We see here a portrait of worship as John receives a vision about the Scroll. God is holding the scroll, His covenant of the deed of creation and our redemption, His promise and plan, and His destiny of the world, as an angelic voice shouts with all its might, “who is worthy to open the scroll?” Who is commendable and able to pay our debt of sin and give us redemption before God the Father? Who is daring enough to go through what it takes to accomplish this? Who is going to break its sacred seals? But, no one was found that could. No man or beast, no principality or angelic host could come close to being able to open this deed to the redemption of our souls. The scroll’s veracity and importance, its weight and significance were no match for any created being to accomplish. No one in all of creation was even able to read its face or contents. Simply put, no one could open it, just as no one was able to pay the price for sin, give us redemption and forgiveness, or enable us to receive such precious gifts.
John weeps, as we all would weep if no one could help us out of our depravity or give us any hope for the future. It seemed for a time that there was no one who could unfold this scroll and give us new life for the future. Then the elders told John, It is OK. The mighty Lion of Judah and heir to the throne of David is here; He is uniquely worthy and will war against God’s enemies. The gentle Lamb is also here who was slain and purchased our souls by His blood from His atoning sacrifice. He is the Lion and the Lamb and He will open the scroll and redeem us. Yes, no one could read or open the scroll¾no one except The One who is Worthy, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
This passage reads like an ancient legal document written on “papyrus,” the ancient paper made from said plant. Documents, such as wills or contracts, were normally written on one side, rolled, tied with strings, and then sealed with wax and an impression from a signet ring. Such a document could not be opened until the proper time, such as after the death of the person the will was from. As an exception, this Scroll was written on both sides, which was very rare, giving the document more credence but also being ominous (Isa. 6:8; Ezek. 2:9-10).