Wednesday, 4 November 2020
Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” Revelation 5:2
A scroll has just been openly presented to whoever could take it from the hand of the One seated on the throne. This was certain because it was “on” His right hand. Thus, it could be taken without hindrance. But now, a caveat is brought into the heavenly scene. John says, “Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice.”
This angel may, likewise, be a presentation of Christ Jesus. The reason this is so is that the word aggelos, or “angel,” simply means “a messenger.” The word corresponds directly to the Hebrew word for messenger which is used when speaking of the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, including that of Jesus – the malak, or “Messenger” – in Malachi 3:1 –
“’Behold, I send My messenger,
And he will prepare the way before Me.
And the Lord, whom you seek,
Will suddenly come to His temple,
Even the Messenger of the covenant,
In whom you delight.
Behold, He is coming,’
Says the Lord of hosts.”
There, the same word is speaking first of John the Baptist – “My messenger” – and then of Christ Jesus – “the Messenger of the covenant.” The reason this “angel” may be another revelation of Christ is because of the description of another angel in Revelation 10:1-4 that reflects the attributes of the Lord. However, as nothing more is said of this messenger here, it could simply be a created angel that makes proclamations before the Lord, such as the angel Gabriel.
And, indeed, it has been surmised that this is the angel Gabriel who has been the bearer of God’s revelation to certain people throughout redemptive history. He specifically appeared to Daniel, Zechariah, and Mary, and may have appeared at other times as an unnamed herald of God’s message. Gabriel means something like “mighty one of God,” and this would fit the description here of a “strong angel.” The matter, either way, stands as speculative.
What is of great importance is what this angel proclaims with his loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” The idea here is of moral entitlement. Who is morally fit to open the scrolls? This is reflective of John the Baptist’s statement in John 1 –
“John answered them, saying, ‘I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. 27 It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.’” John 1:27, 28
The reason it is certain this speaks of moral entitlement is because the offer is made from the Most Holy One sitting upon the throne. He is pure and undefiled, and in Him is only righteousness, justice, and holiness. As this offer is made from Him, anyone that approaches Him must be, likewise, in such a pure and undefiled state.
The offer is made. Who, if any, will come forward to accept it?
Life application: In the previous verse, we were introduced to the scroll sealed with seven seals in the “right hand of Him who sat on the throne.” This scroll had writing on both sides and is the will or title deed to which Adam lost the right when he disobeyed God. Since that time there have been many billions of humans on the earth. The question is now put forth asking if any are found worthy to come forward, accept it, and open its seals. Is anyone who has lived since Adam qualified to restore and accept responsibility for that which he willfully lost?
The words are waiting to be unsealed. This implies that they were at one point sealed, that they have been sealed since then, and that someone is expected to unseal them at some point. In Daniel 12:9 there is a parallel thought concerning sealed words – “And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.’”
This statement was precipitated by the following words –
“At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book.
2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
Some to everlasting life,
Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3 Those who are wise shall shine
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:1-3
Daniel was told about the events of a coming day that would be centered on the nation of Israel, but which would encompass the entire world in mass destruction. This time is known as the Tribulation Period, and it comes more clearly into focus throughout the rest of the Bible…if only someone is worthy to open the scroll and loose its seals. Stay tuned.
Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals? Lord, we – Your people – know that we are not. Where Adam failed, we continue to fail. We have come short of Your holiness and have not been perfect. But thank You, O God, that our sins are covered by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. We know that because of Him, our sins are forgiven. Thank You, O God, for Jesus! Amen.