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 sealsRev. 5:1, NKJV
The Book of Revelation devotes several chapters to this scroll and the opening of its seals by a Lamb with its throat cut that has seven horns, seven eyes, and “the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”
John the Baptist, said by Jesus to be the greatest of prophets (Mat. 11:11), was the first to call Jesus the Lamb of God (John 1:29). He was also the first to call Jesus the Bridegroom.
Seven is code for finished, resting, complete, and holy. See http://michaelmannauthor.com/sevens-in-the-bible for a discussion on how the Bible defines the meaning of seven.
Horns represent the power of kings (Daniel 8:21). In the KJV the horn of the “unicorn” is a symbol for great strength. The KJV translators did not know what a rhinoceros was, so they simply translated the meaning of the Hebrew word for it. Modern translations use “wild ox.”
Numbers 23:22 and Psalm 93:10 use a horn to to describe the power of God, or the anointing of God. Kings in Israel were anointed with oil poured from a horn, see 1 Samuel 16:13. A king with seven horns would be a king of kings, a ruler with complete authority or omnipotence.
A being with seven eyes would have complete vision, or omniscience. Having the seven Spirits of God would give him the complete Holy Spirit, with all his powers and omnipresence.
Now let us turn our attention to the scroll. Jews kept the Old Testament writings on scrolls that only had writing on the inside. This scroll is something else, for it also has writing on the back. NT Jews would have recognized it as a title deed.
Title deeds were authenticated with wax seals, with writing on the outside of the scroll next to each seal to make it clear when the seal was to be opened. A scroll with seven seals would be quite elaborate, with a particular time each seal was to be opened, so that only the unsealed portion could be read until the next seal was opened.
Only the person possessing the the seal – the original metal instrument pressed into the wax – had the right to open it. If the father gave his seal to his son when he departed, then at the stated time on the back of the scroll the son would have authority to open it.
Property rights in the Law were curious, because all the land belonged to the Lord, but he allotted certain portions to the twelve tribes, and they allotted portions of their lands to their clans and individual families in perpetuity. Land could be bought and sold, but they only sold the right to use the land, they did not sell ownership of it. Every fifty years, called the Jubilee Year, every Israelite was commanded to return to his inheritance and live in it. All debts were cancelled, and all lands reverted to the heirs of the family whose inheritance they were.
Families did not have to wait for a Jubilee Year to redeem an inheritance, but if they redeemed it, they had to pay the value of the land’s crop for each year that remained before the next Jubilee. Any conditions the parties agreed upon for the redemption of an inheritance would be written on a scroll and sealed with the family seal.
My sense of the scroll in Chapter Five is that it is the title deed to the earth, given to Jesus by the Father with the authority or seal to open each portion of it at the times written on the outside of the scroll. When all the seals have been opened and the contents satisfied, Jesus will take legal possession of the earth, and the kingdom age begins. Only the Father knows the times in prophesy, Jesus said (Acts 1:7).
With the benefit of hindsight that the apostles did not have, we know that the opening of the seven seals takes a minimum of two thousand years, because it has been that long already. Does Jesus wait for a certain moment and then open them in quick succession? Or has he been opening the seals for a long time already, but we did not know how to discern it in world events?
When we read Revelation with Western eyes, it seems like a screen play in which Jesus opens the seals rapidly, one after another. This is because we do not understand the non-linear style of Jewish writing. Jews write a book by making a quick summary outline – like a table of contents – and then they go back in time to fill in the specifics of each part of the summary.
The long wait for Christ’s return leads me to think he began opening the seals long ago, and he is still opening them at their appointed times. Peter’s commentary in 2 Pe. 3 suggests we should not fail to be prepared for unexpected fulfillments of the promises we have, even as scoffers suggest they won’t happen at all. The point of his speech is that the fulfillment of prophesy related to Christ’s return will will be unexpected – not the way we imagine it when we read the prophesies.
See how many missed the signs of Jesus when he came the first time, even as he fulfilled hundreds of prophesies before their eyes. Some did recognize him, but they were few.
This is like that.
Q: Why write about this in the year 2020?
A: Because, if my teacher was correct, we are witnessing the opening of the fourth seal in world events this year.