Revelation Chapter 5
VERSE 2 “Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”
THEN I SAW: Here is another marker. John wants now to draw our attention away from the hand and book and toward something else.
A STRONG ANGEL: Who is this strong Angel then?
First of all we need to ask ourselves, what the symbol of an angel could represent in the book of Revelation. If we look at the meaning of the word “angel” we think that its definition should give us a clue.
The word "angel” literally means, "messenger" or “agent”, whether spirit or human, animate or inanimate; any agency or event which the Lord may choose to use to convey a message. Note closely the definition as given by James Strong.
Strong’s # 32 ang’-el-os; from ajgge>llw [probably derivative from (71) (a]gw); compare (34) (ajge>lh)] (to bring tidings); a messenger; especially an “angel”; by implication a pastor: — angel, messenger.
There are only three “Strong” (or “mighty”) angels in Revelation. No wonder John wants to draw our attention to this angel. (The others are in Rev 10:1 and in 18:21.) The other two strong angels appear at times of great revolutionary stress in the Divine plan. In 10:1 we are at the French Revolution —the prototype (one-tenth) of the Great Time of Trouble. In 18:21 we are at the final cataclysmic overthrow of Babylon. THIS ANGEL (in Verse 2), therefore, seems likely also to represent a time of revolutionary change —the shift from the Judaic Law Age (the Jewish age) into the Christian Dispensation (the Gospel age).
AN ASIDE: This “strong angel” passage is a PERFECT EXAMPLE of the strengths of TOPICAL BIBLE STUDY.
An in-order study of Revelation would have us speculating as to who this mighty angel might be. It is likely we would guess wrong. But the knowledge that this term is used only three times in the book, and the consequent ability to see how the term is used, allows us to keep from guessing. Instead we can make an intelligent application based on precedent.
This “strong angel” (the troublous time of the end of the Jewish Age) represents a time when religious questioning was at an all-time high. The Jewish polity and religion were collapsing. Who, now, could deal with God’s plan? Who, now, could tell what was going to happen next? THIS is the very question at the end of this verse.
Another possible and reasonable suggestion as to whom or what the “strong angel” represents is that suggested in the Southern Wisconsin study on Revelation viz.
“We think that (the Angel Represents Justice or God’s Law) that this voice could more properly be thought of as God’s word, his justice or law speaking. In this chapter the angel is asking the question, who is worthy or who can keep or fulfill the law? The full satisfaction of the law for mankind required that an eye for an eye be satisfied. Only Christ was able to do this by becoming our great high priest, and offering a sacrifice one time, to satisfy the entire law. (Rom 5:19) The one who was going to administer or reveal God’s plan, needed to meet this high standard, and that one was found in Christ! (Heb 4:15).”
PROCLAIMING WITH A LOUD VOICE: The fall of things Jewish WAS a VERY LOUD message! Since the days of Moses, the Jewish religion was the only true standard on earth. Imagine, if we can, the mental turmoil and anguish when it is all falling apart and challenged by the new Christianity!
WHO IS WORTHY TO OPEN THE SCROLL AND TO LOOSE ITS SEALS?
This was the vital religious question as the authority of the Jewish High Priest was now gone. The end of an age and the beginning of a new one causes such momentous questions. Jesus’ ministry had undermined all of the false trappings of Judaism. But he had not yet given the brethren the needed information as to what would happen next. That would not happen until Pentecost and following.
VERSE 3 “And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.”
AND NO ONE: No one before the glorified Jesus.
IN HEAVEN: No Spirit Being.
OR ON THE EARTH: Among men or in society’s functions, no priest.
OR UNDER THE EARTH: It may seem strange to make a point that the dead (those under the earth) could not open the book; but the thought seems to be that, in looking back at the significant great ones of the past and at their writings (Moses, Isaiah, John the Baptist, etc.), none was able to understand God’s plan. No one, that is, until the glorified Jesus.
WAS ABLE TO OPEN THE SCROLL: Clarify and harmonize all the details of God’s plans and purposes all the way up to the kingdom time.
OR TO LOOK AT IT: The thought here seems to be that, even if the book HAD BEEN OPENED, no one had been justified to understand it and pursue it. Until the benefits of the ransom would be applied at Pentecost, and until the Holy Spirit had begotten the disciples, they could not have been prepared to understand the book even if it had been opened. This is manifest in that they had not understood Jesus plain words while He was personally with them.” (Excerpts taken from the New Albany Notes on Revelation)
Having found that each of our three commentaries provides its own insight, in our next post we would like to see what can be gleam from these same two text as explained in the Keys of Revelation.
Welcome to Christian Forums, a Christian Forum that recognizes that all Christians are a work in progress.
You will need to register to be able to join in fellowship with Christians all over the world.
We hope to see you as a part of our community soon and God Bless!