“5 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4 I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
14 The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.” Revelation 5
As Revelation 5 opens, the attention shifts to a seven-sealed scroll in the hand of God. John gives a picture of there and then, so we know how to live in the here and now.
The scroll could not be read because it was rolled up and sealed. John recognizes that writing on both sides of the scroll. This is unusual and suggests that there is lots of information on the scroll.
What is written in the scroll? Commentators have argued for centuries about what is written in the scroll.
Some think it is the Old and New Testament, others think it is the fulfilling of prophesy. Some think it is God’s sentence against the enemies of the church, or the text of the Book of Revelation. I believe, along with other commentators that the scroll is the title deed to planet earth.
Culturally, a title deed would be written only on the smooth side of the scroll and would be sealed with a single seal (Jeremiah 32:6-29). If the owner was unable to meet his financial obligations, the debts would be written on the back and sealed by seven seals. If at any time during the next seven years, he could pay off his debts, the seals would be broken and the deed returned.
This might explain what was in the hand of the One who sat on the throne. It’s the deed to plant earth – originally given to Adam. Adam forfeited his right to ownership of the earth when he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam’s sin transferred the title to Satan – which is why Paul called Satan the god of this world in 2 Corinthians 4:4.
When people ask, “If God is so good, why are there wars, suffering, sickness, and disasters?” They are blaming the wrong person. The planet God gave to man was absolutely perfect. Man is to blame for giving over the planet to Satan. The authority of the enemy is the reason John saw his brothers and sisters imprisoned, fed to lions, dipped in hot wax and light on fire. The enemy is the one in authority in this world. That is the reason the church suffers today. That is the reason people suffer in this world.
Remember, John gives a picture of there and then, so we know how to live in the here and now.
This is the explanation John gives to the persecuted Christians of the first century. Remember this book was not written only to deal with end times prophesy, but to give encouragement to early Christians through intense persecution. Revelation gives a picture of there and then, so we know how to live in the here and now.
The enemy is in charge of this broken world. The enemy has power over the earth. No one can take back the authority from him. No one. The debts on the scroll could not be opened by anyone. No one is worthy to retake the world from the enemy. No one in the universe… except for the Lord Jesus Christ.
We’ll see what happens when the seals are broken in the next devotions.
Lord Jesus, thank You that You are the only hope for this fallen and broken world. Thank You that You hold the authority and power to take back what the enemy has claimed. Thank You that all judgment, authority, and power belongs to You. In the matchless name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Ty Tamasaka is an author who hold a Master of Arts Degree from Pacific Rim Christian University in Christian Ministry He is a Bible teacher who loves to encourage people to enjoy Jesus’ grace and extend His Kingdom. Ty just released his new book Starting Fresh: Following Jesus on the Adventure of a Lifetime in addition to More than a Conqueror: 5 Pathways to Personal Revival.