Summary: Have things happened to you that you cannot explain, even with your knowledge of God and the Bible?
THE LAMB AND THE SCROLL
Revelation 5: 1-14
Have things happened to you that you cannot explain, even with your knowledge of God and the Bible?
The message of Revelation is that God will resolve the mess man has created.
Men without God dream of world peace, utopia on earth. Lots of people have thought man would bring in the golden age to this planet. It will never happen. In Revelation, man comes to the end of himself so that he can see the only hope is in God.
Many men have tried to bring utopia to earth. Nebuchadnezzer built the great city of Babylon, but his empire fell apart. Julius Caesar led the legions of Rome across Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa and parts of Asia to bring peace (Pax Romana). Hitler tried to institute the thousand year Reich, but it ended in disaster. You and I will weep just like John if we depend on men. No leader in the world has a clue as to how to solve the great problems of earth.
God’s solution to the problems of earth revolves around the lamb who submits himself to death, death on a cross. Redemption of creation takes place by Jesus’ death for man. Creation revolves around Him. We also need to be aware that the lamb is also the Lion Who will judge the earth.
In my vison at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
Daniel 7: 13-14
If you haven’t read C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia, it would be good to do so. They are built around the theme of Jesus’ redemption on this world.
What John saw in chapter 4 was the everlasting worship of God in his throne room. Now the scene shifts a bit. A new element involving time and human history enters the scene. The Lamb’s marks of slaughter are those remaining from his insertion into humanity. John himself becomes a participant in the dialog of heaven rather than a mere observer as he had been in the previous chapter.
The Scroll with Seven Seals
John notices for the first time that God, who sat on the throne, now has something important in the right hand. To be near the right hand of a king was considered the most prestigious position.
The scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals is unusual in the details John noted. The outside was very difficult to write on, so normally only the inside was written on. The fact that it is written on both sides suggests that many details are contained.
Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.
Exodus 32: 15-16
Roman paintings show emperors holding such scrolls as a symbol of their power and authority. In handing the scroll to the Lamb, God shows that he has transferred his power and authority to the Lamb.
To seal an ancient letter or scroll with wax on the outside edge was customary. This guarded the privacy of the contents until the authorized person broke the seal and opened the scroll. i.e. Our letters today.
The scroll that John saw was sealed with seven seals. Meaning that it had been completely and totally shut by God himself.
The might angel is not one of the living creatures or one of the elders. It is probably the same figure described in detail in 10:1 and mentioned again in 18:21. It may even be Gabriel, but we don’t know for sure. John is more interested in the question being asked in a loud voice. The words loud voice occur twenty times in Revelation.
The key to the entire vision of the scroll is finding someone who is worthy. Quite a search takes place in heaven and on earth. No person in either place is qualified to open the scroll.
For the first time in this vision we know something of John’s personal reaction, I wept and wept. John felt a sense of hopelessness that no one was able to open the scroll. No one would know the purpose of creation and why all the suffering would come upon the earth.
The scroll answers the questions of war and crime and why human beings cannot solve these problems. There are things in our lives that we cannot explain.