In Revelation 5:1, John introduces a scroll with seven seals:
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals.
The Lamb is found worthy to open the scroll, and in chapter six the Lamb opens the seals one by one with various judgments ensuing. Some commentators seem to take this as a progressive unrolling and reading of the scroll as the seals are broken. For instance, Paige Patterson (NAC) writes:
Already the nature of the scroll has been described by John as one that had writing literally on the front and back sides (see 5:1). The necessity was to open the seals so that the scroll could be unrolled and the text deciphered. Logically then, the scroll, having been opened one-seventh of the way, would make possible John’s reading of the scroll, and he would be summoned to read it.
However, others insist that the scroll cannot be read until all seven seals are opened. For instance, Grant Osborne writes in the BECNT:
It is also important to realize that the scroll is not opened up until all seven seals are opened.
Is there any archaeological evidence that would help us understand how scrolls and seals operated? (A seven-fold sealing seems like it is in itself unusual, so maybe this is a blind alley?) Should the judgments be taken as a progressive reading of the scroll as it is opened 1/7th at a time? Or is Osborne correct that the reading of the scroll awaits the opening of all seven seals?