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The Seven-Sealed Books
The importance of this chapter in the book of Revelations cannot be overemphasized. It contains the key to the right understanding of the rest of the book. If we error here we will be wrong the rest of the way.
The scroll in the right hand of Our Lord that sat upon the throne is the official document which determines the great crisis and climax of human history. The nations of the world hold no document in their possession as significant and accurate as this scroll.
Daniel 12:8-9 has reference here: Daniel said “I heard, but understood not: then said Daniel, “O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? Gabriel said, “go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.”
The book, “closed up and sealed” by Daniel, has since been in the possession of Our Lord who gave the message contained in it. What is contained in the book (scroll) will come before us now as the seals are broken in succession and its message disclosed.
John is still in the Spirit before our Lord and seeing Christ open the book in this scene.
Rev. 5:1 The subject of the sealed book (scroll) is redemption. He who opens the book (scroll) is the “Lamb,” still bearing the scars of the crucifixion. His death was the “one sacrifice for sins forever” [Ref. Heb. 10:12], the wounds of which still bear witness to the substitutionary feature of that death [Ref. Zach. 13: 1, 6].
The church, the Bride of Christ, when caught up in the Rapture will be fully redeemed, having received our resurrection bodies. But the earth and the creatures in the earth, both vegetable and animal, will still be under the curse. These also must be redeemed, for Christ is the perfect Redeemer, and every realm which came under the curse of Adam’s sin must also be delivered by the redemption of the Last Adam.
The book that John saw in the hand of our Lord that sat upon the throne is the title deed to the earth. The earth and the atmosphere around it have been in the hands of an invader. The cruel usurper is Satan. He wrested it from Adam, whom god had given dominion over it [Ref. Gen.1:26-28], so that day the earth went to Satan’s power. When Satan offered to give the earth to Christ if He would bow down and worship him, our Lord did not repudiate his claim [Ref. Mt. 4:8-9]. Three times our Lord called Satan “the prince of the world” [Ref. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11]. Paul calls Satan “the god of this world” [Ref. 2Cor. 4:4], and “the prince of the power of the air”] Ref. Eph. 2:2]. John wrote, “The whole world lieth in wickedness” (or the wicked one). [Ref.1Jn 5:19].
The Book (scroll) that John saw is the title deed to this earth, once committed to man to rule for God, but now in the hands of Satan, not the title deed but the ruling of the earth.
Who is Worthy:
Rev. 5:2-3 The strong angel’s voice was heard in every place where angels and the souls of men could be found. Who is morally worthy to open this book of justice and destiny? Who qualifies to break the seals and lay claim to the earth? Who has furnished the price of redemption? Who is the rightful heir? Who is worthy to take possession of the earth and govern it in righteousness?
Neither man nor angels stirred, because none had the right. Not a creature in the celestial and terrestrial universe could claim fitness to execute the designs of God in the earth. Michael, the guardian angel of the nation Israel, was there [Ref. Dan. 12:1], but he could not qualify. Gabriel, the evangelist, prophet and chronologist among the angels was there [Ref. Dan. 9:21-27; Luke 1:26-37], but he could not qualify. In addition to these were myriads of angels of various ranks, but there is no kinsman-redeemer among the angelic hosts. Someone greater than angels must be found, someone to whom these created beings must bow to in subjection. Man cannot rescue himself from his own predicament and pit of sin, thus he stands mute at the challenge to take the scroll.
The Sobbing Seer:
Rev. 5:4 John wept because no man was found worthy to open the scroll. The unlifted and unopened scroll brought forth tears from God’s servant, out of concern and compassion over the inheritance unredeemed.
Present day Christianity seems to show little concern over the very thing which caused John to weep. John knew that the finding of a redeemer and the opening of the scroll was necessary before many of the Old Testament could be fulfilled. There remained to be fulfilled the retribution of the wicked, the restoration of Israel to Palestine, and the reign of Christ over all the earth. These and other prophecies could not be fulfilled as long as the scroll remained sealed.
The Slain Lamb:
Rev. 5:5-7 Once again the central figure of the book is brought into view. John is consoled by one of the elders who assure him that One is present to open the sealed scroll and carry out the divine counsels in the earth. He is the triumphant Christ. The hour of Christ’s triumph had come.
There He stood in the courts of Heaven ready to fulfill the remaining unfulfilled prophecies pertaining to the earth. “Our Lord sprang out of Judah” [Ref. Heb. 7:14], and now as Judah’s Lion, which speaks to us of Christ’s kingly character. He now rises from His throne to rule and reign over the earth. He has every right to open the sealed scroll. Christ is further described as “the root of David.” This identifies, strengthens His claims to be heir. John turned to see the Lion, but instead he saw a Lamb as it had been slain. The Lamb that speaks of meekness and sacrifice is He who is about to go forth as the mighty conqueror of all the earth.
After the sealed judgments are poured out upon the earth and Christ comes back with his redeemed ones to reign, Israel shall recognize Him by those same wounds [Ref. Zach. 13:6], and worship Him as the Lamb of Isaiah’s prophecy [Ref. Isa. 53].
These two symbols, the Lion and the Lamb, do not conflict, but rather complement each other, Christ is about to present Himself as both the redeemer of the earth and the atmosphere around it. (Lamb), and the King Reigning One (Lion) over the earth.
In the day he shall rise to return to the earth which rejected Him. He Christ, yes, is standing, alive, upon His feet, in a body recognizable to those who saw Him when he came to earth the first time.
When John saw Him He had “seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” The number seven denoting fullness, completion, and perfection. The horn stands for authority and imperial power [Ref. Duet. 33:17; 1 Sam. 2:10; Psa. 75:10; Zach. 1:18-19]. Christ possesses it [Ref. Mt. 28:18], and now He steps forth to exercise it, perfectly equipped to put down any opposition to His Kingdom.
The eyes stand for perception. Christ possesses the essential attributes of deity: power and perception; omnipotence and omniscience. When He exercises His kingly right over the nations of the earth, He shall do so with full authority and full knowledge. He will have the total filling of the Holy Spirit in the complete competence of His power and perception. Three absolute qualities, then, are brought before us here. Qualities of the Kinsman-Redeemer are first, perfection in the Lamb without spot or blemish; secondly, power in the Lion of the Tribe of Judah; thirdly, perception in the Lord of all knowledge and wisdom.