• | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 29:49
  • Passages covered: Revelation 5:1, Mark 16;19, Romans 8:34, Psalm 17:7, Luke 4:17, John 20:30, John 21:25, Revelation 1:1,10-11, Hebrews 10:7.

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 |

Revelation 5 Series, Study #1, Verse 1

Good evening, and welcome to E Bible Fellowship’s Bible study in the Book of Revelation. Tonight is the study #1 of Revelation of chapter 5, and we are going to be reading Revelation 5:1:

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

And now we are progressing in our study of this Book of the Bible, the last Book of the Bible before God would complete his divine revelation. And the apostle John is continuing to be shown a vision from God, as God is giving him insight into the kingdom of heaven. And so, John sees in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne…and who is seated on the throne, but God himself, eternal God?

And, again, in the Bible, to be seated or to sit upon the throne, would, of course, point to ruling. God is ruling over all. And as He sits upon His glorious throne of heaven, John is given a glimpse to see this picture and he sees in the right hand of God – the right hand of Him that sits upon that throne – “a book written within and on the backside,” a book “sealed with seven seals.”

Now let us first think of the right hand of God, the right hand of the one sitting upon the throne. As we have learned a long time ago, everything in the Bible is important. There are no “filler statements.” There are no throw-away remarks. God does not just speak words to fill space. Everything that He communicates to us in His word, the Bible, is extremely important and valuable, and is given to us. It is designed to teach us about the person of God and His Gospel: about His word. And, here, we want to take a look at the “right hand.”

Now we find a verse in the Gospel of Mark 16:19:

So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Now this is a very common statement in the Bible and we find it made several times: Jesus is found at God’s right hand. It says in Romans 8:34:

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

And you can find this kind of verse in several books of the Bible: Jesus is at the right hand of God. Now we also read in the Psalms, in Psalm 17:7:

Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.

Now that is saying something slightly different; God saves by His right hand. And when we look at all the many references to the right hand of God (and that is the location where Christ ascends to), we can only conclude that the right hand of God is a place. It is language that describes Jesus Himself and He is the Saviour. He is the one that brings salvation to those that He chooses to save and God saves by His right hand. The right hand is a figure of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now in our verse in Revelation 5 (and I will read it again) in Revelation 5:1:

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

So, he does not see Jesus at the right hand of God – that statement is not made. But rather a book is in the right hand of God, in the right hand of the one seated on the throne. Well, of course, that makes us interested in that book. We want to learn: “What is the significance of the book that is in the hand of God? Does God read? Why does He have a book in his hand?”

Well, we can only discover the answer the same way we discover any truth in the Bible: by first going to God and asking him for help and guidance, and then by following the methodology that God has established for coming to truth and that is by searching the Bible, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and seeing what else the Bible says about the book. The Greek word that is translated as book is the word billion.

Now there are a couple of different Greek words that are close to one another in the concordance: billions and there is billion. This one is the Greek work billion and let us see how this particular word (Strong’s 975) is used in a few places in the New Testament. Let us start with Luke 4:17:

And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,

And this book or scroll is given to the Lord Jesus Christ and then He opens it to the Book of Isaiah, where these scriptures are written, and He begins to read them. Now that means that the word book (found twice in verse 17) is referring to a portion of the Bible, as Isaiah is a Book of Bible and billion is, therefore, describing a Book of the Bible.

It says in John 20:30:

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

Christ did many things that are not recorded in John’s Gospel (the fourth Gospel) or in the Bible. Not everything that Jesus did in His lifetime or during His period of ministry was included in the Bible. God selected the information He wanted us to know and, based upon this verse, we would have to say that He left some things out. Now I say “some,” but the Bible tells us in another place that if everything were written…well, it says in John 21:25:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.

Now that is an incredible statement, but a true statement; if everything that Christ has done…and remember that He is eternal God and if God were so pleased, He could go into such detail, into such depths of knowledge concerning any one topic or a few topics and it would take just enormous volumes of writings to write it all down. But God, in His wisdom, determined to give us a Book that we could somewhat contain in size. And it is a Book that can fit in our hands, the Bible, which is made up of 66 individual Books that God moved certain men of old to record and write, so that we have this one Book or the whole of the Scripture, the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.

We know from studying this Book that you can take a verse and you can speak about a verse (depending on God’s good pleasure in how much he wants to open up to our understanding) for hours; sometimes a verse may open up a doctrine and it is just full of information and that doctrine leads you to hours, upon hours, upon hours, of study.

Men have written about the teachings of the Bible – about a verse here and a verse there. And they have written commentaries and theological writings; and preachers have preached upon the Scriptures, literally, for thousands of years; and libraries are full of books that men have written in which they have basically only touched upon certain teachings of the Word of God. It is really in our day – in these last days in the time of the end – that God has opened the Scriptures.

Can you imagine if they had been opened throughout history, from the very beginning, how much more men would have been able to write? And yet, even with their limitations they wrote a great many things. Of course, the problem with man’s writings is that it is faulty and error-prone and there are many things written that are untrue. But when God writes it is perfectly true and according to His word; if everything should be written, “even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written”; and it just really encourages us.

If anyone thinks, “Oh, I have studied the Bible and I am getting a little tired of it;” well then, you need to go study the Bible again because there is no end to the riches and of the treasures of the Word of God in this life. We are probably not studying very diligently at all if we think we have studied at all. Maybe – no, not maybe – but, definitely, we have just scratched the surface and casually studied the Bible.

Just pick any place in the Scripture – any Book you want – and begin to slowly and carefully and very deliberately look at each verse, and look up each word and see where it leads you and you will soon find that one Book of the Bible can occupy months, and even years, of your time (if you are doing it in a very careful way). And after you have done this maybe for a couple of years with one Book, you will look back and discover, “Oh, now when I read that again there is something else that I did not see before, something else I did not realize, something else I learned.” And that is how the Bible is.

And, of course, when we get into eternity future we will have the Lord Jesus Christ in person, in His eternal glorious bodily form, and we ourselves will be equipped with new resurrected bodies and souls. And there will be no “filter problems,” such as those our sin causes in this life, so we will be perfect students sitting under the perfect teacher. And we will certainly be interested in every word that comes forth from the mouth of God and it will be nourishing us in spiritually feeding us for evermore.

And if you think it is wonderful (and the child of God does think this) to learn a single truth or two in a Bible study, or even to be reminded of a truth that we had learned previously…and we’re thankful. It is always a joy to the believer to learn a Scripture verse that he had difficulty with before and those are joys that God has given us in this world.

Well, can you imagine? When Jesus Christ teaches now, as He directs us through His spirit and we follow His methodology to compare Scripture with Scripture as the Holy Ghost teaches, it is a relatively slow process (again, due to our limitations bodily, and so forth) and those limitations will be removed in eternity future. And we can just go directly to Christ and hear His expounding of His word of Himself and everything we hear we can trust implicitly. We can trust it wholeheartedly. We know it is truth. And so we will learn at a rapid rate and it will be (in eternity future) just one of the tasks that God will give us to do, whatever that is, besides worshipping Him and praising Him and doing His will forever more.

One of the things that will make eternity glorious is the fountain of knowledge that will never cease to flow from the throne of God, from the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, that will be everlasting drink and bread to the people of God, so that we will just grow incredibly in the knowledge of God. And, so, we have something extraordinarily great to look forward to as we think of the eternal future that awaits each true believer.

Well, we also find the word billion in Revelation 1:1:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

And then a little further along in this same chapter we find this statement in Revelation 1:10:

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

And it continues naming the churches. So God told John, “What you see, write in a billion.” Again, Isaiah was written in a billion.  The forth Gospel, which we call John, was written in a billion. In Hebrews, chapter 10, we find this all encompassing statement in Hebrews 10:7:

Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

And this is a quote from Psalm 40:7:

Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

And, of course, this is Jesus who is speaking. He comes and “in the volume,” in the whole of the Bible; the Bible is ultimately that Book, the Book that God warns against adding to or subtracting from, in Revelation 22:18-19; if you add unto this Book – this biblion – you will have “the plagues written herein” added to you.

So, as we look up this word, repeatedly, it points us back to the Bible, to the Word of God. So, then let us go back to Revelation 5:1:

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

Now remember we saw that Jesus is identified with the position of the right hand of God, but it is not said to be Jesus, but the Book (the Word of God, the Bible) which is in the right hand of God. And, obviously, we can see the connection, since Jesus is the “Word made flesh.” He is the one that is written about in the Book: “in the volume of the book it is written of me.”

So, basically, and in essence, the Book, the Bible, is completely identified with Christ, or Christ is completely identified with the Bible. And, so, as Jesus is at the right hand of God, so in the right hand of God is a Book. It is that Book – this holy Book, this divine revelation of God, this wonderful, beautiful, glorious writing that came forth from the mouth of God that he has granted mankind – that He has revealed to His people.

But why does it say that the book is “written from within and on the backside”? Now most books – all books – are written within (if you obtain a book, especially today), but in ancient times the writings would be written on a scroll and it is closed and you have to unravel it, unroll it, and then you can read it as you hold onto the scroll. And today we have hardbacks and paperbacks and these are the covers that the book is bound in, and you have to open the book and inside the book, within the book, you find the writing and the subject matter. And it is also true today that on the outside you can find some writing that gives you a few details about the nature of that book. But, for the most part, in just about all cases, the writing is within.

And, so, here, with this book in the hand of God, it is a book that can only be the Bible; it cannot be any other book. God is not interested in any other book. What other book would He have in His right hand, seated upon His throne in heaven? Does he have a geometry book, a math book or a science book? No. There is only one book God is interested in, and that is the Book of God, the Bible. And that Book is “written within and on the backside.” In other words, it has writing within and without. It has some writing on both sides of the scroll, so you could read some things on the outside and some things on the inside.

So why is that? Why does God refer to His Book that way? Well, I think we can understand it if we understand that the Bible, the Word of God, is said to be a twoedged sword in Hebrews 4:12:

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

It is quick; that is, it is alive. The Bible is twoedged: it cuts two ways. It is able, by God’s Word, to save and God accomplished His salvation of sinners in the day of salvation, and it is able, according to God’s will, to judge. The Bible has been judging mankind since the very beginning, in the Garden of Eden when man rebelled and transgressed the Law of God, or the Word of God, the Bible.

And, so, the Bible is a twoedged sword to those that hear it: “The savour of life unto life” for God’s elect, and “death unto death” for those who are not His elect, the unsaved of the earth. And this writing on both sides reminds us of that.

There is something similar (not exactly the same) in the book of Zechariah, chapter 5, where we read about the “flying roll.” Now the “flying roll” would be a figure of the Word of God, the Bible. It says in Zechariah 5:2-3:

And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.

And, again, notice “this side” and “that side,” and those that are guilty of sin – guilty of breaking the law of God – are cut off by this flying roll on either side: the two edges of the Word of God, the Bible.

Well, we are going to end the Bible study here. LORD willing, in our next study, we are going to look at the seals of this Book in the hand of God that is sealed with seven seals. And then this will lead us into the rest of chapter 5 and the following chapter – as those seals are removed – and we wonder: Why does God make such a big deal about the Lord Jesus taking off the seals from the Bible? Why was it necessary to be victorious before He could be the one to remove the seals and why only He can take off the seals?