REVELATION CHAPTER 5
THE SEVEN SEALED SCROLL
The seven sealed scroll contains all the prophecy of the end times, including both the salvation of God’s people and the judgment of the wicked. The seven waxed seals along the outside edge of the scroll represents the conditions that must first occur before God brings His final judgment upon the earth.
When God created man He gave him authority over the earth. But Adam forfeited this dominion over to Satan when he disobeyed God and rejected His love. Sin entered into the world, mankind was thrown out of Paradise and Satan became “in charge” as the god of this world. (Note that, when Satan offered all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus during the temptation, Jesus did not dispute his authority to make the offer.) Since that time, the entire creation awaits the restoration of this earth back to its original Eden-like state. The seven sealed scroll details the mystery of how God is going to accomplish that victory.
Once opened, this scroll contains all the judgments of the Book of Revelation. The scroll also describes the purging of the earth from defilement of sin and consummation of this age in preparation for the Millennial Kingdom.
1Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne (God the Father) a scroll (rolled tightly) with writing on both sides (inside and on the back) and sealed (In the Roman world, important documents, like a final will and testament, were sealed with wax) with seven seals. (This scroll, which contains God’s final redemptive plan for mankind, is sealed along the outside edge with seven seals of wax. This emphasizes the magnitude of importance of this document.)
THE ONE WORTHY TO OPEN THE LARGE SCROLL – THE LION AND THE LAMB
2And I saw a mighty angel (This mighty angel is an archangel. See Rev 10:1, 18:21. Michael the archangel, the guardian and protector of Israel, is in this class of angels. See Dan 12:1.) proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” (The breaking of the seven seals are preliminary and preparatory to the actual opening of the scroll.) 3But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. (This scroll is completely sealed and its contents hidden from every eye. And no man anywhere was found worthy to break open these seals and look into this scroll. In other words, the scroll itself is not opened and its contents disclosed until all seven seals have been broken.) 4I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. (John understands that, as long as the scroll remains sealed, God’s final judgment can not begin and Satan remains in control of the earth.) 5Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! (Stop weeping John!) See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, (Jesus is of the royal, ruling tribe of Israel) the Root of David, (Jesus is of the kingly line of Israel) has triumphed. (Jesus has risen from the dead!) He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Jesus is more than man. He can open the seven sealed scroll because only he has the right “credentials” – he is the Messiah, of royal descent, and has risen from the dead. When God created man, God gave man dominion over this earth. But when Adam sinned he forfeited this blessing, and Satan became the God of this world – and continues to rule today. But the Day is coming when Jesus will take back His rightful ownership and reclaim rule over the earth. This moment will occur when Jesus breaks the seals and opens the scroll during Daniel’s 70th week).
6Then I saw a Lamb, (John sees a lamb that represents Jesus; Although there is only one Messiah, there are two comings. Jesus came to earth the first time as the Lamb of God, and he was slain. Jesus will come to earth a second time as the Lion of the tribe of Judah – and he will triumph!) looking as if it had been slain, (John sees blood on the body of this little lamb) standing in the center of the throne, (the lamb (= Jesus) is in the center of the throne because He is about to reclaim the earth) encircled by the four living creatures and the elders (The angelic creatures of Rev 4). He had seven horns (seven horns indicate fullness of power, perfect strength) and seven eyes, (He has the ability to see the entire earth – he has perfect knowledge) which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth (This is fullness of the Holy Spirit who was promised to dwell completely in the hearts of men.) 7He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne (Jesus takes the scroll from the Father, preparing to open it).
THE BEAUTIFUL NEW SONG SUNG BY THE ANGELIC ELDERS
8And when he had taken it (This is John’s way of picturing what he stated at the beginning of the book in Rev 1:1. God the Father gives to Jesus the seven sealed scroll to show his servants what must soon take place), the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. (The angelic creatures and angelic elders of Rev 4) Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (In the Old Testament, incense was used in the tabernacle to represent the prayers of the saints. The age-old prayer of the church is about to be answered… “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” The harp is the traditional instrument of worship in the Psalms.) 9And they sang a new song: (they sing a special new song which has never been sung before, composed for a great occasion – the scroll is being opened for the first time and God’s kingdom is about to begin.)
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, (Jesus died on the cross for our sins, and is thus worthy to reclaim the earth) and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. (Jesus redeemed or paid the price of release for all men. The cost of the purchase is His precious blood) 10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (The result of this purchase is that we have become members of God’s spiritual kingdom. We are born again by accepting Jesus death on the cross, and when Jesus returns His Church will share in His reign over the earth.)
THE DESCRIPTION OF CHRIST BY THE ANGELS
11Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. (100 million angels singing – a truly magnificent spectacle) They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12In a loud voice they sang: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Seven attributes of praise are identified.)
UNIVERSAL WORSHIP OF GOD
13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To him who sits on the throne (the Father) and to the Lamb (the Son) be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (The whole world worships God the Father as Creator (Rev 4), and Jesus the Son as Redeemer of Creation (Rev 5)) 14The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Jesus has taken the scroll, and is about to purge the earth from the effects of sin; false religion will be judged, wicked men will be slain, Antichrist will be destroyed, Satan will be vanquished, death will defeated, the curse will be lifted and the earth will be made anew. Although John does not specifically indicate what is contained in the scroll at this time, we will see in Chapter 6 that most of these seals represent Antichrist’s wrath against the church and Israel during the majority of Daniel’s 70th week. In other words, the seals are conditions on the earth that must occur before the scroll can be opened and the contents revealed. The first seal is a white horse and rider symbolizing the Antichrist. The second seal is a red horse and rider, symbolizing war. The third seal is a black horse and rider, symbolizing famine. The fourth seal is a pale horse and rider, symbolizing disease that leads to death. The fifth seal represents the martyrs who will be slain because of their fidelity to Christ and His Word. The sixth seal is a cosmic disturbance, symbolizing that the Day of the Lord, God’s wrath, is about to begin. The seventh seal represents God’s judgment by means of the trumpet and bowl judgments. The contents of this scroll will explain how Jesus the Messiah will reclaim rule over the earth during Daniel’s 70th week. Specifically, the events of this scroll explain how Jesus will: (1) finish the transgression and end the apostasy of the Jews against God; (2) put an end to Israel’s sin; (3) atone for Israel’s wickedness through the death and resurrection; (4) bring in everlasting righteousness and the Millennial kingdom; (5) seal up and fulfill all prophecy concerning the nation; and (6) anoint the most holy when Israel embraces Jesus as the Messiah. See Daniel 9:24-27.