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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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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

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