The End Times
In my last post, we finished exploring Revelation 4. In this post, we begin our journey in Revelation 5.
The theme of chapter 4 is the creative power of God; of chapter 5, the redemptive power of Yeshua. Yochanan continues to describe the scene in heaven.
The scroll contains the secrets of the future, the final stage of Yeshua’s redemptive work. All creation wants to know the outcome, but the only way to open the scroll is to break the seven seals. And only one Person in all of creation can do this, not because He is strong, but because He is worthy – that person, of course, is Yeshua.
As the seven seals are broken by Yeshua, one by one, there comes into Yochanan’s vision a panorama of the future. The opening of each of the seven seals results in terrible happenings on earth. It is not until all the seals have been broken that the ultimate future becomes clear: the New Heaven and the New Earth – God living with His redeemed and restored creation.
The last seal was the most terrible of the seven. When it was opened, it turned out to contain seven trumpets, each of which heralded more disasters. And some interpreters see the seventh trumpet as containing the seven-bowls filled with plagues that are poured on the earth before the end. Thus, we see seven seals (6:1-8:1), seven trumpets (8:2-11:19), and seven bowls (15-16).
Halley’s Bible Handbook has this to say about the outline of the Book of Revelation from this point forward:
Many interpreters, however, see the seven seals and the seven trumpets in chapters 6-11 as the complete sequence of judgments. In this interpretation, it is assumed that the seven bowl judgments occur concurrently with the seven trumpet judgments. (However, the bowl judgments are not shown to Yochanan until the visions in chapters 15 and 16.) The same event takes place at both the sounding of the seventh trumpet (11:15-19) and after an angel pours out the seventh bowl (16:17-18): all heaven reverberates with the glad hallelujahs of final victory (11:15) as God’s wrath is showered on the earth in the form of lightning, thunder, an earthquake, and a great hailstorm. Chapters 12-20 are, then, a retelling of the events of the preceding chapters.
The seven seals and the seven trumpets together form the main framework of Revelation and carry the story swiftly forward to the end. Then the writer, following a common literary method of Scripture, returns to the beginning and, starting with chapter 12, begins over again with additional or explanatory details.
“1 Next I saw in the right hand of the One sitting on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals; 2 and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 But no one in heaven, on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look inside it. 4 I cried and cried, because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look inside it. 5 One of the elders said to me, “Don’t cry. Look, the Lion of the tribe of Y’hudah, the Root of David, has won the right to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ 6 Then I saw standing there with the throne and the four living beings, in the circle of the elders, a Lamb that appeared to have been slaughtered. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven-fold Spirit of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of the One sitting on the throne.” ~ Revelation 5:1-7 (CJB)
Next I saw in the right hand of the One sitting on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. It is very important that we understand the nature of this scroll and what it contains. We need to understand that this contains the legal requirement for the redemption of this planet. What was lost in Adam through the Fall is about to be redeemed and reclaimed through the Lamb of God. It would be helpful to read Leviticus 25; Jeremiah 32:6-15; and all four chapters of the Book of Ruth to gain a better understanding of the laws of redemption. In the Tanakh, we actually have the law concerning the redemption of three things:
- Redemption concerning a slave.
- Redemption concerning a wife.
- Redemption concerning property.
As we begin Chapter 5, the rapture has taken place and the Messianic Community, represented by Yochanan, is in the presence of God in heaven. Therefore, the first two kinds of redemption have already taken place. When we come to Yeshua and experience salvation, we are redeemed from the slave market of sin. Then, when Yeshua appears and the rapture occurs, we, as His bride, experience a second kind of redemption. Thus, there remains only the redemption of land (this earth) at this time. M. R. DeHaan explains:
The earth and the creatures of the earth, both vegetable and animal, are still under the curse. The earth itself is still groaning under the curse of man’s sin. These also must be redeemed, for Yeshua is a perfect Redeemer, and every realm which came under the curse of Adam’s sin must also be delivered by the redemption of the Last Adam.
And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” Since this is the title deed to this planet and requires one worthy, that is, one qualified to redeem it, a search is made for such a person. Keep in mind that there are three requirements that one must meet in order to qualify as a kinsman-redeemer:
- He must be a kinsman (a close relative).
- He must be willing to act as a redeemer.
- He must have the necessary resources to make it all happen.
Again, as we review the Book of Ruth we can find all the qualifications for the redemption of both property and a wife.
- Boaz is a kinsman. Ruth 2:20; 3:9; 4:3, 6, 14.
- Boaz is willing. Ruth 4:4-6.
- Boaz is able. Ruth 2:1
But no one in heaven, on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or look inside it. This search touched all the bases, left no stone unturned. It seems as if every attempt to find somebody worthy came up short.
The emotional response of Yochanan indicates his knowledge that this book was the key to all that was to happen hereafter, thus, everything seems to have come to an apprehensive standstill.
One of the elders said to me, “Don’t cry. Look, the Lion of the tribe of Y’hudah, the Root of David, has won the right to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ 6 Then I saw standing there with the throne and the four living beings, in the circle of the elders, a Lamb that appeared to have been slaughtered. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven-fold Spirit of God sent out into all the earth. 7 He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of the One sitting on the throne.”
Is Yeshua really qualified? Does He meet the requirements of a redeemer? There are three titles provided in the text to assist in identifying the one who takes the scroll. The first name supplied is the Lion of the tribe of Y’hudah. In Genesis 49:8-10, Ya’akov gathers his sons about him and tells them that out of Y’hudah would come the promised Messiah. The second name to appear in the text is the Root of David. The text does not say the root was in David, but that He was the root of David. This implies Yeshua existed before David.
In Revelation 22:16 Yeshua declares, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David…” As the offspring of David, His humanity is revealed. Yeshua was a descendant of David and therefore could qualify as a near relative (kinsman) of the human race. He became a kinsman when He was born into humanity through the virgin birth. As the root of David, we see the deity of Yeshua, and thus He is fully able to function as a kinsman-redeemer. The third name to appear in our text is the Lamb that appeared to have been slaughtered. The word Lamb is a direct reference to Yeshua and is used twenty-eight times in this book alone.
There can be no doubt as to His willingness to act as our kinsman-redeemer; that is the sole reason He came to earth as a man. He paid the sum total of our sin debt on the cross with His own blood. There He satisfied the righteous demands of a holy God. When Yeshua said, “It is finished”, He could have as easily said, “Paid in full.”
Before getting into the Four Views on this passage, please enjoy:
Special Comparative Note on Chapter 5:1-7 
Most Historicists see this vision as showing that no other than Yeshua can disclose the future dealings of God in history. According to the flesh, He is of the tribe of Y’hudah, as to His divine nature, He is the Root of David. Interpreters agree that the seven horns and seven eyes represent “all power” and “all knowledge and wisdom.” Most view the seven-fold Spirit of God as the Ruach, while Clarke as angels of providence.
Jay Adams’ view of the scroll is the sentence handed down by the judge (God) against Jerusalem for the shedding of the blood of the martyrs. Although He was the sacrificial Lamb, as the Lion, He is avenging the righteous blood that was shed by the Tribulation Saints.
Most Futurists view the scroll as the title deed to the earth. Roman law required a will to be sealed seven times. The opening of the document is part of God reclaiming for Himself the control of earth which was forfeited to Satan by the Fall. Ryrie believes that the seven eyes represent the fullness of the Spirit of God. Morris sees the seven horns as a reminder of the invasion of Jericho.
According to Morey, the scroll is the “redemptive plan of God” seen as “God’s Last Will and Testament.” There is no question that Yeshua fully meets the qualifications for the Messiah. The seven eyes are seen as an emblem of omniscience and the seven horns suggest omnipotence. Therefore, Yeshua is the ideal judge, prosecutor and executioner.
In my next post, we will conclude our exploration of Revelation Chapter 5.
 Material in this section is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg