The Scroll in God’s Right Hand
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (9) After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching, and they could no longer see him. (10) As they strained to see him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. (11) “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Acts 1:8-11-NLT)
Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me. (2) There is more than enough room in My Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? (3) When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. (John 14:1-6-NLT)
During the month of October, I’ve dedicated my Sunday morning ministry to talking about the sequence of events in the coming of Jesus Christ back to earth. Over the last year and a half, I’ve done some fairly intensive study on this subject that I’ve studied for over 25 years. Things have changed in my belief system with respect to the timing of the rapture and the events that will culminate in the second coming of Christ to the earth to set up His millennial reign. Over the next few days, my goal is to provide a synopsis of the major points that I’ve taught on Sundays.
To introduce my revised thinking, I’m going to look at four chapters (4,5,6,and 7) primarily in the book of Revelation to form a backdrop for what I believe the Lord has shown me. And let me say here with a bit of chagrin that for the first time in my life, the events of Jesus’ return fit together for me like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle creating a clear image of what is to come.
In the latter part of the first century A.D., the aged Apostle John was banish to the isle of Patmos off the coast of Greece in the Aegean Sea because of His faith in Jesus Christ. There he received the vision of the future found in the book of Revelation (Greek- apokalupsis, and unveiling). Because God is Omniscient, all knowing, and because God is also Eternal, He sees everything past, present, and future as right now! So God gave John a part of His all-knowing about future things and we are privileged that the Father added this to the Word of God for our comfort and instruction.
After revealing Himself to John in chapter 1 of The Revelation, Jesus addresses the churches of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey) in chapters 2 and 3 about their condition before Him, and the things that they need to adjust to be fully pleasing to Him.
Then, in chapter 4, John in his vision is taken to heaven and sees the throne of God, with its rainbow of colors, and the huge, magnificent angels before Him crying out Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty…Chapter 4 ends with the emphasis of this chapter being God’s ownership of all things: You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” (Rev 4:11-NKJV).
Then, in Revelation 5, it is revealed that God has a scroll in His right hand as He is seated on His throne. I submit to you that this scroll is God’s title deed to planet earth!
Remember that God gave mankind authority under His all authority to rule over planet earth and to take care of it (Genesis 1:26-27). When Adam and Eve sinned, this authority was immediately transferred to Satan, who at that time became the legal controller of things on the earth. Adam, in essence, committed high treason against God when He disobeyed his Creator, and his God-bequeathed authority over the earth was by default given to Satan. It was a treasonous act! Satan’s reign of stealing, killing, and destroying on earth has created a history of turmoil and suffering that will one day end when God comes to legally stop Satan in his tracks, judge him and all the men and nations that yield to his darkened ways, and cleanse the earth from all moral and physical blemishes.
The book of Revelation is God coming to repossess the earth that rightfully belongs to Him by judging nations, men, and the demonic hosts of hell that work with Lucifer to hold the earth in bondage to darkness and rebellion. The book of Revelation is God cleansing the earth of all contamination resulting from the fall of man and bringing it back to its pristine condition enjoyed before Adam’s sin.
This scroll in God’s right hand has writing on both sides, and is secured with 7 seals (Revelation 5:1). Codex books, like we read today with multiple pages, did not appear until around the second century AD. So to understand the significance of this scroll, some basic history of scrolls in John’s day is necessary.
A normal scroll in John’s days was up to eighteen inches in length, and was made of papyrus and only one side was used for writing. However, the scroll in God’s hand has writing on both sides. Some scrolls were also made of animal skins (like antelope) and were specially prepared so that both sides of the skin could be written on. These skins were then sewn together. Some of these scrolls could become lengthy, as was the one in God’s right hand.
Scrolls in the first century were secured with seals made of soft wax or clay. A piece of twine was wrapped around the scroll and imbedded in the soft wax or clay, and then the wax or clay was imprinted with the signet of the owner. The dried wax or clay secured the twine around the scroll, and tampering would become obvious. The more seals the scroll had, the more secure and important it was. A scroll could only be opened by the person to whom it was sent. It was a capital offence to open a sealed scroll that was not sent to you!
Scrolls that were sealed in the first century were often deeds to parcels of land, deeds declaring the ownership of a certain slave, or they could have been military documents.
There more seals the document had, the more important it was. It was very rare to find a scroll with seven seals. This was an important document!
In Revelation 5, Jesus, the Lamb of God, was the only one found worthy in the entire universe to open this scroll in God’s right hand. The person who opened this scroll had to have authority over the seals on the scroll and what would happen when they were opened. He also had to have authority over the contents of the scroll as it was opened.
In Revelation 5:6, John sees a blood stained Lamb standing up, with seven horns and seven eyes. The Lamb is standing, denoting that He is ready for action. He’s ready to get busy breaking the seals around the scroll.
The standing lamb had seven horns. The number seven in scripture denotes perfection. The horn of an animal in Bible days stood for its strength, so this lamb had perfect strength, enough to bring to pass what would happen when the seals were broken and the scroll was unrolled.
This lamb had seven eyes. The seven eyes stand for God’s all seeing eyes. God knows all and sees all. So this Lamb has perfect knowledge of the future and what would occur when the scroll was unsealed and opened!
Tomorrow, we will talk about what happen when the seals are opened around the scroll.
Revelation 5 – NKJV
And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. (2) Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” (3) And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. (4) So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. (5) But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” (6) And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. (7) Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. (8) Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (9) And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, (10) And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” (11) Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, (12) saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (13) And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” (14) Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.