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What the Bible says about Seventh Seal
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Revelation 5:1-4

Scripture contains another sealed scroll that rarely receives a second glance, yet it more closely resembles the scroll John agonized over than the scrolls of Ezekiel and Zechariah.

In Jeremiah 32:6-15, just before the siege of Jerusalem, God instructs Jeremiah to perform an act as a sign that the Jews would return to the land. This passage is about inheritance and redemption of property, in which Jeremiah is the kinsman-redeemer, similar to Boaz (Ruth 4:1-11). At God's direction, Jeremiah pays the purchase price, signs and seals the deed, and performs it all in the presence of witnesses.

Verse 11 refers to the purchase deed in the singular but later describes it as “boththat which was sealed . . . and that which was open.” These title deeds consisted of duplicates. One copy was left open so the contents could be read by any interested party, while the second copy was sealed to ensure that no tampering could be done. When it was time to buy back the property, the sealed copy would be unsealed to verify the original agreement. The only person with authority to unseal the deed, however, was the rightful owner—the one redeeming the property.

Consider how this applies to the scroll of Revelation 5. In type, it is not merely a prophetic scroll of judgment but a sealed title deed! Its sealing is not due to its contents being truly secret since the majority of its contents can be found in other places. God's prophets warn about religious deception; wars; famines; pestilences and earthquakes; the deaths of God's servants; great signs in the heavens; and the future Kingdom. In other words, in the words of the prophets, we already have the open deed, though it is fragmented and not in time-sequence. The essence of what John sees as the seals are opened has not been completely hidden from human knowledge; the prophets have already, at least in part, spoken of each of them.

Also, we have Jesus' testimony in the Olivet Prophecy, of which the Revelation scroll is essentially an expansion, particularly regarding the Seventh Seal. The two prophecies describe the same judgment events in the same order. In type, then, the gospel of the Kingdom of God, including the Olivet Prophecy, is like the open deed that we can consult at any time.

Thus, the Revelation scroll remains sealed until the right time for a different purpose—not because of wholly secret contents, but because the seals denote that only the one claiming the property at issue is legally allowed to open the scroll. John sees the scroll in the Father's right hand because the time has come to release the seals. It is time for the property to be redeemed and the proper ownership to be legally determined. With the sealed scroll in the Eternal Judge's right hand, a strong angel—an officer of the court, so to speak—issues a challenge for the worthy party to step forward and claim what is his.

Understanding this scroll answers why John wept so much: He was looking at the title deed of all things! God is praised for creating “all things” (Revelation 4:11), and He has appointed the Son as heir of “all things” (Hebrews 1:2). However, the world and its inhabitants are presently in Satan's hand. He currently holds the property in question, having the whole world under his sway (I John 5:19).

Thus, the ownership of the creation and the whole purpose of Elohim in creating humanity in God's image are hanging in the balance—and nobody is found who could claim it. The weight of what it would mean for the deed to go unredeemed—for the world to continue with Satan as its ruler—must have overwhelmed John.

Having paid the ultimate purchase price for His property, the Lamb alone is worthy to open the sealed deed. The Lamb even provides His own witnesses to testify of His eligibility—His claim on His property—throughout His earthly ministry (John 1:6-8, 15); after His death (Acts 1:8, 22; 2:32; 3:15; 4:33; 5:32; 10:39; 13:31; 14:17; 22:15; 23:11); in every martyr willing to die for his Kingdom and King (Revelation 6:9-11); and in two final witnesses of the Lamb's right to all things (Revelation 11:3-13).

David C. Grabbe
Worthy to Take the Scroll

Revelation 7:1-17

Within the book of Revelation, there are inset chapters. An inset chapter is one that does not follow the time sequence established by the rest of the book. It explains in more detail events that are necessary to understand more fully what is happening in time sequence, so the insets are historical digressions that give greater clarity to the revelation.

In Revelation 6:12, we find the sixth seal is opened. But the seventh seal is not opened until Revelation 8:1—a whole chapter and a half later. But between these occurrences is a description of an event that is a necessary digression so that we will understand what is happening to a group of people during some of the events that have already been prophetically described. In the case of chapter 7, the digression is very close to being within the sequence of events, but it is still a digression, still an inset chapter.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 10 and the Laodicean Church

Revelation 7:1

God is postponing the events that He has just described. If He does not do this, the events narrated in chapter 7 would have no opportunity to take place. In this historical digression, God will create an environment—even within the Tribulation (the fifth seal), the heavenly signs (the sixth seal), and the blowing of the trumpets (the beginning of the seventh seal)—that will make possible the conversion of an innumerable multitude of people. Even though all this trouble is going on, God will provide a way and means for many people to be converted.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 10 and the Laodicean Church

Revelation 10:3-4

The Seven Thunders are definitely heard before the seventh angel sounds. Even within the sequence of chapter 10 (a inset), the Seven Thunders will occur before Revelation 11:15. The Two Witnesses do not begin preaching until chapter 11, so the Seven Thunders sound before the Two Witnesses begin to preach.

The events of chapters 10 and 11 must occur absolutely before the seventh trumpet sounds—they even begin and end before the fifth seal, well before the seventh trumpet, which is the last part of the seventh seal. This helps us understand what the Seven Thunders are.

Chapter 11 begins before the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord. Given that Chapter 10 is part of the same context, the Seven Thunders conclude before John, the type of the Two Witnesses "must prophesy again." What we see at the beginning of chapter 10 is God's message—the gospel of the Kingdom of God—being given to mankind in seven sequential blasts!

If the Thunders had pealed all at once, John would not have been able to count them, but he distinctly hears seven of them. The events of chapter 10 blend right into Revelation 2-3: The Seven Thunders are the messages of the Seven Churches!

John was told not to write them, not because their message was a secret, but because it is already written—in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, etc. To give it again would have been redundant. The giving of the message must be finished before John "must prophesy again"—that is, before the Two Witnesses preach during the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 10 and the Laodicean Church


 




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