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Revelation chapter 5:

1 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. 5 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.”

Revelation chapter 8:

When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.

We spend three chapters opening the scroll, with significant events for each seal being opened. But what is the significance of the scroll itself? There's a lot of excitement about finding one worthy to open it, and trouble caused by its opening, but we never find out anything about its contents. Is there some implied information here? Something cultural and assumed by the original audience? An external reference?

What is the scroll with the seven seals?

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4 Answers 4

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The scroll had seven seals. Each time a seal is opened, certain events are revealed. Thus the content of the scroll is revealed pictorially by the events John sees each time a seal is opened. Each time a seal is opened, a new part of the scroll is revealed.

As to what the significance of the scroll is, these are the facts:
-The scroll itself has text on the inside and on the outside.
-Only Jesus was worthy to open the scroll
-The seven trumpets are part of the seventh seal (Rev 8:1-6)
-At the end of the seventh trumpet (that is, at the very end of the seventh seal), it is said, Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev 11:15).
-Thus, at the end of the seals, the world has become God's kingdom. When everything in the scroll has transpired, the universe fully belongs to God.

Deeds to property would often have a brief description of the contents on the outside, visible without opening it, and details on the inside. It is not unreasonable to see the scroll as a sort of "title deed to the universe", as it was written both on the outside and on the inside. This theory explains John's consternation when no one was found worthy to open the scroll: the contents of the scroll are not a mystery to John, because he has read the brief description on the outside of the scroll and knows that it is the document that proves God's ownership of the universe. If no one were able to open it, would the world continue as it was without God's intervention; would there be no relief or justice for the martyrs? Happily, Jesus was worthy to open it, being perfect in justice and in mercy, in authority and in humility.

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"The scroll itself has test on the inside and on the outside"? Plus one for a succinct answer. –  rhetorician Oct 20 '13 at 20:16
Haha, thanks! Have changed the "test" into "text", making the inauguration of God's kingdom on Earth sound less like a math quiz. –  Niobius Oct 21 '13 at 14:11

As I explain in my new book "God's Strategic Plan", this scroll is a judgement lien. A judgement lien is issued by a court where a debtor (you/me) is unable to satisfy a debt (caused by our sin) and this document authorizes that the debtor's assets (our very souls) be forfeit in judgement. A person subject to a judgment lien is subject to lawful judgement and forfeiture and is often forced to declare bankruptcy (seek protection of the court). The scene in Revelation 5 is in fact a court session being called to order by the strong angel before the Righteous Judge in which man (possibly represented by the weeping John) is subject to sentence. John wept because he knew that man's fate was sealed in that scroll. Then, steps forward, the only Person worthy to take the scroll of judgement from the right hand of the Righteous Judge; the Lamb who was slain and who righteous sacrifice paid the debt on behalf of man.

According to God's law without the shedding of (innocent and worthy) blood, there is no remission or release of judgement for sin. Therefore only the innocent Lamb that was slain was worthy to take the judgement scroll and legally discharge it as a lien on the souls of all men. This was a critical aspect of God's Strategic Plan.

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Hi Robert, thanks for this welcome contribution. Your book looks very interesting, I've added a link to it on Amazon (but please feel free to change that if you wish). –  Jack Douglas Apr 6 '14 at 8:04
Thanks Jack. I am new to this so your help is much appreciated. –  Robert Fullerton Apr 6 '14 at 13:36

The scroll, I believe, is our hope in seemingly hopeless situations where we otherwise would have given up. Jesus opened this document, providing an understanding of the Bible, and that brings us hope. Fact is, no one truly understands the Testaments without the help of the Holy Spirit. The scroll is simply the Bible; that is the only thing that God has written that we have access to here on Earth. It is in heaven, but Jesus Christ opened it, so it can be read by anybody, but can only be understood by somebody who He reveals it to. As a matter of fact, it's all about God and who He chooses to reveal Himself to; that is why only He prevails to open Himself.

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I also have wondered what was written on that Scroll that only the Lamb was worthy to open. My conclusion? It is the 'Lamb's Book of Life' containing all of the names of Believers, 'chosen before the foundation of the World,' for whom the Lamb's Blood has secured salvation by God's Grace through their Faith. Jesus alone is worthy to open it because He alone paid for every single name on that Scroll. The seals represent the trials and suffering that Believers and the World will have to endure before the final Judgment at the Great White Throne at which time the Scroll will be opened and the names of all on whom the Lamb's Perfect Righteousness is imputed will be read indicating their Standing by Grace that merits a 'not guilty' verdict by the Heavenly Court.

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I'm very grateful for your participation here. We're a little different from a forum, so do take the site tour if you haven't already. Answers are expected to have informed argument, cite evidence (primary and secondary), and not simply offer speculation. You can edit it here. –  Paul Vargas Apr 25 at 4:28

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