Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Lamb Takes the Scroll


   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.
   Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?"
   And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
  So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 

   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." 
   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. 
   Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 5:1-7 

   I saw...him who sat on the throne, refers to Jehovah, the Father, not to His Son, Christ.  This is made perfectly clear in 5:6, where we read, in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as it had been slain.  If Christ, the Lamb, is standing among the elders, obviously He is not sitting on a throne.  There is no dispute that Christ is the Lamb of God, for, when John the Baptist met Jesus he said, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29+36. 

   Some take the words of Scripture so literally that they have even suggested that Christ is in heaven as a four legged animal with wool as a covering.  That is not the way John saw Christ when he called Him the Lamb of God.  The Baptist was speaking symbolically.  In interpreting the Word of God, one must be careful that in being a literalist, one is not also being absurd.  Undoubtedly, John was thinking of the sacrificial lambs that were being killed in the temple as an atonement for the sins of the people.

   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.  This is not the Book of Life, mentioned in 3:5. I see this as the scroll that contains a record of future events. 


   The fact that the scroll is said to be written on both sides suggests that the future holds much in the realms of punishment and blessings; so much, actually, that the scroll needed to be written on both sides.  In this reference to the future, it must be understood that it is future for John, but not necessarily future to us.  

   If one divides the Church era into the seven periods, as we have done in this study, John was living in the first Church age.  Everything after that would have been future for him.  Many Bible students believe that we are now living in the last church age.


   
Mr. Smith** states that the punctuation in the KJV is wrong.  According to him, it should not read, a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.  It should read, a scroll written inside, and on the back sealed with seven seals.  Interestingly, though, of eight other versions compared, none of them had it like Mr. Smith states that it should be.

   The scroll was sealed with seven seals.  When Daniel saw visions of future events he was told, But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end. Dan. 12:4.  In the revelation to John, the time had come to undo the seals of the scrolls that Daniel had sealed up.

   Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?  John sees this as a desperate situation.  In fact, he says, I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll.


   each of the seals had to be broken before John could open and read the scroll.  This statement was made in the April 1998 edition of The Signs magazine.  However, 5:3 clearly says, no one (not even John) was able to open the book, or to look at it.  

   Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll.  Of course, Christ is not just a man, he is the conquering Son of God, and so He is worthy to open the book.  He proved Himself worthy on the cross and He prevailed over death at His resurrection.


   In the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, is made much clearer with these words, On the Lamb were wounds that once had caused his death. The Living Bible.  

  Praise and worship belong to Jesus! He was willing to bear the imprints of the nails through His hands and feet and the wound of the spear in His side, into eternity, because of the Father’s love for His Church.

   In the midst of the living creatures, the twenty-four elders, and the throne, stood a Lamb. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes. We are not left wondering about what the seven eyes are, because 5:6 says plainly, they are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.  Remember that in Jewish literature and culture seven represents perfection.


Neither need we feel a sense of the grotesque in considering a lamb with seven horns or seven eyes.  Surely, we are speaking symbolically, because after all, this Lamb is human in form.  As the seven eyes are the seven spirits so it is that, the seven horns are seven predominant features of Christ.  Many times throughout the Bible, the word "horn" is used to signify strength or a prominent feature.  For example, The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior. 2 Sam. 22:3

   Then He (Christ) came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him (the Father), who sat on the throne.  Just in passing, it can be mentioned that both the Father and the Son are right handed.  Each was holding the respective item in their right hand.  This characteristic of Christ is also portrayed in 1:20, the seven stars you saw in my right hand.  



   Admittedly, in ancient cultures, being left handed was deemed as “less than normal”; therefore, Jehovah or Christ could not be spoken of as being left-handed.  Conversely, why not believe that, as John says, both Jehovah and His Son are right handed, just as the bulk of humanity is.

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* A Commentary of Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, Seventh Day Adventist.