A Covenant Document
For a portion of my life, I believed the number seven dealt with perfection, but when you study the number seven in the Old Testament, you come to realize that this number deals more with a covenant rather than perfection. So this is what we are dealing with here, a scroll of a covenant with seven seals. A portion of what happens in the next part of Revelation focuses on opening these seven seals. But for now, we have a vision of a lion and a lamb who will open the seven seals.
An Unexpected Lamb
Revelation says, “The lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed, enabling him to open the scroll with its seven seals.” However, a few verses later, we don’t see a lion but rather “a Lamb that seemed to have been slain.” What do we make of this? If we know the story of Jesus, we know the answer to this question. The triumphant lion is, in fact, the Lamb that was slain. Jesus’ victory over sin and death was unexpected; he died on the cross for us.
Furthermore, this Lamb receives praise and honor from the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures. We hear them sing a new hymn. The hymn sung is prayed in the Liturgy of the Hours found below.
O Lord our God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power.
For you have created all things; by your will they came to be and were made.
Worthy are you, O Lord, to receive the scroll and break open its seals.
For you were slain, with your blood you purchased for God men of every race and tongue, of every people and nation.
You made of them a kingdom, and priests to serve our God, and they shall reign on the earth.
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches, wisdom and strength, honor and glory and praise.
The Mass Shows up again
A last note, the Mass shows up again. This time with incense, filled with the prayer of the saints. The smoke and smell of incense in Mass or other instances represents prayers rising to heaven as the smoke raises to heaven. We see this image in Revelation.