Revelation 5:3-5 NKJV “And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. (4) So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. (5) But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals."
One of my presuppositions is that evangelical Christianity specifically, and all Christianity in general, is really the strong delusion of 2Thess 2. In other words, there has been a great apostasy from the faith of the first century found in the pages of the New Testament. This happened in the second century as the early church fathers adopted the leaven of the Pharisees to control people. It was solidified and codified at the counsel of Carthage in 397 AD. This being the case, there is really no amount of reformation that can solve the problem. Only in the restoration of the apostle’s doctrine (Acts 2:42) will the strong delusion go away.
We see in the above passage from Revelation chapter five the prophesy of the problem. There was a scroll that no one on earth or under the earth could open because it was sealed. Many have speculated as to the nature and content of this scroll. I believe it is very simple. In the Greek it says that it was a *biblion* bible. Yes, the sealed scroll was the sacred scripture. In Matthew 16:12 Jesus identifies the leaven of the Pharisees as their doctrine. This would include their view of the scripture as a legal constitutional document. They viewed the scripture as God’s constitution with Israel. It was a covenant with God that to them was legally binding. Jesus on the other hand taught that the scripture was a redemptive narrative that pointed to Him only (John 5:39-40.)
Now, what about the scripture being a sealed biblion/bible? In Luke’s gospel chapter 24 we find that the risen Jesus actually fulfilled the prophecy of Revelationn5:3-5. Luke 24:45 NKJV “And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” Here you can see it plain as daylight. Prior to this no man on earth had really understood the scripture/biblion/bible. Jesus opened their understanding. The leaven of the Pharisees would never allow one to truly understand the scripture. It would be as a scroll that was sealed. This was prophesied by Isaiah. Isaiah 29:11-13 NKJV “The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, "Read this, please." And he says, "I cannot, for it is sealed." (12) Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, "Read this, please." And he says, "I am not literate." (13) Therefore the Lord said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,” Here again is a prophecy that showed that the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and any other sect of the Jews would not understand the scripture because it was like a sealed scroll.
When Jesus told his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees it was a prophecy. It is not that it might happen. It was simply that it would happen. Jesus and his followers taught that the word of God was the gospel. The Pharisees taught that the word of God was the bible. The early church fathers allowed the leaven of the Pharisees to slowly slip in to church doctrine and went back to teaching that the scripture, and not just the gospel was the word of God. They returned the legal constitutional reading of scripture to the church. I think for the sake of control. In any event, it is the source of abuse that goes on in churches today.
Jesus opened the scroll 2000 years ago. Oh that we would begin to search out and allow the Holy Spirit to rid us of the strong delusion once and for all.