The book and the Lamb
1Then I looked at the one who was sitting on the throne. I saw that he held a book in his right hand.#5:1 The book was a long piece of paper. It was rolled up and closed with seals. Words were written on both sides, the inside and the outside. 7 seals kept the book closed. 2Then I saw a strong angel. He said with a loud voice, ‘Who is so good that they can break the seals? Who can open the book?’ 3But nobody in heaven could open the book. Neither could anyone on the earth, nor anyone under the earth open it. #5:3 The place ‘under the earth’ means where dead people are. The Jews called this place Hades. They thought that it was like a city under the ground. Nobody could even look inside it or read it.
4I wept much because there was nobody who was good enough. Nobody was so good that they could open the book. Nobody could look inside it. 5Then one of the leaders said to me, ‘Do not weep! Look! There is someone who can break the seven seals and then open the book. His name is the Lion from Judah's family group. He is called the Root of King David. He has won over all his enemies.’ #5:5 Jesus was born on the earth into David's family. So, King David was his ancestor. But Jesus is called the Root of David. He belongs to David's family, but he is greater than David. He has always been alive and he made everything and everyone. See also Revelation 22:16.
6Then I saw a Lamb. He was standing in the middle of the throne. The four beings that are alive, and the leaders, were round him. The Lamb appeared to be like a lamb that someone had killed. He had seven horns and seven eyes. His eyes are the seven spirits of God, that God has sent into all parts of the world. 7The Lamb came and he took the book. He took it from the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. 8When he had taken the book, the four beings and the 24 leaders fell down to the ground in front of the Lamb. They worshipped him. Each leader had a harp to make music. They were also holding gold bowls which were full of incense. That nice smell shows what it is like when God's people pray to him. 9The beings that are alive and the leaders sang a new song. They sang:
‘You are so good!
You are good enough to take the book.
You can break its seals and open it.
You can do this because they killed you.
When you died, you bought people for God with your blood.
You bought them from every family group,
from every language and every country.
10You have caused them to belong to the kingdom of our God.
You have made them priests,
so that they serve God.
And they will rule on the earth.’
11Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of many angels. There were thousands and millions of them. They were standing round the throne, together with the beings that are alive and the leaders. 12They all sang with loud voices:
‘The Lamb that they killed is completely good!
He has all authority, and all things belong to him.
He is wise and powerful.
Everyone must agree that he is great!
Everyone must praise him and worship him!’
13Then I heard everything that is alive singing. That was everything in heaven and everything on the earth, and everything under the earth and everything in the sea. They were singing:
‘We praise the one who sits on the throne.
We praise the one who is the Lamb.
We say that they are great! We worship them!
They have power to rule for ever!’
14The 4 beings that are alive agreed. They said, ‘Yes, this is true.’ The leaders fell down and they worshipped God and the Lamb. #5:14 The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Lamb of God. See John 1:29,36. Many years ago, God's people killed lambs and offered them as gifts to God. They did this before Jesus died. They wanted God to be happy with them. Then he would not punish them for what they had done wrong. But those lambs could not really take away all the bad things that people had done. Jesus, God's Son, was the only completely good man who lived on this earth. So when he died for us, he offered himself to God as our Lamb. That is why everyone and everything should worship him.