Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Who Can Open The Scroll?

The introductory post explains the purposes, goals and scope of this blog. If you have not read it, I suggest you start there and then, look through the posts to get a feeling for where I have gone and where I am going. But, if you don’t have the time, feel free to read this post alone. The blog is meant to be a series however.

In the fifth chapter of the book of Revelation there is a narrative that describes a scroll that was sealed. The exact passage is Revelation Chapter 5:1-9. The strong angel asks the question; who is worthy to open the scroll? There is a silence but then one of the elders said that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah was worthy to open the scroll. The Greek word that is translated as the scroll is the word BIBLION and, it is the same word that bible comes from. Now this is interesting in view of the following passage in Luke.

Luke 24:44-47  Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."  (45)  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.  (46)  Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,  (47)  and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Prior to Jesus, the scripture was a mystery that could not be interpreted with precision. Jesus is letting his disciples know that he was the purpose, focus and subject of the scripture. It is obvious that prior to Jesus instructions, it was not possible to interpret or comprehend the scripture. They knew that the Old Testament prophets foretold the days of Messiah and the incoming of the kingdom of God. Who the Messiah would be and, when his kingdom would come is what was not clear.

Jesus actually opened their understanding so that they could comprehend the scriptures. This is a clear indication that prior to this opening they did not comprehend the scripture. The unbelieving Jews still did not comprehend the scriptures. They were sure by the scripture that Jesus was not the Messiah.

Joh 7:47-49  Then the Pharisees answered them, "Are you also deceived?  (48)  Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him?  (49)  But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed."

Here you have the Pharisees explaining to the crowds that anyone who really knew the scripture would know from the scripture that Jesus was not the Messiah. It makes perfect sense that the scroll that was opened was the scripture. It is not some mysterious future scroll or a scroll in heaven. No, it was the scripture. Jesus had and taught the proper understanding of the scripture.

The scroll has been opened to the saints of God. It can only be understood with Jesus interpretive lens. It is a lens that shows that revelation is progressive. In other words, what was revealed through Jesus and his followers changes the interpretation of earlier passages. This is what I call a top down interpretation. We can participate in that top down interpretation today by the help of the Holy Spirit. It requires us to lay aside some of the paradigms that we have been taught. 

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