Revelation 5:5

do not weep
μὴ κλαῖε [mē klaie] , a present tense imperative indicating that John continued to weep.1

the Lion of the tribe of Judah
God had revealed that the ruler would be like a lion, an offspring of Judah (Gen. Gen. 49:9-10; Ps. Ps. 60:7). Jesus was born in the line of Judah (Mtt. Mat. 1:2-3; Luke Luke 3:33; Heb. Heb. 7:14). Although Reuben was the firstborn, due to his sin and the sins of his brothers, the right of kingly rule fell to Judah:

Actually Reuben had the right of the firstborn. Nevertheless the Messiah is not “Lion out of the tribe of Reuben.” For, on account of sin (as recorded in Gen. Gen. 35:22), Reuben was deprived of his firstborn rights and the right concerning the Messiah (1Chr. 1Chr. 5:1; Gen. Gen. 49:3-4). The next following brothers, Simeon and Levi, were also excluded (Gen. Gen. 49:5-7) on account of their bloody deed at Shechem (Gen. Gen. 34:25). Thereupon Reuben’s rights as the firstborn were divided as follows: The double share of the material inheritance (Deu. Deu. 21:15-17) went to Joseph (in Ephraim and Manasseh; 1Chr. 1Chr. 5:1-2); The priestly dignity (see Ex. Ex. 13:2, Ex. 13:15), having regard to Ex. Ex. 32:26-28, went to Levi (Num. Num. 3:12, Num. 3:45; Num. 8:17-18); and The ruler’s dignity (Gen. Gen. 43:1-34; Gen. 33:1-20; Gen. 48:14, Gen. 48:18-19) went to Judah, Jacob’s fourth son (1Chr. 1Chr. 5:2). Therefore is the Messiah the “Lion out of the tribe of Judah” (Rev. Rev. 5:5+; Gen. Gen. 49:9-10).2

The genealogical records of the tribes of Israel were lost in the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. This poses a problem for Judaism which, having rejected Jesus, still awaits Messiah. If Messiah comes now, how will it be determined that He is the Lion from the tribe of Judah?

Messiah will have to come before the tribe of Judah loses its identity. This establishes a clear time period for the prophecy. The records by which tribal identities were maintained were kept in the Jewish Temple. All of these records were lost with the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. Within a few generations all the tribes of Israel, with the exception of Levi, had lost their identity. Immediately after 70 A.D. the rabbis passed laws which would preserve the identity of the priestly tribe of Levi, but Jews from the other tribes quickly lost their identity. In order for this prophecy to have significance to humans (God still knows the tribal identities), Messiah had to come before 70 A.D.3

Root of David
Jesus was born in the line of David (Mtt. Mat. 1:1, Mat. 1:6, Mat. 1:17, Mat. 1:20; Luke Luke 1:27, Luke 1:32; Luke 3:31; Rom. Rom. 1:3; 2Ti. 2Ti. 2:8; Rev. Rev. 22:16+), He is the “son of David” (Mtt. Mat. 9:27; Mat. 12:23; Mat. 15:22; Mat. 20:30-31; Mat. 21:9, Mat. 21:15; Mat. 22:42; etc.). Jesus is the “Rod from the stem of Jesse” (Isa. Isa. 11:1), the “Root of Jesse” (Isa. Isa. 11:10), David’s father (Ru. Ru. 4:22). Jesus is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.4 God made an unconditional covenant with David where He swore that his throne would be established like the sun and moon (Ps. Ps. 89:33-37). At present, there is no “throne of David” upon the earth, but there will be when the Lion has completed His work (Rev. Rev. 20:4-6+) for the zeal of God will ensure it!

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isa. Isa. 9:6-7) [emphasis added]

As a root springs anew from the stump of a tree which has been cut down and appears to be dead, so the line leading to Messiah was preserved throughout history. “For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, Yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant” (Job Job 14:7-9). This root was repeatedly chopped back, but never completely terminated as Satan attempted throughout history to thwart the Messianic line of promise. See commentary on Revelation 12:4.

Messianic Line from Abraham to Jesus

Messianic Line from Abraham to Jesus 5

Jesus is the promised “Branch” that would come (King, Jer. Jer. 23:5-6; Servant, Zec. Zec. 3:8; Man, Zec. Zec. 6:12; Lord, Isa. Isa. 4:2). See Four Gospels.

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jer. Jer. 23:5-6) [emphasis added]

Some see the root as including the idea of Jesus’ preexistence (cf. Mic. Mic. 5:2).6 Although this is true (Mtt. Mat. 22:42-25), the present context deals with the origin of Jesus, not of David. Root here “is a metaphorical term for ‘offspring.’ ”7

has prevailed
ἐνίκησεν [enikēsen] , from the same root (νικα῀ω [nikaō] ) which describes “he who overcomes,” ὁ νικ῀ων [ho nikōn] . Jesus has “overcome the world” (John John 16:33). Whoever is born of God shares in His inheritance as overcomer (1Jn. 1Jn. 5:4; Rev. Rev. 2:7+, Rev. 2:11+, Rev. 2:17+, Rev. 2:26+; Rev. 3:5+, Rev. 3:12+, Rev. 3:21+; Rev. 17:14+; Rev. 21:7+). Rom. 8:3), death (Heb. Heb. 2:14-15), and all the forces of hell (Col. Col. 2:15; 1Pe. 1Pe. 3:19). Believers are overcomers through His overcoming (Col. Col. 2:13-14; 1Jn. 1Jn. 5:5).”8

Christ defeated Satan and his forces when He paid the redemption price of His shed blood. Through the payment of that price, Christ defeated Satan and his forces in the sense that He gained the right to take tenant possession of the earth away from them and rule the earth as the last Adam. This truth sheds light on the meaning of Christ’s statement just before He went to the cross, “the prince of this world is judged” (John John 16:11). Christ’s death sealed Satan’s doom. At the proper time, determined sovereignly by God, Christ will exercise the right he gained at the cross to throw out the usurper.9

“Since [the] captivity, the royal family of Judah has not exercised rule but has remained dormant, just as a stump gives no evidence of having life. The stump of this royal family will spring to life again suddenly when its King (the Messiah or Christ) springs forth from it to rule.”10 Having prevailed, the Lamb qualifies as the promised Shiloh (Gen. Gen. 49:10; Eze. Eze. 21:25-27). Midrash Rabbah 98 states that Shiloh denotes “to he whose it is,” “to he who it belongs,” “he whose right it is,” or “to whom kingship belongs.”11

to open the scroll
Jesus has the authority to open the scroll because He has the key of David. See commentary on Revelation 3:7. “God [the Father] Himself will not break a single seal of it, for the Father has ceded the prerogative of judgment”12 (John John 5:22-27).

to loose its seven seals
Having paid the ultimate price of redemption, being made sin on our behalf (Isa. Isa. 53:6; 2Cor. 2Cor. 5:21), the Lamb has earned the right to loose the seals bringing judgments on those who continue to reject His gracious offer of redemption (John John 3:35-36). As each of these seals is loosed, additional judgment is brought upon the earth. The first six seals result in preliminary judgments (Rev. Rev. 6:1+, Rev. 6:3+, Rev. 6:5+, Rev. 6:7+, Rev. 6:9+, Rev. 6:12+). At the loosening of the seventh seal, the judgments become more pronounced as all seven trumpet judgments are within the seventh seal (Rev. Rev. 8:1-6+). At the opening of the seventh seal, the first four trumpets are sounded (Rev. Rev. 8:7+, Rev. 8:8+, Rev. 8:10+, Rev. 8:12+). Because the last three trumpet judgments are especially severe, there is a pause in the judgments as angelic warning is given concerning the severity of the last three trumpets (Rev. Rev. 8:13+). Then the first two of the final three trumpets sound (Rev. Rev. 9:1+, Rev. 9:13+). At the sounding of the final trumpet, the declaration is made: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ” (Rev. Rev. 11:15+). By this we understand the last seven bowl judgments to be subsumed within the seventh trumpet. Prior to the pouring forth of the seven bowls of wrath (Rev. Rev. 16:1-17+), three more additional angelic warnings are given (Rev. Rev. 14:6-9+). The judgments of God’s wrath are completed in the pouring forth of the seventh bowl (Rev. Rev. 16:17+). See Sequential Events. In the loosing of all seven seals, and the subsequent trumpet and bowl judgments, Christ retakes that which He purchased at Calvary (John John 19:30; Rev. Rev. 11:15+; Rev. 16:16+; Rev. 21:6+). To bring the kingdom of God to earth, the kingdom of Satan must first be overthrown. Much of what follows in this book must be understood in the context of the overthrow of Satan’s kingdom prior to the setting up of God’s kingdom on earth.

By the end of the 70th week, Satan and his forces will have drawn all the rulers and armies of the world into the land of Israel for the battle of Armageddon (Rev. Rev. 16:12-16+), which will take place at Christ’s Second Coming and will pit Satan and his ungodly allies against Christ and His forces (Rev. Rev. 19:11+-Rev. 20:3+). This will be Satan’s ultimate challenge to Christ’s right to take tenant possession of the earth and rule it. The combined military might of rebellious mankind will be gathered to the precise location to which Christ will return to take possession of the earth, because Satan will want all the help he can get to try to prevent Christ from exercising His right (Ps. Ps. 2:1-3).13

No portion of the roll is said to be unfolded and read; but simply the seals are successively opened , giving final access to its contents being read as a perfect whole, which shall not be until the events symbolized by the seals shall have been past, when Eph Eph. 3:10 shall receive its complete accomplishment, and the Lamb shall reveal God’s providential plans in redemption in all their manifold beauties. Thus the opening of the seals will mean the successive steps by which God in Christ clears the way for the final opening and reading of the book at the visible setting up of the kingdom of Christ.14

See The Arrival of God’s Kingdom.


1 “The prohibition is of the cessation of some act that is already in progress. It has the idea, Stop continuing.”—Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1999, 2002), 720.

2 Erich Sauer, The Dawn of World Redemption (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1951, c1964), 157.

3 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 1998), 22.

4 For more on the Davidic Covenant, see 2S. 2S. 7:8-17, 2S. 7:19; 2S. 23:5; 1K. 1K. 11:36; 1K. 15:4; 2K. 2K. 8:19; 1Chr. 1Chr. 17:9-16, 1Chr. 17:27; 1Chr. 22:10; 2Chr. 2Chr. 6:15-17; 2Chr. 7:18; 2Chr. 13:5; 2Chr. 21:7; Ps. Ps. 2:6-8; Ps. 89:3-4; Ps Ps. 89:19-51; Ps. 132:10-12; Isa. Isa. 9:7; Isa. 11:1; Isa. 37:35; Isa. 55:3; Jer. Jer. 22:30; Jer. 23:5-6; Jer. 30:9; Jer. 33:14-17, Jer. 33:19-26; Jer. 36:30; Eze. Eze. 37:24-25; Hos. Hos. 3:4-5; Amos Amos 9:11-12; Luke Luke 1:32-33, Luke 1:69-70; Acts Acts 2:29-32; Acts 13:22-23, Acts 13:32-37; Acts 15:16-17; Rom. Rom. 9:4.

5 Line of Messiah: Gen. Gen. 3:15; Gen. 9:1, Gen. 9:26; Gen. 12:2; Gen. 17:19; Gen. 21:12; Gen. 22:18; Gen. 25:23; Gen. 26:5, Gen. 26:2; Gen. 27:27; Gen. 28:3, Gen. 28:13-15; Gen. 32:9; Gen. 35:11; Gen. 48:4; Gen. 49:10; 2S. 2S. 7:12-16; 1Chr. 1Chr. 17:11; Jer. Jer. 22:30; Jer. 36:30; Luke Luke 1:33.

6 “As the ‘root’ of David, He existed before David, that is, He is eternal. And as the ‘offspring’ or descendant of David, He is the rightful Heir to the throne of David, and the One who will fulfill the covenanted blessings promised to David.”—Mal Couch, ed., A Bible Handbook to Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001), 93. Mat. 22:42-45. Hence He is called not merely Son of David, but also David. He is at once ‘the branch’ of David, and ‘the root’ of David.”—A. R. Fausset, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine,” in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, 1877), Rev. 5:5.

7 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1-7 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1992), Rev. 5:5.

8 John MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 167.

9 Renald E. Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1995), 92.

10 Ibid., 90.

11 “ ‘The Messiah shall be called Shiloh to indicate that he was born of a woman and would therefore not be a divine being.’ The amniotic sac in which the fetus is formed in the womb is called the shilyah in Hebrew. This is similar to sheloh, the Hebrew word for Shiloh. This is one of the rabbinic arguments against the divinity of Messiah.”—Fruchtenbaum, Messianic Christology, 23. Rabbinic interpretation associated the title Shiloh with the Messiah: a midrash takes “Shiloh” to refer to “King Messiah” (Genesis R. 98.13), the Babylonian Talmud lists “Shi’loh” as one of the names of the Messiah (Sanhedrin 98b), and Medieval Jewish Biblical expositor Rashi makes the following comment: “Shiloh - i.e. King Messiah whose is the Kingdom.” Note that Eze. Eze. 21:25-27 was given to Zedekiah, the last king of the Davidic dynasty.

12 Robert Anderson, The Coming Prince (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1957), 173.

13 Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come, 94.

14 Fausset, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine,” Rev. 5:1.

Read Revelation 5:5