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Compassionate Counsel Toward the Comfort of Christ

Rejoicing Through Revelation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  58:32
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The best way that we can help those who remorse over their hopeless condition is to point them toward Jesus, and help them set their affection on Him.

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Introduction:

Revelation 5:1–5 KJV 1900
1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. 5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
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Illustration -
Some have tears enough for their outward losses, but none for their inward lusts; they can mourn for the evil that sin brings, but not for the sin which brings the evil. Pharaoh more lamented the hard strokes which were upon him, than the hard heart that was within him. Esau mourned not because he sold the birth-right, which was his sin, but because he lost the blessing, which was his punishment. This is like weeping with an onion, the eye sheds tears because it smarts.—Rev William Secker, seventeenth-century British minister*
* William Secker, The Nonsuch Professor In His Meridian Splendor (Chicago: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1899), 124–125.
[Robert J. Morgan, Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, and Quotes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000), 665.]
Main Thought: The best way that we can help those who remorse over their hopeless condition is to point them toward Jesus, and help them set their affection on Him.
The best way that we can help those who remorse over their hopeless condition is to point them toward Jesus, and help them set their affection on Him.
Sub-intro:
In chapter 5 the focus moves from God, enthroned in heaven and surrounded by adoring and worshiping elders and living creatures, to the Lamb who alone is worthy to open the scroll of destiny. The worship of God for his role in creation gives way to the worship of the Lamb for his work of redemption. [Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 128–129.]
In chapter 5 the focus moves from God, enthroned in heaven and surrounded by adoring and worshiping elders and living creatures, to the Lamb who alone is worthy to open the scroll of destiny. The worship of God for his role in creation gives way to the worship of the Lamb for his work of redemption. [Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 128–129.]
Body:

I. John Sees the Book ().

Revelation 5:1 KJV 1900
1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
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John continued to explain what he “saw” (eidon)747 in the Throne Room as he looked at the central piece of furniture and the One upon it. “Upon” (epi.)748 the right hand of “the Lamb” (arnion [cf. v. 6, 8, 12, and 13]), the Seer revealed, was “a book” (biblion).749 John made several descriptive statements about the biblion. First, it was “written” (gegrammenon),750 he declared. The Apostle employed the perfect passive participle from grafw to denote that this Scripture had been written in eternity past and was still in written form. Second, the writing was “within and on the backside” (eswqen751 kai. opisqen752). Ancient manuscripts with writing on both sides receive the name “opisthograph” (cf. ). Since this was a heavenly book, there is no warrant in assuming that this opisthograph was written on sheets of papyrus, as was the material of many ancient Greek manuscripts.753 Presumably its form was scroll rather than codex (i.e., modern book with pages).754 Third, it was “sealed with seven seals” (katesfragismenon755 sfragisin756 hepta,). The “seven seals” are opened one at a time, forming the great “Seal” judgments during the Tribulation (cf. , , , , , ; ; ; ), John revealed. [Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 227–228.]
747 The expression “and I saw” (Kai. ei=don) occurs 40x in the NT, including 33x in Revelation, denoting the consecutive series of visions the apocalyptic seer observed.
[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 227–228.]
[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 227–228.]
[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 227–228.]
[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 227–228.]
[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 227–228.]
[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 227–228.]
[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 227–228.]
[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 227–228.]
[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 227–228.]
[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 227–228.]

A. The Location of the Book.

Note - in = epi - upon/ or in the Father’s right hand
The right hand of God is a common Jewish metaphor expressing power and authority (, ; ; ; ; ; ; cf. ; ; ; ; Enoch 20:3; 4 ) [Craig A. Evans and Craig A. Bubeck, eds., John’s Gospel, Hebrews–Revelation, First Edition., The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary (Colorado Springs, CO; Paris, ON; Eastbourne: David C Cook, 2005), 365.]
The right hand of God is a common Jewish metaphor expressing power and authority (, ; ; ; ; ; ; cf. ; ; ; ; Enoch 20:3; 4 ) [Craig A. Evans and Craig A. Bubeck, eds., John’s Gospel, Hebrews–Revelation, First Edition., The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary (Colorado Springs, CO; Paris, ON; Eastbourne: David C Cook, 2005), 365.]
Craig A. Evans and Craig A. Bubeck, eds., John’s Gospel, Hebrews–Revelation, First Edition., The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary (Colorado Springs, CO; Paris, ON; Eastbourne: David C Cook, 2005), 365.]

B. The Lettering of the Book.

Note - The Eternality of the word of God:
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First, it was “written” (gegrammenon),750 he declared. The Apostle employed the perfect passive participle from gra,fw to denote that this Scripture had been written in eternity past and was still in written form.
[750 Another form of this root is Gegraptai, which biblical writers employed to declare the perfect preservation of Scripture (cf. et al [67x]).]
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[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 228.]
Note - The Fullness of the Contents = NO NEW REVELATION
The importance and comprehensive character of the revelation contained is indicated by the fact that the book is written on both sides of the parchment. [John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Galaxie Software, 2008), 113.]
The importance and comprehensive character of the revelation contained is indicated by the fact that the book is written on both sides of the parchment. [John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Galaxie Software, 2008), 113.]
John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Galaxie Software, 2008), 113.]
Writing on a scroll was usually limited to one side of the writing material, the inner side of the roll, but sometimes extended to the outer side or back of the material. The latter is the case here and in Ezekiel’s parallel. The “spill-over” onto the back symbolizes the fullness of the contents.22 The decrees of God contained herein are extensive and comprehensive.23 They constitute the whole counsel of God regarding the future of the world. No further revelation may be anticipated (cf. ) (Scott).
[22 Charles, Revelation, 1:138; Beckwith, Apocalypse, p. 506; John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Chicago: Moody, 1966), p. 113.]
[23 Mounce, Revelation, p. 143; Rienecker, Linguistic Key, p. 824.]
[Robert L. Thomas, : An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 380.]

C. The Locks on the Book.

Note - sealed with seven seals
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The second descriptive word about the scroll is the expression katesphragismenon sphragisin hepta (“sealed with seven seals”). Katesphragismenon (“sealed”) is stronger than the simple verb for sealing, its intensification of meaning emphasizing the security of the sealing.24 This enhances the secrecy of the scroll’s contents and is an appropriate emphasis in connection with a document that none but the Lamb is worthy to open.25 The seal on a scroll kept it closed. It symbolizes an event still hidden in mystery, but divinely decreed. Such imagery is borrowed from (Lee). Such a seal was an impression usually made on clay, wax, or some other soft material that restricted an unauthorized person from access to the contents.26 Use of seven such seals stresses the profundity of the mysteries contained inside.27
[24 The κατά prefix on κατεσφραγισμένον has a perfective force. and emphasize a secure sealing of information about the future in a different way.]
[25 Swete, Apocalypse, p. 75; Beckwith, Apocalypse, p. 506; Biederwolf, Millennium Bible, p. 561.]
[26 Gottfried Fitzer, “σφραγίς, σφραγίζω,” TDNT, 7 (1971):939–40; Ford, Revelation, p. 84; Rienecker, Linguistic Key, p. 824.]
[27 Charles, Revelation, 1:138. Roman law required a will to be sealed seven times, as illustrated by the wills of Roman emperors Augustus and Vespasian and their successors (Ethelbert Stauffer, Christ and the Caesars [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1955], pp. 182–83; Emmett Russell, “A Roman Law Parallel to ,” BSac 115 [July 1958]: 258–64). As noticed above, however, it is doubtful that Roman custom furnishes the best explanation of this scroll.]
[Robert L. Thomas, : An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 380.]
A will, according to the Praetorian Testament, in Roman law bore the seven seals of the seven witnesses on the threads that secured the tablets or parchment (see Smith, Dict. of Greek and Roman Ant., p. 1117). Such a Testament could not be carried into execution till all the seven seals were loosed. [R.H. Charles, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St John, vol. 1, International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T&T Clark International, 1920), 137–138.]
A will, according to the Praetorian Testament, in Roman law bore the seven seals of the seven witnesses on the threads that secured the tablets or parchment (see Smith, Dict. of Greek and Roman Ant., p. 1117). Such a Testament could not be carried into execution till all the seven seals were loosed. [R.H. Charles, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St John, vol. 1, International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T&T Clark International, 1920), 137–138.]
R.H. Charles, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St John, vol. 1, International Critical Commentary (Edinburgh: T&T Clark International, 1920), 137–138.]
Note - Thoughts Concerning the Identity of this “Book”
Sorenson - “Title Deed” / Possible Contextual “Alternate View ”
It has been advanced by some that the document was none other than the title-deed to the earth. Accordingly, as the text will unfold, that official deed and title to the earth is delivered to the Son of God implying His taking control thereof. An alternate view might be that the book contains the record of the judgment God is about to pour out upon the earth, particularly in the first half of the Tribulation. The former view is more congruous with the greater overview of Bible prophecy. The latter view perhaps more closely parallels the opening of the six seals in the next chapter. We, however, lean toward the title-deed view. [David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Hebrews through Revelation, vol. 11, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministries, 2007), 397.]
It has been advanced by some that the document was none other than the title-deed to the earth. Accordingly, as the text will unfold, that official deed and title to the earth is delivered to the Son of God implying His taking control thereof. An alternate view might be that the book contains the record of the judgment God is about to pour out upon the earth, particularly in the first half of the Tribulation. The former view is more congruous with the greater overview of Bible prophecy. The latter view perhaps more closely parallels the opening of the six seals in the next chapter. We, however, lean toward the title-deed view. [David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Hebrews through Revelation, vol. 11, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministries, 2007), 397.]
David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Hebrews through Revelation, vol. 11, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministries, 2007), 397.]
Wiersbe - “Title Deed”
The scroll represents Christ’s “title deed” to all that the Father promised Him because of His sacrifice on the cross. “Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen [nations] for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession” (). Jesus Christ is the “Heir of all things” (). He is our beloved “Kinsman-Redeemer” who was willing to give His life to set us free from bondage and to restore our lost inheritance (see ; the Book of Ruth; ) [Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 584.]
The scroll represents Christ’s “title deed” to all that the Father promised Him because of His sacrifice on the cross. “Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen [nations] for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession” (). Jesus Christ is the “Heir of all things” (). He is our beloved “Kinsman-Redeemer” who was willing to give His life to set us free from bondage and to restore our lost inheritance (see ; the Book of Ruth; ) [Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 584.]
Ironside - “Title Deed”
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What is this sealed book? I will again remind you of a principle which I want to keep before you in all of these lectures, and that is, in studying the Book of the Revelation it is never necessary to fall back on our own imagination as to what a particular symbol means. Every symbol is explained, or alluded to, somewhere else in the Bible. Turn to the 32nd chapter of Jeremiah. The prophet Jeremiah lived in a day just previous to the fall of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar. He had been telling the people of Israel that they were going to be carried captives to Babylon. For seventy years they would be in captivity; but, at the end of that time, they would be restored, and would build again the waste places (ch. 29:10). Hanameel, Jeremiah’s cousin, who had a piece of ground, knew well that it was soon to be absolutely worthless, and he was anxious to get it off his hands and realize what he could from it. He concluded to try to sell it to his prophet-cousin who was in prison at the time for the truth’s sake. The Lord said to Jeremiah. “Buy the field.” He was commanded to accept it as though it were really worth having, because the time was coming when it would be worth having; for just as surely as God’s people were going down into Babylon, so surely were they coming back again. That land would be worth far more in that day, and he would have it in his family.
So we are told, in chap. 32:8, that Hanameel came and besought him to buy the field. Jeremiah acquiesced. The title-deeds were made out and sealed and hidden away. The land was purchased by Jeremiah, but he was not going to enter into possession of it. He, too, was to be driven out—to be rejected and set to one side; but some day that sealed roll would be of great value, when the restoration took place. He gave it to his secretary to hide away with a view of making known to his heirs where the deed was which was to give them the title to the land. The sealed book was the title-deed to Jeremiah’s inheritance, and when the people of Israel came back from Babylon there would be a man who could go into court and say, “This deed belongs to me. I am Jeremiah’s heir. I have the right to break the seals and take the property.” With this illustration from the Old Testament before us, we have no difficulty in seeing what the seven-sealed book in Revelation means. The book that John saw in the hand of Him that sat upon the throne is the title-deed to this world; and when God says, “Who is worthy to take the book and to loose the seals thereof?” it is just another way of saying. Who is the rightful heir? Who can say, “I have title to break those seals, title to claim that world, it belongs to me?” Who is worthy to take possession of that world and subject it to himself?
Adam, what about you? Wasn’t that world given to you? When God created you and placed you in the Garden of Eden, did He not say that all of this was yours? Why do you not come forward and take this title-deed and claim your property? Adam says, “I forfeited my inheritance because of sin. It was mine, but I sinned it away. The devil cheated me out of it, and I have no longer any title to it.” Is there any angel who can step up and take the book? No, not an angel among all the serried ranks of heaven’s hosts can say, “I have title to that world.” Not a man in all God’s universe can say, “It is mine.” [H. A. Ironside, Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Neptune, N. J.: Loizeaux Brothers, 1920), 89–92.]
H. A. Ironside, Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Neptune, N. J.: Loizeaux Brothers, 1920), 89–92.]
McGee - “Title Deed”
Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 584.]
It perhaps should bear no title because it is, as Dr. Harry Ironside has suggested, the title deed to this world. You will remember that when the children of Israel were going into captivity, Jeremiah was instructed to have his servant go and buy some property and to get the title deed to it, because God promised that Israel was going to be returned to the land (see ).
It perhaps should bear no title because it is, as Dr. Harry Ironside has suggested, the title deed to this world. You will remember that when the children of Israel were going into captivity, Jeremiah was instructed to have his servant go and buy some property and to get the title deed to it, because God promised that Israel was going to be returned to the land (see ).
Who holds the title deed to this earth down here? It is none other than the Lord Jesus; He alone has it. In we read: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
This suggests, I believe, that what is being handed over to the Lord Jesus (we will see it handed over to Him) is the title deed to this world in which you and I live. He created it, He redeemed it, and it belongs to Him. [J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary, electronic ed., vol. 5 (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 933–934.]
W. B. Riley - “Title Deed”
Going back into Jewish history you will learn that whenever an heir, for any reason, lost his inheritance, instruments of writing were made and copied, and one copy was sealed, and kept, in evidence of the fact that the inheritance had passed out of his hands and belonged to another. The sealed book, therefore, became the expression of an alienated inheritance, which could only be recovered by getting some one to buy it back, and the buyer was called the “goel” or redeemer, as you will recall in the Book of Ruth. That is the figure that is here employed. The inheritance of God’s people has been lost; the sealed scroll stands in evidence thereof, and the dishonored, disclaimed sons of earth are waiting the day when some brother shall arise who is able to buy it back and break those seals, bringing them into their inheritance again. [William Bell Riley, The Bible of the Expositor and the Evangelist, New Testament, Revelation Vol. 2, vol. 20, The Bible of the Expositor and the Evangelist (Union Gospel Press, 1932), .]
Going back into Jewish history you will learn that whenever an heir, for any reason, lost his inheritance, instruments of writing were made and copied, and one copy was sealed, and kept, in evidence of the fact that the inheritance had passed out of his hands and belonged to another. The sealed book, therefore, became the expression of an alienated inheritance, which could only be recovered by getting some one to buy it back, and the buyer was called the “goel” or redeemer, as you will recall in the Book of Ruth. That is the figure that is here employed. The inheritance of God’s people has been lost; the sealed scroll stands in evidence thereof, and the dishonored, disclaimed sons of earth are waiting the day when some brother shall arise who is able to buy it back and break those seals, bringing them into their inheritance again. [William Bell Riley, The Bible of the Expositor and the Evangelist, New Testament, Revelation Vol. 2, vol. 20, The Bible of the Expositor and the Evangelist (Union Gospel Press, 1932), .]
William Bell Riley, The Bible of the Expositor and the Evangelist, New Testament, Revelation Vol. 2, vol. 20, The Bible of the Expositor and the Evangelist (Union Gospel Press, 1932), .]
MacArthur - “Title Deed”
The scroll John saw in God’s hand is the title deed to the earth, which He will give to Christ. Unlike other such deeds, however, it does not record the descriptive detail of what Christ will inherit, but rather how He will regain His rightful inheritance. He will do so by means of the divine judgments about to be poured out on the earth (6:1ff.). While the scroll is a scroll of doom and judgment, it is also a scroll of redemption. It tells how Christ will redeem the world from the usurper, Satan, and those men and demons who have collaborated with him. [John F. MacArthur Jr., , MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 164.]
The scroll John saw in God’s hand is the title deed to the earth, which He will give to Christ. Unlike other such deeds, however, it does not record the descriptive detail of what Christ will inherit, but rather how He will regain His rightful inheritance. He will do so by means of the divine judgments about to be poured out on the earth (6:1ff.). While the scroll is a scroll of doom and judgment, it is also a scroll of redemption. It tells how Christ will redeem the world from the usurper, Satan, and those men and demons who have collaborated with him. [John F. MacArthur Jr., , MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 164.]
John F. MacArthur Jr., , MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 164.]
LaHaye - “Title Deed”
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It is evident at the outset that this is a scroll intensely related to the human race, for angelic beings are excluded from opening it. Instead the angel is looking for a human being. We therefore conclude that the book has something to do with human beings and their relationship to the earth, the home of the human race. In spite of that fact, no redeemed person in heaven, on earth, or under the earth (in Hades) is considered worthy to open the book.
The importance of the book is seen in the fact that John weeps when it is discovered that “no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.” What could cause a Spirit-filled man like John, lifted into heaven, to weep? These are not idle tears, induced because John just cannot satisfy his curiosity. No, his tears have a far deeper meaning!
The prophet Jeremiah warned Israel that if they did not repent of their sin and turn to God, they would go down into captivity for seventy years. Because they refused to heed the warning of God, their judgment was imminent. Through the same prophet of judgment, God promised that they would go down into captivity for seventy years but would one day return to the land. To prove to them that they would return, God told Jeremiah to do a strange thing. Hanamel, Jeremiah’s cousin, had a piece of ground that he knew would soon be worthless. Since Nebuchadnezzar was about to capture Jerusalem, God caused Hanamel to go to Jeremiah and offer to see it. Jeremiah bought the property for
seventeen shekels of silver. I signed and sealed the deed, had it witnessed, and weighed out the silver on the scales. I took the deed of purchase—the sealed copy containing the terms and conditions, as well as the unsealed copy—and I gave this deed to Baruch son of Neriah … in the presence of my cousin Hanamel and of the witnesses who had signed the deed and of all the Jews sitting in the courtyard of the guard.                      ()
The prophet then instructed his secretary, Baruch, to place the sealed scroll in an earthen jar, thus preserving it for his heirs. It was placed with the other papers, verifying the legal owners of property.
Although Jeremiah never lived to see the day when Israel went back into the land, his legal heir one day went before the proper authorities and, on the basis of his kinship to Jeremiah, proved that he was “worthy to open the book” and to own the property.
Essentially that is the scene in heaven. For all intents and purposes the seven-sealed scroll is the title deed to the earth. This title deed was given by God to Adam, who lost it through sin to Satan; for that reason Satan is in control of the world from the time of Adam until the glorious appearing of Christ. John weeps because he knows that this scroll represents the title deed to the earth and that as long as it is left sealed, Satan will remain in control of the earth. [Tim LaHaye, Revelation Unveiled (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010).]
Tim LaHaye, Revelation Unveiled (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010).]
Morris - “Title Deed”
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The Book of Destiny
The fifth chapter of Revelation is certainly one of the most glorious chapters ever penned. The grandeur of the setting is incomparable and the theme is nothing less than the very destiny of the world. Its Creator is seated on the glorious throne established high in earth’s atmosphere, encircled by the emerald rainbow and surrounded by the elders of redeemed humanity.
But the earth itself, depleted of its “salt” by the resurrection and rapture of all its saints, is more corrupt than ever, rapidly degenerating into a morass of wickedness and violence. The price for earth’s redemption was paid long ago on Calvary’s cross, but it is still bound tight in the power of the wicked one (), so that its actual redemption must still be accomplished. It is as though a man had purchased a tract of land, and had clear title to it legally but was barred from occupying it by unlawful usurpers who had settled on it.
Just so, earth’s final redemption is yet to come. “And when these things begin to come to pass,” Jesus said, “then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (). “Ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (, ). In this glorious fifth chapter of Revelation, earth’s great Redeemer is preparing to finish the task of purging the purchased world.
. And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
The majestic presence of God on the throne was hidden in the rainbow-hued light, but now it seemed as though a man’s right hand were there, clasping a most remarkable scroll. The scroll had writings on it, on both front and back. Then it was rolled tight and sealed with seven strong seals.
Henry M. Morris, The Revelation Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Prophetic Book of the End Times (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 1983), 95–96.
But what is this remarkable scroll? It is nothing less than the title deed to the earth itself. This is not explained in the immediate context, but it is clearly the antitype of all the rich typological teaching associated with the divinely specified procedures for land redemption in the Old Testament.
In the first place, the earth is permanently God’s possession by right of creation, and nothing can ever alter that fact. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods” (, ). In the type, this was signified by God’s permanent gift of a portion of His land to each family among His chosen people. “The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold” ().
Just as an Israelite could sell or lose his land for a time, so apparently Adam lost his God-given dominion over the earth. Satan became the “god of this world” (). But this situation could only be superficial and temporary, for “the earth hath he given to the children of men” ().
A lost estate in Israel could be redeemed by any kinsman with the purchase price. The only one able to redeem the earth, however, is the Creator Himself, and to be a kinsman of Adam, He must first become a man, the second Adam. The redemption price, furthermore, cannot be mere money. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you” ().
The sinless Lamb of God must take away the sin of the world (). But even after the price was paid, the great usurper must still be expelled from the redeemed estate before the redemption of the purchased possession would be complete. For a long time, however, the Lamb of God, the rightful owner, has been away in heaven, preparing a great city as a home for his redeemed ones, to bring back with Him when He returns to take possession of the earth.
This aspect is also pictured typologically in the Old Testament, this time in terms of the long absence of the whole nation of Judah from its land during the Babylonian captivity. In token of his faith that God would eventually restore the land to them, the prophet Jeremiah purchased a tract of land which he had the right as a kinsman-redeemer to buy, even though he knew the Babylonian invaders would usurp the land for seventy long years ().
The evidence of the transaction was to be buried until such time as the invaders were expelled and the rightful heirs could return to claim it. “And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances. So I took the evidence of the purchase, both that which was sealed according to the law and custom, and that which was open: And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle’s son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison. And I charged Baruch before them, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land” ().
The deed of sale was written and sealed. A duplicate was also made, the latter remaining open so as to bear testimony to what was in the sealed copy, and to be available for records and reference. The sealed copy, however, could only be opened by the rightful owner (as identified on the open copy), and the transaction was not fully consummated until he came forward to break the seals and exhibit the official title deed and right of ownership. In Jeremiah’s case, both copies were buried together, since there was no safe place for records to be kept, and Jeremiah knew that God would somehow direct his heirs back to claim their inheritance.
Whose World Is This?
This is the background of the marvelous drama that now unfolds in Revelation. The Lamb has paid the price to reclaim the lost world and has delivered over the title deed, as it were, for safekeeping to its Creator God until He could return to cast out the invader and consummate the full redemption of His dearly purchased possession.
The heavenly title scroll is one rather than two, but the import is the same. Its contents are evidently brief, recording only the fact that the price for the whole world has been paid and the Lamb has right to the inheritance, but it is sealed tight with seven seals. However, the same brief information appears openly to all, written on the backside, or outside, so there is no need for two scrolls. The word has been published to the whole creation if men would only believe it, that the Lamb is the Redeemer and some day will return to claim his possession and to be acknowledged universally as King of kings.
. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
First, however, it must be established in sight of all the heavenly host, as well as all the redeemed, that there was no one else qualified to claim the inheritance. An angel—no ordinary angel, but one of the highest in the heavenly host, perhaps Gabriel himself, a “strong” angel—proclaims with a thunderous voice, audible throughout the mighty company, that the time is at hand. The world has been plundered long enough by the great Adversary and he must be defeated and banished with all his followers, both human and demon, forever. But who and where is one who is both Kinsman and Redeemer, one who has both the right and the ability to take over “the uttermost parts of the earth [for His] possession” ()?
. And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
The identity of the rightful heir must be determined, and the description is very specific, perhaps spelled out clearly on the open side of the seven-sealed scroll. For one thing it must be a man, rather than an angel, for it was man’s lost estate that must be reclaimed. None of the angelic hosts in heaven, and certainly not the demonic hordes of Satan, can qualify.
But there are billions of men, including many of the saved, now in heaven around the throne. None of these, however, could qualify as the Redeemer because their very souls are included in the estate to be redeemed. Since man’s sin was the cause for which the world was lost, no man who is or was a sinner can buy it back. The price is a life of perfect holiness, with that life being offered through the shedding of its blood in substitutionary suffering and death for the world of sinners, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” ().
In all the world’s history, there has been “none righteous, no, not one” (). And if there are none in heaven who are qualified, still less qualified are the unredeemed still on the earth or under the earth in Hades. They are still in their sins. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” ().
None of the saints around the throne could even bring himself to dare look at the book, just to see whether he would qualify. They had all experienced the purifying fire of Christ’s presence and had been made like Him (). But this was by His grace only—not any merit of their own. The one who could open the scroll must do so by right of His own demonstrated—not imputed—merit.
Henry M. Morris, The Revelation Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Prophetic Book of the End Times (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 1983), 96–98.]
[Henry M. Morris, The Revelation Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Prophetic Book of the End Times (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 1983), 96–98.]
Hindson - “Title Deed”
The scroll was not a book of prophecy, or even the Book of Revelation, because they would not require worthiness to open it. It is the title deed to the earth, to which Christ has the right of ownership, both by way of creation and, even more, by way of redemption at Calvary. [Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll, eds., KJV Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994), 2670.]
The scroll was not a book of prophecy, or even the Book of Revelation, because they would not require worthiness to open it. It is the title deed to the earth, to which Christ has the right of ownership, both by way of creation and, even more, by way of redemption at Calvary. [Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll, eds., KJV Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994), 2670.]
Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll, eds., KJV Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994), 2670.
Thomas - “The counsels of God as revealed in the visions beginning at chapter 6”
Another issue of far-reaching exegetical import pertaining to biblion relates to its contents. A number of proposals have appeared. First, it represents the book of the New Covenant because the promised kingdom to be instituted in . is in fulfillment of that covenant (cf. ).14 This is unlikely, however, because the new covenant of Jeremiah is one of mercy, and the setting of this scroll is dominantly one of judgment.15 A second proposal has been that the scroll is a testament or will assuring that the inheritance is reserved by God for the saints.16 Several reasons support the plausibility of this interpretation. In that day a Roman will had to be sealed seven times to make it authentic, reminiscent of the seven seals on this scroll (Moffatt; Beckwith). Also, announces the inheritance of Christ and the saints who will reign with Him (cf. ) (Johnson). This explains the tone of tumultuous joy that prevails in , .e., an enthronement that initiates the new era of salvation (Beasley-Murray). The problem with this “inheritance” theory is that the Apocalypse nowhere else supports it. The only reference to an inheritance is in and is quite incidental (Moffatt). The seals and trumpets do not deal with the inheritance of the saints, but with the plagues of judgment to be heaped upon rebellious humanity (Ladd). This view fails, too, in its disagreement with the emphasis on overflowing judgment found in the context of Ezekiel, which appears to give rise to the scroll symbolism (Beasley-Murray).
Another issue of far-reaching exegetical import pertaining to biblion relates to its contents. A number of proposals have appeared. First, it represents the book of the New Covenant because the promised kingdom to be instituted in . is in fulfillment of that covenant (cf. ).14 This is unlikely, however, because the new covenant of Jeremiah is one of mercy, and the setting of this scroll is dominantly one of judgment.15 A second proposal has been that the scroll is a testament or will assuring that the inheritance is reserved by God for the saints.16 Several reasons support the plausibility of this interpretation. In that day a Roman will had to be sealed seven times to make it authentic, reminiscent of the seven seals on this scroll (Moffatt; Beckwith). Also, announces the inheritance of Christ and the saints who will reign with Him (cf. ) (Johnson). This explains the tone of tumultuous joy that prevails in , .e., an enthronement that initiates the new era of salvation (Beasley-Murray). The problem with this “inheritance” theory is that the Apocalypse nowhere else supports it. The only reference to an inheritance is in and is quite incidental (Moffatt). The seals and trumpets do not deal with the inheritance of the saints, but with the plagues of judgment to be heaped upon rebellious humanity (Ladd). This view fails, too, in its disagreement with the emphasis on overflowing judgment found in the context of Ezekiel, which appears to give rise to the scroll symbolism (Beasley-Murray).
A fourth explanation for biblion holds that it represents God’s redemptive plan foreshadowed in the OT and completed in the NT (Swete; Caird; Ford). This view fits the character of the Apocalypse as a sustained meditation on the OT in light of the Christian gospel (Caird). It also provides for the prominence of the death of Christ in chapter 5 (cf. vv. 6, 9), but it is particularly good in showing how God’s redemptive plan, foreshadowed in the OT, asserts His sovereignty over a sinful world and so achieves the purpose of creation (Caird). Yet the shortcomings of this view are even more persuasive. The opening of the seals does not relate to the past, i.e., the redemptive work of Christ’s death, as this view holds, but to things yet future at the time of writing (Alford). Nor does the view account for the obvious relation of the scroll to the wrathful contents of the Apocalypse itself (Beckwith). In other words, it is inconsistent with the process described, beginning in chapter 6 (Swete). Nevertheless, the view commendably notes an element that must not be missed, that somehow the scroll pertains to the accomplishment of God’s original purpose for His creation.
A third view is that the scroll represents the Lamb’s book of life so prominent elsewhere in Revelation (cf. 3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27) (Mounce). The fullness of the scroll (i.e., “written [upon], inside and on the back”) could point to the seemingly limitless number of names recorded therein (cf. ) (Ladd). If this were the meaning, however, John’s purpose in recording the book’s contents would be to divulge the identity of the redeemed, a purpose that is suggested nowhere in the Apocalypse (Caird). As the seals of this book are broken, only tribulation is divulged (Beckwith). The process of breaking the seals is meaningless unless it relates to the remainder of the Apocalypse (Caird).
A fourth explanation for biblion holds that it represents God’s redemptive plan foreshadowed in the OT and completed in the NT (Swete; Caird; Ford). This view fits the character of the Apocalypse as a sustained meditation on the OT in light of the Christian gospel (Caird). It also provides for the prominence of the death of Christ in chapter 5 (cf. vv. 6, 9), but it is particularly good in showing how God’s redemptive plan, foreshadowed in the OT, asserts His sovereignty over a sinful world and so achieves the purpose of creation (Caird). Yet the shortcomings of this view are even more persuasive. The opening of the seals does not relate to the past, i.e., the redemptive work of Christ’s death, as this view holds, but to things yet future at the time of writing (Alford). Nor does the view account for the obvious relation of the scroll to the wrathful contents of the Apocalypse itself (Beckwith). In other words, it is inconsistent with the process described, beginning in chapter 6 (Swete). Nevertheless, the view commendably notes an element that must not be missed, that somehow the scroll pertains to the accomplishment of God’s original purpose for His creation.
A fifth analysis of the scroll is that it represents Christ’s title-deed or contract-deed to the world.17 Favorable evidence for this explanation shows that it has much to offer in the formulation of a satisfactory solution. This kind of contract was known all over the Middle East in ancient times and was used by the Romans from the time of Nero on. The full contract would be written on the inner pages and sealed with seven seals. Then the content of the contract would be described briefly on the outside. All kinds of transactions were consummated this way, including marriage-contracts, rental and lease agreements, release of slaves, contract-bills, and bonds.18 Support comes also from Hebrew practices. The Hebrew document most closely resembling this scroll was a title-deed that was folded and signed, requiring at least three witnesses. A portion of text would be written, folded over and sealed, with a different witness signing at each fold. A larger number of witnesses meant that more importance was assigned to the document. Such a document was used to prolong the proceedings when writing a bill of divorce. It was also used in in the recovery of a lost estate (Bullinger). The similarity of biblion to the title-deed of makes it tempting to identify it as a title-deed to all creation, which was forfeited through the entrance of sin in and reclaimed by Christ through His redeeming death (Johnson). This fits the emphasis on creation in the song of and the note of great joy that prevails in (Beasley-Murray). This explanation approximates the true interpretation, but it still lacks one important element: it fails to account for the contents of the book as reflected in the seal-breaking process beginning in (Swete). An accurate analysis must account for the contents of the book as reflected in the Apocalypse itself (Beckwith).
A fifth analysis of the scroll is that it represents Christ’s title-deed or contract-deed to the world.17 Favorable evidence for this explanation shows that it has much to offer in the formulation of a satisfactory solution. This kind of contract was known all over the Middle East in ancient times and was used by the Romans from the time of Nero on. The full contract would be written on the inner pages and sealed with seven seals. Then the content of the contract would be described briefly on the outside. All kinds of transactions were consummated this way, including marriage-contracts, rental and lease agreements, release of slaves, contract-bills, and bonds.18 Support comes also from Hebrew practices. The Hebrew document most closely resembling this scroll was a title-deed that was folded and signed, requiring at least three witnesses. A portion of text would be written, folded over and sealed, with a different witness signing at each fold. A larger number of witnesses meant that more importance was assigned to the document. Such a document was used to prolong the proceedings when writing a bill of divorce. It was also used in in the recovery of a lost estate (Bullinger). The similarity of biblion to the title-deed of makes it tempting to identify it as a title-deed to all creation, which was forfeited through the entrance of sin in and reclaimed by Christ through His redeeming death (Johnson). This fits the emphasis on creation in the song of and the note of great joy that prevails in (Beasley-Murray). This explanation approximates the true interpretation, but it still lacks one important element: it fails to account for the contents of the book as reflected in the seal-breaking process beginning in (Swete). An accurate analysis must account for the contents of the book as reflected in the Apocalypse itself (Beckwith).
A sixth interpretation of the contents of biblion is the correct one. It contains the counsels of God as revealed in the visions beginning at chapter 6. Viewed from God’s perspective, these are the judgments that will fall upon the earth during a relatively brief period, eventually at their conclusion issuing in the coming of the promised Messiah and His kingdom. It is a “history” of the future that gives the successive steps leading to the inauguration of the world-kingdom of Christ.19 That an actual reading from the scrolls is nowhere recorded in the Apocalypse (Alford; Lee) is no serious problem to this view. The contents are enacted, not read. This is so obvious that elaboration is almost superfluous. Later discussions will show that the seventh seal contains the seven trumpet judgments (cf. ) and that the seventh trumpet contains the seven bowls of wrath () (Johnson), so here in this scroll is a comprehensive account of the future wrath of the Lamb (cf. 6:17). The horrors of the seal visions alone are sufficient to earn the title “the scroll of doom” (Moffatt). The relation of the scroll to the vision of chapter 4 makes clear the plan of Revelation: the eternal and almighty God of presents in this seven-sealed scroll the decrees of His will regarding the consummation of His kingdom (Beckwith). Subsequently, when the Lamb breaks the seals, it is not merely a disclosure of the scroll’s contents, but an activation of those contents (Caird).
A sixth interpretation of the contents of biblion is the correct one. It contains the counsels of God as revealed in the visions beginning at chapter 6. Viewed from God’s perspective, these are the judgments that will fall upon the earth during a relatively brief period, eventually at their conclusion issuing in the coming of the promised Messiah and His kingdom. It is a “history” of the future that gives the successive steps leading to the inauguration of the world-kingdom of Christ.19 That an actual reading from the scrolls is nowhere recorded in the Apocalypse (Alford; Lee) is no serious problem to this view. The contents are enacted, not read. This is so obvious that elaboration is almost superfluous. Later discussions will show that the seventh seal contains the seven trumpet judgments (cf. ) and that the seventh trumpet contains the seven bowls of wrath () (Johnson), so here in this scroll is a comprehensive account of the future wrath of the Lamb (cf. 6:17). The horrors of the seal visions alone are sufficient to earn the title “the scroll of doom” (Moffatt). The relation of the scroll to the vision of chapter 4 makes clear the plan of Revelation: the eternal and almighty God of presents in this seven-sealed scroll the decrees of His will regarding the consummation of His kingdom (Beckwith). Subsequently, when the Lamb breaks the seals, it is not merely a disclosure of the scroll’s contents, but an activation of those contents (Caird).
This appraisal of the scroll concurs with the nature of Ezekiel’s scroll containing “words of lament and mourning and woe” (Johnson). Daniel heard similar data from the angel (cf. ), but was not permitted to give detailed circumstances of the latter days (, ; cf. also ) (Bullinger; Moffatt). The hiddenness of the destiny of the world and the events of the last days spoken of in the OT (cf. ; ) is now about to end. Just as promised to John in , the seals will be broken and everything about the future revealed (cf. ; ) (Swete; Charles; Beckwith). The enactment of these events in the heavenly throne room supplies a pattern to be followed in the future fulfillment of God’s will when the very same events transpire in the reality of world history (Beckwith; Mounce). The purging effect of God’s wrath will touch the entire sphere of God’s creation (4:11; cf. ). The effects of sin will disappear, and earth will be restored to its rightful owner. The consequences of this scroll’s contents are immeasurable and eternal.
This appraisal of the scroll concurs with the nature of Ezekiel’s scroll containing “words of lament and mourning and woe” (Johnson). Daniel heard similar data from the angel (cf. ), but was not permitted to give detailed circumstances of the latter days (, ; cf. also ) (Bullinger; Moffatt). The hiddenness of the destiny of the world and the events of the last days spoken of in the OT (cf. ; ) is now about to end. Just as promised to John in , the seals will be broken and everything about the future revealed (cf. ; ) (Swete; Charles; Beckwith). The enactment of these events in the heavenly throne room supplies a pattern to be followed in the future fulfillment of God’s will when the very same events transpire in the reality of world history (Beckwith; Mounce). The purging effect of God’s wrath will touch the entire sphere of God’s creation (4:11; cf. ). The effects of sin will disappear, and earth will be restored to its rightful owner. The consequences of this scroll’s contents are immeasurable and eternal.
[14 Robert Govett, The Apocalypse Expounded by Scripture (London: Charles J. Thynne, 1920), p. 118.]
17 H. A. Ironside, Lectures on the Book of Revelation (New York: Loizeaux, n.d.), p. 88.
[15 E. W. Bullinger, The Apocalypse or “The Day of the Lord” (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, n.d.), p. 232.]
[16 Zahn, Introduction, 3:395–96; Moffatt, “Revelation,” p. 383; J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse, 3 vols. (New York: Charles C. Cook, 1909), 1:272; Beasley-Murray, Revelation, pp. 120–23.]
18 Ford, Revelation, p. 92; Beasley-Murray, Revelation, pp. 120–23. Apparently wills or testaments were not done in this format because their contents were always kept secret.
[17 H. A. Ironside, Lectures on the Book of Revelation (New York: Loizeaux, n.d.), p. 88.]
19 Swete, Apocalypse, p. 74; Alford, Greek Testament, 4:603; Bullinger, Apocalypse, p. 231; Beckwith, Apocalypse, p. 505; Scott, Revelation, p. 131; Lenski, Revelation, p. 194; William E. Biederwolf, The Millennium Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1967), p. 561; Scott, Revelation, p. 131; Ladd, Revelation, p. 81.
[18 Ford, Revelation, p. 92; Beasley-Murray, Revelation, pp. 120–23. Apparently wills or testaments were not done in this format because their contents were always kept secret.]
[19 Swete, Apocalypse, p. 74; Alford, Greek Testament, 4:603; Bullinger, Apocalypse, p. 231; Beckwith, Apocalypse, p. 505; Scott, Revelation, p. 131; Lenski, Revelation, p. 194; William E. Biederwolf, The Millennium Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1967), p. 561; Scott, Revelation, p. 131; Ladd, Revelation, p. 81.]
Robert L. Thomas, : An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 377–379.
[Robert L. Thomas, : An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 376–379.]
Gundry - “Title Deed” and “Description of the events that take place when the seals are broken one by one” (i. e. ch. 6ff)
Since nothing will happen till the seals are broken open, starting in chapter 6, the present writing on the outside probably characterizes the contents of the document rather than continuing its contents from the inside. But what kind of document is it? It can’t be read till all seven seals, which secure the exposed edge of the papyrus, are broken so as to unroll or unfold the papyrus. Yet with the breaking of each seal events take place despite this unreadability (until the last seal is broken, of course). Furthermore, it is sealing, not inability to read, that keeps things from happening (permanently in 10:4; for the time being in ; , ); and it is unsealing, not reading, that makes things happen (22:10). So the scroll is likely to contain descriptions of the events that take place when the seals are broken one by one. It will turn out that those events will constitute a gradual taking control of the earth away from those who persecute Christians living there, this in answer to the Christians’ prayers. We should therefore think of the scroll as a title deed to the earth.Securely sealed with seven seals,” seven being a number of completeness, stresses that only the rightful owner can validly take the title deed from the throne-sitter’s hand and break open the seals so as to wrest his property from usurpers (contrast the already opened scroll in ). To whom, then, does the earth rightfully belong? To whom has God deeded it? [Robert H. Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2010), 1012–1013.]
Since nothing will happen till the seals are broken open, starting in chapter 6, the present writing on the outside probably characterizes the contents of the document rather than continuing its contents from the inside. But what kind of document is it? It can’t be read till all seven seals, which secure the exposed edge of the papyrus, are broken so as to unroll or unfold the papyrus. Yet with the breaking of each seal events take place despite this unreadability (until the last seal is broken, of course). Furthermore, it is sealing, not inability to read, that keeps things from happening (permanently in 10:4; for the time being in ; , ); and it is unsealing, not reading, that makes things happen (22:10). So the scroll is likely to contain descriptions of the events that take place when the seals are broken one by one. It will turn out that those events will constitute a gradual taking control of the earth away from those who persecute Christians living there, this in answer to the Christians’ prayers. We should therefore think of the scroll as a title deed to the earth. “Securely sealed with seven seals,” seven being a number of completeness, stresses that only the rightful owner can validly take the title deed from the throne-sitter’s hand and break open the seals so as to wrest his property from usurpers (contrast the already opened scroll in ). To whom, then, does the earth rightfully belong? To whom has God deeded it? [Robert H. Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2010), 1012–1013.]
Robert H. Gundry, Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2010), 1012–1013.]
Strouse - “unveiling of future judgment on the world”
Of course, it stands to reason that the seven sealed-book holds the unveiling about the future judgment on the world (cf. ; .). Only the Sovereign Judge of all creation has the authority to open the seven Seal judgments upon His creation. [Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 231–232.]
Of course, it stands to reason that the seven sealed-book holds the unveiling about the future judgment on the world (cf. ; .). Only the Sovereign Judge of all creation has the authority to open the seven Seal judgments upon His creation. [Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 231–232.]
Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 231–232.]

II. John Sees the Mighty Messenger ().

A. Who Is Worthy? ()

Revelation 5:2 KJV 1900
2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
Rev.
1. The Strong Angel’s Loud Proclamation
Some have suggested this mighty angel is one of the several archangels, perhaps Gabriel, or more likely Michael. The latter is involved in the direct context of and the ‘recording’ of the title-deed of the earth at the courthouse of heaven. [David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Hebrews through Revelation, vol. 11, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministries, 2007), 398.]
Some have suggested this mighty angel is one of the several archangels, perhaps Gabriel, or more likely Michael. The latter is involved in the direct context of and the ‘recording’ of the title-deed of the earth at the courthouse of heaven.
David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Hebrews through Revelation, vol. 11, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministries, 2007), 398.
2. The Strong Angel’s Piercing Question
Interestingly, the word John employs to describe the action of the strong angel is kērussō, one of the two major words used in the Greek New Testament to describe preaching. Actually, the kērux was a relatively common character in Greco-Roman society, particularly in the day of the Greek city-state.16 The kērux almost always possessed an unusually good vocal instrument, which like the “town crier” he used to assemble people for whatever reason or to deliver important messages to courts or to the people in general. He was responsible for pacifying large crowds and for establishing peace and order. Here the word probably has the sense of announcing. So the angel announces the question, “Who is worthy to break the seals?” {[16 Friedrich, TDNT 3:683–96.] [Paige Patterson, Revelation, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 39, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 162–163.]}
Interestingly, the word John employs to describe the action of the strong angel is kērussō, one of the two major words used in the Greek New Testament to describe preaching. Actually, the kērux was a relatively common character in Greco-Roman society, particularly in the day of the Greek city-state.16 The kērux almost always possessed an unusually good vocal instrument, which like the “town crier” he used to assemble people for whatever reason or to deliver important messages to courts or to the people in general. He was responsible for pacifying large crowds and for establishing peace and order. Here the word probably has the sense of announcing. So the angel announces the question, “Who is worthy to break the seals?” {[16 Friedrich, TDNT 3:683–96.] [Paige Patterson, Revelation, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 39, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 162–163.]}
{[16 Friedrich, TDNT 3:683–96.] [Paige Patterson, Revelation, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 39, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 162–163.]}
Paige Patterson, Revelation, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 39, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 162–163.]

B. No One Is Found Worthy ().

Revelation 5:3 KJV 1900
3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
Note - Thomas’ description of “worth”
a
The adjective axios (“worthy”) originally meant “of proper weight,” but its meaning developed to cover qualities other than weight. It is a synonym of ἱκανος (hikanos, “sufficient,” competent,” or “fit”). Both words refer to quality of being, person, power, or attainment.32 The shade of difference between them is that worthiness (ἀξιώτης [axiōtēs]) is the inner ethical presupposition of the ability (ἱκανώτης [hikanōtēs]) to open this seven-sealed scroll. The worthiness required for this is so great that no created being can even contemplate it, much less attain it (Bullinger).
[32 Alford, Greek Testament, 4:606; Charles, Revelation, 1:139; Beckwith, Apocalypse, p. 508; Lenski, Revelation, p. 194. A comparison of ἱκανός in with its parallel ἄξιος in shows the close relationship between the two words. Another interesting comparison is τίς ἄξιος here with τίς ἱκανός in .]
[Robert L. Thomas, : An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 382.]
Note - was able = capable (as opposed to exousia - authority)
dunamai (δύναμαι, 1410), “to be able, to have power,” whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, e.g., ; or through a state of mind, or through favorable circumstances, e.g., ; or by permission of law or custom, e.g., , ; or simply “to be able, powerful,” ; , etc. [W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 3.]
dunamai (δύναμαι, 1410), “to be able, to have power,” whether by virtue of one’s own ability and resources, e.g., ; or through a state of mind, or through favorable circumstances, e.g., ; or by permission of law or custom, e.g., , ; or simply “to be able, powerful,” ; , etc. [W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 3.]
W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 3.]

C. A Reason for Much Weeping ().

Revelation 5:4 KJV 1900
4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
Isaiah 34:16 KJV 1900
16 Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: No one of these shall fail, None shall want her mate: For my mouth it hath commanded, And his spirit it hath gathered them.
a
Is. 34:
Note - NICNT’s concise summary:
In any case, no one is found able to open the book or to look into its contents. 4 It appears that the promise of 4:1 (“Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this”) is about to be thwarted. Unless the seals are broken and the scroll of destiny unrolled, God’s plan for the universe will be frustrated. Hence the Seer10 breaks out in unrestrained weeping.11 All suggestions that John wept out of disappointment for his own sake are unworthy of the Seer. He wept at the prospect of an indefinite postponement of God’s final and decisive action. The universe itself was morally incapable of effecting its own destiny.12
4 It appears that the promise of 4:1 (“Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this”) is about to be thwarted. Unless the seals are broken and the scroll of destiny unrolled, God’s plan for the universe will be frustrated. Hence the Seer10 breaks out in unrestrained weeping.11 All suggestions that John wept out of disappointment for his own sake are unworthy of the Seer. He wept at the prospect of an indefinite postponement of God’s final and decisive action. The universe itself was morally incapable of effecting its own destiny.12
[10 1006 1611c 1841 2351 MajTK; Cyp add ἐγώ to identify the subject. Since ἔκλαιον is third person plural as well as first person singular, the subject could be those surveyed in v. 3.]
[11 Cf. for a similar use of κλαίω.]
[12 Hughes writes that “this tragic inability was attributable not to lack of physical strength but to moral incompetence” (78).]
[Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 131.]
Note - Criswell’s moving exposition of John’s tears in heaven
W. A. Criswell explains why John wept:
[John’s tears] represent the tears of all God’s people through all the centuries. Those tears of the Apostle John are the tears of Adam and Eve, driven out of the Garden of Eden, as they bowed over the first grave, as they watered the dust of the ground with their tears over the silent, still form of their son, Abel. Those are the tears of the children of Israel in bondage as they cried unto God in their affliction and slavery. They are the tears of God’s elect through the centuries as they cried unto heaven. They are the sobs and tears that have been wrung from the heart and soul of God’s people as they looked on their silent dead, as they stand beside their open graves, as they experience in the trials and sufferings of life, heartaches and disappointments indescribable. Such is the curse that sin has laid upon God’s beautiful creation; and this is the damnation of the hand of him who holds it, that usurper, that interloper, that intruder, that alien, that stranger, that dragon, that serpent, that Satan-devil. “And I wept audibly,” for the failure to find a Redeemer meant that this earth in its curse is consigned forever to death. It meant that death, sin, damnation and hell should reign forever and ever and the sovereignty of God’s earth should remain forever in the hands of Satan. (Expository Sermons on Revelation [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1969], 3:69–70)
[John F. MacArthur Jr., , MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 165.]

D. Our Conqueror Is Worthy! ()

Revelation 5:5 KJV 1900
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

1. Compassionate but Commanding Counsel

a
Finally, after John’s “much” (polla.)776 weeping, one of the elders began to comfort and counsel the Apostle John.777
[776 This adjective comes from polus (424x) and suggests a lengthy time of crying (cf. ). The NET is wrongheaded as it attempts to describe the quality of weeping rather than the quantity, saying, “I began weeping bitterly.”]
[777 It is significant that a presbuteros, representing the Lord’s assembly members (cf. et al), ministered to John in his heavenly vision. This seems to teach that the Lord’s shepherds will continue to have a similar pastoral ministry throughout eternity.]
[Thomas M. Strouse, To the Seven Churches: A Commentary on the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ, Selected Works of Dr. Thomas M. Strouse (Bible Baptist Theological Press, 40 Country Squire Rd., Cromwell, CT 06461, 2013), 233.]
Note - The particulars of his counsel = “Cease to weep” then, “Look at Jesus...”, then “Consider God’s Promises”, then “Comfort yourself in His ability and authority.”
It was one of the members of the Christian church, who was near the throne of God, had communion with him, and knowledge of his will, who in this visionary way is represented as comforting John under his sorrow and concern, and giving him information: and sometimes persons of superior abilities may receive instruction from meaner persons, as did Apollos from Aquila and Priscilla: the same said unto John, weep not; cease sorrowing, don’t be cast down, nor despair: [John Gill, An Exposition of the New Testament, vol. 3, The Baptist Commentary Series (London: Mathews and Leigh, 1809), 724.]
It was one of the members of the Christian church, who was near the throne of God, had communion with him, and knowledge of his will, who in this visionary way is represented as comforting John under his sorrow and concern, and giving him information: and sometimes persons of superior abilities may receive instruction from meaner persons, as did Apollos from Aquila and Priscilla: the same said unto John, weep not; cease sorrowing, don’t be cast down, nor despair: [John Gill, An Exposition of the New Testament, vol. 3, The Baptist Commentary Series (London: Mathews and Leigh, 1809), 724.]
John Gill, An Exposition of the New Testament, vol. 3, The Baptist Commentary Series (London: Mathews and Leigh, 1809), 724.]
Note - When someone is in need of comfort, the first place we must turn their gaze is upon Jesus!
Essentially the same directive came from Jesus’ lips twice, once on the occasion of raising the widow’s son at Nain (),
Lk. 7:13
Luke 7:13 KJV 1900
13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
and again when He was about to raise Jairus’s daughter from the dead ().
Essentially the same directive came from Jesus’ lips twice, once on the occasion of raising the widow’s son at Nain (), and again when He was about to raise Jairus’s daughter from the dead (). Weeping was not fitting on those occasions because of what Jesus was about to do—raise people from death. It was unfitting for John because of what Jesus was about to do—open the seven-sealed scroll: [Robert L. Thomas, : An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 386–387.]
Luke 8:52 KJV 1900
52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.
Robert L. Thomas, : An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 386–387.
Weeping was not fitting on those occasions because of what Jesus was about to do—raise people from death. It was unfitting for John because of what Jesus was about to do—open the seven-sealed scroll: [Robert L. Thomas, : An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 386–387.]

a. Behold the Word of God - the Person of Christ

Weeping is turned to joy when one of the elders points out the One able to open the book and the seals. [Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll, eds., KJV Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994), 2670.]
Weeping is turned to joy when one of the elders points out the One able to open the book and the seals. [Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll, eds., KJV Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994), 2670.]
The redeemer had to be near of kin, willing to redeem, and able to redeem. Jesus Christ meets all of the qualifications. He became flesh, so He is our Kinsman. He loves us and is willing to redeem; and He paid the price, so He is able to redeem. [Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 584.]
The redeemer had to be near of kin, willing to redeem, and able to redeem. Jesus Christ meets all of the qualifications. He became flesh, so He is our Kinsman. He loves us and is willing to redeem; and He paid the price, so He is able to redeem. [Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 584.]
Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 584.

b. Believe the word of God - the Promise of Christ

Note - The Lion & Root - The Fierce Prince of Bethlehem!
Lion that is from the tribe of Judah. This was an expression for the Messiah in early Judaism () and Christianity (Justin, Dial. 52.2). Judah, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, is called a lion (), and is the tribe from which Jesus is descended (; ; cf. Pss. Sol. 17:21). Root of David is similarly an expression for the Messiah taken from Judaism (cf. ; ; ; 4Q252 5:3–4; 4Q 285 7:1–4; cf. , ). [Evans and Bubeck, BKBC, 365.]
Lion that is from the tribe of Judah. This was an expression for the Messiah in early Judaism () and Christianity (Justin, Dial. 52.2). Judah, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, is called a lion (), and is the tribe from which Jesus is descended (; ; cf. Pss. Sol. 17:21). Root of David is similarly an expression for the Messiah taken from Judaism (cf. ; ; ; 4Q252 5:3–4; 4Q 285 7:1–4; cf. , ). [Evans and Bubeck, BKBC, 365.]
[Craig A. Evans and Craig A. Bubeck, eds., John’s Gospel, Hebrews–Revelation, First Edition., The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary (Colorado Springs, CO; Paris, ON; Eastbourne: David C Cook, 2005), 365.]
The first term pictures Him as a Hebrew and the fiercest of a fierce and royal tribe (). The second reiterates this physical and royal descent while connecting Him with David, himself a royal offspring of Judah, and recipient of a covenant ultimately fulfilled by the Root who now appeared (). His victory connected Him with His followers among the seven churches who had been charged to overcome in the midst of great difficulty. [Daniel D. Green, “Revelation,” in The Moody Bible Commentary, ed. Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 2008.]
Note - NAC on Christ’s Preexistence
The first term pictures Him as a Hebrew and the fiercest of a fierce and royal tribe (). The second reiterates this physical and royal descent while connecting Him with David, himself a royal offspring of Judah, and recipient of a covenant ultimately fulfilled by the Root who now appeared (). His victory connected Him with His followers among the seven churches who had been charged to overcome in the midst of great difficulty. [Daniel D. Green, “Revelation,” in The Moody Bible Commentary, ed. Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 2008.]
That he is both the Root and the offspring of David is possible because of the Lord’s preexistence. [Paige Patterson, Revelation, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 39, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 166.]
That he is both the Root and the offspring of David is possible because of the Lord’s preexistence. [Paige Patterson, Revelation, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 39, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 166.]

2. Comfort from Christ

The word translated as prevailed (nikao) is most commonly translated as ‘overcame,’ ‘conquered,’ or ‘won the victory.’ Thus in light of the repeated promises in the preceding chapters for overcoming, it is made clear that our Lord in fact overcame on our behalf. John therefore had no cause for sorrow. There was One indeed who had the authority and prerogative to take the deed to the earth and do as He saw fit. [Sorenson, 399.]
Note - Prevailing Power & Authority
Daniel D. Green, “Revelation,” in The Moody Bible Commentary, ed. Michael A. Rydelnik and Michael Vanlaningham (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2014), 2008.
That it was His right had been proved because He had prevailed to open the book. This is the same word used for “overcome” in the letters to the churches, and also for “triumphed” in , : “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” [Henry M. Morris, The Revelation Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Prophetic Book of the End Times (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 1983), 99–100.]
That it was His right had been proved because He had prevailed to open the book. This is the same word used for “overcome” in the letters to the churches, and also for “triumphed” in , : “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” [Henry M. Morris, The Revelation Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Prophetic Book of the End Times (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 1983), 99–100.]
Henry M. Morris, The Revelation Record: A Scientific and Devotional Commentary on the Prophetic Book of the End Times (Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale, 1983), 99–100.]
Note - hath prevailed = aorist active indicative - punctiliarly - Jesus Christ had conquered, once for all, on Calvary.
John 16:33 KJV 1900
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
punctiliarly - one time defeat of evil in the past.
John 19:30 KJV 1900
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
J
1 John 5:4–5 KJV 1900
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
Note - the order - to openand to loose - kai - epexegetical - ascensive = “even” to loose; He [Christ] then not merely has the ability to open the book, but also the authority as the Testator to officially and lawfully break open the seal.
The sequence of actions in anoixai to biblion kai lysai tas sphragidas autou (“to open the scroll, even to break its seals”) is unusual because one would normally break the seals of a scroll before opening it. Several have rendered the kai by “and” rather than “even” and cited this as another example of hysteron proteron.34 The reason for the reversed order is, according to this view, that the content of the scroll is of first importance and the breaking of the seals is only an incidental step in discovering those contents (Mounce). This misses the point of the figure of speech called hysteron proteron, however. When the opening of the scroll is placed first because it is the first necessity, the “last-first” terminology does not apply (Swete). Because of this last observation, some contend that this is only an apparent hysteron proteron (Swete). This too falls somewhat short of the mark, however, because the opening of the scroll and the breaking of the seals are so nearly identical as demonstrated in . The best solution is to understand kai as epexegetical, meaning “even,” and the breaking of the seals as a closer specification of what is involved in opening the scroll (Lenski). In 5:5, a comparable construction with an epexegetical kai occurs: “to open the scroll, even its seven seals.” These words show that the opening and the breaking are essentially the same actions. {[34 Charles, Revelation, 1:139; Beckwith, Apocalypse, p. 508; Robertson, Word Pictures, 6:333.] [Robert L. Thomas, : An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 383.]}
The sequence of actions in anoixai to biblion kai lysai tas sphragidas autou (“to open the scroll, even to break its seals”) is unusual because one would normally break the seals of a scroll before opening it. Several have rendered the kai by “and” rather than “even” and cited this as another example of hysteron proteron.34 The reason for the reversed order is, according to this view, that the content of the scroll is of first importance and the breaking of the seals is only an incidental step in discovering those contents (Mounce). This misses the point of the figure of speech called hysteron proteron, however. When the opening of the scroll is placed first because it is the first necessity, the “last-first” terminology does not apply (Swete). Because of this last observation, some contend that this is only an apparent hysteron proteron (Swete). This too falls somewhat short of the mark, however, because the opening of the scroll and the breaking of the seals are so nearly identical as demonstrated in . The best solution is to understand kai as epexegetical, meaning “even,” and the breaking of the seals as a closer specification of what is involved in opening the scroll (Lenski). In 5:5, a comparable construction with an epexegetical kai occurs: “to open the scroll, even its seven seals.” These words show that the opening and the breaking are essentially the same actions. {[34 Charles, Revelation, 1:139; Beckwith, Apocalypse, p. 508; Robertson, Word Pictures, 6:333.] [Robert L. Thomas, : An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 383.]}
{[34 Charles, Revelation, 1:139; Beckwith, Apocalypse, p. 508; Robertson, Word Pictures, 6:333.] [Robert L. Thomas, : An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 383.]}
[Robert L. Thomas, : An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1992), 383.]
It is a Federal Offense, and prosecutable felony to tamper with official Post Office mail:
Whoever steals, takes, or abstracts, or by fraud or deception obtains, or attempts so to obtain, from or out of any mail, post office, or station thereof, letter box, mail receptacle, or any mail route or other authorized depository for mail matter, or from a letter or mail carrier, any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail, or abstracts or removes from any such letter, package, bag, or mail, any article or thing contained therein, or secretes, embezzles, or destroys any such letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail, or any article or thing contained therein; or
Whoever steals, takes, or abstracts, or by fraud or deception obtains any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail, or any article or thing contained therein which has been left for collection upon or adjacent to a collection box or other authorized depository of mail matter; or
Whoever buys, receives, or conceals, or unlawfully has in his possession, any letter, postal card, package, bag, or mail, or any article or thing contained therein, which has been so stolen, taken, embezzled, or abstracted, as herein described, knowing the same to have been stolen, taken, embezzled, or abstracted—
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 779; May 24, 1949, ch. 139, § 39, 63 Stat. 95; July 1, 1952, ch. 535, 66 Stat. 314; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(I), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2147.)
The word translated as prevailed (nikaw nikao) is most commonly translated as ‘overcame,’ ‘conquered,’ or ‘won the victory.’ Thus in light of the repeated promises in the preceding chapters for overcoming, it is made clear that our Lord in fact overcame on our behalf. John therefore had no cause for sorrow. There was One indeed who had the authority and prerogative to take the deed to the earth and do as He saw fit. [David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Hebrews through Revelation, vol. 11, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministries, 2007), 399.]
The word translated as prevailed (nikao) is most commonly translated as ‘overcame,’ ‘conquered,’ or ‘won the victory.’ Thus in light of the repeated promises in the preceding chapters for overcoming, it is made clear that our Lord in fact overcame on our behalf. John therefore had no cause for sorrow. There was One indeed who had the authority and prerogative to take the deed to the earth and do as He saw fit. [Sorenson, 399.]
David H. Sorenson, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary - Hebrews through Revelation, vol. 11, Understanding the Bible, An Independent Baptist Commentary (Northstar Ministries, 2007), 399.]

Conclusion:

John’s pitiful sorrow and hopeless remorse turned to ecstatic delight when his elder counselor showed him Jesus, our Conqueror.
No one else could ever overcome what Jesus has. Turn your gaze toward Him, and behold the glorious Lion of Judah, David's Root.
The best way that we can help those who remorse over their hopeless condition is to point them toward Jesus, and help them set their affection on Him.
Through the Bible Day by Day: A Devotional Commentary, Volumes I–VII $11. The Book with Seven Seals (Revelation 5:1–8)

What contrasts presented themselves! The Apostle looked for a lion, and behold, a lamb; for one who had overcome, and instead, one who had the appearance of having been slain; for one who had the majesty of a king, and instead, the emblem of humility. But in the lamb were the seven horns of perfect power, seven eyes of perfect wisdom, and seven spirits traversing the world, denoting omnipresence. What homage can be offered worthy of this combination of Redeemer and Creator?

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