Unsealing the Title Deed
A look at the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation that only Jesus can open
On a recent trip to Florida, I had the privilege of conducting a brief Bible study with the man next to me on the plane. After chatting for a while, he asked, “Are you heading home to Florida, or are you on a business trip?”
“Actually,” I replied, “I’m a minister of the gospel, and I’m heading to a conference at the Word of Life Bible Institute in Hudson.” At that moment, our entire conversation changed. He asked me question after question about COVID-19 and global problems and wanted to know, “How will it all end?”
So I pulled back the curtain to the future and told him about Bible prophecy.
The Seven-Sealed Scroll
Many events are yet to come. God gave us prophecy in Scripture so we could understand how His plan for history will unfold. The book of Revelation is filled with future events. And, as I told the gentleman on the plane, a key element is the seven-sealed scroll:
I [the apostle John] looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.” Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals (4:1–2; 5:1).
The number of seals indicates the document’s extreme importance. In the days of the Roman Empire, when Revelation was written, a sealed document could be opened only by the proper authority, someone who possessed proper credentials.
Realizing “no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it,” John “wept much, because no one was found worthy” (5:3–4).
This was no ordinary scroll. First, it was unique in that it bore writing on both sides, “inside and on the back” (v. 1). Second, it was heavily sealed. So what was this document? Bible scholar Dr. Charles Ryrie said the scroll “may be called the ‘Book of Redemption,’ as it contains the story of man’s fall through sin and rise through Christ (Heb. 2:5–9).”1
Bible commentator David M. Levy had an even clearer description: “This scroll contains Christ’s title deed to the earth by right of creation and redemption.”2
It seems this scroll contained the entirety of human history from creation to the fall of man to humanity’s final redemption through Messiah Jesus. When Adam sinned, the scepter of authority over Earth fell from Adam and was snatched up by Satan. But God promised to send a Redeemer who would pay the purchase price to buy back what was lost. That Redeemer was Jesus, who bought our redemption with His blood.
Adam’s sin brought us physical and spiritual death. But Jesus’ death and resurrection brought us life: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22).
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. Those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:12, 15, 17).
John beheld a lamb standing “as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He [the Lamb] came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne” (Rev. 5:6–7).
The title deed passed to the only One found worthy, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29). The fact that Jesus was standing seems to indicate His readiness to bring prophecy and human history to its conclusion.
The seven horns remind us that as God, Jesus has perfect power. He is the omnipotent Lamb. The seven eyes denote His omniscience. As God, He knows everything, and nothing will escape Him. He will take the scroll, the title deed of world history, and bring it to its final conclusion.
That is why John heard “every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea” (Rev. 5:13) say, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing” (v. 12).
Jesus has the authority to end history as we know it and establish His literal 1,000-year Kingdom on Earth. Someday, because of what He has done for us, everyone will behold the Lamb. And “at the name of Jesus,” every knee will bow and every tongue confess “that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10–11).
Although the gentleman on the plane didn’t pray to receive Jesus as His Savior, at least he landed in Florida knowing God’s Word better than when he boarded.
- Charles C. Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible, KJV (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1978), 1,793 n Heb. 5:1.
- David M. Levy, Revelation: Hearing the Last Word (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel, 1999), 86.