Read verses 1-5
Q: Why might “book” not be the most correct word to use here?
A: The Greek word literally refers to a scroll, the ancient equivalent of what we today call a “book”.
Q: How might this scroll appear to readers of John’s time? What would they probably immediately see it as?
A: It would be seen as both a title deed – in this case Christ’s title deed to creation – and as a Roman will which was commonly sealed with seven seals.
Point: As confirmed in v.9, this scroll gives Christ the right to claim creation by virtue of His sacrifice.
Q: At the time of John’s writing, who was allowed to open a will?
A: Only the heir could open the will.
in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
— Hebrews 1:2
Q: What is significant about the fact that the scroll is full of writing on both sides?
A: There are probably several things, but chief among them would be that nothing more can be added to it. All it contains is whole and complete.
Q: How does the picture of what’s going on here relate to the Hebrew system of owning land?
A: If a man became poor and had to sell himself or his land, he could be redeemed by a kinsman-redeemer. (Lev. 25:23-25) The story of Ruth is such an example as well as Jeremiah’s acquisition. (Jer. 32:6-15) The redeemer had to be a near relative willing and able to purchase the property and set the kinsman free.
Point: All of creation has been under bondage to sin, Satan, and death. Christ our Kinsman-Redeemer is going to set creation free.
Q: What is the greater significance behind the fact that an exhaustive search was conducted in both heaven and earth for someone “able to open the book or to look into it”?
A: It’s a very clear statement from God that no one except Christ alone can redeem. No one else in heaven, no one else on earth, no one in the underworld of death was worthy to take the book. There is no redemption except through Christ.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
— John 14:6
Q: Of all the titles that could be used of Christ, why was it pointed out to John, “Behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David”?
A: It’s a kind of summary of the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises of the Messiah as the “Lion” going back to Gen. 49:8-10 and His royalty in the family of David. The “Root of David” speaks of His deity, the One through whom David came. (Is. 11:1, 10)
Q: But what is the even greater qualification of Christ to open the scroll than His lineage to Judah and David?
A: Christ is worthy to open the scroll because He “has overcome” – that is, He has prevailed, conquered, won the victory.
“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”
— Revelation 17:14
Application: The “book” is actually both a title deed and a will.
- Only Christ the Heir can open the will.
- Only Christ the Redeemer can reclaim title.
- Only Christ the Messiah is worthy.
- Based on these verses, how would you respond to someone who says, “There are many paths to God” or “All religions ultimately worship the same God”?
- Later on we’ll see both servants of God formally sealed and followers of Antichrist formally sealed. But in reality, how are both types of people already “sealed” even before that happens? [Hint: Those who have already accepted Christ are already “sealed” for redemption, those who have not already “sealed” for judgment.]