What Does Revelation 5:4 Mean?

Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it;

Revelation 5:4(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

After the seven letters to the Churches, John is summoned up into the throne-room of heaven with the word 'Metatauta' "Come Up Hither". He was greeted with multitudes of angelic beings glorifying God, and 24 stately elders, who were seated on thrones and wearing golden crowns on their heads. As the apostle looked around this majestic, awe-inspiring company, he saw the God of heaven, sitting on a magnificent throne, holding a scroll in His right hand, which was securely fastened with a series of seven, great seals.

John realised that the document in the hand of God the Father was significant and he seemed to understand that its content was of supreme importance. John paid special attention to this roll of parchment, with its seven seals. One by one, in consecutive order, each seal would have to be broken, if the important, precious content of the document was to become known. 

The severity of the scene must have intensified as the voice a mighty angel thundered the question that was on everyone's heart."Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?"  'Who is entitled to carry out the vital action of breaking each successive seals, and revealing the content of this parchment', was the question that burned on his lips. 

Although no one responded to his enquiry, John was already aware of the answer - NO ONE! There was no one in heaven, no one on the earth and no one under the earth who was worthy to open the book or to look inside it. No one was qualified. John was deeply distressed and his heart was ready to break for he KNEW that the scroll had to be opened, if God's plans and purposes for the restoration of the earth and redemption of man was to be realised.

Israel's sin had to be punished, and the time of Jacob's Trouble had to take place if prophetic Scriptures and God's promises were to be fulfilled. Increasingly John realised that if nobody was equipped to break the seals on this mysterious scroll, the world would remain in the same pitiful, state - eternally cursed and separated from God, forever. The kingdom of heaven on earth could NEVER come to pass if sin were not dealt with. And if sin was not punished, then God's promised Messianic kingdom of peace and prosperity could never begin. 

The thought that the cursed earth and fallen humanity could never be restored caused deep dread and great foreboding to overwhelm the apostle. And so John recorded his terrible grief and insurmountable horror, and wrote.. "Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it".

John was engulfed with hopelessness when he understood that no one was worthy to open the scroll and release its contents. The scroll contained the answers to universal questions and prophetic utterances, that were given centuries earlier, but unless the seals were broken, the prophecies could never be fulfilled; the curse could never be lifted from the earth; God's plan of redemption for humanity would remain stillborn and the promised Kingdom of God could never be realised. No wonder the apostle John wept uncontrollably at the shocking realisation that no one was found worthy to open the book or to even look inside it."

The question was not, 'who is wealthy enough or educated enough to open the scroll', but who is WORTHY. Who is worthy to open the scroll? The fall of Adam in the Garden of Eden dictated that every man is born in sin - every man born of Adam's race is a sinner, and no sinner is worthy to stand before a holy God. Only GOD HIMSELF is worthy... but God is Spirit and man is a Mortal being of flesh and blood.

Humanity could only be redeemed by a perfect Man - a kinsman- Redeemer Who was willing to lay down His life for His people. And God in His grace saw our spiritual poverty and gave His only begotten Son to be born into the human race and live and die as a Man. The Redeemer had to be a perfect, sinless MAN who would be worthy to open the scroll and bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth

John knew that the kingdom had been postponed for a time, because Christ had been rejected by Israel and crucified, instead of being hailed as King of kings and Lord of lords. And no doubt the old apostle understood that if the kingdom promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were postponed indefinitely, we would all be sentenced to live forever in our fallen state - dead in sin, at enmity with God and with no prospect of being resurrected in a new body.

John seemed to understand that opening the scroll would bring in the prophesied time of tribulation, which must precede the prophesied Kingdom of God. John seemed to understand that IF the 70th week of Daniel - the Time of Jacob's Trouble, was permanently postponed because there was no one worthy to open the scroll, God could never bring His plans and purposes to pass.

But in the midst of his mourning and great grief,  John received the glorious words that must have ignited his soul (and ours) with hope and joy, for as we read in Proverbs - hope deferred makes the heart sick, BUT when the promised desire comes, it is a Tree of Life.

John and all of us who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ have a promised hope that can never fail, for Jesus, (The Man Who was God and the God Who is Man) broke the power of Satan, sin, death, and hell at the cross, and although its final fulfilment is yet future... we can rejoice greatly knowing that the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome, and HE IS able to open the book... and one day soon will begin to unseal those seven seals on the scroll in the hand of the Almighty God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ - and in so doing will set the stage for the final scene in God's amazing plan of redemption.

PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that You know the end from the beginning and have set out Your plans and purposed for the salvation of lost sinners and the establishment of Christ's eternal kingdom on earth in Your Word of truth. Thank You for sending Jesus to be the propitiation for our sin. Thank You that Jesus was willing to come to earth and live and die as a MAN, so that I might be saved by grace - through faith in His sacrificial work at Calvary and His glorious resurrection - where He broke the power of Satan, sin, death, and hell and will bring in the kingdom age, following that prophesied time of Jacob's Trouble. Thank You in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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