Who Is Worthy To Open The Scroll & Break Its Seals
Revelation 5:2 "A strong angel asks "And I saw a strong angel announcing in a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll? And [who is entitled and deserves and is morally fit] to break its seals? 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in the realm of the dead, Hades] was able to open the scroll or to take a [single] look at its contents. 4 And I wept audibly and bitterly because no one was found fit to open the scroll or to inspect it."
History of What the Scroll Is about
We find the answer in the Old Testament which tells us about the scrolls. In Jeremiah 32 the Lord tells Jeremiah to buy land and legalize the transaction. The way they legalized it was to write the details on the inside, the conditions on the outside, and seal it with seven seals. The scroll could only be opened by someone who was of the proper authority.
Ezekiel 2:9 And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. 10 And He spread it before me and it was written within and on the back, and written on it were words of lamentation and mourning and woe.
This applied to many things including if a Jewish family lost their land and possessions through distress. Their losses would be listed on the inside of the scroll and sealed seven times, then the conditions to redeem their things would be written on the outside. When someone was found who met all the requirements, they would redeem the families belongings and land back to them.
"Sealing a scroll was a common and important practice in Biblical times. The wills of both Emperor Vespasian and Caesar Augustus were secured with seven seals."
"For such a document, a scribe would procure a long roll of parchment and begin writing. After a period of writing he would stop, roll the parchment enough to cover his words and seal the scroll at that point with wax. Then he would resume writing, stop again, roll the scroll, and add another seal. By the time he was finished, he would have sealed the scroll seven times. The scrolls would be read a section at a time, after each seal was opened."
"Why was this process used? Evidently it was to prevent unauthorized persons from tampering with the scroll or reading and revealing its contents. Only a "worthy" person -- that is, someone with proper authority -- could have legal access to the scroll's message."
" When a Jewish family was required to forfeit its land and possessions through some distress, the property could not be permanently taken from them. Their losses were listed in a scroll and sealed seven times, then the conditions necessary to purchase back the land and possessions were written on the outside of the scroll. When a qualified redeemer could be found to meet the requirements of reclamation, the one to whom the property had been forfeited was obligated to return the possessions to the original owner." ( philologos.org )
The scroll in Revelation 5 has the same characteristics as the scroll in Jeremiah 32 and Ezekiel 2:9. They were written on the inside, outside, and had seven seals. This is the representation of a legal document that is for buying back all of creation. The conditions by which the earth will be redeemed back to what it was before the fall of man, when the earth was cursed as well as, mankind is written on the outside. So when Christ breaks the seals, this will be the redeeming of all creation.
What The Scroll Represents
Revelation 4 and 5 are one theme, which is the worship of God. In Revelation 5 John sees something that he had not seen. John sees the open hand of God and with a scroll (book) in His hand.
Once John sees the scroll, he hears "who is worthy to open the scroll"? The answer, no one because of this John began to weep so strongly that he could be heard. Why was John weeping and what did this represent?
W.A. Criswell - Such is the curse that sin laid on 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-death. And John wept audibly for the failure to find a redeemer because it meant that this earth and its curse is consigned forever to death. It meant that death and sin and damnation and hell should reign forever and ever and the sovereingty of God's earth should remain forever in the hands of Satan. ( wacriswell.com )
So, John wept. Then one of the elders went to John and told him, stop weeping. Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, He is able to open the scroll and break the seals.
Revelation 5:9 "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth." 11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" 13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" 14 The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.
Who is the Lion of Judah - Genesis 49:9 Judah, a lion’s cub! With the prey, my son, you have gone high up [the mountain]. He stooped down, he crouched like a lion, and like a lioness—who dares provoke and rouse him? 10 The scepter or leadership shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh [the Messiah, the Peaceful One] comes to Whom it belongs, and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
Jacob is telling not only the future of his sons but the prophetic future of the eternal rule of Shiloh. Shiloh means - the Messiah, Peaceful One. Shiloh is also the Lion of Tribe Judah. So Jacob was describing a prophetic event that John witnesses in heaven.
Revelation 22:16 I, Jesus, have sent My messenger (angel) to you to witness and to give you assurance of these things for the churches (assemblies). I am the Root (the Source) and the Offspring of David, the radiant and brilliant Morning Star.
Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David.
Who did John see, Revelation 5:6 "And there between the throne and the four living creatures (beings) and among the elders [of the heavenly Sanhedrin] 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 [the sevenfold Holy Spirit] Who have been sent [on duty far and wide] into all the earth."
John sees the Christ, perfect lamb that was slain. He sees the markings of death on his body and yet He is alive and eternal. Jesus is now standing with the scroll in His hand to open the seals and redeem all of creation from the curse. We will see from Revelation chapter 6 to 19 a detailed description of how the earth is redeemed and Christ rules forever. God's judgment upon the earth will come, the curse will be lifted, sin will be abolished, and Satan and his followers will be cast away forever.
Biblegateway.com (we use Bible verses from this site)