Wednesday, July 17, 2013

John’s Revelation on What Brings Meaning to History, Revelation 5:1-10

1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.
5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.
8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:1-10)

It doesn’t take a lot of study of the book of Revelation to come to the conclusion that the imagery of chapter 5 is pivotal to the whole structure of the book. John saw in the right had [sic] of the father a book (most likely a scroll) which was sealed with seven seals (see 5:1). He also saw that no one in heaven or earth was able or worthy to open the book, except for the Savior (vv. 2–14). Since the rest of the vision describes what John sees as each of the seven seals is opened by the Lamb, an understanding of the sealed book is critical to our whole understanding of the book of Revelation.
And here it is that the Prophet Joseph Smith made his greatest contribution to our ability to unveil the veiled, to reveal the revelation. He answered two significant questions: What is the meaning of the book and what is the meaning of the seals? Certainly more than any other single thing, his answers to those questions (see D&C 77:6–7) become the key to gaining access to the “house” of Revelation. From what as revealed in those two verses we then can derive the following:
1. The book in the right hand of the Father represents the history and destiny of the world. It is in his right hand to suggest he controls everything in and about our world. No one except the Savior was worthy to open the book because the atoning sacrifice was what made the whole of world history possible and meaningful.

That the atoning sacrifice was what made the whole of world history possible and meaningful is a very profound statement.  And we can see it in the imagery if we know where to look.  Books convey meaning.  If no one can open the book, then the meaning is out of reach of anyone.  But Jesus could open it, so He brought meaning to all of history.  The meaning we can get is that no pain or suffering will be unhealed or wasted.  Justice still exists in the universe and will be upheld by Christ, whether sooner or later.  Through the atonement, every other circumstantial pain can profit us eventually and refine us.  Mercy is attainable.