I imagine a great silence when the question is asked. A heavenly pregnant pause. I’m thinking the lightning stops flashing and the thunder stops pealing. That the “holy, holy, holy” angel choir stops singing as the question reverberates to the edges of paradise. I wonder if there isn’t a collective holding of the breath as the implications of the ask, and the anticipation of the answer, are waited upon.
Then I saw in the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” (Revelation 5:1-2 ESV)
There it is in the hands of the Almighty–the end of the story. Within the scroll, secured by divine seals, is the end of the ages ready to be revealed. The final chapters in God’s redemptive determination. The bringing of justice . . . the recompensing for faithfulness . . . the establishing of the new eternal economy . . . all there within the scroll. All ready to be revealed. But what is needed is someone worthy to open the scroll. What awaits the final revealing is one who has the divine credentials demanded to commandeer the final chapters. And so the ask goes out, “Who is worthy?”
And I’m wondering, if it really isn’t a rhetorical question. Did the angel who cried out the question not know the answer? I’m thinking he did. Certainly one of the elders around the throne was in the know. So, I’m thinking the question was for John’s benefit. And what drama is played out before the revelator.
Who is worthy? Silence. Anyone in heaven? No! Pause again. Anyone on earth? Can’t find anyone. More silence. Anyone under the earth? Don’t think so. Silence so thick you can feel it.
Not man, nor angel, nor elder around the throne dares step forward. No created thing is found worthy to take the scroll from the hand of Him who sits on the earth. The silence is deafening.
And then a lone sound breaks the silence. Loud wailing. John, the visitor from earth, the one in exile for the faith, the one in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, weeps loudly because no one is found worthy to bring about the consummation of hope.
A heaven-wide pause button has been pressed. There’s silence around the throne as everyone and everything holds their breath. And a lone man weeps loudly. Who is worthy?
And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5 ESV)
Weep no more! That’s what breaks the silence. Three words. Weep no more.
For THERE IS One worthy to direct the final acts of history. THERE IS One, known from eternity past, who can conduct the final movement of God’s grand opus. Weep no more.
He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is the conqueror. He is the Lamb of God who was slain and, by His blood, has ransomed people for God. From every tribe, language, people and nation He has rescued souls, having made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth! And He is worthy!
And the silence is broken. Weeping is replaced by rejoicing. If it were a graduation, this is the point where the graduations caps would be tossed in the air. If it were a talent show, the point where the winner is announced and tons of confetti falls from the ceiling. But this is something more. And so the silence is broken as heaven erupts in thunderous worship before the throne.
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
(Revelation 5:11-13 ESV)
It might feel like there’s a silence in heaven. But the time of His revealing is coming . . . perhaps very soon.
Weep no more. For the Lamb is worthy. And the Father is to be praised.
Amen and Amen!