There is a lot of speculation as to the meaning and
purpose of this verse, and for some, the speculation goes beyond the content of
even the Bible.
We need only to pick apart the verse little by
little and then we will know for a certainty exactly what is going on here.
First John sees, ‘His right hand’ (the right hand of
the one sitting on the throne), and a book held therein. The one who is sitting on the throne is Jesus
The transition here in this chapter leaves that
which has been revealed (chapters 1-4), intact, and continues in sequence, with
additional information in the vision.
Jesus Christ is the one sitting on the throne, the
one who holds the book.
The word for book, ‘biblion,’
refers to a writing, a written document, an item that
contains writing at length, a roll, a bill, a book, a scroll. And this book is lengthy as determined by what
In John’s day, the scroll was the typical mechanism
of written documents. Usually written on
one side and then rolled up so as to not reveal its content until it is
unrolled. That is simply the nature of
the document. When you roll up a piece
of parchment or paper or whatever, then you cannot see what is written on the
inside until you unroll it. That should
However, this book contains writing on both sides
of the material. How could John have
known that? Well he saw the book or
scroll. He saw writing on the outside of
the scroll. And any normal person
knowing the nature of scrolls, would surmise that there was writing on the
inside as well.
He describes the writing as the form of text or
body of the document, and not in the form of a label or title. A label or title of a document would be
obvious and easily read and described as such.
This scroll is not described as a contract, title
of ownership, legal decision, decree of marriage or divorce, or anything of
that nature. A scroll documenting the
purchase of real-estate in Jer. 32 is clearly defined as a legal document. And a scroll is described in Ezek. 2:9-10, describes
lamentations due to the rebellious attitude of Israel, against God.
However in contrast, this scroll is directed at
humanity in general, as the whole planet earth is included in the events that
Note, that the scroll is never read (from within
the context of this book of Revelation) and its detailed contents are never
revealed, only the events that occur when each successive seal is broken, is
made known. Thus by interpolation, and
knowing the events described, we can surmise that the details that accompany
them, are terribly severe for those who will be made to endure the actual
The scroll is sealed with seven seals.
Typically when a scroll is rolled up it may be tied
with a string or something that would prevent it from unrolling on its
own. Legal documents or documents of
importance would be sealed with some form of wax or impression, which is
intended to restrict their opening, except by certain and authorized persons. However, typically one seal is all that is
required for the whole document.
In this case, there are seven seals (not typical in
any era of history), each designed to protect a successive portion of the
scroll as it is opened in sequence. The
seals would have to be applied on the margin or edge of the scroll as it was
rolled up, so that they could be broken in succession as the scroll was
John saw the seven seals
clearly, which also indicates the thickness, magnitude, or fullness of the
The number seven, throughout the Bible indicates ‘completeness,’
or ‘fullness,’ or ‘entirety,’ such that nothing more can or need be added or
taken away in order to make it better. It
is a finished document.
So, Jesus Christ, the unique person of the
universe, the Son of God, and God Himself, who sits on the throne of heaven, in
heaven, which is over all thrones, and of whom occupies and possesses the
throne and all that it stands for, holds in His right hand of authority, a very
detailed book, written on both sides of the paper, and sealed with seven
official seals indicating that this book is complete, has been complete, and
will not be changed in its content, and is now ready to be revealed.
But by whom? And what does it reveal?
End of study