He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.”
John expands on his theme in heaven there will be a chorus of every living being and creatures, who will be praising Jesus all day and night. Today he builds on that theme and adds that Jesus will be worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals. A scroll could be up to 30 feet long. Since they didn't have paper it was made up of papyrus, a vellum that could be preserved. Archaeology has uncovered papyri in caves which give us real evidence of some of these ancient writings.
The scroll was the revelation of the events to come, which Jesus alone had the power to break open. Seals were made of wax and secured the writings and also bore the unique name of the author, or the person with the authority to open the seals. They authenticated that the document had not been "broken into" yet.
Here is what Wikipedia says,
"For example, important documents were sent written on a papyrus scroll sealed with several wax seals. Wax seals were typically placed across the opening of a scroll,so that only the proper person in the presence of witnesses, could open the document. This type of "seal" is frequently used in a figurative sense, in the book of Revelation, and only the Lamb is worthy to break off these seals."
So as we interpret this passage, the question would be what is the importance of Jesus' authorityas he reveals the future events before his return? And how will this revelation from John strengthen the 1st century church. Here are some thoughts on this:
1. Jesus is worthy to open the scrolls because he was the lamb of God who was slain and since he has risen from the dead, he living and reigning Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world.
2. The scrolls reveal that people of every nation and tribe will be saved. Since that hasn't happened yet to any large extent it would suggest there is still work to do before Jesus' return. It also teaches us that in heaven there is no distinction of race.
3. By his blood Jesus has purchased a kingdom of priests who will reign on the earth. Though there will be trials and tribulations in the end we will reign with Christ.
Notice part of our worship today uplifts Jesus as the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. Jesus is both gentle like a lamb and powerful as a lion. And our worship now proclaiming Jesus as the victorious Lamb is a foretaste of what we will be doing in heaven. It is also shows the devil and demons their future which causes them to flee when we declare Jesus as Lord who will return in great and promised glory.
Question: How do you view worship and how could today's teaching lead you to experience worship in a more meaningful way?