Summary: It's the title deed to the earth, and the devil, the god of this world, is currently in possession of it, but not for long! Link inc. to formatted text, audio, PowerPoint.
WHO IS WORTHY TO OPEN THE BOOK?
Rev. 5 tells us of a scroll in heaven which is sealed w/ 7 seals. There is no way we could over-emphasize the importance of this scroll. The fact that it was sealed 7 times speaks to its importance, for in Bible days this practice was reserved for only the most important of documents.
The procedure and practice of sealing a scroll 7 times was often used in property foreclosures. When a Jewish family fell on hard times, they were required to forfeit their land. According to Jewish law, their property could not be taken from them permanently, and so their losses they encountered were listed in a scroll sealed 7 times…and the conditions for getting back their land were written on the outside of the scroll.
v. 1 front and backside
Then, when a qualified person could be found, when a redeemer could be found, when someone was found who could meet the conditions listed on the backside of the scroll, then they alone had the authority to break the seals, to open the scroll, and at that time the property had to be returned to the original owner.
All Bible scholars agree that this scroll in ch. 5 represents the title deed to the earth/God’s creation.
Remember now, that the earth and the world that God created was man’s original inheritance. God placed man in the garden of Eden and said, I give you dominion over the earth. Man was the delegated ruler of planet earth…but when man chose to sin, he forfeited the title deed to this earth to Satan…that’s when the foreclosure took place. The arch-enemy of God, Satan, legally took over the dominion of this earth.
Here’s some verses which deal with the “prince-hood” of Satan upon this earth:
31Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
30Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.
II Cor. 4
4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not
2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air
Remember when Jesus was tempted of the devil in the wilderness? In the 3rd temptation, Satan took Jesus to a high place and showed Him the kingdoms of the earth. He said, bow down to me and I’ll give you dominion over these kingdoms.
Notice what Jesus said and what He did not say:
He said, I will not bow down to you. Then He quoted scripture which commands that He alone be worshipped and served.
But Jesus did not debate Satan’s authority to offer Him those kingdoms. Even Jesus knew that Satan is in authority right now on this dust ball earth.
Satan’s prince-hood over the earth is alive and well, and very much intact.
And this scroll in heaven represents the title deed to the world.
The big question in ch. 5:
Where is mankind going to find someone who can fulfil the requirements written on the backside of the scroll, in order to redeem for man his lost inheritance?
v. 2 who has the right to the title deed of the earth?
Who has the right to reclaim God’s creation?
This question is thrown out there in front of all humanity…and no one steps forward.
v. 3 “no MAN”…no one in Adam’s race had the right to take charge of the earth.
No pastor could step forward/politician/philosopher/scientist
v. 3 reveals the weakness of human civilization/mankind/Adam's race
Notice it does not say that no one was WILLING to open the book, but that no one was worthy.
Lots of men have been willing! Alexander the Great was very much willing to rule the earth, but he was not worthy/
Hitler/Caesar/Osama Bin Ladin/Said I’m Insane
Even the best of men did not step forward at this offer:
Even the best of men could not step forward as being worthy to open the scroll…but it still must be opened, the seals must be broken, otherwise, God’s purposes would be left unfulfilled/God’s creation would remain forever in the hands of Satan…no wonder verse 4 says that John wept uncontrollably.
v. 4 John knew that unless the seals were broken and the book opened that all his suffering on that island was in vain…and all our suffering too,/grief/heartache would be totally useless and in vain…unless God’s plan of redemption could be totally completed.
John knew that if this book were not opened, there would never be restoration in Israel/peace in the world/end of destruction and doom/earth would never blossom as a rose as the Bible had promised/glory of the Lord would never fill the earth as promised.