1. THE SEALED BOOK
a. John the apostle, while in vision, saw God the Father holding a sealed book. Revelation 5:1–3. What are the contents of that book?
“There in [God’s] open hand lay the book, the roll of the history of God’s providences, the prophetic history of nations and the church. Herein was contained the divine utterances, His authority, His commandments, His laws, the whole symbolic counsel of the Eternal, and the history of all ruling powers in the nations.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 9, p. 7.
b. Why are we unable to open the sealed book? Deuteronomy 29:29. How did the prophet react when none was found to open it? Revelation 5:4. What help must we receive from God before we can understand what He wants to reveal to us? John 16:12, 13; 1 Corinthians 2:12–16.
“As we contemplate the great things of God’s word, we look into a fountain that broadens and deepens beneath our gaze. Its breadth and depth pass our knowledge.”—Education, p. 171.
2. THE SEALED BOOK IS OPENED
a. What does God want us to study—especially today? Revelation 1:1–3.
“Let us give more time to the study of the Bible. We do not understand the word as we should. The book of Revelation opens with an injunction to us to understand the instruction that it contains. . . . When we as a people understand what this book means to us, there will be seen among us a great revival. We do not understand fully the lessons that it teaches, notwithstanding the injunction given us to search and study it. . . .
“The veil whose apparent mystery has kept many from lifting it, God’s own hand has withdrawn from these portions of His word. The very name ‘Revelation’ contradicts the statement that it is a sealed book. ‘Revelation’ means that something of importance is revealed. The truths of this book are addressed to those living in these last days. We are standing with the veil removed in the holy place of sacred things. We are not to stand without. We are to enter, not with careless, irreverent thoughts, not with impetuous footsteps, but with reverence and godly fear. We are nearing the time when the prophecies of the book of Revelation are to be fulfilled.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 113.
b. Study alone does not guarantee our salvation. What attitude and experience do we need in order to be on that sea of glass for eternity? Revelation 1:3; Matthew 7:21–27; John 15:1–5.
“What part will you act in the closing scenes of this world’s history? Are you awake to these solemn realities? Do you realize the grand work of preparation that is going on in heaven and on earth? Let all who have received the light, who have had the opportunity of reading and hearing the prophecy, take heed to those things that are written therein; ‘for the time is at hand’ (Revelation 22:10). Let none now tamper with sin, the source of every misery in our world. No longer remain in lethargy and stupid indifference. Let not the destiny of your soul hang upon an uncertainty. Know that you are fully on the Lord’s side. Let the inquiry go forth from sincere hearts and trembling lips, ‘Who shall be able to stand?’ (Revelation 6:17). Have you, in these last precious hours of probation, been putting the very best material into your character building? Have you been purifying your souls from every stain? Have you followed the light? Have you works corresponding to your profession of faith?”—Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 404, 405.
3. THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH
a. Who “hath prevailed to open the book”? Revelation 5:5–7. What two characters are combined in the “Root of David”? And how (or under what circumstances) are these two characters manifested?
“The Saviour is presented before John under the symbols of ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’ and of ‘a Lamb as it had been slain’ (Revelation 5:5, 6). These symbols represent the union of omnipotent power and self-sacrificing love. The Lion of Judah, so terrible to the rejectors of His grace, will be the Lamb of God to the obedient and faithful. The pillar of fire that speaks terror and wrath to the transgressor of God’s law is a token of light and mercy and deliverance to those who have kept His commandments. The arm strong to smite the rebellious will be strong to deliver the loyal.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 589.
“When we study the divine character in the light of the cross we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice. We see in the midst of the throne One bearing in hands and feet and side the marks of the suffering endured to reconcile man to God. We see a Father, infinite, dwelling in light unapproachable, yet receiving us to Himself through the merits of His Son. The cloud of vengeance that threatened only misery and despair, in the light reflected from the cross reveals the writing of God: Live, sinner, live! ye penitent, believing souls, live! I have paid a ransom.”—Ibid., p.333.
b. Why is Jesus called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”? Revelation 13:8. What was Paul able to proclaim in the light of Romans 5:8? 1 Corinthians 2:2, 7.
“The plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the earth; for Christ is ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world’ (Revelation 13:8); yet it was a struggle, even with the King of the universe, to yield up His Son to die for the guilty race. . . . Oh, the mystery of redemption! the love of God for a world that did not love Him!”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 63, 64.
4. A HOLY PRIESTHOOD
a. What are the fruits of the ministry exercised by the true followers of Christ to whom the sealed book has been opened? 1 Peter 2:5, 9–12; 3:8–17.
“The Lord Jesus is making experiments on human hearts through the exhibition of His mercy and abundant grace. He is effecting transformations so amazing that Satan with all his triumphant boasting, with all his confederacy of evil united against God and the laws of His government, stands viewing them as a fortress impregnable to his sophistries and delusions. They are to him an incomprehensible mystery. The angels of God, seraphim and cherubim, the powers commissioned to cooperate with human agencies, look on with astonishment and joy, that fallen men, once children of wrath, are through the training of Christ developing characters after the divine similitude, to be sons and daughters of God, to act an important part in the occupations and pleasures of heaven.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 142.
b. What is the greatest joy of Christ, “the Root of David,” and when will He share His joy with the redeemed? Revelation 21:3, 4; Romans 8:16–18; Galatians 3:29.
“The Saviour’s joy is in seeing, in the kingdom of glory, the souls that have been saved by His agony and humiliation. And the redeemed will be sharers in His joy, as they behold, among the blessed, those who have been won to Christ through their prayers, their labors, and their loving sacrifice. As they gather about the great white throne, gladness unspeakable will fill their hearts, when they behold those whom they have won for Christ, and see that one has gained others, and these still others, all brought into the haven of rest.”—The Great Controversy, p. 647.
c. What song will the redeemed, including the 24 elders, be able to sing? Revelation 5:9, 10.
“It will be seen that He who is infinite in wisdom could devise no plan for our salvation except the sacrifice of His Son. The compensation for this sacrifice is the joy of peopling the earth with ransomed beings, holy, happy, and immortal.”—Ibid., p.652.
5. ETERNAL GLORY AND PRAISE
a. How will the 24 elders and all the redeemed continue praising the Lord for His love and sacrifice? Revelation 5:11–14.
“Never can the cost of our redemption be realized until the redeemed shall stand with the Redeemer before the throne of God. Then as the glories of the eternal home burst upon our enraptured senses we shall remember that Jesus left all this for us, that He not only became an exile from the heavenly courts, but for us took the risk of failure and eternal loss. Then we shall cast our crowns at His feet, and raise the song, ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing’ (Revelation 5:12).”—The Desire of Ages, p. 131.
b. What will the universe be like when the controversy is ended? Isaiah 11:9; 32:17; Romans 14:11.
“The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.”—The Great Controversy, p. 678.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
a. Why is the opening of the “sealed book” very important in our days?
b. What help will enable us to understand some of the hidden things in connection with the plan of God?
c. Why is Jesus able to unveil future events?
d. Who is associated with Jesus’ ministration in the heavenly sanctuary?
e. When we have a better understanding of the plan of redemption, how will we express our joy and gratitude to the Lord?