As I work through Hebrews chapter 1 for our Sunday Bible study, I have been reading a lot more about angels then I have in the past. One word describing an angel in Revelation 5:2 really caught my eye:
And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it (Revelation 5:2-3).
The book of Hebrews goes to great length to show that Jesus is greater than all the angels, but I thought it was really interesting here in Revelation chapter 5 that even the strong angel could not open the scroll and break its seals. I immediately wonder, “What does a strong angel look like in relationship to a weak angel?” Bulging biceps? 50 feet tall? I have no idea, but clearly the apostle John could differentiate between strong and weaker angels when he saw them in his vision? Now, every word in Scripture is important. So why are we told that this was a strong angel?
The focus here in Revelation 5 is that no created being—not even the strong angel—could break the seal and open the scroll. This caused John “to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll” (Revelation 5:4). But, there was good news:
And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (Revelation 5:5).
Jesus open the scroll that even the strong angel could not. Why? Because he was worthy:
Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).
He had ransomed a people for God through his shed blood on the cross. No mere human could provide the ransom. No strong angel could provide the ransom. No created being in heaven or on earth could provide the ransom. Only the Son of God, Jesus Christ, could provide the much-needed ransom. And because of that Jesus is deserving of not only our worship, but the worship of every living creature:
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13).