Revelation Jewish New Testament, JNT, CJNT, David H. Stern
1. Next I saw in the right hand of the One sitting on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals;
Scroll, or, possibly a book with pages. See 10:8-11 N. Most of the rest of the book of Revelation describes God's judgments, revealed when the scroll's seven seals are removed.
2. and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”
3. But no one in heaven, on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look inside it.
4. I cried and cried, because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look inside it.
5. One of the elders said to me, “Don’t cry. Look, the Lion of the tribe of Y’hudah, the Root of David, has won the right to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
The Lion of the tribe of Y'hudah. This description of the Messiah draws on Jacob's blessing upon his son Judah, which has been understood in Judaism as a Messianic prophecy:
"Y'hudah is a lion's cub.
My son, you stand over the prey.
He stoops down, crouching like a lion,
a mighty lion — who will dare make him get up?
'The scepter will not depart from Y'hudah,
or the ruler's staff from between his feet,
until he comes to whom it belongs [or: "until Shiloh comes"],
and the peoples obey him." (Genesis 49:9-10)
Within the Messianic Community many peoples obey Yeshua, to whom the scepter belongs (compare Isaiah 9:5-6(6-7); MJ 1:8, 7:14).
The Root of David. (See also 22:16&N.) This draws on Isaiah 11:1-10, which commences with, 'There will come forth a rod from the stem of Yishai" (Jesse, King David's father), "and a branch will grow out of his roots." This description of the Messiah is followed by details about his rule (compare Isaiah 9:5-6(6-7)) and the Messianic Age of peace which he establishes. The passage concludes with: "On that day nations [or: "Gentiles"] will seek the root of Yishai, which stands as a banner [or: "as a miracle"] "for the peoples; and his dwelling-place will be glorious." Of particular interest are the two verses which follow, where there is an astonishingly clear prophecy of the present and future ingathering of the Jewish people:
"In that day Adonai will set his hand again a second time to recover the remnant of his people, ...the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." (Isaiah 11:11-12)
The description does not fit either the Exodus from Egypt or the return from Babylon; and "that day" can only be the Messianic Age, which has not yet fully come. Both the rabbis and the writers of the New Testament adhere to the principle that a biblical citation implies its context. Therefore Yochanan, by alluding to Isaiah 11, affirms that God will yet fulfill his promises to restore the Jewish people to our Land, Israel. I stress this because it is sometimes claimed that the New Testament cancels the promises God made to the Jewish people. Quite the contrary: of the Jewish people the New Testament says, "With respect to being chosen they are loved for the Patriarchs' sake, for God's free gifts and his calling are irrevocable" (Ro 11:28-29; see Mt 5:5N for references on refuting Replacement theology).
By his incarnation, obedient life and atoning death Yeshua has won the victory over human sin which gives him the right to open the scroll and its seven seals.
6. Then I saw standing there with the throne and the four living beings, in the circle of the elders, a Lamb that appeared to have been slaughtered. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the sevenfold Spirit of God sent out into all the earth.
A Lamb that appeared to have been slaughtered. The allusion is to Isaiah 53:7-8, "Like a lamb brought to be slaughtered... he was cut off out of the land of the living." Philip expounded this passage to the Ethiopian eunuch as being about Yeshua (Ac 8:26-39). Yochanan 1:29 speaks of "God's lamb... taking away the sin of the world." See also Mt 26:26-29; Ro 8:3-4; 1С5:6-8, 11:23-26; MJ 9:11-10:20; 1 Ke 1:19.
The Lion of Y'hudah is a Lamb... slaughtered. The juxtaposition of these contrasting descriptions of the Messiah in vv. 5-6 is one of the clearest expressions in the New Testament of the dual functioning of Yeshua, who came first as a Lamb sacrificed for sin, and returns (6:16-17) as a Lion to execute judgment, rule the world and bring peace. Jewish tradition, unable or unwilling to reconcile these two roles in one person, invented the idea of Mashiach Ben-Yosef who dies and a different Mashiach Ben-David who rules.
Seven horns. In the Tanakh horns symbolize power; seven is the number of completeness (1:4N). Hence Yeshua has complete power (compare Mt 28:18, Yn 17:1-2). In the Apocrypha at I Enoch 90:9 the Maccabees are symbolized by "horned lambs." In Testament of Joseph 19:8 is imagery similar to that of this verse: the Messiah is designated a lamb who goes forth from the midst of horns with a lion on his right.
Seven eyes, which are the sevenfold Spirit of God (see 1:4N) sent out into all the earth. Compare Zechariah 4:10, a difficult verse, which apparently says that the seven lamps of Zechariah 4:2 (see 1:12&N above) represent "the eyes of Adonai"" which "rove to and fro throughout the whole earth," preventing anything from impeding the building of the second Temple under Z'rubavel. If the Lamb has "seven eyes," he has complete knowledge to match his complete power.
7. He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of the One sitting on the throne.
The Messiah's normal position in the present age is at the right hand of the One sitting on the throne (Psalm 110:1; Mt 22:44; Ac 2:34-35,7:56; MJ 1:3).
8. When he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down in front of the Lamb. Each one held a harp and gold bowls filled with pieces of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people;
Harp. The usual instrument of praise in the book of Psalms.
Gold bowls filled with incense are also among the accoutrements of worship in the Tanakh; they symbolize the prayers of God's people (compare 6:9-10, 8:3).
9. and they sang a new song,
“You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals;
because you were slaughtered;
at the cost of blood you ransomed for God
persons from every tribe, language, people and nation.
A new song, as in Psalms 33:3, 98:1, 144:9, 149:1.
10. You made them into a kingdom for God to rule,
cohanim to serve him;
and they will rule over the earth.”
You made them into a kingdom for God to rule, cohanim to serve him. The language comes from Exodus 19:6, Isaiah 61:6. See 1 Ke 2:9&N; also compare 1:6 above. They will rule over the earth in the Millennium (20:4) and on the new earth (22:5); see also Mt 5:5; 1С 4:8.
11. Then I looked, and I heard the sound of a vast number of angels — thousands and thousands, millions and millions! They were all around the throne, the living beings and the elders;
12. and they shouted out,
“Worthy is the slaughtered Lamb to receive
power, riches, wisdom, strength,
honor, glory and praise!”
13. And I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth and on the sea — yes, everything in them — saying,
“To the One sitting on the throne
and to the Lamb
belong praise, honor, glory and power
forever and ever!”
These verses, like 1:12-16, repeat elements of the Daniel 7:9-14 vision, in which an "Ancient of Days," served by "a thousand thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand" is visited by "one like a son of man," to whom is given "dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and tongues should serve him." The context there and in Revelation thus shows that the phrase, "every tribe, language, people and nation" (and its variations at 7:9, 10:11, 11:9, 13:7, 14:6 and 17:15), refers to the Gentile nations of the world.
God the Father, the One sitting on the throne, already has power, honor, etc., from time immemorial. He grants these attributes to the Lamb, who is worthy to receive them because he did not grasp at them (Pp 2:5-11). They henceforth belong both to him and to his Father forever and ever. See also 7:12, and compare Yochanan 17.
Every creature will acknowledge God's universal rule (Pp 2:9-11&N, Co 1:20), but demons and the wicked will not enjoy its benefits (20:11-15&NN, Ya 2:19).
14. The four living beings said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshipped.
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