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December 8 – A closed book

“Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed … and no one … was able to open the scroll.” – Revelation 5:1,3 

Scripture reading: Revelation 5

What is history all about? People talk of progress from primitive societies to future worlds, but who will accomplish that perfect new world? Man has often sought utopia, but always failed. John weeps because no one was found able to open the scroll, that is to fulfill the purpose of ushering in the renewed heavens and earth.

We see the scroll as the book of history because of what we read in Daniel 12. The book was the story of God’s plan of redemption, how in time the Christ would come and make all things new, liberating all things from the curse of sin. How distressing that no one can open it. Incredibly, although John saw Jesus ascend, he has not yet seen Jesus in heaven! In the first verses, the scroll is closed and the renewal of all things left incomplete. Does this mean that the Christ did not conquer, that redemption did not take place? To John, this is a terrible picture.

Without Jesus, who can really understand this world and its end? Is history just cause and effect? Is there a plan with someone in control? Will we overcome our sin and its effects?

John cries and cries because he sees no one able to bring history to this bright conclusion. As long as the book is closed, there is no comfort, only continued decay and death. But then an elder directs him to a Lion and hope is restored, as we shall talk about tomorrow.

Suggestions for prayer

Ask God to help us understand that apart from Christ there is no hope for this world and to understand this vision as we conclude our study of it tomorrow.

Rev. Calvin J. Tuininga has served in four churches and he retired in September 2019. He and his wife now reside in Washington, North Carolina. He presently serves as a relationship Counsellor with Coastal Pregnancy Centre, as the chairman of the Synodical appeals committee of the URCNA, and also enjoys helping in various churches when possible. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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