Revelation Chapter 5
VERSE 2 and 3 “Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals? AND NO ONE IN HEAVEN or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.”
“The Apostle was impressed with the strength of the angel—possibly because the angel possessed a Herculean figure, and a booming voice to correspond with the largeness of his stature and the solidness of his frame. Nevertheless, the angel’s loud proclamation “Who is worthy?” seems to be tinged with a note of pathos and a sense of futility that he, or any other being, could ever hope to merit the honor and the privilege of understanding the precious mystery held in the mighty Jehovah’s power.
This dramatic figure is introduced into the apocalyptic vision to accentuate in a striking manner the fact that, among the multitude of participants in the throne room scene, including John, none as yet were aware of anyone sufficiently worthy for the occasion. The angel may be a purely imaginary figure, an idealistic symbol, intended to personify that even the most promising candidate to aspire to such a task could entertain little or no hope in such an endeavor.
Although the explanation just given is preferred, there is an alternate interpretation of the meaning of the term “strong angel” that merits equal attention. It is that the angel represents the whole Law of God, that is, not merely the Ten Commandments written on tables of stone but the moral code of God in its entirety.
For example, we may be sure that when sin entered the Garden of Eden and man fell, the prior song of the angelic sons of God (Job 38:7) soon hushed and a deep sense of dismay and gloom pervaded the heavenly realm. Soon, however, their sadness was replaced with a laudable desire to help lift man up out of the quagmire of sin. Divine Providence foresaw the incapability of the angels to handle the situation but determined to alert them to their lack by affording them this opportunity. Their administration of the first age was tolerated, permission being granted to the holy angels to see what they could do.
Many heavenly messengers themselves fell into sin through prolonged contact with the contaminated human race, thus visibly demonstrating the true axiom “evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Cor. 15:33). Several of the angelic host became inordinately enamored with the beauty of womanhood, the female sex being previously unknown and uncreated in the spiritual realm. “And they took them wives of all which they chose” (Gen. 6:2).
Since God did not act hastily either to prevent or to suppress their participation in this unauthorized action, many of the angels foolishly concluded He was powerless or disinterested in doing so. This assumption, in turn, emboldened them, and led to an increasing number of sons of disobedience who left their prior heavenly estate, preferring to settle here on earth. These are variously styled as fallen angels, unclean spirits, demons, devils, etc. Such were bound in chains of darkness at the time of the great flood (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6).
On the other hand, an encouraging factor in this time of trial and testing is that an even greater number of the angelic ministers of the first dispensation maintained their integrity and purity. As time progressed, they became proportionately disinclined to linger too long in their earthly ministrations, realizing their status as righteous agents could be compromised. They preferred instead to keep their heavenly habitation and to perform their services down here expeditiously.
Thus the fact remains that the holy angels, though imbued with great power and authority (Heb. 2:2), failed in their mission to uplift humanity; and therefore, in the world to come, in the third great dispensation or Messiah’s Kingdom, they will not be commissioned to be the agents of deliverance (Heb. 2:5). In spite of their earnest endeavors, history has demonstrated the declaration of the strong angel that “no man in heaven” up to that time, or subsequently up to the First Advent, was known to be worthy to “open the book” or break the seals thereof (Verse 3). The Keys of Revelation
Continued with next post.
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