Wasn't John nick-named the "Son of Thunder?"
Tertullian, the Roman historian, recorded that John was banished to the Isle of Patmos after being plunged into boiling oil in Rome and suffering nothing from it. It is said that all in the audience of the Colosseum were converted to Christianity upon witnessing this miracle. He seems virtually invincible, a first century "Man of Steel."
However, we find him crying his eyes out in Revelation 5:4 - - he writes: "I began to weep loudly."
So much for the "Man of Steel," he's nothing but a big baby. Or could there be something else going on? Maybe a situation of terrible consequence was taking place in his life at that time? Well if you were to continue reading in this same section of scripture it states:
"And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or even to look inside it...and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it"
Let me get this straight, he is crying because no one could be found who could open a simple little old book and read it? Why would something so mundane as not being able to read a book make a grown man cry? How can a book be that important?
It all depends on what the book is, and then what happens when it is finally opened. The problem could also include what would happen if the book remained closed? So, first things first, what's up with this book?
It's described as a scroll, and like Ezekiel 2:9-10, it probably has writing on both sides. From the assorted clues scattered throughout the bible, there are a number of things that can probably be said about this scroll:
(1) The opening of it has to do with the continuing and final accomplishment of God's will on earth. So we could say, if this scroll was never able to be opened, the people of the world would be forever stuck on a holding pattern. This broken decaying blue ball as James Taylor says, world continue evermore "falling around the sun." We would all be living in "Groundhogs' Day" gone wild -- with no chance for rescue or escape. As Job 5:7 says, "man is born to trouble as sparks fly upward." I don't know about you, but trouble has seemed to follow me my whole life. If this book can't be opened and read, this earth and it's people are doomed to dwell on a smelly, rotted out earth forever; with a hungry grave that is waiting for each of us to die because it's appetite is never satisfied.
(2) I also think this scroll is connected with the final execution of the law on those who refuse to live by faith (Zechariah 5:1-5). Judgment and condemnation is all that is really left to be done for the law to be fulfilled and no longer binding...all debts are finally going to be called (Romans 2:5-16). And this is not something to look forward to, but it must be done in order for...
(3) The inauguration of the new covenant in Christ to physically begin (Hebrews 9:15-18). What we know by faith, will become sight once this scroll is opened. This is something that all believers should be pumped about. But if no one can open it, all hope is lost, all dreams are dashed. I'm with John, I would cry too!
(4) The most interesting take on understanding this scroll is the logical possibility that this scroll is the "Title Deed" on the earth's possession. It is believed that God gave Adam the keys of control in the garden at the time of creation. It states in Genesis 2:15 "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and rule over it." But he sinned against God, which caused his standing to be forfeited; and mankind in turn was enslaved underneath the power of the one who fooled him (Ephesians 2:1-4, 1 John 5:19). Jesus makes a startling claim in John 12:31 when he calls Satan the ruler of this world.
Was Satan actually handed over the ruling rights and authoritative power of this earth when he deceived the first human representatives in the garden?
One very interesting event that tends to support this idea can be found in Matthew 4:8-9 and Luke 4:5-6. Jesus is being tempted by Satan and he says to Jesus, "I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours."
Was Satan bluffing?
Now you see why John is crying? The earth was lost to a blood thirsty tyrant. Satan hates us! If no one can reclaim the deed and purchase all the landholdings and people in it, we as a race are to be pitied and mourned. Our destiny is despair and we are left helpless as we watch our children forever be shackled to a heartless despot alongside us. John's tears are warranted!
Is there anyone who can succeed where Adam failed? Is there anyone who can defeat the power of Lucifer? Psalm 49:7-11 doesn't give us much hope, "the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough." Is there anyone, anywhere who can open the scroll?
I'm not sure? (Hint: 1 Peter 1:18-21, Revelation 5:6-7)