“Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.”
Revelation 5:1-3 (NIV)
The letter was from a well-known DIY store. It invited me to quickly open it up in order to receive discount vouchers for my next shopping trip. But as I looked at the envelope, I was suddenly stumped as I couldn’t see how to open it! After a few minutes of trying, I gave up. I just couldn’t work out how to get at the contents. I didn’t have a pair of scissors to hand, so I just popped it back into the letter rack to review sometime later. For some reason, a really simple task defeated me on that particular day. By the time I got around to revisiting this letter, the discounts were no longer valid—I had missed my chance.
My missed opportunity reminded me of the incident in the book of Revelation where God presents a scroll, “But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it” (Revelation 5:3). Here, in this picture, we are shown the poverty of humanity. There is so much talent and ability on the earth. But despite all of our scientists, economists, philosophers and politicians, we seem to keep going around the same old loop. Financial analysts are beginning to worry about another recession; and we haven’t got over the last one yet! Meanwhile, Europe has yet another conflict on her borders, in Ukraine. So much for the “War To End All Wars” that supposedly finished in 1918.
But there is hope. “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals” (Revelation 5:5). We are not doomed to endlessly repeating the mistakes of history. We have a champion, one who has already rewritten the rules of life and death. The book of Revelation identifies this Lion as a “Lamb, looking as if it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6) – we know him better as Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ hand is already on the tiller of history. At times it may not seem like it, but he is already steering events towards their ultimate goal. Right now he is transforming lives – he is changing me and changing you – ready for the point at which he will renew the whole world.
Humanity may appear to have missed its chance, but Jesus is seizing the opportunity on our behalf. He has a vision in mind; a vision summed up in these wonderful words: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4). So, never give up hope for this world, for Jesus, the lord of history, has triumphed.
Father, we praise you that history is safe in your hands. Although humanity is weak and powerless, we thank you that Jesus is acting on our behalf, building towards a glorious tomorrow. In our Lord’s name we pray.
Study by Ian Woodley
About the Author:
Ian Woodley pastors the Nottingham Grace Communion Church, that meets at 2pm Saturday, as below. Ian also facilitates a monthly Bible Study in Lincoln, which generally meets on a Saturday at 1:30pm. They welcome visitors to join them—for more details contact Ian Woodley as below.
Nottingham Grace Communion
Lucy Brown Hall
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