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The Study of Revelation, Part 68

  1. Revelation Chapter 5

    VERSE 1 continued, “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.”

    To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose (the Divine Plan) which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph 3:10, 11 NKJV)

    There was a time when the divine plan was entirely absent from view, kept secret, in the mind of God (Eph. 1:4; 3:11; 1 Pet. 1:19, 20). But when God prepared the earth for habitation, and breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, then it became quite apparent to those in heavenly places that He had an ulterior motive with respect to this brand-new creation. That which had previously been a concept locked within His intellect, was now discernible as the initiation of an undisclosed project, at hand, under His control.

    The angels knew something was going on, for God did reveal little things here and there, scraps of information recorded in the Old Testament (Isa. 28:10,13; Heb. 1:1). They knew there was a plan, but they could not understand it. When they looked at the book in the hand of Jehovah, they could see some writing. There were scattered encouraging promises, such as that the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head and that in Abraham “all the families of the earth” would be blessed; but they could not put together in an understandable way what was happening down here (Gen. 3:15; 12:3; 28:14). The angels knew about the promised Messiah. They were very interested and earnestly desired to look into these things (1 Pet. 1:12).

    The message was sealed or locked up until the proper time for thismeat” (understanding) to become due (Matt. 24:45). The same principle applied to Daniel, who was given considerable information but little understanding (Dan. 12:9). Neither Daniel nor the other prophets could comprehend with distinction their own prophetic utterances given under the impulse of the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:21; 1 Pet. 1:10–12).

    This introductory explanation has been given to the setting of the first verse of Chapter 5 as seen from the standpoint of the holy angels and the prophets. Now the vision is to be considered from the perspective of John the Apostle himself (representative of the Church), who declared in his opening remarks of both Verse 1 and Verse 2, “I saw

    Thebook” (Greek biblion, i.e., scroll) John saw in God’s hand was not the conventional book associated with modern-day society. Resembling a rolled document with external writing—that is, with introductory or preface remarks thereonit was held firmly in Jehovah’s grasp. Notwithstanding this fact, the document was sufficiently unfurled (perhaps just a curl in the corner of the parchment) in such a manner as to reveal as well as confirm that it also contained a message within.

    The external writing apparently alludes to the purpose of God in regard to His dealings with mankind in general, whereas the internal contents of the scroll pertain to the experiences of His Church during the Gospel Age.

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    The plan of God, with reference to man, spans three great periods of time, beginning with man’s creation and reaching into the illimitable future. Designated “worlds” by Peter and Paul, these three great epochs represent three distinct manifestations of Divine Providence.

    The first, from Creation to the Flood, was under the ministration of angels and is called “the world that was” (2 Pet. 3:6). The second great epoch, from the Flood to the establishment of the Kingdom of God, is under the limited control of Satan, “the prince of this world,” and is therefore called “this present evil world” (Gal. 1:4; 2 Pet. 3:7). The third is to be a “world to come” under divine administration, the Kingdom of God, and is called “the world to come…wherein dwells righteousness” (Isa. 45:17; Heb. 2:5; 2 Pet. 3:13). The first of these periods, or worlds, under the ministration of angels, was a failure; the second, under the rule of Satan, the usurper, has indeed been a sinful and “evil world”; but the third, under divine ruler-ship, will be an era of unending righteousness, peace, and blessing to all the families of the earth. Then will the Lord’s Prayer be answered: “Thy kingdom come.” (The Keys of Revelation)

    We will continue with our examination of Verse 1 in our next post.

    About Author

    Harvest 1874
    I am and have been a Bible Student now for over 30 years ever since the day the Lord so graciously called me out of darkness into his marvelous light. To Him be the honor and glory forever. Everyday I thank Him for the privilege of working in His "vineyard".

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