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Revelation: The Book About Life

Revelation 5:1  And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

As John gazed in awe upon the scene revealed to him in Revelation 5 of the Heavenly throne-room, his eyes were drawn to a small scroll or book in God’s hand. This is considered to be the exact replica of the book referred to in Daniel 12:4 ‘But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end.’ Questions abound. What is written in this book? Why does it matter? Can it be added to or subtracted from? What does the seal mean? Who can break the seal and read the contents therein? My interest was piqued as I read about this scroll and its meaning for both the regenerate and unregenerate person.

The close parallel with Daniel 12:4 makes it likely that the scroll or book is a Heavenly book containing God’s plan and the destiny of the world to be revealed at the ‘time of the end.’ Historian G.K. Beale writes that the scroll contains ‘all sacred history, especially from the cross to the new creation.’ The scroll has writings on both sides, indicating that the decrees of God are comprehensive and also extensive. What is written on the scroll is exact in detail, with nothing omitted.

The sealing of the book preserves its unaltered state as it awaits fulfillment. The book has been sealed or closed up, which is suggestive of confidentiality and safekeeping. We are left with the impression that no one knows the contents of the pages within. God Himself has sealed it with His own hand and with an unbroken seal in place, nothing can be added to or taken from the scroll, until the appointed time.

Revelation 5:2  And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in Heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

A crisis arises. Who is worthy to open the seal? The unsealing of the book implies the accomplishment of the things God has purposed. But who can do it? Only one who can demonstrate the justice of God against evil as well as the sacrifice of God to accomplish salvation, can bear the responsibility of opening the seal. Someone who is pure and powerful and perfect. Someone who is the mediator between a holy God and a sinful people. Who is worthy?

John’s response was tears of anguish. He longs for God’s purposes to be accomplished, but how is that to happen? Was there no hope for the redeemed after all?

Revelation 5:5  And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

But from the silence emerges the Lamb, the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus in glorified human flesh. The Lamb who was slain, yet conquered death. In Christ, the crucified and resurrected Lord, all God’s purposes are fulfilled. He alone is worthy.

What does all this mean to you and I today as we wait for the return of Christ and the opening of the seals from the Book of Life? God has a predetermined plan put in place for all things. History is the unfolding of this plan. Nothing happens by fate or chance. No event in life is a mistake that catches God off-guard.

Psalm 139:16  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect, and in thy book all my days were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

When we envisage that picture in Revelation 5 of John witnessing God on His throne holding the sealed scroll on which is written all the plans for history, we can trust that His plans for this world and for our lives are precise and complete. We don’t have to live with a sense of regret about past failures or missed opportunities. We do not need to wonder what part of God’s plans we have missed out on, because all our days are already established by Him.

Psalm 37:23  The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and He delighteth in his way.

We don’t have to fear that the evils of some disease will ravage our lives, or that natural disaster or worldwide terrorism are going to derail God’s plans for this world or our lives. He has ordered all the days of our lives already, and they are to bring us blessing and a future washed with hope. We can rest knowing that the Sovereign LORD is seated upon His throne and that nothing happens in life that is outside of His control. Hallelujah!

This is all good news for the regenerate man. If you are in Christ, you can be confident that His plans for you are good even when they don’t seem to make sense. He is in absolute control and has loving plans for your future securely in His grasp.

But those who have yet to believe and live their lives surrendered to Christ, there is the prospect of a future not assured of eternal life, but eternal hell. The Lamb who gave Himself for lost sinners calls the unsaved man and woman to repent and be washed clean from sin in His blood given freely and sacrificially for you. ‘Then times of refreshing will come from the presence of the LORD’ (Acts 3:19).

Thou art worthy, O LORD, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Revelation 4:11

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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3 comments

  1. Hello Jennifer,
    Thank you for this inspiring article, wonderful message and vitally important.
    God Bless you~

  2. totally amazing article

  3. being translated into chinese

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