Summary: Song of redemption
Song of Redemption
Revelation 5:1, "And I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals.”
And I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. This is a clear imagery of Christ who sits on the right hand of the Father in honor. This scroll is could be the Scroll that was closed in Daniel but is now open.
There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. Seven in Scripture is the sign for completeness or wholeness. The fact that this was seen within the context of the scrolls with writing on the inside or the outside is very important indeed. Since this was written in Romans times, it is even more important. It meant that this document was a document of supreme importance and the one who opened it had to have authority, and witnesses to open it. Seals here come from the Greek word sphragis in this case meaning a literal, a “seal” on a book or roll, combining with the ideas of security and destination those of secrecy and postponent of disclosure.
Revelation 5:2-3, “And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and unroll it? But no one in heaven or on earth or under earth was able to open the scroll and read it.”
The very fact that strong angel is mentioned here is very important. Scholars are not sure who this strong angel is here. Many have said it might have been Gabriel or Michael but the context doesn’t allow us to say either way. The very fact that he shouted though is important. The angel was announcing the coming of God’s judgment upon the world. Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and unroll it: This was mentioned because no one in heaven or on earth could be found who had accomplished what Christ did on the Cross for us. The repetitive use of scroll here is important. The use of Biblios in Revelation 5:1-9 which is translated “book” represents the revelation of God’s purposes and counsels concerning the world. The use of this is repeated throughout this to emphasis the emphasis on the importance of this document which as we have already seen was very important indeed.
Revelation 5:4, “Then I wept because no one could be found who was worthy to open the scroll and read it.”
That such a cosmic distress was occurring signifies how serious an event this was. The fact that Christ is later seen as worthy to open the scroll later on in this chapter is further evidence that Christ was worthy because his death set in motion fulfillment of the promise of redemption throughout the earth. This can be seen by the need of salvation being necessary for the opening of the book implies that the book itself has a universal significance. Verse 12-13 highlight this further by affirming that Jesus’ worthiness to open the book results in universal acclamation by the entire creation.
Revelation 5:5, “But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has conquered. He is worthy to open the scroll and break its seven seals.”
The use of the description of Christ from the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and heir of David’s throne serves as an introduction to these OT titles and brings out their “conquering” significance, since both concern the prophecy of a messianic figure who will overcome his enemy through judgment. Only Christ was worthy to open the scrolls because He is the One who died. Only He can begin the judgment that is to come, because of His work of redemption on the Cross. This verse opens up the rest of the verses to the fact that the impending judgment of bowls, vials and seals were to come. In this glimpse of heaven we are seen the work of God through the person of Christ thus so far in His rebuke, praise and correction of the churches, this brief glimpse of what heaven will be like, and now the opening of the scrolls. This is to cause one to see that without Christ in their lives the Worthy One who fulfilled prophecy in His Death, Life, and Ascension is still fulfilling prophecy today and in the coming future. It is only He that can save the world from a life destined to hell, and provide the means from which it can escape that fate.