5:1–14 John recounts two parts of a single magnificent vision of God’s glory in chs. 4 and 5 (4:1–5:14 note). A second dramatic act within the vision is introduced in 5:1. From creation in 4:11, the action shifts to a focus on redemption and re-creation. God’s purposes of redemption and rule can be accomplished only through One who is uniquely worthy—Jesus Christ. He is simultaneously the fierce Lion of the tribe of Judah, warring against God’s enemies (17:14; 19:11–21), and the gentle Lamb that has been slain, who purchased His people with the blood of His atoning sacrifice (vv. 9, 10). Only God in His trinitarian fullness can accomplish these magnificent purposes. Note the presence of the Father (“him who was seated on the throne,” vv. 1, 7), the Son (“Lamb,” vv. 6, 7), and the Spirit of God (v. 6; 1:4 note), who is the horns and eyes of the Lamb.
This chapter constitutes the opening scene for the first cycle of judgments that lead up to the Second Coming of Christ (Introduction: Outline). The Lamb and the sealed scroll are introduced. The opening of the seals in 6:1–8:1 sets in motion a series of judgments that have their origin in God’s throne and purpose, and that issue in His final manifestation as Judge. See notes 6:12–17 and 8:1.