The Sealed Scroll

In Chapter 5 of Revelation, John saw the Scroll that was sealed shut with Seven Seals and tightly held in the “right hand” of the “One Who was sitting on the Throne.” He dispatched a “mighty angel” to discover whether anyone in the created order was “worthy” to take and open the “Sealed Scroll.” Despite an exhaustive search, at least momentarily, no one “worthy” could be found.

This “mighty angel” even looked “under the earth,” yet he failed to find anyone who was “worthy” to open the Scroll. But if it remained sealed, its contents would not be revealed and implemented, and this caused John to weep profusely.

  • (Revelation 5:1-4) – “And I saw upon the right hand of him that was sitting upon the throne a scroll; written within, and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll and to unloose its seals? And no one was able in heaven or on earth or under the earth to open the scroll or to look in it. And I began to weep much because no one worthy was found to open the scroll.


The Scroll was “written within and without.” This description alludes to a passage in the Book of Ezekiel, but there is a key difference (“Behold, a scroll was in it, and he spread it before me. And it was written within and without; lamentations and mourning and woe”).

The scroll in Ezekiel was opened already, but in the Book of Revelation, it is sealed shut and will remain so until someone worthy appears and breaks open its “Seven Seals” - (Ezekiel 2:9-10).

The significance of the scroll being written “within and without” is not clear. Most likely, the “writings without” are related to the “Seven Seals,” and they must be broken before the Scroll can be unfolded. In Chapters 6 through 8, the contents of the “Seven Seals” are unveiled before the details of the Scroll itself are revealed in the remainder of the Book.

But the more prominent scriptural background behind this image is the passage in the Book of Daniel where the prophet Daniel was commanded to seal the Scroll shut – “But you, Daniel, shut the words and seal the book, until the time of the end… for shut and sealed are the words until the time of the end” - (Daniel 12:4).

The connection between Daniel and Revelation was established previously in the latter’s prologue, a connection confirmed again in the Book’s epilogue:

  • (Revelation 1:3) – “Happy is he that reads, and they who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things therein written; FOR THE SEASON IS NEAR.

What the prophet Daniel was commanded to seal shut was intended for a distant future. In the Book of Revelation, that promised “season” has arrived, and the contents of the “revelation of Jesus” are now revealed.


The Greek verb rendered “written” represents a perfect verb tense, which signifies completed action - what has been written is not subject to change. It represents God’s predetermined plan for creation and humanity. This is the reason why anyone who adds to or subtracts from the Scroll is excluded from “New Jerusalem.” His will is unalterable - (Revelation 22:18-19).

Daniel was ordered to “seal” his scroll until the determined time. Revelation has serialized Daniel’s single “seal” into “Seven Seals,” and that signifies the completeness of what follows when the seals are broken by the “Lamb.”

The execution of the “Sealed Scroll’s” contents will bring God’s redemptive plan to its intended conclusion.

The English term “sealed shut” translates a Greek compound verb katesphragismenon, which means “to seal down” - to seal something tight.  No one can view the Scroll’s contents until its seals are broken, and that requires someone who is “worthy” to do so. The opening of the Scroll itself will put its contents into action.



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