“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.” Revelation 5:1.
This scroll has variously been called the title deed to the earth and the book of redemption; both of these are a good description of what this legal document represents. Man was given dominion over the earth in the beginning.
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’” Genesis 1:26.
As an aside, according to Greek scholars the words Us and Our can only mean that God is talking to an equal, not angels, so the conversation is within the godhead.
Having received the earth and its contents Adam and Eve quickly forfeited it to Satan when they sinned in the Garden of Eden.
That Satan had the right to it is borne out in his temptation of the Lord in the wilderness, for Scripture says the following.
“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, ‘All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.’” Matthew 4:8-9.
Jesus did not argue with the devil when he said, “All these things I will give you”, which would indicate that he had a legitimate claim to the earth.
However the final victory came at the cross when Satan was utterly defeated stripped of his authority and ownership reverted back to the Man Christ Jesus.
“And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Colossians 2:13-15.
In Rome when a prisoner was sentenced the charges against them were written down and nailed to the prisoners cell door; once the sentence had been carried out the charges were taken down and “it is finished” was written across them and the prisoner was released.
In many pagan countries it was the custom to bring the captive soldiers and enslaved men and women of a vanquished country back home and parade them through the streets to humiliate them.
This practice was surely instigated by Satan and his followers to further mortify and degrade human beings made in God’s image, men and women who were already humiliated and in great horror of their unknown fate. It appears in Colossians 2:15 above that God gave Satan and his fallen angels a taste of their own medicine.
Seeing that this scroll in Revelation 5:1 is a legal document with seven seals, which is the number of completion, it has to follow that the document is not in effect either in part or on the whole until the seals are broken.
When the seals are broken and the items listed on both sides of the scroll are released, only then will they be enacted.
Meanwhile the Devil struts about like he owns the place; do not fret, Jesus is about to do something about that.
“Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?’ And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.” Revelation 5:2-4.
In verse 4 above it states that John “wept much, because no one was found worthy”.
The apostle John here represents all of us in his weeping. For centuries Christians have prayed and longed for the return of the Lord to end the domination of the earth by Satan and his forces of evil.
And it is not just over-burdened Christians sitting with a Bible in their lap praying for the return of the Lord, but men and women in dungeons and torture chambers throughout the world weeping and crying out for the Lord to end the madness of this age.
Throughout the Roman persecution, during the Inquisition, and in Chinese prison camps, North Korea, Iran; and with the constant threat of Muslim jihadists coming into their villages to torture and kill families and carry off the women and children to rape or sell into slavery. So the weeping is very real.
The reason no one was able to open the scroll is not because they were looking for someone strong enough, or good enough, or courageous enough.
Rather the scroll, this deed to the earth, and book of redemption could only be opened by someone who was legally able to redeem the world; see the following.
“The land shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me. And in all the land of your possession you shall grant redemption of the land. If one of your brethren becomes poor, and has sold some of his possession, and if his kinsman-redeemer comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother sold.” Leviticus 25:23-25.
There are three criteria that this kinsman-redeemer must meet to be able to redeem the property: one, they must be a blood relative, two, they must be able to pay the price, three, they must be willing.
Christ Jesus is the only one in all of creation who meets all three. To expand this thought beyond the boundaries of Israel, we can start with this verse.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1.
Just as God gave the land to Israel, so He gave the earth to Adam and Eve, who then lost it to Satan. It then became necessary for the kinsman-redeemer to step in, but the price was far too high for a man, it had to be the shed blood of a completely sinless sacrifice. Something man could not do, for as King David said:
“Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Psalm 51:5.
This has been true of all mankind since the fall (Adam and Eve eating the fruit Genesis chapter 3). So you see, even man was sold into bondage and needed redeeming. Interesting huh?
It is indicated in Genesis 3:15 that it is the seed of the man that carries the sin nature from generation to generation, for in this messianic prophecy it speaks of the seed of the woman from which the Christ comes, not of the man.
“And I will put enmity between you [Satan] and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed [Christ]; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” Genesis 3:15.
This is why the doctrine of the virgin birth is so vital to us all.
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself [Jesus] likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Hebrews 2:14-18.
While this speaks of the Priesthood of Christ, it also shows the incarnation of Christ which makes Him a blood relative to mankind, qualifying Him as kinsman-redeemer.
The cost of our redemption was beyond comprehension and the sacrifice of many men, angels, or millions of animals would still only add up to zero.
It is only the infinite value of the blood of God’s only begotten Son that can cancel the debt of sin. It is only with a great deal of contemplation that a person begins to understand the power in the blood of Christ.
Scripture puts it this way:
“…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:18-21.
So our kinsman-redeemer has the price of redemption. But was He willing?
“Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me [Jesus]. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, “Behold, I have come – In the volume of the book it is written of Me – To do Your will, O God.”’” Hebrews 10:5-7.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:11.
“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10:17-18.
Christ Jesus is worthy to open the scroll.
Revelation 5:1-4 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 10-26-16, updated on 6-15-22.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.