The Book of Revelation (Part 14) The Scroll in God’s Right Hand
April 15, 2020
The Book of Revelation (Part 14)
The Scroll in God’s Right Hand
With strange months both behind us in March, and ahead of us in April, many are wondering what the future looks like. God has graciously unveiled the future of the world to us in the book of Revelation.
We are going through the book of Revelation verse by verse on Wednesday nights. Our world is changing. Jesus’ return is soon! I want you to be informed as to what the scriptures have to say about His Second coming and what we should be doing to prepare for that day!
The book of Revelation is God coming to repossess the earth that rightfully belongs to Him by judging nations, men, and the demonic hosts of hell that work with Lucifer to hold the earth in bondage to darkness and rebellion. The book of Revelation is God cleansing the earth of all contamination resulting from the fall of man and bringing it back to its pristine condition enjoyed before Adam’s sin.
Ephesians 1:9-10 (PHILLIPS)
For God had allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: He purposes in His sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfilment in Him.
Revelation 4 shows God as the creator, owner, and sustainer of all things: The Sovereign, The Almighty. He alone is worthy to bring fair judgments and justice into a fallen world.
In chapter 4, John in his vision is taken to heaven and sees the throne of God, with its rainbow of colors, and the huge, magnificent angels before Him crying out Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty. Revelation chapter 4 ends with the emphasis of this chapter being God’s ownership of all things: You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” (Rev 4:11-NKJV).
We covered Revelation 4 verse by verse last week.
Revelation 4 and 5 begin a sequence of events that will take us through the rest of the book of Revelation.
Revelation 4 flows right into Revelation chapter 5.
Today: Revelation 5
Revelation 5:1 (NKJV)
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
It is amazing that hundreds of years before John, the prophet Ezekiel saw the scroll in God’s hand too!
Ezekiel 2:9-10 (NKJV)
Now when I looked, there was a hand stretched out to me; and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. (10) Then He spread it before me; and there was writing on the inside and on the outside, and written on it were lamentations and mourning and woe.
I submit to you that this scroll is God’s title deed to planet earth!
Remember that God gave mankind authority under His all-authority to rule over planet earth and to take care of it (Genesis 1:26-27). When Adam and Eve sinned, this authority was immediately transferred to Satan, who at that time became the legal controller of things on the earth. Adam, in essence, committed high treason against God when He disobeyed his Creator, and his God-bequeathed authority over the earth was by default given to Satan. It was a treasonous act!
Satan’s reign of stealing, killing, and destroying on earth has created a history of turmoil and suffering that will one day end when God comes to legally stop Satan in his tracks, judge him and all the men and nations that yield to his darkened ways, and cleanse the earth from all moral and physical blemishes.
The book of Revelation is God coming to repossess the earth that rightfully belongs to Him by judging nations, men, and the demonic hosts of hell that work with Lucifer to hold the earth in bondage to darkness and rebellion.
The book of Revelation is God cleansing the earth of all contamination resulting from the fall of man and bringing it back to its pristine condition enjoyed before Adam’s sin. So again, the scroll in God’s right hand shows that He alone is owner of the earth. The scroll represents His title deed to this planet. When the scroll is opened, His re-taking of this planet from Satan and His demonic hosts of darkness begins.
A normal scroll in John’s days was up to eighteen inches in length, and was made of papyrus. Only one side was used for writing. However, the scroll in God’s hand has writing on both sides. Some scrolls were also made of animal skins (like antelope) and were specially prepared so that both sides of the skin could be written on. These skins were then sewn together. Some of these scrolls could become lengthy, as was the one in God’s right hand.
The scroll in God’s right hand reminds us that God sits in a place of power. The seven seals tell us that the document is very important. Sealed documents were kept in a secure location and brought back out at the appropriate time.
On most documents, the seal was a piece of twine wrapped around the scroll and then fastened by a piece of hot wax or clay. The wax while hot, or the clay while soft, was impressed with the signet ring of the person who wrote it. This protected the message from being read by anyone other than the person to whom it was sent. The seal could not be broken without being detected since it was sealed by the person it was from.
In the 1st century, wills, deeds to land, slave owner records, or military documents or scrolls were sealed. Under Roman law, to break a seal without permission was punishable by death. It was a capital offense.
A scroll with seven seals was very unusual. Seven in the Bible is the number of perfection. So, this was a scroll of high significance to God. A museum in Jerusalem has an exhibit of ancient scrolls in the Middle East, and it is extremely rare to find one with seven seals. Many scrolls have one, two or three seals, and rarely can you find one from that era of time with seven.
This scroll had seven seals, so ALL of the seals had to be broken before the scroll could be unrolled and the contents read.
So, in Revelation the seven seals had to be broken before the scroll could be read, and when the seventh seal is broken, then the trumpet judgment found in Revelation 8-11 begins. At the last trumpet judgment, the bowl judgments found in Revelation 16 are poured out .
The seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments do not run at the same time as many commentators assert. They run one after another and form a sequence of events, as God cleanses the earth of the discordant elements of sin before Jesus returns.
Without this knowledge, the book of Revelation is very difficult to understand. But if you understand this, then it begins to gel together and form a clear roadmap for Jesus’ return.
Revelation 5:2-4 (NKJV)
Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” (3) And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. (4) So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.
The strong angel with a loud voice indicated that this scroll was very important, and needed to be opened by a person with the authority to do so. A person had to have the authority to open the scroll. To have the authority to open the scroll means the man had to have the ability to carry out what was written in it.
He had to first of all have the authority to break the seals. That means that he must be the person the owner of the scroll sent it to. Then, he had to be able to perform what is written in the scroll.
We will find in chapter six that when the first seal is broken, a rider on a white horse is shown, pointing to false christs.
When the second seal is broken, it is pointing to a time of war. When the third seal is broken, it shows a black horse and rider, referring to famine. Then a fourth seal is broken, showing a pale horse and rider, meaning disease and death coming upon the earth.
The fifth seal reveals martyrs slain because of their faith in Christ and His Word. This seal will be opened during the midpoint of the seven years we call tribulation. This begins the Great Tribulation. The sixth seal reveals cosmic disturbances when the sun, moon, and stars darken, which are a sign that the Day of the Lord is about to begin. The sixth seal cuts short the Great Tribulation. It is not found in the Bible that the Great Tribulation is 3½ years. It is cut short by this sixth seal.
No one was found worthy to open the scroll, because no one was found who had the authority to carry out the contents of the scroll. The person opening the scroll had to be able to break all seven seals and bring to pass what would happen when the seals were broken. If all the seals were not broken, then the seventh seal would not be broken; the trumpets could not be blown, and the bowls would not be emptied out.
There was a universe-wide search for the person who had the authority to open the scroll, but none was found. John wept because no person could open the scroll. In fact, the original text mentions strong crying, or you could say uncontrollable sobbing.
John knew that the important scroll, with seven seals and written on both sides, was God’s title deed to planet earth, and that it MUST be opened by a worthy person. It contained the events of the rest of the book of Revelation. The book would bring to pass the Millennial reign of Christ and would cause the earth to be renewed and freed from the curse. Then the earth would enter the eternity that God created for it.
If the scroll could not be opened, then Christ could not return. Thus all the injustices of the ages would not be corrected, and Satan could not be dismissed from his tyrannical reign. If the scroll was not opened, then the earth could not be freed from the curse placed on it when man sinned. John was despondent to the point that he could not even look at the scroll.
Revelation 5:5 (NKJV)
But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
The Lion of the tribe of Judah speaks of the tribe from which the Messiah was said to come. Jacob prophesied before he died about where the Messiah would come from:
Genesis 49:10 (NLT)
The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants, until the coming of the one to whom it belongs, the one whom all nations will honor.
The symbol of the tribe of Judah was the lion. God promised that from David’s descendants would come a redeemer that would sit on Israel’s throne for eternity. This descendant would fulfill God’s promise to Abraham and to David:
Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV)
Now the Lord had said to Abram: Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. (2) I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. (3) I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
2 Samuel 7:8-16 (NKJV)
Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. (9) And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. (10) Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, (11) since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the Lord tells you that He will make you a house. (12) When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. (13) He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (14) I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. (15) But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. (16) And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”’
The New Testament begins with this promise proclaimed:
Matthew 1:1 (NKJV)
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.
Revelation 5:6-7 (NKJV)
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. (7) Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
Here, John again sees the throne he saw in heaven in Revelation 4, with the elders and the living creatures around it. But he sees what he perhaps did not see in Revelation 4.
He sees a Lamb. Look at the differences here. Jesus is depicted as both a Lion and a Lamb, referring to His first coming as a Lamb to be sacrificed, and His second coming as a Lion that would judge and cleanse the earth. Jesus’ power as a Lion came from His sacrifice as a Lamb.
John shows four things about the Lamb he sees.
1. The Lamb was standing. You think of a lamb as soft, cuddly, and defenseless. The Lamb standing shows that He is ready for action. He’s ready to get busy breaking the seals around the scroll. The Lamb removes the church to heaven in the rapture, and then He begins ridding the earth of all of its injustice and sin with the trumpet and bowl judgments.
2. The Lamb had been slain. Obviously, red blood could be seen on its white wool. It had come back to life after it made available the forgiveness and remission of sin, and after it had conquered death and the grave.
3. The Lamb was strong. It had seven horns. Horns in the Bible represent strength. Again, seven means perfection, and the seven horns mean perfect strength. Animals use horns as a weapon, and the horn of an animal speaks of the animal’s power and its might.
This lamb had perfect strength, enough to bring to pass what would happen when the seals were broken and the scroll was unrolled.
Psalms 75:10 (NKJV)
All the horns of the wicked I will also cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted.
4. The Lamb searches. This lamb had seven eyes. The seven eyes stand for God’s all-seeing eyes. God knows all and sees all. So this Lamb has perfect knowledge of the future and what would occur when the scroll was unsealed and opened!
Revelation 5:8 (NKJV)
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
Perhaps the prayers of all the ages are noticed again by God when the Lamb takes the scroll from God’s right hand. These are the prayers for God’s kingdom to come, for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Psalms 141:2 (NKJV)
Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Revelation 8:3-4 (NKJV)
Then another angel, having a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. (4) And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.
The elders see Jesus the Lamb take the scroll, and they fall down to worship God, knowing that finally God’s plans will be finished. The only hope for the earth is the rule of God’s Son.
Sin will be judged, Satan will be judged, the antiChrist will be judged, Jesus will reign over the entire earth, and man will enjoy God’s presence on earth for eternity!
Revelation 5:9-14 (NKJV)
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, (10) And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” (11) Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, (12) saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (13) And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (14) Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
A New Song was common in the Psalms. A New Song is usually about the new mercies of God.
Psalms 33:3-5 (NKJV)
Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy. (4) For the word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth. (5) He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Psalms 40:2-3 (NKJV)
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock,
and established my steps. (3) He has put a new song in my mouth— Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.
Psalms 98:1 (NKJV)
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! For He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm have gained Him the victory.
Psalms 96:1 (NKJV)
Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Psalms 144:9 (NKJV)
I will sing a new song to You, O God; on a harp of ten strings I will sing praises to You,
Isaiah 42:9 (NKJV)
Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
A song that has never been sung rings out into God’s great big universe. The earth, polluted by sin, selfishness, disease, death, war, and every vile habit known to man, will now be cleansed of all the effects of man’s fall and sin, and will become what God originally created it to be.
Jesus makes all things new! New life, new joy, new peace, new strength, and a new earth!
And because of that, then all of heaven worships!