Greetings fellow sojourners! I just LOVE the Word, don’t you? I am particularly thrilled when I see instances of the Old and New Testament working together. I was reading a book lately by someone I greatly admire because of his considerable love of the Lord. In my opinion, you can not speak with this man without knowing this fact immediately! Thank you Lord for such a rich blessing. In his book he illustrates a most intriguing point regarding Jesus opening the 7th seal and stepping on the Mount of Olives. Let’s first look at Jeremiah 32:6-10 as it speaks of Jeremiah’s land purchase. The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah saying, “Hanamel is coming to you to say, ‘Buy my field in Anathoth for yourself, for you own the right of redemption to buy it.'” “In Bible times, when one purchased land, one was given a seven-sealed scroll, which was a legal document giving title to the land in question. Even though you had paid for the land, it only became yours when you actually went to it, placed your feet on it, and broke the last, or seventh, seal.” (Malcolm Hedding, Understanding Revelation) When Jeremiah bought the piece of land, he left Jerusalem (when the Chaldean army withdrew) in order to go to the land of Benjamin to claim his portion (Jeremiah 37:11-16) by breaking the seventh seal while his feet were planted on the property. (Unfortunately he was unable to complete this task because he was apprehended along the way, suspected of deserting to the Chaldeans.)
Revelation 6-8 speaks of the seven seals opened by the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ). As each seal is broken an event unfolds that will effect the entire world. When the Lamb opens the seventh seal He will put His feel on the Mount of Olives to signify His taking possession, similar to the above example in Jeremiah. During the next several weeks we will take some time to prayerfully consider these seven seals.
“Then I saw in the right hand of the One seated on the throne a scroll with writing on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. I also saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or even to look in it. And I cried and cried because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or even to look in it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Stop crying. Look! The Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has been victorious so that He may open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw One like a slaughtered lamb standing between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent into all the earth. He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of the One seated on the throne.”
“When He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:
You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed people
for God by Your blood
from every tribe and language
and people and nation.
You made them a kingdom
and priests to our God,
and they will reign on the earth.
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels around the throne, and also of the living creatures and of the elders. Their number was countless thousands, plus thousands of thousands. They said with a loud voice:
The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy
to receive power and riches and wisdom and
strength and honor and glory and blessing!
I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them say: Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!
The four living creatures said, “ Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.”
Let’s take note of some interesting points. The One seated on the throne was holding a scroll with writing on the inside and the back, and sealed with seven seals. There are several places in the bible that speak of instances of writing on the inside and back of a document. Jeremiah signed and sealed shut one copy of the scroll deed of purchase and had witnesses sign it, apparently on the outside (Jer. 32:10, Jer. 32:12). Concerning this practice, “For the manner of writing the contract, he who was to buy the ground wrote two instruments; the one to be sealed with his own signet, the other he showed unclosed to the witnesses, that they might subscribe and bear witness of that which was written. This, the witnesses did subscribe upon the back of the enclosed instrument . . . Gaston Maspero gave an example of an enclosed document being used as evidence. Contracts stamped upon clay tablets have been found in Babylonia, enclosed in an envelope of clay, on the outside of which an exact duplicate of the contract is impressed: if in the course of time any disagreement arose and it was suspected that the outside text had been tampered with, the envelope was broken in the presence of witnesses to see if the inside text agreed with it or not. The fact that the sealed scroll of Revelation had writing on both the inside and the outside, in the same manner as Jeremiah’s and other deeds of purchase in Israel’s land redemption system, indicates that it is a deed of purchase.” (Renald Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come)
A purchase was made at the cross, and now the deed of that purchase is being claimed by its rightful owner. “But what is this remarkable scroll? It is nothing less than the title deed to the earth itself. . . . it is clearly the antitype of all the rich typological teaching associated with the divinely specified procedures for land redemption in the Old Testament.” (Henry Morris, The Revelation Record) While Babylon had besieged Jerusalem, God told Jeremiah to purchase a plot of ground in Israel. Even though Babylon had taken the land, Jeremiah’s purchase demonstrated God’s promise to restore Israel back to the land (Jer. 32:14-15, Jer. 32:43-44). In both of these cases, the purchases were made in advance and a period of time elapses before possession takes place. What is also interesting is that in both cases, the purchase price has been paid (silver in one case and shed blood in another) but it remained in the hands of tyrants. This brings about consecutive judgments by which the purchaser takes back what He rightfully owns.
“All seven seals are part of the same scroll; all seven have the same purpose or function with regard to that scroll; all seven will be part of the irrefutable evidence that Christ is the true Kinsman-Redeemer; all seven will be broken by Christ; and all seven will be part of the same program of Christ’s evicting Satan and his forces and taking permanent possession of the earth.” (Renald Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come)
Another interesting portion begins in verse two. A mighty angel “proclaimed” not “asked” the question of who would be worthy to open the scroll and break its seal (although it is phrased as a question the answer is already known). There must have been a time of waiting or silence because no one was found worthy. Then, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Victorious One came forward. It is said in this portion that He has seven horns and seven eyes. In the book of Daniel, horns represent power and authority. The seven spirits may refer to the angels of the seven churches or the fullness of the Holy Spirit as described in Isaiah.
Looking to verse eight, “Each one (the living creatures and the 24 elders) had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. The prayers held in the bowls of gold represent the immense value to God (indicated by the gold). Why are the prayers called incense? We see incense first mentioned in Exodus 30:1-3, “You are to make an altar for the burning of incense; make it of acacia wood. It must be square, 18 inches long and 18 inches wide; it must be 36 inches high. Its horns must be of one piece. (Notice the reference to horns in the above paragraph) Overlay its top, all around its sides, and its horns with pure gold; make a gold molding all around it.” We see our prayers related to incense in Psalm 141:2, “Our prayer is to be set before Him as incense.” The incense was to be like perfume and seasoned with salt, pure and holy (Exodus 30:35), our prayers should also be like this. Malachi 1:11 tells us, “incense and pure offerings (such as prayers) will be presented in His name because His name will be great.” One of the duties of the priest was to serve God by burning incense. When the appropriate hour came for burning incense, the whole assembly of people were outside the temple praying (Luke 1:10-11). Is it interesting to see how our prayers are associated with the incense? I can’t help but take note that the burning of the incense was intended to be on an altar of power (horns) overlayed with gold (precious). Do you see your prayers as powerful in this world and precious to God?
Verse thirteen closes with EVERY creature saying “Blessing and honor and glory and dominion to the One seated on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever!” Shall we join the four living creatures who said, “Amen” and fall down and worship?
In His grace,