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 same unworthiness which was found in the angelic hosts would also be true with respect to fallen man, born and “shapen in iniquity” (Psa 51:5). For such to perfectly obey the Law of God in the present life would be an utter impossibility. In view of the lack of success on the part of the holy angels, what chance of success would there be that a righteous man could be found—one who was worthy to open, reveal, or execute the undisclosed contents of the scroll?
Therefore, to the “strong angel”—whether it be a representation of God’s Law or the personification of the most promising imaginary candidate for such a role—the picture appeared bleak. The general lesson and pervading atmosphere of the dramatization remain the same: It is one of helplessness and futility in either instance.
In harmony with scriptural usage elsewhere, the words “heaven” and “earth” might be interpreted in terms of earthly society—that among those in positions of religious or civic leadership (“in heaven”); or among those who are governed (“in earth”), either the public at large in civilian life or those congregated under ecclesiastical control; or among the illustrious dead, both great and small (“under the earth”); no one worthy of such honor had yet been found or recognized.
However, the breadth and the depth and the significance of the vision seem to require a more comprehensive interpretation. “Heaven” refers to God’s heaven and the heavenly host of angels above; “earth,” the habitable earth and its occupants here below; “under the earth,” the buried dead in the earth.
That no one worthy could be found among the living or the dead of a sin-sick race comes as no surprise, but what about those living in the sinless realm above? Apparently, the virtue and merit of the holy angels, who did not sin either prior to or since the Flood, do not sufficiently qualify them for this privilege. Their goodness consists primarily in passive obedience and restraint from evil.
What about Michael the archangel, the Logos, namely Jesus, in his preexistent state before coming to earth in the likeness of man—was he not worthy?
Yes, he was, but only the Father knew the sterling character and superlative worth of His only begotten Son. Others perceived not the depth of loyalty, the hidden grace, and the potential strength of the Master. Although the angels had witnessed his devotion to his Father and his zealous interest in his Father’s every act, such enthusiasm had been exhibited under conditions most favorable to himself and had not entailed any suffering, dishonor, or sacrifice on his part. Already, as the most highly favored among the sons of God, he had been showered with honor and authority. Probably all, or most, of those beholding the actions of the Son reasoned that under the same circumstances they would likewise prosper and compare favorably to his example. Moreover, the angels would have attributed his previously exalted station as the Logos to parental favor— to the partiality of the Father—which would have been entirely proper irrespective of the fact that family relationship is a prerogative of the divine office (2 Tim. 2:20). Little did the angels then realize the residual worth of Jesus’ character.” (The Keys of Revelation)
We will continue unto Verse 4 in our next post.
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