“And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.” (Revelation 5:6-7 ESV)
Once Israel had conquered the enemies of the Promised Land each tribe was given a portion of the land as an inheritance. Occasionally a family would fall on hard times and would be forced to sell their land and serve the new owners as slaves. When the property was sold two documents were used as proof of the transaction; a sealed scroll and an open scroll. The open or unsealed scroll stated the purchaser as the new owner of the land. It was the public transaction of the purchase. The sealed scroll contained the details of the sell and the terms of redemption. This scroll had the signatures of witnesses on the back.
There were two provisions established that made it possible for a Jewish family to obtain their land back once it had been sold. One of those provisions was known as the Year of Jubilee. The second provision for redeeming a lost inheritance was known as the law of the kinsman-redeemer. If they were willing and had the means a person who was the nearest of kin to the original land owner or another person could redeem the land and return it to the original owner.
The law of the kinsman-redeemer is beautifully portrayed in the book of Ruth. During the time of the judges a man from Bethlehem, Judah by the name of Elimelech sold his property because of a famine and moved his family to Moab. After some years he and his two sons died leaving his wife, Naomi alone with her daughter-in-laws. When Naomi heard that the famine had ended she returned to Bethlehem with one of her daughter-in-laws; Ruth.
Ruth soon began gleaning from the wheat fields of a man named Boaz. When Naomi learned that Ruth was gleaning from the field of close relative she gave Ruth instructions on how to persuade Boaz to redeem the land of Elimelech. Boaz submitted to Ruth’s request. He redeemed Elimelech’s land, married Ruth and thus restored the inheritance to the proper bloodline. From the bloodline of this marriage the savior of the world was born; Jesus.
In the book of Jeremiah we find evidence of the sealed and open scrolls. When Jeremiah bought Hanameel’s field in Anathoth, he had witnesses sign the scroll and then he sealed it. God instructed Jeremiah, “Take these deeds, both this purchase deed which is sealed and this deed which is open, and put them in an earthen vessel that they may last many days.” (Jeremiah 32:14 NKJV)
The only way the sealed scroll could be opened was when a nearest kinsman was willing to pay the price of redemption. That is why John began to weep; no one was found worthy to open the scroll (Revelation 5:2). He realized that the inheritance had been sold and there was no way to get it back. However, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David had prevailed to open the scroll.
In opening the scroll the Lamb established himself as the kinsman-redeemer. Not only was he willing to purchase the lost inheritance he was also able to pay the necessary price for redemption. The price he paid for the redemption of the lost inheritance was his blood. As the Apostle Peter wrote, “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Peter 1:18-19 NKJV)
John recorded what happened when the Lamb took to scroll. “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song saying, ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals for You were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood. Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation and have made us kings and priests to our God. And we shall reign on the earth.’” (Revelation 5:8-10 NKJV)
This bloody lamb we know affectionately as Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. Just as he stood bloody in the middle of the throne, he hung bloody on the middle cross. Jesus is the center of heaven’s worship because he is the kinsman-redeemer.
That’s why we praise him!