Revelation 5:1-13

Revelation 5:1-13
Narrative Lectionary


Then I sawA in the right handB of the one seatedC on the throneD

Notes on verse 1a

A “saw” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
B “right hand” = dexios. Perhaps from dechomai (to warmly receive, be ready for what is offered, take, accept, or welcome; to receive in a literal or figurative sense). This is right, right side, or the right hand.
C “seated” = kathemai. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + hemai (to sit). This is to sit, be enthroned, or reside.
D “throne” = thronos. Probably from thanos (bench); from thrao (to sit). This is throne or seat – the place where the king sits. So, it is used figuratively to mean power, dominion, or a potentate. This is where the word “throne” comes from.

a scrollE writtenF on the inside and on the back, sealedG with sevenH seals;I 

Notes on verse 1b

E “scroll” = biblion. From biblos (the inside bark of papyrus so it could refer to anything that was written on – a scroll, book, record, roll; could also have an association with the sacred); perhaps from bublos (papyrus); from Phoenician Byblos (a Phoenician city that exported papyrus for writing); {from gb (well, origin) + I (God)}; from Proto-Canaanite g-b-l (Gubla – maybe meaning to border). This is paper, book, scroll, certificate.
F “written” = grapho. This is to write or describe. It is where the word “graphic” comes from.
G “sealed” = katasphragizo. 1x in NT. From kata (down, against, throughout, among) + sphragizo (sealing something with some kind of stamp that tells who the owner is, gives it authorization or validity; shows that the owner lends their full authority or backing to the matter in question; the ancient world’s equivalent of a signature on a legal document to guarantee the commitments made in the document); {from sphragis (a seal, signet, or signet ring; also the impression of that seal; so, the thing attested to by that seal – proof or a signifier of privacy); perhaps from phrasso (to stop, fence in)}. This is literally to sela down. It implied very secure or sealed up.
H “seven” = hepta. This is seven or seventh. Figuratively, seven is the number of completeness or perfection.
I “seals” = sphragis. Related to “sealed” in v1. 16x in NT. See note G above.

and I saw a mightyJ angelK proclaimingL with a loudM voice,N

Notes on verse 2a

J “mighty” = ischuros. From ischuo (to be strong, healthy and vigorous, able, have power, prevail; strength that engages a resisting force); from ischus (strength, might, power, force, ability; power that engages immediate resistance). This is strong – first of physical strength. Later, also used figuratively for forcible, powerful, mighty, vehement, or sure.
K “angel” = aggelos. Probably from ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide) + agele (flock, herd, drove); {also from ago (see above)}. This is angel or messenger. Properly, it is one sent with news or to perform a specific task. This messenger can be human or an angel from heaven. More commonly, it is used for angels in the New Testament.
L “proclaiming” = kerusso. This is to proclaim, preach, publish. Properly, it is to act as a herald – announcing something publicly with confidence and/or to persuade.
M “loud” = megas. This is big in a literal or figurative sense – great, large, exceeding, abundant, high, mighty, perfect, strong, etc.
N “voice” = phone. Probably from phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view); {from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is a voice, sound, tone or noise. It can also be a language or dialect.

“Who is worthyO to openP the scroll and breakQ its seals?” 

Notes on verse 2b

O “worthy” = axios. Related to “angel” in v2. From ago (see note K above). This is related to weight or worth – deserving, suitable, corresponding, due reward.
P “open” = anoigo. From ana (up, back, again, among, between, anew) + oigo (to open). This is to open in  literal or figurative sense.
Q “break” = luo. This is to loose, release, or untie. Figuratively, it can mean to break, destroy, or annul. This is releasing what had been withheld.

3 And no one in heavenR or on earthS or under the earth was ableT to open the scroll or to look intoU it. 

Notes on verse 3

R “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
S “earth” = ge. This is earth, land, soil, region, country, the inhabitants of an area.
T “was able” = dunamai. This is to be able, or something that is possible. It can also be empowered or being powerful. The Greek word for “miracle” (dunamis) comes from this root.
U “look into” = blepo. This is literally to see – it is primarily used in the physical sense. However, figuratively it can be seeing, which includes attention and so to watchfulness, being observant, perceiving, and acting on the visual information. It can also mean beware.

And I began to weepV bitterlyW because no one was foundX worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 

Notes on verse 4

V “began to weep” = klaio. This is to weep, lament, or sob. It is weeping aloud.
W “bitterly” = polus. This is much, often, plenteous – a large number or a great extent.
X “found” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.

Then one of the eldersY said to me, “Do not weep. See,Z the LionAA of the tribeBB of Judah,CC

Notes on verse 5a

Y “elders” = presbuteros. From presbus (old man). This is an elder as one of the Sanhedrin and also in the Christian assembly in the early church.
Z “see” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, re member, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
AA “Lion” = Leon. 9x in NT. This is lion, which is where our word “lion” comes from.
BB “tribe” = phule. From phuo (to produce, spring up, grow, germinate; perhaps originally meaning puff or blow). This is clan, tribe, lineage. It is those who descend from a shared ancestor.
CC “Judah” = Iouda. 8x in NT. From the same as Ioudas (Judah, Juadas); from Hebrew Yehudah (Judah, son of Jacob, his tribal descendants, a name for the southern kingdom. Literally, it means praised); probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, Judas, or Jude.

the RootDD of David,EE has conquered,FF so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”

Notes on verse 5b

DD “Root” = Rhiza. 17x in NT. This is a root literally or figuratively so it would be the root of what comes from it – shoot, source, descendant. This is where the word “rhizome” comes from.
EE “David” = Dauid. From Hebrew David (David); from the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”
FF “conquered” = nikao. From nike (victory, conquest; figurative for what makes one successful). This is to have victory, overcome, conquer, or prevail. It implies a victory that follows a battle. This root is part of “Nicodemus’s” name and it is also the root where Nike comes from.

Then I sawGG betweenHH the throne and the fourII living creaturesJJ

Notes on verse 6a

GG “saw” = horao. Same as “saw” in v1. See note A above.
HH “between” = en + mesos. Literally “in the midst of.” Mesos is perhaps from meta (with among, behind, beyond; implies a change following contact or action). This is middle, among, midst, center.
II “four” = tessares. This is four – used figuratively for total coverage.
JJ “living creatures” = zoon. From zao (to live literally or figuratively). This is literally a thing that is alive. So, it is an animal or living creature.

and amongKK the elders a LambLL standingMM as if it had been slaughtered,NN

Notes on verse 6b

KK “among” = en + mesos. Literally “in the midst of.” Same as “between” in v6. See note HH above.
LL “Lamb” = arnion. From aren (sheep, male lamb); perhaps from the same as arren (male); perhaps from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove). This is a lamb. In earlier usage this was a diminutive (i.e. a little lamb). At this point, it may have meant young lamb. Figuratively, it was someone pure or innocent.
MM “standing” = histemi. This is to stand, place, establish, appoint, stand ready, be steadfast.
NN “slaughtered” = sphazo. 10x in NT. This is to slay, butcher an animal to eat or for sacrifice, slaughter, maim through violence. In 1 John 3:12 it is used to describe Cain murdering Abel. All other uses are in Revelation.

having seven hornsOO and seven eyes,PP which are the seven spiritsQQ of GodRR sent outSS into all the earth. 7 He went and tookTT the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. 

Notes on verses 6c-7

OO “horns” = keras. 11x in NT. Perhaps from kar (hair). This is horn or something horn-shaped; horn in a literal or figurative sense – that which prevails or a symbol of power.
PP “eyes” = ophthalmos. Related to “saw” in v1. From optanomai (to appear, be seen by); from horao (see note A above). This is eye or sight. It is used figuratively for the mind’s eye, a vision, or for envy.
QQ “spirits” = pneuma. From pneo (to blow, breath, breathe hard). This is wind, breath, or ghost. A breeze or a blast or air, a breath. Figuratively used for a spirit, the human soul or part of us that is rational. It is also used supernaturally for angels, demons, God, and the Holy Spirit. This is where pneumonia comes from.
RR “God” = Theos. From Proto-Indo-European origins, meaning do, put, place. This is God or a god in general.
SS “sent out” = apostello. Related to “standing” in v6. From apo (from, away from) + stello (to send, set, arrange, prepare, gather up); {probably from histemi (see note MM above)}. This is to send forth, send away, dismiss, send as a messenger. It implies one that is sent for a particular mission or purpose rather than a quick errand. This is where “apostle” comes from.
TT “took” = lambano. It does not refer to passive receiving of something, but active acceptance or taking of something whether it is offered or simply nearby. It focuses on individual decision and action.

When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell beforeUU the Lamb, each holding a harpVV and goldenWW bowlsXX

Notes on verse 8a

UU “before” = enopion. Related to “saw” in v1 & “eyes” in v6. From en (in, on, at, by with) + ops (eye, face); {from optanomai (see note PP above)}. This is literally “in the eye of” and is used for before or in the presence of.
VV “harp” = kithara. 4x in NT. This is a lyre or harp.
WW “golden” = chrusous. 18x in NT. From chrusos (gold or something made of gold; symbolic of purchasing power); perhaps from chraomai (to use, make use of, give what is needed, act in a specific way, request). This is related to gold, golden. It could be decorated with or made from gold.
XX “bowls” = phiale. 12x in NT. This is a cup or vial. It could be a bowl that is wide, but not deep. It is where the word “phial” comes from.

fullYY of incense,ZZ which are the prayersAAA of the saints.BBB 

Notes on verse 8b

YY “full” = gemo. 11x in NT. This is to be full, swell, at capacity, actions taken to fulfill a goal.
ZZ “incense” = thumiama. 6x in NT – 2x when the birth of John the Baptist is Foretold in Luke 1 & 4x in heaven in Revelation. From thumiao (to smoke burn incense); from thuo (to rush along, breathe violently, offer sacrifice). This is incense or an odor. It is incense as part of worship – the object or the act of burning.
AAA “prayers” = proseuche. From proseuchomai (to pray or pray for, to worship or supplicate; more literally exchanging one’s own wishes for God’s); {from pros (advantageous for, at, toward) + euchomai (to wish, make a request, pray)}. This is prayer, worship, or a place where one prays.
BBB “saints” = hagios. From hagnos (holy, sacred, pure ethically, ritually, or ceremonially; prepared for worship, chaste, unadulterated, pure to the core; undefiled by sin; figurative for innocent, modest, perfect). God is totally different from humanity and thus set apart. That which is consecrated to worship God (elements of worship) or to serve God (as the saints) are holy because they are now set apart for God’s purposes. Holy because important to God. This is sacred physically, pure. It can be morally blameless or ceremonially consecrated.

They singCCC a newDDD song:EEE

Notes on verse 9a

CCC “sing” = ado. 5x in NT. From aeido (to sing). This is to sing.
DDD “new” = kainos. This is not new as in new versus old. This is new in the sense of novel, innovative, or fresh.
EEE “song” = ode. Related to “sing” in v9. 7x in NT. From aoide (song, ode, legend, tale); from the same as ado (see note CCC above). This is a song of praise – often one that is impromptu. It can be for worship or to exhort those around. It can also be used for non-religious songs.

“You are worthy to take the scroll
    and to open its seals,
for you were slaughtered and by your bloodFFF you ransomedGGG for God
    saints from every tribe and languageHHH and peopleIII and nation;JJJ

Notes on verse 9b

FFF “blood” = haima. This is blood in a literal sense as bloodshed. Figuratively, it can also be used to refer to wine or to kinship (being related).
GGG “ransomed” = agorazo. From agora (assembly, forum, marketplace, town square, thoroughfare); from ageiro (to gather). This is to go and buy something at market with a focus on goods being transferred. It can also mean to purchase or redeem.
HHH “language” = glossa. Root refers to a point that sticks out. This is tongue in a literal sense, but can also refer to language or a nation that speaks a different language. Figuratively, it can also refer to speaking in tongues or speech inspired by the Spirit.
III “people” = laos. This is the people or crowd – often used for the chosen people. This is where the word “laity” comes from.
JJJ “nation” = ethnos. Probably from etho (a custom or culture). This is people who are united by having similar customs or culture. Generally, it is used to refer to Gentiles. This is a tribe, race, nation, or Gentiles in general. This is where the term “ethnicity” comes from.

10 you have madeKKK them to be a kingdomLLL and priestsMMM serving our God,
    and they will reignNNN on earth.”

Notes on verse 10

KKK “made” = poieo. This is to make, do, act, construct, abide, or cause.
LLL “kingdom” = basileia. From basileus (king, emperor, sovereign); probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is kingdom, rule, authority, sovereignty, royalty, a realm.
MMM “priests” = hiereus. From hieros (sacred, something sacred, temple, holy, set apart; something consecrated to God or a god). This is a priest, used for Jewish and Gentile priests.
NNN “reign” = basileuo. Related to “kingdom” in v10. From basileus (see note LLL above). This is to reign as king, to rule in a literal or figurative sense.

11 Then I looked,OOO and I heardPPP the voice of manyQQQ angels surroundingRRR the throne and the living creatures and the elders;

Notes on verse 11a

OOO “looked” = horao. Same as “saw” in v1. See note A above.
PPP “heard” = akouo. This is hear or listen, but it also means to understand by hearing. This is where the word “acoustics” comes from.
QQQ “many” = polus. Same as “bitterly” in v4. Se note W above.
RRR “surrounding” = kuklo. 8x in NT. From kuklos (a circle). This is a ring, around, all around.

they numberedSSS myriadsTTT of myriads and thousandsUUU of thousands, 12 singingVVV with fullWWW voice,

Notes on verses 11b-12a

SSS “numbered” = eimi + ho + arithmos. Literally, “their number was.” Arithmos is related to “Lamb” in v6. 18x in NT. From airo (see note LL above). This is a number or total that has been counted together.
TTT “myriads” = murias. 9x in NT. From murios (can mean a large number, countless; in the plural, ten thousand; its root may mean numerous). This is many thousands or a big number that cannot be counted. It is where the word “myriad” comes from.
UUU “thousands” = chilias. From chilioi (thousand; symbolically it has a sense of inclusiveness of every thing). This is thousand. Figuratively, it has the sense of totality.
VVV “singing” = lego. This is to say, speak, or tell.
WWW “full” = megas. Same as “loud” in v2. See note M above.

“Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receiveXXX powerYYY and wealthZZZ and wisdomAAAA and mightBBBB

Notes on verse 12b

XXX “receive” = lambano. Same as “took” in v7. See note TT above.
YYY “power” = dunamis. Related to “was able” in v3. From dunamai (see note T above). This is might, strength, physical power, efficacy, energy, and miraculous power. It is force literally or figuratively – the power of a miracle or the miracle itself.
ZZZ “wealth” = ploutos. Related to “bitterly” in v4. From polus (see note W above) OR pleo (to sail, voyage); {probably from pluno (to plunge – so to wash); from pluo (to flow)} OR pletho (to fill, accomplish, supply; to fill to maximum capacity). This is abundance, wealth, or riches. It could refer to money/possessions or spiritual abundance. It can also be used for a valuable bestowment.
AAAA “wisdom” = sophia. From sophos (wise, clever, skilled, learned, cultivated); related to saphes (clear). This is skill, wisdom, insight, intelligence, clarity. It is wisdom as applied through a practical skill or shrewdness. It is not thoughtfulness or the mere gaining of intelligence for its own sake. Sophia is wisdom in action for everyday living.
BBBB “might” = ischus. 10x in NT. 10x in NT. Perhaps from is (force) + echo (to have, hold, possess). This is strength, might, power, force, or ability. It is power that engages immediate resistance.

and honorCCCC and gloryDDDD and blessing!”EEEE

Notes on verse 12c

CCCC “honor” = time. From tino (to pay, be punished, pay a penalty or fine because of a crime); from tio (to pay respect, value). This has to do with worth or something’s perceived value. Literally, it means price, but figuratively, it means the honor or value one sees in someone or something else. It can be esteem or dignity. It can also mean precious or valuables.
DDDD “glory” = doxa. From dokeo (to have an opinion, seem, appear, suppose; a personal judgment; to think); from dokos (opinion). This is literally something that evokes a good opinion – something that connects to our understanding of intrinsic worth. The ultimate expression of this is, of course, God and God’s manifestation. So, this is opinion, honor, and dignity, but also praise, glory, renown, and worship.
EEEE “blessing” = eulogia. Related to “singing” in v12. 16x in NT. From eulogeo (speaking well of – speaking so that the other is benefited; praise, bless, thank, or call for a blessing); {from eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); {from lego (see note VVV above)}}. This is blessing, praise, or a eulogy. It can also refer to largesse.

13 Then I heard every creatureFFFF in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea,GGGG and all that is in them, singing,

“To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and mightHHHH
forever and ever!”IIII

Notes on verse 13

FFFF “creature” = ktisma. 4x in NT. From ktizo (to build, create, form, shape; God’s acts of creation); probably akin to ktaomai (to get, purchase, possess). This is something that was created – a creature or product.
GGGG “sea” = thalassa. Perhaps from hals (sea, salt, a boy of saltwater) or halas (salt; can be figurative for prudence). This is the sea, a lake, or seashore.
HHHH “might” = kratos. 12x in NT. This is strength, power, or dominion. It is vigor in a literal or figurative sense or power that is exercised.
IIII “forever and ever” = eis + ho + aion + ho + aion. Literally “to the ages of the ages.” Aion is from the same as aei (ever, always, unceasingly, perpetually; on every occasion). This is an age, cycle of time, course, continued duration. It is also used to describe the eternal or forever. This is the word used to discuss the present age or the messianic age.

Image credit: A stained glass window from the St. Pantaleon Catholic Parish Church in Erp, Germany.

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