Chapter 5 The Scroll

End-time events begin with a dramatic scene playing out in God’s throne room. An ancient scroll that is perfectly sealed, with seven seals, must be opened. This scroll is a critical document; some have called it the deed to planet earth. This scroll has also been referred to as the redemptive plan of God. In practical terms, think of a rolled millenniums-old paper sealed with seven pieces of tape, whose adhesive has made removing the seven seals impossible, as the paper would be torn. This situation is similar to the seven seals on this most critical document.

At the beginning of this drama, John is transported to God’s throne room to provide a first-hand account of the end-times. After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” (Revelation 4:1) From God’s throne room John observed epic world events centuries ahead of time.

John sees God seated on a throne in heaven (Revelation 4:2). God is described in terms of the reflection and brilliance of precious stones (Revelation 4:3). Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white garments, and golden crowns on their heads. (Revelation 4:4) The elders are dressed as Jesus had promised the seven churches, with white clothing like Sardis, and crowns like Smyrna.

Four angels surround the throne. The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within (Revelation 4:7-8a). These four angels are a composite of high-ranking cherubim and seraphim; they are an exalted order of angels (Ezekiel 1:5-25Isaiah 6:1-4).

As the twenty-four elders lay their crowns before the throne, they demonstrate that the honor of wearing crowns belong to God alone: the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” (Revelation 4:10-11)

Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. (Revelation 5:1; NIV) The scroll is in God’s right hand to underscore power and authority. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. (Revelation 5:2-3; NIV)

John understood the need for God to finish his redemptive plan, so when no one came forward, he wept. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. (Revelation 5:4; NIV) The issue is not whether anyone is strong enough, but whether anyone is worthy enough to break the seals. These seals must be broken to read the document, for the document to take effect.

Soon the announcement comes that Jesus is worthy to execute God’s plan. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5; NIV) The reclaiming of the earth is initiated through the opening of the seven seals. As each seal is broken, God’s plan is advanced (Revelation 6:1-17; 8:1).

Jesus, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, was on the throne. John was expecting a lion to come forward; instead he sees a lamb come forward to break the seals. Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. (Revelation 5:6a; NIV) The Father relinquishes possession of the scroll to Jesus. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. (Revelation 5:7; NIV)