1-7

The Search for a Legitimate Heir in Revelation 5 1-7 Anthony R Locke Associate Reformed Presbyterian Synod

by Reverend Anthony R. Locke
Sermon Series in Revelation # 12

Revelation 5:1-7
English Standard Version

1   Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

2   And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”

3   And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,

4   and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.

5   And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

6   And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

7   And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.[1]


 

For there to be peace, there needs to be a peaceful transition of power from one sovereign to another. The genius of the American Founders was to provide for a peaceful transition from one President to another. In Kingdoms dominated by Lords and Royal Blood lines the peaceful transition depends on a legitimate heir.

The lack of a legitimate heir shattered the peace between England and France and started the 100 Years War.

In the twelfth century the Monarchs of England and France joined their children in marriage to ensure peace. The marriage of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the reign of their royal blood line, kept the two countries at peace with each other for two centuries.

But when the Capet family tree stopped, when the last king died without an heir, it took a war to decide who would sit on the throne and hold title to the land.

God the Father decides in Revelation 5 to transfer the Kingdom to His Heir. And the moment is not without drama as there is a pause of anticipation.

Who has the right to claim title to the goodness and glory of the Father? Who can pick up where the Father left off? Who knows His purposes and has the power to carry them out?

In ancient times the nobility would have written this all down on a leather parchment scroll. All the specifics would be written down in pain staking details, rolled up and sealed. The Jews used three seals and the Romans used up to seven for the most official of documents.

God the Father holds in his hand a scroll that reflects this tradition and custom. And the Father intends to give title of the Creation to His Son. The Father wrote the plan for eternity and is ready to entrust the execution of those plans to Jesus.

1 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals.

The scroll has layers. Each layer has the majority of the written details on the front side of the parchment, but on the back side are specific instructions to the one unsealing that layer.

Seven layers and seven corresponding seals. On the outside of the scroll are the instructions for when to open the first seal as well as qualifications for what person has the right to open it.

At this point in the Heavenly vision someone like the archangel Gabriel, with a loud voice, invites the whole universe to find a person who is worthy to open the seals.

So, what would happen if that person couldn’t be found? If no executer can be found, then the deed must remain sealed. It can’t be opened. Is that a problem? Yes. It’s a big problem.

Let’s say you planned to get married and fly to Aruba for a seven day honeymoon, but the preacher doesn’t show up. You can fake the ceremony, but without a State designated representative to declare you married and sign the marriage certificate, you can’t enjoy that trip to Aruba. You would need separate rooms. Why?

Because you need a registered official to execute the legal paperwork and to advance your state from singleness to a married state. Only an approved person can alter your married state by their declaration. Their words, the reading of the prepared declarations, alter your reality.

This reality of this universe, including your soul, has legal paperwork prepared. It requires an official designated person to open it and read it. By this declaration the Creation is transferred from a sin marred state to a perfected state. From a temporal state to an eternal state. This happens when the right person makes the right declaration.

The Father owns the title deed to the universe. He has decided to shift all judgment to someone else. We wait for this other person to alter our eternal state from being condemned to being glorified; from being outsiders to being the glorified family of God; from a Creation marred by sin to a Creation remade in sinless perfection.

The Father holds out the title deed. The archangel invites the right person to stand forward and accept the responsibility . . . and for a moment there is silence. For a split second it’s like the preacher fails to show up. The sin stained state of the Creation hangs in the balance.

Who is worthy to take up the Father’s charge and complete His will? Will Satan not be cast into the Lake of Fire? Will God’s people be rewarded? Will the death of the martyrs go unpunished? Will saints not be glorified? Terrifying questions.

Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it,

It’s hyperbole: from top to bottom; from the East to the West; from the nose to the tail; there was not found anyone worthy to perform this Divine function. There was a moment of dramatic pause so we could all feel the need and appreciate what transpires next.

The search came up empty. No one was righteous enough. No one was noble and powerful enough. There was none who sought the will of the Father perfectly. No one was trustworthy to read and execute the Father’s will. Too much was at stake. The whole Creation. Each person’s salvation. Eternity and Heaven itself was in the balance . . . and John began to tremble and shake in fear that no one would be found who would be able to take up this task.

4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And these fears grip John’s soul as he contemplates the consequences of not finding someone worthy to do this job.

And like in chapter one when Jesus lays His hand on John to say verse 17 + 18 Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”

Here an angel verse 5 said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Friends, this has not happened yet in Heaven. John was seeing what must take place after the Church Age. We will all see this event unfold in Heaven as Jesus steps forward from the assembled people of God and walks up to the throne to assume His role as the Son of God.

And our weeping will be turned to shouts of glory and hallelujahs! We will jump and shout. We will spin and clap our hands when the Son of Man takes the reigns of power and glory at the right hand of the Father on high.

John is told that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the Root of David has struggled but won the victory. Jesus is up for the task. Praise God!

These titles are carefully chosen Messianic names for Jesus out of the Old Testament.

Genesis 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

We quote those verse during worship every Christmas. The angel in Revelation also references these verses to identify the person who will claim ownership over all things.

Jesus is the Root of David. He has the right family tree. There is an Heir. Peace will reign!

Isaiah 11:1-6 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord . . . Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.

It would bless your heart to read the rest of Isaiah 11 and 12 and to hear all the wonderful things Jesus will do when the Father gives Him the green light to recreate this universe.

Jesus is the Lion of Judah. Jesus is the heir to the promises of King David. Jesus overcame when He was resurrected on the third day. Amen!

And John looked 6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Jesus is not flying with two wings over His feet lest He touch the throne. Jesus is so holy that He can stand on the foundation of the throne between the four living creatures and the Father. The Father is seated on the throne, but Jesus has walked right up into the center of the throne!

John expects to turn and see a Lion, but instead he sees the Lamb of God whose blood was shed before the foundation of the world. And the blood of that Lamb has been flowing ever since before Adam and Eve sinned. And sinners who dip beneath that flood loose all their guilty stains. There’s power, power, wonder working power in the precious blood of the Lamb.

Any person who looks to Jesus in faith and repentance will find the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.

Isaac asked his father Abraham, “Where is the Lamb?” Gen. 22:7. John the Baptist answered “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the worldJohn 1:29.

And the loss of blood has not caused weakness, but a seven fold strength is represented in the Lamb’s seven horns. Unlimited power. Jesus is ready for the final conflict with the Devil and the enemies of our soul. Jesus is Omnipotent as the Lamb.

And like the four angelic beasts, Jesus is full of eyes. Jesus is omniscient. He knows all things and is ready to be the executer of all of the Father’s sovereign plans.

Jesus is fully enabled, the seven fold enabling spirit of God, Jesus is anointed and ready to bring about the final apocalypse of the universe for God’s purposes and God’s glory.

And here is the climax in the drama: Jesus walks right up to the throne and takes the scroll from God the Father’s out stretched hand.

WOW!

7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.

Jesus had to leave the people of God, walk past the entourage of God, past the 24 elders, right into the midst of the four living angelic beasts, and while standing next to the throne, Jesus takes from the Father the scroll which carries the necessary instructions for how and when to recreate this sin stained universe. Jesus receives from the Father the time and schedule for recreating the new Heaven and new Earth.

And Jesus will be the One who will wrap up the redemptive story that was started in Genesis. Jesus will end this Creation and begin the new Creation as the will of the Father dictates.

This passage chronicles the future transfer of power from the most powerful Person, from God Himself, to His only Begotten Son.  There is no loss of peace, no battle, no insurrection or revolution. Satan’s insurrection is a failed footnote. God gladly gives to the Son all authority and all power in Heaven and Earth. What a wonderful ending to an amazing story.

Did you know that the end of the 100 Year War marked the end of the Medieval Ages? This chapter marks the end of the Church Age.

Hebrews 1:2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

Is the Father speaking to you this morning? Can you hear the words of the Heavenly song that Jesus is worthy? Jesus has the wisdom and power to carry out God the Father’s ordained plans for all things. Maybe you can trust Jesus with your life?

We should all live for Jesus. We should place our faith in Him as the Lamb of God who takes away our sin by His shed blood. Transfer the rights over your life to Jesus and find eternal peace.

May Jesus Christ be praised!


[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


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Live in Gwinnett, GA next to Lake Lanier Islands. Married with four children. Pastored three churches over 18 years. Spent time serving as an Army Chaplain. Traveled in ministry to over 34 countries. B.A., M.A., M.Div., M.A.T.S., D.Min. BCC with NSC. Covering Georgia and upstate South Carolina

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