As John’s vision of the throne of God continued, he saw a scroll in God’s hand. Verses 1-4 read,
“Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.”
The word used here and translated as scroll means a small written document. It is a decree or proclamation. It is the same word used in Luke 4:17 when Jesus takes the scroll and reads the Scripture from Isaiah. It is the word used by John in John 20:30 to describe the Scripture of the gospel he had just written. It is used to describe scripture, The Law, and books in Galatians 3:10, 2 Timothy 4:13, and other places. And in Revelation 13:8 it is the word used to describe the Book of Life of the Lamb where the names of the redeemed were recorded before God created the world. When the seals are opened in Revelation, we are not told what the scroll says. But I believe the scroll is the Book of Life of the Lamb, the royal proclamation that we are sealed and saved by His blood. Whatever it is, it is the word of God, His decree and His will.
But who is worthy to open the scroll, to carry out this great culmination of God’s word? No one in heaven or on earth was found worthy. Romans 3:10-11 read,
“as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.”
And John wept and wept over the situation that no one would be able to open the scroll and make God’s word known. But verses 5-7 read,
“And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.”
Jesus is there in their midst, both on the throne as God and next to the throne as the lamb. The lamb is actually described as the little lamb here with the wounds of His crucifixion still visible. A wounded little lamb does not look powerful. He appears fragile, but He is powerful and the only one able to open the scroll. He was killed, but He is alive. And more than alive He is has seven horns and seven eyes. What are the seven horns of the lamb? The horn represents power. In the Bible the horn is the strength of the animal and in visions the horn represents kingship and authority. Seven is the number for completion. So although the little lamb had been fatally wounded and was alive, He had perfect and complete power and authority.
His seven eyes represent His perfect mind, His complete knowledge and understanding of everything. He knows us completely and He teaches us completely (John 14:26). Jesus power and mind are The Holy Spirit (See commentary on Revelation 4 regarding the seven spirits). God is always God, the trinity of The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in perfect unity. He cannot be separated from Himself. The Son is always in the Father and the Father is always in the Son. The Holy Spirit is always on Jesus and expressed through Jesus. He is always the perfect power of The Father. The works of the Spirit are the Father’s works. In John 14:10-17 Jesus describes it this way.
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.
12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. 13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.”
When Jesus took the scroll Heaven erupted in joy and elation. Verses 8-10 read,
“And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
Because Jesus died, He ransomed that is redeemed, rescued, and released people for God from all over the world, from every people. He didn’t leave us victims or slaves but made us a kingdom and priests for Himself. We were once many peoples separately, now we are a kingdom united, chosen by God and for God. We are His and He is ours. 1 Peter 2-9-10 says,
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
What a reason to praise Him! The elders sang a new song. Up to then they had sung,
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11).
For creation was the first part of God’s plan. The plan is finished in the Slain and Risen Lamb. The elders sang their new song of praise for salvation and then all the angels of Heaven joined in. Verses 11-14 read,
“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”
14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.”
Believer, consider what Jesus, the Slain and Living Lamb has done for you. He knows you perfectly, He loves you perfectly. He redeemed you completely. He has given you His Spirit, His power, authority and mind. And He has made you His chosen people, a Kingdom of priests. Praise Him and worship Him for what He has done, for the accomplishing of His will. Proclaim it to everyone, everywhere.