Saturday, 24 September 2016 21:52

32. Now what?! Who can open the scroll? * Revelation 5:2-5

Written by

2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll, and to loose the seals thereof?

3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the scroll, neither to look thereon.

4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the scroll, neither to look thereon.

5 And one of the elders said unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

 

*** Who is worthy? ***: John had just seen the scene of the throne of God, and the sealed book on the side of the throne, where Jesus was expected to be seated. Right after that, he saw an angel and heard a voice. John felt it was important to distinguish this angel from all the others that were present there. This was a strong angel, who had a question that was just as strong: “Who is worthy to open the scroll, and to loose the seals thereof?” (Revelation 5:2). That seems like a strange question, since in chapter 4 all the celestial beings were singing about how the Father, who sits on the throne, is worthy “to receive glory and honor and power” (Revelation 4:11). Our first reaction would be to answer the strong angel’s question with something like: ‘God is worthy, and He is sitting right there!’ But verse 3 of chapter 5 tells us a shocking information: “And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the scroll, neither to look thereon.” The expression ‘no man’ was translated from the Greek Oudeis, which means “no one, none, nothing” . In other words: no one in heaven, and no one on Earth (dead or alive) could open it or look inside it.

*** I wept much ***: There was no one worthy to do this job. What does it mean, to be worthy in this context? Wasn’t God the Father worthy in chapter 4? In order to understand this apparent contradiction, we will need to wait until verse 5. In the mean time, John realized that without someone to open the seals, no one would be able to read the contents of the book. He became deeply concerned. Given John’s Jewish background, he most likely could see the connection between the scroll of the covenant that the ancient Israelite kings needed to receive upon their coronation, and the scroll next to God the Father. He realized that Earth and Heaven would be left without a new King if no one was found worthy to break the seals. The terms of the scroll would not be carried out. When John realized the seriousness of the problem at hand, a wave of devastating emotions took over him, and “he wept much” (Revelation 5:4).

*** The Lion of the tribe of Juda ***: In the middle of John’s despair, he heard one of the elders say that a special being had just arrived in the throne room: “[…] behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” (Revelation 5:5). How could the Lion of the tribe of Juda be worthy to open the seals? Revelation 5:3 said that no one on Earth or in Heaven could open them. So the Lion had to be somewhere in between Earth and Heaven at the time that statement was made. Since the Lion is from one of the Israelite tribes, we can understand that the point of departure was indeed Earth. The expression ‘Lion of the tribe of Juda’ is a reference to the text in Genesis 49:9, where Juda was called a victorious lion.

*** The Root of David ***: John then identified the Lion more specifically as the Root of David. Revelation 22:16 tells us clearly who exactly is the Root of David: “I Jesus have sent my angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

- The root: The prophet Isaiah had already declared that there would be a shoot from the stem of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1). Jesse is actually David’s father, and he was from the tribe of Juda. Jeremiah and Zachariah also spoke about this same branch (Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 33:14-16; Zachariah 6:12-13).

- The offspring: God had made a promise to David, saying that his descendent would build God’s house, and that God would establish an eternal throne and kingdom for David’s descendent (2 Samuel 7:12-13). We can read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-17, and it starts with the statement that Jesus is the son of David.

*** Overview ***: The Old Testament Messianic promises and prophecies were fulfilled in Christ. The way the arrival of the Lion was announced by the elder left no doubt about its identity. Jesus had finally arrived at the scene. It is now even more evident that Jesus had just left the disciples on Earth and was getting ready to join the army of angels and elders. He had prevailed, and was standing victorious as a lion, “in the midst of the throne”. John no longer had any reason to continue crying. The future of human kind was safe. As verse 5 says, all John needed to do to have his hope renewed was to believe the message that Jesus had arrived, and behold Him.

   
Real time web analytics, Heat map tracking
© Hello-Bible 2016