|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-7 The apostle saw in the hand of Him that sat upon the throne, a roll of parchments in the form usual in those times, and sealed with seven seals. This represented the secret purposes of God about to be revealed. The designs and methods of Divine Providence, toward the church and the world, are stated, fixed, and made a matter of record. The counsels of God are altogether hidden from the eye and understanding of the creature. The several parts are not unsealed and opened at once, but after each other, till the whole mystery of God's counsel and conduct is finished in the world. The creatures cannot open it, nor read it; the Lord only can do so. Those who see most of God, are most desirous to see more; and those who have seen his glory, desire to know his will. But even good men may be too eager and hasty to look into the mysteries of the Divine conduct. Such desires, if not soon answered, turn to grief and sorrow. If John wept much because he could not look into the book of God's decrees, what reason have many to shed floods of tears for their ignorance of the gospel of Christ! of that on which everlasting salvation depends! We need not weep that we cannot foresee future events respecting ourselves in this world; the eager expectation of future prospects, or the foresight of future calamities, would alike unfit us for present duties and conflicts, or render our prosperous days distressing. Yet we may desire to learn, from the promises and prophecies of Scripture, what will be the final event to believers and to the church; and the Incarnate Son has prevailed, that we should learn all that we need to know. Christ stands as Mediator between God and both ministers and people. He is called a Lion, but he appears as a Lamb slain. He appears with the marks of his sufferings, to show that he pleads for us in heaven, in virtue of his satisfaction. He appears as a Lamb, having seven horns and seven eyes; perfect power to execute all the will of God, and perfect wisdom to understand it, and to do it in the most effectual manner. The Father put the book of his eternal counsels into the hand of Christ, and Christ readily and gladly took it into his hand; for he delights to make known the will of his Father; and the Holy Spirit is given by him to reveal the truth and will of God.
Verse 7. - And he came and took the book; or, and he came and he hath taken it. "Hath taken" is perfect (εἴληφε), while "came" is the aorist (η΅λθε). If the differ-once is intentionally significant, it renders the description somewhat more vivid. (For the consideration of the question how the Lamb could do this, see on ver. 6.) Wordsworth contrasts the spontaneous act of the Lamb in taking the book of his own accord as his right, with the call to St. John to take the little book (Revelation 10:8). Out of the right hand. The position of power and honour. He to whom all power was given in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28.) is the only One who can penetrate the mysteries and dispense the power of God's right hand. Of him that sat upon the throne; of him that sitteth. That is, the Triune God (see on Revelation 4:2). The Son in his human capacity, as indicated by his sacrificial form of the Lamb, can take and reveal the mysteries of the eternal Godhead in which he, as God, has part.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he came,.... He drew nigh to the throne of God, he engaged his heart to approach unto him, and came up even to his seat, which a mere creature, without a Mediator, cannot do:
and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne; See Gill on Revelation 5:1; it being given unto him, as in Revelation 1:1; and a commission and authority to open it, and make it manifest to others, and to accomplish the several events, in the several periods of time, it points unto.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. The book lay on the open hand of Him that sat on the throne for any to take who was found worthy [Alford]. The Lamb takes it from the Father in token of formal investiture into His universal and everlasting dominion as Son of man. This introductory vision thus presents before us, in summary, the consummation to which all the events in the seals, trumpets, and vials converge, namely, the setting up of Christ's kingdom visibly. Prophecy ever hurries to the grand crisis or end, and dwells on intermediate events only in their typical relation to, and representation of, the end.
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