Sealed Scroll

OVERVIEW - The One Sitting on the Throne held a scroll sealed with seven seals. A universal search was made for one “worthy” to open it – Revelation 5:1-4

Scroll Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash
Next, John saw a scroll sealed shut with seven seals that was held tight in the “
right hand” of the “One Sitting on the Throne.” Certainly, God was and is able and worthy to open the scroll, yet He sent a “mighty angel” to discover someone from the created order who was “worthy” to do so. Despite an exhaustive search, at least momentarily, no one “worthy” was found. - [Photo by Taylor Wilcox on Unsplash].
  • (Revelation 5:1-4) – “And I saw upon the right hand of him that was sitting upon the throne a scroll; written within, and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll and to unloose its seals? And no one was able in heaven or on earth or under the earth to open the scroll or to look in it. And I began to weep much because no one worthy was found to open the scroll.
The summons to find one “worthy” was sent throughout the Cosmos, even “under the earth.” Yet, no one “worthy” could be found, which left John weeping profusely. If the scroll remained sealed, its contents would not be revealed and implemented.

Written within and without.” The clause alludes to a passage from the book of Ezekiel, but with a key difference - (“Behold, a scroll was in it, and he spread it before me. And it was written within and without; lamentations and mourning and woe”) - The scroll Ezekiel saw was opened already, but in Revelation, the scroll was sealed shut and would remain so until someone worthy to open it appeared - (Ezekiel 2:9-10).

The significance of the scroll being written “within and without” is not clear. Most likely, the “writings without” were related to the “seven seals,” which had to be broken before the scroll could be unfolded. In chapters 6 through 8, the contents of seals were unveiled before any of the contents of the scroll itself.

The more prominent scriptural background for the “sealed scroll” is the “scroll” the prophet Daniel was commanded to seal shut:
  • (Daniel 12:4-9) – But you, Daniel, close up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end; many will run to and fro, and knowledge shall abound…And I heard but could not understand, so I said, O my lord! what shall be the issue of these things? Then said he, Go your way, Daniel; for closed up and sealed are the words until the time of the end.”
The connection between the passage from Daniel and Revelation was established previously in the book’s prologue, a connection confirmed again in its epilogue:
  • (Revelation 1:3) – “Happy is he that reads, and they who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things therein written; FOR THE SEASON IS NEAR.
What Daniel was commanded to close and to seal was intended for a distant future. In Revelation, that promised “season” had arrived, and the contents of the “revelation of Jesus” were revealed.

Written.”  The Greek verb rendered “written” represents a perfect verb tense, which signifies competed action - What had been written was not subject to change; it represented God’s predetermined plan for creation and humanity. This was the reason why anyone who added to or subtracted words from the scroll would be excluded from “New Jerusalem.” His will is unalterable - (Revelation 22:18-19).

Seven seals.” Daniel was ordered to “seal” his scroll until the determined time. Revelation has serialized Daniel’s single “seal” into “seven seals,” symbolically, to signify the completeness of what followed from the opening of the seals. The execution of the contents of the scroll would bring God’s redemptive plans to their intended and full conclusion.

Sealed shut” translates a Greek compound verb katesphragismenon - (Strong’s - #G2696). It means “to seal down”; to seal something tight.  No one could view the contents until they were disclosed by the one found “worthy” to do so. The opening of the scroll would put its contents into action.

As we will learn next, only one person in the entire Universe was “worthy” to open the “sealed scroll,” and humanly speaking, a most unexpected figure.


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