What does Revelation 5:5 mean?
ESV: 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.”
NIV: Then one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.'
NASB: And one of the elders *said to me, 'Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to be able to open the scroll and its seven seals.'
CSB: Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Look, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered so that he is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."
NLT: But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, 'Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.'
KJV: And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
Verse Commentary:
According to this verse, one of the twenty-four elders (Revelation 4:4) told John to stop crying because Jesus had achieved the victory over sin and gained the right to open the scroll and loose its seven seals. No one else had the moral authority, or the legal right, to enact these judgments.

The elder identified Jesus in two ways. First, he identified him as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. When the patriarch Jacob blessed his sons, he called his son Judah a lion's cub and predicted that the scepter would not depart from him (Genesis 49:9–10). This prediction anticipated the arrival of a descendant of Judah who would rule as King. Revelation 5:5 also identifies this person as the Root of David, meaning the source of King David's power and kingdom. Only Jesus, David's rightful descendant and heir to the throne if Israel, was legally entitled to open the scroll and launch the judgments it contained. The wise men told King Herod that Bethlehem in the land of Judah had been prophesied to be the birthplace of a ruler who would shepherd Israel (Matthew 2:6). The prophecy was given in Micah 5:2.
Verse Context:
Revelation 5:1–5 continues John's description of what he saw, while in the Spirit, in heaven. John saw a scroll in God's right hand. It was sealed shut with seven seals. A mighty angel shouted ''Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?'' We learn from chapters 6—8 that when the scroll's seals are opened, judgment falls on the earth. John wept loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll, but one of the elders comforted him because Jesus was worthy to open it.
Chapter Summary:
Revelation 5 tells us John saw a scroll in God's right hand. The scroll had writing in it and on its back. Also, the scroll was sealed with seven seals. A search uncovered no one who was worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. However, one of the elders told John that Jesus could open the scroll, as the only one with the legal and moral right to do so. When Jesus accepted the scroll, universal praise in heaven and on earth rose to Jesus. He alone was found worthy to open the scroll because, as God's Lamb, He had shed His blood for all mankind.
Chapter Context:
Jesus commanded John to write ''the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.'' The first three chapters of Revelation contained those things which ''were'' and ''are,'' at the time John wrote. Chapters 2 and 3 provided the contents of Jesus' letters to seven churches. Chapter 4 begins the largest and last section of Revelation, regarding events yet to take place when John wrote (Revelation 1:19). John introduced God seated upon His throne, with twenty-four elders and four angelic creatures nearby. Chapter 5 focuses on a scroll containing God's judgments on sin, and a search for someone to open it. Only Jesus is worthy to open it. When Jesus receives the scroll from God, He receives praise from every creature in heaven and on earth.
Book Summary:
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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