Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Revelation
Book: Revelation
Chapter: 5

A Book sealed with Seven seals, which could be opened By none
but Christ, who took the Book to open it. (1-7) Upon which all
honour is ascribed to him, as worthy to open it. (8-14)

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.

8-14 It is matter of joy to all the world, to see that God
deals with men in Grace and Mercy through the Redeemer. He
governs the world, not merely as a Creator, but as our Saviour.
The harps were instruments of praise; the vials were full of
odours, or Incense, which signify the prayers of the saints:
Prayer and praise should always go together. Christ has redeemed
his people from the Bondage of Sin, guilt, and Satan. He has not
only purchased liberty for them, but the highest honour and
preferment; he made them Kings and priests; Kings, to rule over
their own spirits, and to overcome the world, and the evil one;
and he makes them priests; giving them access to himself, and
liberty to offer up spiritual sacrifices. What words can more
fully declare that Christ is, and ought to be worshipped,
equally with the Father, By all creatures, to all eternity!
Happy those who shall Adore and praise in Heaven, and who shall
for ever Bless the Lamb, who delivered and set them apart for
himself By his Blood. How worthy art thou, O God, Father, Son,
and Holy Ghost, of our highest praises! All creatures should
proclaim thy greatness, and Adore thy majesty.