1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat upon the throne, a book written within, and on the backside sealed with seven seals.
2 And I saw a strong Angel which preached with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
3 And no man in heaven nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
4 Then I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open, and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
5 And one of the Elders said unto me, Weep not: behold, that Lion which is of the tribe of Judah, that root of David, hath obtained to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6 Then I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the Elders stood a Lamb, as though he had been killed, which had seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God, sent into all the world.
7 And he came, and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
Awe and joy, amazement and adoration, wonder, glory!
“. . . The design of the whole chapter is evidently to honor the Lamb of God, by showing that the power was entrusted to him which was confided to no one else in heaven or earth, of disclosing what is to come. Nothing else would better illustrate this than the fact that he alone could break the mysterious seals which barred out the knowledge of the future from all created eyes; and nothing would be better adapted to impress this on the mind than the representation in this chapter – the exhibition of a mysterious book in the hand of God; the proclamation of the angel, calling on any who could do it to open the book; the fact that no one in heaven or earth could do it; the tears shed by John when it was found that no one could do it; the assurance of one of the elders that the Lion of the tribe of Judah had power to do it; and the profound adoration of all in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth in view of the power entrusted to him of breaking these mysterious seals. . .”
Insights from commentaries
REVELATION CHAPTER 5
“1. in, &c. — Greek, ‘(lying) upon the right hand.’ His right hand was open and on it lay the book. On God’s part there was no withholding of His future purposes as contained in the book: the only obstacle to unsealing it is stated in Rev. 5:3 [Alford].
“book — . . .The writing on the back implies fullness and completeness, so that nothing more needs to be added (Rev. 22:18). . . However, no portion of the roll is said to be unfolded and read; but simply the seals are successively opened, giving final access to its contents being read as a perfect whole, which shall not be until the events symbolized by the seals shall have been past, when Ephes. 3:10 shall receive its complete accomplishment, and the Lamb shall reveal God’s providential plans in redemption in all their manifold beauties. Thus the opening of the seals will mean the successive steps by which God in Christ clears the way for the final opening and reading of the book at the visible setting up of the kingdom of Christ.”
10 To the intent, that now unto principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God
The Final Prophecy of Jesus: An Introduction, Analysis, and Commentary on the Book of Revelation
Oral Edmond Collins
“What the elder proclaimed, John now saw through tearful eyes wonderfully dramatized in the heavenly scene. The Lion is a Lamb! A Lamb-like being scarred from mortal wounds, was nevertheless grandly alive and standing before Him in the throne room of heaven. The slain Lamb can represent no other than the One about whom Isaiah said,
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, . . . cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken (Isa. 53:7,8).
“His seven horns and seven eyes indicate His sovereign control over the destiny of His creation as well as His care for His people in ‘all the earth.’
“As the aged and suffering John was comforted, so are we to be comforted by this vision of the Victorious Lamb who is worthy not only to unveil the sealed prophecies, but to call forth the fulfillment of all the glorious predictions of all God’s prophets, insuring that in His time His purposes for His world and for our redemption will be fulfilled. . .”
A little Greek
“In the right hand (επι την δεχιαν — epi tēn dexian). “Upon the right hand” (επι — epi not εν — en), the open palm. Anthropomorphic language drawn from Ezekiel 2:9.
“A book (βιβλιον — biblion). Diminutive of βιβλος — biblos but no longer so used, βιβλαριδιον — biblaridion occurring instead (Revelation 10:2). Written (γεγραμμενον — gegrammenon). Perfect passive predicate participle of γραπω — graphō and on the back (εσωτεν και οπιστεν — esōthen kai opisthen). “Within and behind.” Description of a roll like that in Luke 4:17, not a codex as some scholars think. Usually these papyrus rolls were written only on the inside, but this one was so full of matter that it was written also on the back side (οπιστεν — opisthen), and so was an οπιστογραπον — opisthographon like that in Ezekiel 2:10. There are many allegorical interpretations of this fact which are all beside the point. Sealed (κατεσπραγισμενον — katesphragismenon). Perfect passive predicate participle of κατασπραγιζω — katasphragizō old compound (perfective use of κατα — kata), to seal up (down), here only in N.T. With seven seals (σπραγισιν επτα — sphragisin hepta). Instrumental case of σπραγις — sphragis old word used in various senses, proof or authentication (1 Corinthians 9:2; Romans 4:11), signet-ring (Revelation 7:2), impression made by the seal (Revelation 9:4; 2 Timothy 2:19), the seal on books closing the book (Revelation 5:1, Revelation 5:2, Revelation 5:5, Revelation 5:9; Revelation 6:1, Revelation 6:3, Revelation 6:5, Revelation 6:7, Revelation 6:9, Revelation 6:12; Revelation 8:1). . .”