The vision of Revelation 4-5 neatly divides into two parts. First, there is a general description of heavenly worship directed to the one sitting on the throne, God the Father (Rev. 4:1-11). Second, there is a moment of crisis in the heavenly throne room that is resolved by the appearance of the Lamb, Jesus Christ (Rev 5:1-14).
At the beginning of chapter four John is invited up to heaven for the first time (4:1). Chapter four is a general description of the continual worship of heaven, in which God the Father is worshiped on account of creation (Rev. 4:11). But chapter five is a one-time crisis event in heaven. A problem is presented that seems so large that even God cannot solve it (Rev. 5:1-4). But the matter is resolved by the appearance of the Lamb, the God-man Jesus Christ (see theme 5 below). He is worshiped because He was slain and this fact resolves the crisis in the universe (Rev. 5:5-14).
The vision of Revelation 4 and 5 introduces the following themes:
1. Is Revelation 4 a General Description of Heavenly Worship or a One-Time Event? The details of the text answer this question in a future blog.
2. The Biblical Concept of Worship. Worship is not about us, our feelings, or our duties. Worship is a recital of what God has done.
3. The Identity of the Twenty-Four Elders. The elders are not an angelic group, they represent the totality of God’s people.
4. The Meaning of the Sealed Scroll. The sealed scroll represents God’s plan of salvation.
5. The Worthiness of the Lamb. The Lamb is uniquely worthy to open the scroll because of His combination of humanity and divinity.
6. The Progression of the Five Hymns (Rev. 4:8, 11; 5:9-10, 12, 13) Underlines the Divinity of the Lamb.
7. The Cosmic Conflict Is the Unspoken Backdrop to this Heavenly Scene.