Revelation 5:1-15 Part 2


1)    And I did see a scroll on the right of the One sitting on the throne

2)    having been written front and back having been sealed with seven seals.

3)    And I did see a mighty messenger announcing in a great sound, “who worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”

4)    And no one in the heaven or upon the earth or under the earth was enabled to open the scroll or to see it.

5)    And I was weeping greatly because no one worthy had been found to open the scroll or to see it.

6)    And one of the elders says to me, “don’t be weeping!  Lo!  The Lion from the Judah tribe, the David Root, did overcome to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

7)    And in midst of the throne and of the four creatures and in midst of the elders I did see a lamb standing as slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.

8)    And He did come and He takes from the right of the One sitting upon the throne.

9)    And when He did take the scroll, the four creatures and the twenty four elders fell before the Lamb, each having a lyre and golden bowls filling with incense which are the prayers of the holy ones,

10) and singing new songs, saying “worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, for You were slain, and You did buy for God in Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

11) And You did make them a kingdom, and priests for our God, and they will reign upon the earth.

12) And I did see and hear a sound of many angels and the creatures and the elders around the throne, and was the number of them myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands

13) saying in a great sound, “worthy is the Lamb, the One slain, to receive the power and abundance and wisdom and might and honor and glory and praise.

14) And every creature which is in the heaven, upon the earth and under the earth, and upon the sea, and all things in them I heard saying, “the praise and the honor and the glory and the might into the ages of the ages to the One sitting upon the throne and to the Lamb”.

15) And the four creatures kept on saying “Amen”!  And the elders fell down and paid homage.


The scroll, written front and back so that no space is left for any more writing, is obviously a covenantal document, prophesied by Daniel and by Ezekiel, sealed and only to be opened in the last days.  It is the document of doom for a rebellious and idolatrous people; and it is the document of the New Covenant in the resurrected, ascended and enthroned Jesus Christ – Himself God!

God the Son – God-man – is the Judge and Executor of the lawsuit Who carries out the punishment.  This is the throne of judgment.

And we will see the King of Kings extend the covenant to a new people in all the nations of the earth.  This scroll, you see, is nothing less than the prophecy of a “new covenant” of the resurrected, ascended, glorified and enthroned Jesus Christ Who has received all the nations as His inheritance.  It is the inception of the New Covenant.  And this is the throne of redemption.

The scroll is the Word of God concerning the New Covenant.  It has been sealed by the Word of God until the time John is taken up into the heaven to see, hear and record; for the time has arrived.  The time is “near” for those things that are necessary to take place quickly.  And this scroll and its seals contains the full record, without a blank, without a gap, without any space upon which anything else could be recorded!

Now, let’s talk about the scroll for a few minutes.  At the end of chapter twelve of the prophecy of Daniel, this is what he is told:  “Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are shut up and sealed till the time of the end.”

Go on about your business, Daniel, the Words are shut up and sealed.  It is the Word of God, only to be revealed at the time of “the end”.  The Word of God is to be revealed only at the time of the end, for the time was “not yet” for HIM to be revealed.

You see, we have three “images” of the Son of God here.  The scroll, the eternal Word of God, written front and back in an obviously covenantal document, and “yet to come”, for the time was not yet; and John sees the “Lamb Slain”, Who is God the Son, the perfect sacrifice for the sin of the world – the Lord Jesus Christ; and he also sees, on the throne, the One Who was dead but is now alive into the ages of the ages, and Who reigns as King of Kings!

In Ezekiel chapter two (which we read last Lord’s Day), the prophet receives a scroll from a “hand”, and he’s told to eat it.  And having eaten the Word of God directly from His Hand, he was immediately taken on the wings of cherubim to see the state – or condition – of God’s covenant people.  And he wrote what he saw of Israel, Jerusalem and the temple.  And the Word became extreme bitterness in his stomach as he saw the desolation to come.  This was the same deeply troubled state to which Daniel had come, as Daniel contemplated what was in the “sealed” book.

But, then Ezekiel also saw a new nation, and a new city, and a new temple – the “old” having been done away with, and the new in all of its glorious light and perfection.  Obviously, the Word of God – the scroll eaten – was the termination of the old covenant and the inception of the new in the coming of the Christ.

As the apostle Paul said in his letter to the Churches in Galatia, “…when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law” (Galatians 4:4).  The fullness of the time….

So it is completely apparent that the scroll that John saw was the Word of God that Daniel and Ezekiel saw concerning the Lamb of God, Who was dead but is now alive and reigning with all authority in the heavens and upon the earth!  And the covenantal document that they saw had to do with the termination of the old covenant and the inception of the new by King Jesus.

Now, as John sees the scroll, it has seven seals.  It is perfectly sealed in order that the things written in it can’t occur until it’s opened.  It is said to be “sealed” because it’s a legal, covenant document; and the things in it are covenantal events that were not yet ready to occur.  That’s the reason it’s sealed, you see.  The scroll isn’t sealed (necessarily) because it has information that’s hidden.  There are, of course, things in the scroll that aren’t specifically prophesied elsewhere, but that’s not the reason for its being “shut up” and “sealed”.  Once again, the reason that it’s sealed is that the time for the covenantal events  to occur was not yet!  And in the fullness of time, the scroll would be opened, and the Word of God would bring to pass all that is therein; for “the time was near”.

These events were sealed up at the time of Daniel, and they include everything else in the Revelation to John.  We know that, because the perfect-seven-seal was opened – in full – in his presence!  And he saw all that was “necessary to be done in quickness”, concealed in the scroll until the last day.

Now, there is a passage from Isaiah that I must read for you.  And just so you’ll know when you hear it, the word “Ariel” is used as representative of Zion – city of God.  The word means “lion-men of God”.  This is a passage having to do with the termination of the covenant with Israel, and the inception of the New Covenant.  Listen to Isaiah twenty nine.  And please listen closely to the transition from judgment to redemption:


1)    Ho Ariel, Ariel, the city where David encamped!  Add ye year to year; let the feasts come round:

2)    then will I distress Ariel, and there shall be mourning and lamentation; and she shall be unto me as Ariel.

3)    And I will encamp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with posted troops, and I will raise siege works against thee.

4)    And thou shalt be brought down, and shalt speak out of the ground, and thy speech shall be low out of the dust; and thy voice shall be as of one that hath a familiar spirit, out of the ground, and thy speech shall whisper out of the dust.

5)    But the multitude of thy foes shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones as chaff that passeth away: yea, it shall be in an instant suddenly.

6)    She shall be visited of Yahveh of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.

7)    And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, even all that fight against her and her stronghold, and that distress her, shall be as a dream, a vision of the night.

8)    And it shall be as when a hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.

9)    Tarry ye and wonder; take your pleasure and be blind: they are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink.

10) For Yahveh hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes, the prophets; and your heads, the seers, hath he covered.

11) And all vision is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I cannot, for it is sealed:

12) and the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee; and he saith, I am not learned.

13) And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw nigh unto me, and with their mouth and with their lips to honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men which hath been taught them;

14) therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.

15) Woe unto them that hide deep their counsel from Yahveh, and whose works are in the dark, and that say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?

16) Ye turn things upside down! Shall the potter be esteemed as clay; that the thing made should say of him that made it, He made me not; or the thing formed say of him that formed it, He hath no understanding?

17) Is it not yet a very little while, and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest?

18) And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.

19) The meek also shall increase their joy in Yahveh, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

20) For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scoffer ceaseth, and all they that watch for iniquity are cut off;

21) that make a man an offender in his cause, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just with a thing of nought.

22) Therefore thus saith Yahveh, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.

23) But when he seeth his children, the work of my hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name; yea, they shall sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall stand in awe of the God of Israel.

24) They also that err in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmur shall receive instruction.


In this passage concerning the “sealed book”, we have both the desolation of the old covenant nation (up through verse sixteen), and the inception of the new covenant with the remnant of Jacob and the nations of the earth in the Holy One of Israel.  That’s the reason I read the whole passage, so you could hear the transition from “old” to “new”. 

In terms of “time”, and in terms of God’s patience and longsuffering with His covenant people, it was a thousand years from David to the birth of David’s Son and David’s Lord; it was thirty years (or so) from Jesus’ birth to His crucifixion and resurrection; it was seventy years from Jesus’ birth to the consummation of the old covenant; and it was forty years from Jesus’ resurrection to the “genesis” of the new covenant at His parousia.

In the New Testament letters to the Churches, as the apostles write to the Churches about what is shortly to come to pass, the word “sealed” takes on a fresh and nascent usage in the work of God the Spirit.  For Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, had been sacrificed for the sin of the world; and He has entered, once, the Holy of Holies in the heaven.  And, as He Himself said, He would “send” Holy Spirit to His people.

Let’s look at a few of these while we’re here.  The first is Paul’s second letter to the Church in Corinth, chapter one:


21) Now he that establisheth us with you in Christ, and anointed us, is God;

22) who also sealed us, and gave us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.


Then from that incredible first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Church at Ephesus, we read this:


1)    Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints that are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus:

2)    Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3)    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ:

4)    even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before him in love:

5)    having foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ unto himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6)    to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved:

7)    in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

8)    which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

9)    making known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him

10) unto a dispensation of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, I say,

11) in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will;

12) to the end that we should be unto the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ:

13) in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, – in whom, having also believed, ye were sealed in Holy Spirit of promise,

14) Who is guarantor of our inheritance, unto the redemption of God's own possession, unto the praise of his glory.


You sometimes comment that MY thought processes are difficult to follow, and difficult to explain to other people; go back and read that again!  That’s all just one sentence from the apostle Paul!

And, lastly, consider this from the fourth chapter of this same letter to the Church at Ephesus:


20) But ye did not so learn Christ!

21) if so be that ye heard him, and were taught in him, even as truth is in Jesus:

22) that ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit;

23) and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind,

24) and put on the new man that, after God, hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.

25) Wherefore, putting away falsehood, speak ye truth each one with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

26) Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27) neither give place to the devil.

28) Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have whereof to give to him that hath need.

29) Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear.

30) And grieve not Holy Spirit of God, in whom ye were sealed unto a day of redemption.


Now, there is a connection – a language connection in the Word of God – between the usage of the word “seal” in Daniel and in Ezekiel, and then the usage of the word by the newer testament inspired writers.  Even though there is a “fresh” usage and understanding of the word in the new covenant, the connection is apparent.

And that connection lies in the deeper meaning of the word.  As you all know, from our times at the table, the sacrament is referred to as the “sign and seal of the covenant”.  That terminology comes from Scripture, and its mention is prominent in the confession and catechisms.  And also, as you’ve heard from these texts we just read, the recipient of the “seal” is passive.  In other words we don’t seal ourselves; rather, we are “sealed”.  We are acted upon to be sealed!

And the deeper, underlying meaning of the word is that the seal is the confirmation of the authority of the One possessing the seal.  The apostle Paul says that God has sealed us for Himself.  He has made us His Own inviolable possession; and Holy Spirit is Himself God in Whom, and by Whom, we are marked, appointed and kept for a day of redemption.

The apostle John, in the third chapter of his Gospel, writes the words of John the baptizer as he speaks of the Christ.  And this will sharpen our understanding of the word “seal” a bit.  Here is what the baptizer says of Jesus:


30) He must increase, but I must decrease.

31) He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is of the earth, and of the earth he speaketh.  He that cometh from heaven is above all.

32) What he hath seen and heard, of that he beareth witness; and no man receiveth his witness.

33) He that hath received his witness hath set his seal to this, that God is true.

34) For he who God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for he giveth not the Spirit by measure.

35) The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.


The authoritative confirmation is the Word of God Himself – made flesh.

Our Lord uses the exact same word, in the same sense, as recorded in the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. Here’s what Jesus said:


27) Work not for the food which perisheth, but for the food which abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him the Father, even God, hath sealed.


You see, the seal is the confirmation of the authority to do what is done – or what is to be done.  And therein is the connection to the sealed document recorded by Daniel.  The two meanings of the word “sealed” converge and coalesce in the Revelation, for John is to write all that he saw and heard.  He is to reveal it all to the Churches.

The “authority” of God to “conceal” all of the events that were  to happen in the distant future, only in the fullness of time, is the nature of the “seal” in Daniel.  The seal is that confirmation.  And it is the authority of God to break open the “seals” – that which has been “concealed” – to break them open at the appointed time.

So, the seals are the confirmation of the authority to conceal; and the seals are the confirmation of the authority to reveal that which has been concealed until the appointed time.

Later in the Revelation to John, the word “sealed” takes on a very special meaning for those from Israel who God has kept for Himself.  They are sealed; God has sealed them; and they are sealed by God for Himself.  The destruction to come is restrained until all of them are found, marked out and sealed.  And the seal is the confirmation of His authority to save and to keep a specific number of His people from Israel as He promised He would do.  And the apostles and elders and deacons, at the command of Jesus before His crucifixion, went all over Israel to find them and get them out before our God and Savior terminated the covenant with the nation.  They were not to be included in that, for they were sealed by God as His Own, for a day of redemption.

And for the last few minutes of our time this morning, I want to speak to you of that day of redemption, for the Scripture speaks of it in terms of the dawning of the day after the long night.  Listen first to Paul as he writes to the Roman Church in chapter thirteen:


11) And this, knowing the season, that already it is time for you to awake out of sleep: for now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed.

12) The night is almost spent, and the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.


In similar terms he writes to the Church at Thessalonica, telling them that their living must be characterized by the approaching dawn rather than by the fading night.  This is chapter five of his first letter to that Church:


2)    For yourselves know perfectly well that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3)    When they are saying, peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape.

4)    But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief:

5)    for ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness;

6)    so then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober.

7)    For they that sleep sleep in the night: and they that are drunken are drunken in the night.

8)    But let us, since we are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.


The age of the older covenant was a time of dark night; but with the ascension and parousia of Jesus Christ has come the age of light, the great Day of the Lord and the inauguration of the New Covenant.  Listen to Isaiah in chapter sixty as he prophesies the dawn of the new covenant after the darkness of the old:


1)    Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of Yahveh is risen upon thee.

2)    For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but Yahveh will arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

3)    And nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.


And from the writer to all those Hebrews in dispersion from Israel, chapter ten, hear this:


22) let us draw near with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience: and having our body washed with pure water,

23) let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for he is faithful that promised:

24) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works;

25) not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing near.


And lastly from the apostle Peter writing to these same newborn Jewish believers in dispersion in the nations:


19) And we have the word of prophecy made more sure; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts:


The New Covenant age, inaugurated by our risen Lord Jesus Christ at His ascension and parousia, is the age of Light, in contrast to the pre-Messianic age of darkness.  As we just read from the apostles letters, they contemplated the end of the old and the imminent dawn of the new.  And they wrote of the Gospel of Jesus Christ sweeping across the nations of the earth, turning night into day.  The entire future of the creation is “bright day”.  “And there shall be no night there!”

As the apostle John tells us here in his Revelation, Jesus Christ has appeared and is “coming quickly” as the Bright Morning Star.  And His Kingdom, as the prophet Daniel records, shall be an “everlasting Kingdom”, unlike the four kingdoms of darkness before.  And He shall reign forever and ever.