The Closed Book

No one in Heaven, or on the Earth, or Under the Earth, was Able to Open the Book

“And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” And no one in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look into it. And I began to weep greatly, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look into it.”

“I saw on the right hand of him…” The right hand, not the sinister, left hand, which is redundant. Actually, the left is literally sinister in Latin. No doubt it comes from the Bible’s use of the right hand. A couple of doses of Vitamin​ E, first from our Old Testament tutor: “And Joseph took them both, Ephraim with his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh with his left hand toward Israel’s right, and brought them close to him. But Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on Manasseh’s head, crossing his hands, although Manasseh was the first-born.” And now through our New Testament teacher, “and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.” Matthew 25:33. Right equals right, so to speak; in English that is. Right is correct, mere coincidence I presume. Nevertheless, when we think of the right hand in the Bible, we think of right; or at minimum, better.

This imagery can take time to establish, there are many other instances of the right hand being the better hand that we have read or heard, such as the right hand of Fellowship. Continuing; in the better hand (sorry southpaws) of the one on the throne, was a literal scroll, written on the front and back. That is, the scroll was full. It was sealed with seven, or complete, seals. It wasn’t merely sealed, it was well and completely sealed. More on the seals as we continue.

I will pause for a moment–are we understanding the imagery and how we arrive at said imagery? Remember the E of the CAGED method. We’re remembering examples from the rest of Scripture.

“And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice…” Frankly, there is no reason to not take this text literally. John heard a loud, strong angel proclaiming the following: “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” As we continue​ to look, read, remember, the imagery suggests a search was made, however quick and brief.

The strong angel John saw asks loudly and literally, yet the imagery is still there of a loud proclamation and a deep search. “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” And no one in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look into it.”

If you have never read your Bible but have read my missives–the chances of which are zero but bear with me–you still, and already, understand why no one is worthy to open the book (literally scroll). Because of the imagery of the scroll being in the right hand of the one sitting on the throne, and because of the imagery of the loudly proclaiming, strong angel, who obviously wasn’t worthy to open the book himself, our senses are piqued. We understand before we read that there is not going to be found one worthy to open the scroll.

Again we have read, “a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals.” It’s a well sealed, full scroll. The imagery paints a picture of an important scroll, with even more important seals. This is a general truth: most of us have read Revelation and not understood the seals but were taught, whether through a sermon, study or even some other book, what these seals represent. But as for these missives and at this time, we have not come to that knowledge, yet. I simply ask for us to keep it that way. As of now, all we know is that there are seven seals on a scroll, in the right hand of the one who sits on the throne. And that a powerful​ angelic being is searching for one worthy to open the scroll. Based on the angel’s rhetorical question, what we have discussed previously, and remembering our Old Testament tutor, we already assume no one will be found worthy–all have sinned.

The seals weren’t impregnable, they weren’t made up of some sort of futuristic, titanium alloy, the likes of which the world has not yet seen. The imagery is somewhat lost on us living in this our modern time. Remember, Revelation was written to the first century church. However, they, and we, have our Old Testament tutor. Remember that woman Jezebel? Wherein first Kings 21 she, “sealed with the king’s seal,” and usurped the king’s authority? She used the seal to make it official. The seal was to ensure, and insurance, that the content of a letter would only be read by the true recipients. If the seal had been tampered with in any way, the true recipient would know. So in Revelation 5, we understand that the worthy recipient is not found.

We do have several modern equivalents to these seals, for instance, in trucking. The deliverer will attach his seal to the cargo door of a box or trailer truck. This ensures the recipient that the load has not been tampered with. Another similar example: Do you have an iPhone? Is it image, passcode or retinal scan protected? If you do, be alert, Daniel and I can probably still take amazingly embarrassing photos on it. That’s an inside joke I am glad to let you all in on. On a mission trip to the Caribbean, after a long, difficult week, we were ready to unwind during one of the last services for a college conference. The pastor’s wife left her phone out, in the open… Temptation! Unfortunately, for us, it was passcode enabled. Unfortunately for her, we could still take pictures, a lot of pictures. But this, I hope, demonstrates the seals. While we may or may not have been worthy to take pictures, we certainly weren’t worthy to send them to her friends or make them her home screen. Because that was sealed off to the unworthy. And by the way…To many of my readers, I am fairly anonymous. Others know me fairly well, and know that I know many Daniels. But to those who know which Daniel goes on the missions trips to the Caribbean, let me say this: He started it.

“And I began to weep greatly, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look into it.” John’s crying paints the picture of the importance of the scroll and of the unworthiness of man and beast. We know the scroll is important, for it is in the right hand of the one who sits on the throne. We also deduce this from the angel. Furthermore, we see the seven seals. We’ve already seen seven Spirits, seven Stars, seven golden lampstands, the number seven being a heavenly number and a number of completion, as in creation. But when John weeps greatly and admits it, the imagery is enhanced to new heights.

 

“I began to weep greatly, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look into it.”

 

 

 

 

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