Revelation 4:3 reminded them that there is a throne and the One on it rules supreme. John wants his readers to know there is One who is the Sovereign Ruler of this world, the Creator of all that there is and the Giver of life and breath. To these struggling churches, these struggling Christians, to whom it appeared that Caesar had the upper hand, that evil was triumphing over good, the image of the throne reminds them at the One they worship and serve is still in control. In the words of the hymn writer: This is my Father's world, O let me never forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the Ruler yet.
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll. (Revelation 5:1) In John's day, in the time of the Roman Empire, you would often see images of Caesar with a scroll in his right hand. The scroll was a symbol of authority; the one with the scroll had power; his words and declarations carried weight; they directed the affairs of nation and people's lives. John wants his readers to know, there is a scroll and the One who holds it does indeed rule with power and authority, but it's not Caesar, it is the Sovereign God of the universe!
There is a scroll and on it is written God's plan for the completion of His redemptive purposes. There is a plan and purpose behind all that is happening in this world. We might not see it now, we might not understand it now but one day, as God unfolds His plan, we will experience the fullness of our redemption in Christ. This world has a story that is still being written; a story that has a Author. Your life has story that is still being written and it has an Author; the One who sits on the throne and in whose hand is a scroll.
But, in John's vision the scroll is sealed and no one is able to open the scroll. But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside. (Revelation 5:3) At this John weeps; he had such high hopes when he saw the scroll; hope that God's purposes would be revealed, that Caesar would not have the last word, the wrongs would be righted and good would triumph over evil; that justice would one day reign. He weeps for the struggling churches to whom he is writing and for all the injustices he sees around him.
Then...one the elders said to me, "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) There is one who is worthy, who is able. Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain... (Revelation 5:6) The Lamb is able to open the scroll because He gave his life to provide a way for man to be reconciled to God. He has overcome, He has triumphed! At the center of human history stands a Lamb who has conquered sin and death and the grave. In Him we are victorious...we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37) And one day we will share in the celebration with all of heaven and declare: Worthy is the Lamb!