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The Scroll and the Lamb

In the right hand of the one sitting on the throne I saw a scroll[a] that had writing on the inside and on the outside. And it was sealed in seven places. I saw a mighty angel ask with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or see inside it.

I cried hard because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or see inside it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop crying and look! The one who is called both the ‘Lion from the Tribe of Judah’[b] and ‘King David’s Great Descendant’[c] has won the victory. He will open the book and its seven seals.”

Then I looked and saw a Lamb standing in the center of the throne that was surrounded by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb looked as if it had once been killed. It had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits[d] of God, sent out to all the earth.

The Lamb went over and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who sat on the throne. After he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders knelt down before him. Each of them had a harp and a gold bowl full of incense,[e] which are the prayers of God’s people. Then they sang a new song,

“You are worthy
    to receive the scroll
and open its seals,
    because you were killed.
And with your own blood
    you bought for God
people from every tribe,
    language, nation, and race.
10 You let them become kings
    and serve God as priests,
and they will rule on earth.”

11 As I looked, I heard the voices of a lot of angels around the throne and the voices of the living creatures and of the elders. There were millions and millions of them, 12 and they were saying in a loud voice,

“The Lamb who was killed
    is worthy to receive power,
riches, wisdom, strength,
    honor, glory, and praise.”

13 Then I heard all beings in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea offer praise. Together, all of them were saying,

“Praise, honor, glory,
and strength
    forever and ever
to the one who sits
on the throne
    and to the Lamb!”

14 The four living creatures said “Amen,” while the elders knelt down and worshiped.


  1. 5.1 scroll: A roll of paper or special leather used for writing on. Sometimes a scroll would be sealed on the outside with one or more pieces of wax.
  2. 5.5 ‘Lion from the Tribe of Judah’: In Genesis 49.9 the tribe of Judah is called a young lion, and King David was from Judah.
  3. 5.5 ‘King David’s Great Descendant’: The Greek text has “the root of David” which is a title for the Messiah based on Isaiah 11.1,10.
  4. 5.6 the seven spirits: Some manuscripts have “the spirits.”
  5. 5.8 incense: A material that produces a sweet smell when burned. Sometimes it is a symbol for the prayers of God’s people.