Advent with Revelation (Ch 5)
December 01, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Chapter 5 (Thursday of the First Week of Advent)

Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals; and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’ 

Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne. When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. They sing a new song:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll
   and to open its seals,
for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God
   saints from every tribe and language and people and nation;
you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God,
   and they will reign on earth.’ 

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, singing with full voice,
‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honour and glory and blessing!’
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing,
‘To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honour and glory and might
for ever and ever!’
And the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the elders fell down and worshipped. 


If we want to know the meaning of the sequence of events, we must not overlook the impressive introductory vision of Christ as King, Priest and Lord, the First and Last, who has the keys of Death and Hades. The theme of the Alpha and Omega stands at the beginning (1:8, 18) and at the conclusion of the book (22:13); it embraces the entire sequence of visions. While the visions seem to show more and more superhuman and terrible aspects, they never slip from the embrace of the Alpha and Omega. At the beginning, the Pantokrator bends down to his earthly communities (1:8) like a father confessor, testing and purifying them in human form (albeit a sublime one); at the end, he appears as the Guarantor of eternal reward and eternal life, with the promise that he will come soon; faith—perhaps a faith that does not understand—will continue to recognize him, even in the unfamiliar forms in which he and his truth appear in the visions. Initially unfamiliar, the basic figure is the “Lamb as though it had been slain”, known to all who are acquainted with the Gospel of John.

Following the letters to the churches, the vision-world opens with the overwhelming sight (4:1-11) of the throne-room of God, (5:1) who holds in his right hand the sealed scroll containing his decisions concerning the world and its entire history. No one but the Lamb is worthy to break the seals, for the Lamb has triumphed “as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David”: on the basis of the conclusion and outcome of the whole drama between heaven and earth, the Lamb can unveil its course and substance. The hymn of adoration that follows (5:9b-10) affirms and expounds his function and authority: not only has the Lamb-as-though-it-had-been-slain proved victorious; by his blood he has won for God a people of kings and priests out of all nations, and they will reign over the earth. All creation in heaven, on earth, in the underworld and in the sea, joins in the hymn of adoration; it is as though all concur, in advance, with what the sealed scroll will contain. 

Musical Selection

The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honour;  to Him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Ps. Give to the King, O God, Thy justice, and to the King's Son Thy judgment.


Stir up your power, Lord God,
and support us with your mighty strength,
that your merciful grace may bring us quickly
the salvation that our sins delay.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.