The ‘book’ with 7 seals is introduced from the throne room of God. It is actually in the form of a manuscript, rolled up into a scroll, and sealed with 7 seals (v.1). The ‘book’ must be constructed is such a way that seven scrolls are connected together, but each individually has a seal that must be broken to read it. The scrolls are written on both sides. In the following chapter (chapter 6) these seals are opened one after another, up to the sixth seal, each allowing a part of the book to be read. In chapter 7 the final seal is broken and the last book is opened.
Verse 2 opens with an angel asking “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” To which it is replied ‘no one’ (v.3). In verses 3 and 4 the word ‘man’ appears in the KJV, but there is no word in Greek for ‘man.’ At the time of the translation ‘man’ had a generic meaning referring to ‘one’ as used today. In the traditional Greek text translation KJ3 the expression used for ‘no man’ is ‘no one’, as is found in many other translations. Thus it would seem to imply ‘no one regardless of who or where they are.’ St. John says he wept (v.4) because no one was found to open the book.
Then it was revealed that only the Lion of Judah, the Root of David, could open the book (v.5). Judah is characterised as a Lion (Genesis 49:9) and Jesus Christ is prophesied as arising out of David’s lineage (Isaiah 11:1,10). He is the “Root of David.”
St. John then beheld that it was the Lamb of God (v.6). He saw the Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes. The number seven can symbolise ‘perfection’ as when God finished off the 6 days of Creation He said it was ‘very good,’ but then finished with 1 more day making 7 days, when God rested from His creative acts. The number ‘seven’ then symbolises God’s perfection. And ‘seven horns’ may represent ‘perfect power,’ which is the omnipotence of God, and ‘seven eyes’ may represent ‘perfect sight,’ which is the omniscience of God.
He is the only being in the Universe who could take it from the hand of God (v.7) —the only One to whom the future is revealed. Notice reference is made to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit as three separate persons (though they are one). To the Son, who appears in a symbolic form, the book is given amid the praises of the 24 elders and the 4 beasts (v.8). The 4 beasts and the 24 elders worship the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and they are seen holding golden vials (bowls) of incense, which represents “the prayers of the saints,” the prayers of the believers. So don’t despair, God hears your prayer.
Only Christ is worthy “to open the seals” (v.9). We read that Christ was slain to redeem ‘us,’ the believers. Though the beasts and the 24 elders sang “a new song,” it was about the redemption by Christ for those of different nations, languages and people groups. St. John is using inclusive language. In this case though (in v.9,10) ‘us’ has the meaning of ‘man.’ For it is redeemed man who God makes kings and priests in His Name, and we shall rule and reign with Him (v.10).
There were truly a large number of angels in the throne room singing God’s praises. Ten thousand times ten thousand is representative of a very large yet finite number, ‘a great multitude, which no man could number’ (v. 7:9). (Daniel 7:10)
All in the throne room are called to worship the Lamb, who received power via his death on the cross. All creatures (v.13) are commanded to praise Him. From “under the earth, and such as are in the sea” (v.13) it is sure that it is more than just humans that are commanded to worship God.