“Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ But no-one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no-one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.” (Revelation 5:1-4 NIV)
John saw that the One on the throne had a scroll in his right hand. The right hand was the position of authority, which indicates that this had God’s authority. This scroll was written on both sides – as it seems to have been rolled, John would be able to see writing. The significance seems to be that it was so full of important information that it had to be written on both sides and was now full and complete. This scroll was sealed with seven seals.
Being sealed, it was not open to be read but it was obviously important. But there was no one who could open it! How frustrating that must have been for John! And John began to weep and weep. He could see the importance of this scroll being opened so that he could learn what God had in store for his people. But there was no one who could open it.
“Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’” (Revelation 5:5)
It seems that John was the only one in heaven who did not know that a worthy one was about to step forward! Who could open this scroll? It was the “Lion of the tribe of Judah”! Why could he open it? Because he had triumphed! And who was this Lion? It was Jesus himself! He could open it because he had conquered death so he had the right to open the scroll and its seals.
“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.” (Revelation 5:6-7)
If John had looked for a lion he must have been disappointed. What he saw was a lamb. And not only a lamb, but one like none he had ever seen. It looked like it had been killed yet it was alive, and it had seven horns and seven eyes. What a sight! Why did it look like it had been killed? Because it had been killed!
John was seeing Jesus in the form of a lamb that had been given as a sacrifice. He was worthy to take the scroll and break its seals because he had died and with his blood had purchased all people for God to be a kingdom and priests (Revelation 5:8-10).
What does this tell us about Jesus? Because of his death we have been purchased for God to be a ‘priestly kingdom’. The idea of a priest is that we have direct access to worship and approach God. Jesus gave us this through his death. In being forgiven we have become the people that God wanted to have with all the blessings that Jesus can give us (read Ephesians 1). We should join with the audience in heaven praising Jesus for what he has done for us!
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13)
Image by jeffjacobs1990 from pixabay.com.
Readings for next week: John 20-21; Revelation 1-8)