As you read this, try to imagine what John experienced as he was granted insight into God’s throne room. He first witnessed the awe and respect that the host of heaven give to God.
His next experience considered a scroll with seven seals that determined the destiny of the world.
Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals (Revelation 5.1).
Who is Worthy?
I once searched the Internet for predictions about the second coming of Christ. If I correctly recall, the number of predictions was well over 100 and included many highly regarded preachers and teachers.
These godly men and women reveal the truth of the angel’s declaration.
[John] saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” (Revelation 5.2),
Bible scholars and preachers have a hard time predicting the return of Christ, but more than a prediction is involved with the scroll. The opening of the seals and the scroll involves bringing history to its God-appointed purpose.
It goes without saying that a uniquely qualified person is the only one worthy to accomplish God’s plan.
And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it (Revelation 5.3).
The mighty angel sent out the call and John saw no one qualified to open the scroll. It’s worth noting that John was so aligned with God’s will that he grieved over this development.
And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it (Revelation 5.4).
We do well to pause and wonder what makes us grieve. Is it a drop in the stock market? Possibly, our blue check mark has been removed from Twitter? What about no longer being able to share passwords on Netflix?
I’m being petty with these suggestions, but we do need to wonder if we are sorrowful over the most important issues of life.
John wept because he knew there would be a delay in God’s final and decisive action in history.
I must be honest and say that I’m not plugged in enough to God’s purpose in history to cause me grief over the delay of the end times. What about you?
One of the 24 elders came to John in his vision and alerted John to God’s plan.
Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. See, 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).
The vision of God’s purpose began with Jacob as he pronounced a blessing over his sons.
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him,
and the obedience of the peoples is his. (Genesis 49.10)
Isaiah further qualified the way God would accomplish his purposes.
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots. (Isaiah 11.1)
Isaiah prophesied that God’s ideal judge would arise and judge with righteousness and peace. Satan was conquered by an act of total self-sacrifice and God’s people will be victorious with the same attitudes and actions of their Lord.
The Central Theme
We discover that God’s ruling Lion has the characteristics of a sacrificial Lamb. This is the central theme of the New Testament revelation of God’s character and purpose.
God’s victory is achieved through self-giving love.
Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, with seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth (Revelation 5.6).
The ultimate power of God is manifest on the cross through Jesus, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1.29).
Lamb is used of Jesus 28 times in Revelation and reminds us of Isaiah’s prophecy.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53.7)
Jesus is the only One in heaven or earth who is worthy to open the seals and the scroll.
John saw this event in his vision. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of the one who was seated on the throne (Revelation 5.8).
There is much more to the story of the seven seals and the scroll. Please watch the YouTube videos that Rudy Ross and I produce on the Bob Spradling channel.
Rudy has studied Revelation extensively and will provide excellent insights into the book.