Summary: I think God wants to have soft hearts-the ability to grieve, to be hurt, to be wounded, and, thereby, to become a source of healing, just as Jesus bought our healing through the tearing of His flesh.


1. And I saw in the right hand of Him sitting on the Throne a book (biblion) written on the outside and inside, sealed with seven seals

2. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a big (mega) voice

3. “Who is worthy to take the book and loose its seals?” and no one was able in heaven nor on the earth or under the earth to open the book nor see it.

4. And I cried a lot, because no one was found who deserved to open the book and look at it.

v 1 Scroll Jer. 32:6-14; Jeremiah is told by God to purchase a plot of land his heir might redeem after the captivity. It is a sealed scroll, only to be opened by the redeemer. A scroll speaking of sin and judgment in Zechariah 5:1-4 is written on both sides. The ten commandments of Exodus 32:15 are written on both sides as well, containing the law and judgments of God. Roman law required a will to be sealed with 7 seals. Caesar Augustus’ will, and others, have been found with seven seals still in place. See Psalms 2 and 110.

v 2 Some say this strong angel is Gabriel (Dan. 8:16, 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26). Others say Michael (Dan. 10:13, 21, 12:1; Jude 9; Rev. 12:7). Who knows? In the title deed of a Jewish family the one who is worthy to open the seals of an inheritance document is the one who fits the requirements of inheritance. The title deed of a Jewish family from the 1st Century has been found. It contained the items to be inherited, or redeemed, on the inside. On the outside was the list of those worthy to redeem the inheritance. See Hebrews 3:3; Rev. 3:4; 4:11; 5:9, 12. The inheritor, or redeemer of property would loose the seals to receive, or redeem, the inheritance.

v 3 Under the earth is the location of hell (Matt. 12:40; Eph. 4:9-10)

v 4 The term used for John crying, that he wept much, means to cry convulsively, or uncontrollably.

What Makes You Cry?

Why did John Cry?

Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks-indicating our true nature is revealed in what we say. I think something similar can be said of tears. I think what makes us cry says something about who we are as people, that what is important to us is revealed in our tears as clearly as anywhere else.

According to research tears serve a bunch of purposes:

1. to clear irritants from the eyes

2. killing infections before they have a chance to cause problems, and keeping the eye lubricated so you can see and

3. response to strong emotion

These purposes have three different kinds of tears: Reflex tears, Basal tears, and crying (yes, there’s more than one kind of tear), and the chemistry of each is distinct. Crying is sometimes called psychic tears. Its these “psychic” tears, tears caused by the psychological or emotional condition within, that are our main concern here.

When we cry it indicates strong emotion-it can be anger, or grief, overwhelming joy or uncontainable beauty. Tears well up not just from our eyes but from the deepest reservoirs of our humanity. If your tears are only of the sort which say “why me?” one nature is revealed. If you find yourself crying out of compassion for one who is suffering, or from a profound sense of awe, another nature is revealed. So that brings us back to the question, why did John cry?

John was crying because no one was counted worthy to open the inheritance document. In the next few verses we’ll see Someone is worthy, but the reason He is worthy reveals the nature of the inheritance: “Holy is the One who has received the Book and is worthy to open its seals, that was slain and purchased to God through His blood out of all the nations and languages and people and ethnicities . . .” Jesus is worthy because He paid the price of our redemption. He purchased us with the most precious price possible-His blood.

John understood somehow that the hope for any future for humanity was tied up in that book-that scroll with seven seals, and that without a Redeemer to take it and open the seals and receive the inheritance, humanity was doomed to its own destruction. He wept when he thought there was no hope.

Have you found yourself weeping looking at recent news reports? Famine in North East Africa, refugee horrors from Syria, and more recently from Bangladesh, earthquakes, hurricanes, cyclones, floods, the weight of human suffering may seem to be too much for us to process. Rather than weeping, do you find yourself stunned? We may actually become numb to the losses. This condition of numbness can play itself out in large and small scales. It’s possible to cry yourself out of tears, to become unable to feel great joy or great sorrow. But John, at his advanced age, was not immune to the touch of grief, profound inconsolable sadness for a generation he would not live to see.

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