Chapter 5 takes place within the scene set in chapter 4, in which God's almighty throne is set in the center of the universe where He's in control of all things.
As God is worshipped by the 24 elders representing God's Church in both the Old & New Testaments,
He holds a scroll with seven seals, representing His plan to make all things new.
Yet no creature is able to open it. John weeps at this (v4), because if God's will remains sealed - that is, unrevealed and unexecuted - then there is no hope for God's people to receive salvation from the peril that lies ahead.
John's weeping is interrupted when he's told to be optimistic:
The Lion has triumphed and is able to open the scrolls (enact God's will);
The Lion comes on scene, but yet John describes Him as a Lamb. Jesus fulfills both of those scriptural descriptions at the same time!
All of heaven breaks forth glorifying the Lamb.
Our worship services end with a doxology, a word that literally means 'words of glory.' This scene of the Lamb stepping forward to open the seals ends with the singing of not just one doxology, but three of them, starting with the 24 elders (v9-10), who were then joined by a choir of hundreds of millions of angels, until finally every creature in heaven, earth, and under the earth and under the sea all praising God simultaneously.
Notice the progression in these doxologies:
v9 - Jesus is worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals
Again, this means that Jesus is able to implement His Father's will and make all things new again.
He's worthy because
with His blood he's purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people and nation,
and He's made these people into a kingdom and priest to serve God.
v12 - Jesus is worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!
v13 - Therefore you have an obligation right now to join the choir that will be formed from every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, by praising God in every aspect of your life since God's saving will has been exercised in your life.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Psalm 98:1–2 (NIV)
Sing to the Lord a new song,
for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for him.
The Lord has made his salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL— What question did the strong angel proclaim? (See verse 2.)
Questions from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise (v12)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask God to strengthen you to serve Him (v10)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: