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Revelation 5:1-7, The Scroll with Seven Seals

Updated on February 24, 2019
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Marcelo holds a B.A. in Bible and a M.S. in education. He has ministry experience and is collaborating with church planting in MD.

The Lamb with The Book with Seven Seals

Deutsch: Auftraggeber: Otto III. oder Heinrich II. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Deutsch: Auftraggeber: Otto III. oder Heinrich II. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons | Source

After ascending to heaven, John saw God on his throne, which rested on the cherubim. John also saw the seven candlesticks and the sea; and he met the twenty-four elders who were serving God in His temple in heaven. And they all worshipped Him.

The Book, or Scroll, in Revelation 5

John tells us that He saw a book on God's right hand. Books as we know them, books that have a spine a several pages, did not exist in John's time; the books that existed then were scrolls, much like the Torah scrolls you see in a synagogue.

This vision of a book that John sees is a clear reference to Ezekiel 2:9-10, where Ezekiel is given a scroll with writing within and without. It is a book of prophecy and of judgment, for therein are written "lamentations, and mourning, and woe" (Ezekiel 2:10, KJV). As we shall see further in this series, when the scroll that John sees is opened, there are judgments in it.

The Sevean Seals of the Scroll

John tells us that on the scroll there were seven seals (seven, being a number that represents perfection or completion). Seals were used to protect the contents of the scroll, so that no one other than its intended reader would read it.

A strong angel enquired with a loud voice if there was anyone worthy to open the seals and open the scroll, and John makes it clear that there was no one found who was deemed worthy to open seals and read the scroll. No human being in heaven, on Earth, or under the earth was worthy.

John Cried when No One Was Found Worthy

John cried much because no one was found worthy to open the seals and read the scroll. Unlike the scroll that was brought to Ezekiel and spread open for him to read (Ezekiel 2:10), the scroll that John saw was sealed, and God required someone to be worthy to read it.

It is possible that John cried (wept) because he understood the significance of the scroll: he understood that in it were written judgments, and that these judgments were necessary for God to complete his work of redemption on Earth. If no one was found worthy, how then could God complete His work?

This is likely, for there is expressed in the book of Revelation a desire for God to judge the world (Revelation 6:10).

Messiah, Root of David and Lion of Judah

Finally, one of the elders told John not to weep, because The Lion of The Tribe of Judah and The Root of David has prevailed, and He is worthy to open the seals and read the book.

The title Lion of The Tribe of Judah is based on Genesis 49:9-10, where the tribe of Judah is compared to a lion's whelp whose needs are satisfied, and where it is prophesied that the Messiah (Shiloh) would come from Judah and govern. Thus, the title The Lion of The Tribe of Judah is used in reference to the Messiah (Christ), and it symbolizes his strength and power.

The title The Roof of David is a reference to The Root of Jesse in Isaiah 11:10, and thus it represents the lineage of the Messiah and His unction, righteousness, and the peace He will bring to the world (Isaiah 11:1-9).

Thus, according to the elders, the Messiah is worthy to open the seals and read the book; in other words, the Messiah alone is worthy to judge the world in God's place. This is exactly what the Lord Jesus taught in John 5:22, that the Father has committed all judgment to the Son.

Now, the context will make it clear why the Messiah is worthy of such honor.

The Lamb with Seven Horns and Seven Eyes

John the saw a lamb standing in the midst of the throne of God, the beasts, and the elders. In other words, the lamb was in front of God's throne and the beasts (the cherubim), and the thrones of the elders were around it.

This lamb looked as if it had been slain. This is a clear reference to John 1:29, where John the Baptist called Jesus The Lamb of God, and to Isaiah 53:7, which identifies the servant of God (the Messiah) as the lamb that would be slain.

According to John, the Lamb also had seven horns and seven eyes. John gives us the interpretation of these seven horns and seven eyes: they are the seven Spirits of God sent into all the Earth (the horns could represent the divine power of the Holy Spirit, and the eyes could represent the divine knowledge of the Holy Spirit).

These seven Spirits are the Holy Spirit, and they may be a reference to Isaiah 11:2, where the Holy Spirit is identified as The Spirit of (1) God, (2) wisdom, (3) understanding, (4) counsel, (5) might, (6) knowledge, and (7) fear of God. After all, John has just made reference to Isaiah 11:1 and 11:10 by identifying the Lam (Jesus) as the Root of David.

Thus, the Lamb of God is worthy to open the seals and the scroll because (a) He was slain for the sins of the world, and (b) He was anointed with the Holy Spirit, who fully manifested Himself through Him.

The lamb came before God and took the book out of His right hand. The Lamb was the only one who was worthy to open the seals and read the contents of the book (the scroll). The lamb was worthy because He was slain for the sins of the world and because He was fully anointed with the Holy Spirit.

Just as Jesus had taught, God has committed all judgment to the Son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah.

© 2019 Marcelo Carcach


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