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31 December 2018

Unsealed Scroll of Daniel

Synopsis:  The scroll “sealed” by Daniel is unsealed in the book of Revelation. The messianic age arrived in the Death and Resurrection of JesusRevelation 22:10.

Open Bible - Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
By Aaron Burden on Unsplash
At the close of his visions, the prophet Daniel was commanded by an angel to “shut up the words and seal the book until the season of the end.” One popular view assumes this to mean the interpretation of Daniel’s prophecies will be disclosed in the final few years before the end of the age, that is, to the “last generation” to live before the return of Jesus in glory (Daniel 12:1-4).

However, this understanding misses a key point of the book of Revelation stressed at the beginning and end of the book - The season of fulfillment and disclosure arrived with the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. What Daniel was commanded to “seal” is unsealed in the “Revelation of Jesus Christ”:

(Daniel 12:4) – “But, thou, Daniel, close up the words and seal the book until the time of the end—many will run to and fro, and knowledge shall abound.” – (The Emphasized Bible).
(Revelation 1:1-3) – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him to point out unto his servants the things which must needs come to pass with speed—and he shewed them by signs, sending through his messenger unto his servant John; who bare witness as to the word of God and the witness of Jesus Christ—whatsoever things he saw. Happy! he that readeth and they who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things therein written; for the season is near.” – (The Emphasized Bible).
(Revelation 22:10) – “And he saith unto me—Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the season is near.” – (The Emphasized Bible).

The very first word of Revelation is apokalupsis, or “revelation,” a term that means, “unveiling, disclosure, revelation” (Strong’s - #G602). God gave this “revelation” to Jesus to show His servants “what things must come to pass soon.” The visions in the book of Revelation are meant to disclose what was previously hidden; not to hide or mystify us about the future, whether near or remote.

The first paragraph of the book declares its purpose - To “show God’s servants by signs what things must come to pass soon” In the immediate context, the term “servants” refers to the seven churches of Asia. The paragraph concludes with promised blessings for all who heed the words of the prophecy, because “the season is near”.

The clause from Verse 1 alludes to the words of Daniel to king Nebuchadnezzar concerning his dream of a great image - “There is a God in heaven that reveals mysteries, and has shown the king what things must come to pass in latter days.” The Greek clause in the Septuagint is an exact match to the one in the first verse of Revelation, only, “latter days” has been changed to “soon.” What was once in a distant future is now imminent for the churches of Asia:

(Daniel 2:26-28) – “The king answered and said unto Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar—Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? Daniel answered before the king, and said—The secret which the king hath asked, the wise men, the magicians, the sacred scribes, the astrologers are not able to declare unto the king; but there is a God in the heavens who revealeth secrets and hath made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what shall come to pass in the afterpart of the days.” – (The Emphasized Bible).
(Revelation 1:1) – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him to point out unto his servants the things which must needs come to pass with speed.” – (The Emphasized Bible).

The season is near.” The clause from Verse 3 is based on the angel’s instructions to the prophet Daniel in the closing section of his book, as follows:

(Daniel 12:4) – “But, thou, Daniel, close up the words and seal the book until the time of the end—many will run to and fro, and knowledge shall abound.” – (The Emphasized Bible).
(Revelation 1:3) – “Happy! he that readeth and they who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things therein written; for the season is near.” – (The Emphasized Bible).

In both passages, “season” represents the Greek noun kairos, meaning, “season, the opportune time, set time” (Strong’s - #G2540). As before, the book of Revelation changes the time reference from “the end” to “near” or engus, a term which denotes something “near, imminent, at hand” (Strong’s - #G1451).

At the conclusion of the book of Revelation, an angel commanded John NOTto seal the sayings of the prophecy of this book, for the season is at hand.” This is a deliberate contrast with the command of the angel to Daniel to “close up the words and seal the book.” What Daniel was told to seal until a distant future John is told not to seal - The time of disclosure had arrived (Revelation 22:10).

The prologue of Revelation opens with greetings to the churches of Asia from God, the “seven spirits before the throne,” and from “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth, and loosed us from our sins by his blood.” The present sovereignty of Jesus is an accomplished fact. He is the one who bore “faithful witness” in his death, he is the “firstborn of the dead” through his resurrection, and, therefore, his Death and Resurrection form the basis of his present and very real reign over the nations.

By obedience unto death, Jesus “overcame and sat down with my Father in his throne.” His right to open the scrollsealed with seven seals” was achieved in his sacrificial death. Already, he has all authority (“I am the Living one; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades” – Revelation 1:18-19).

Jesus began to open the sealed scroll following his Death and Resurrection:

(Revelation 1:17-18) – “Do not fear! I am the First and the Last, and the Living One—and I became dead;—and lo! living am I unto the ages of ages, and have the keys of death and of hades.” – (The Emphasized Bible).
(Revelation 3:21) – “He that overcometh, I will give unto him to take his seat with me in my throne, as I, also, overcame, and took my seat with my Father in his throne.” – (The Emphasized Bible).
(Revelation 5:5-10) – “And one of the elders, saith unto me—Do not weep! Lo! the lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath overcome to open the scroll and the seven seals thereof. And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders a Lamb, standing, showing that it had been slain…And he came and at once took [it] out of the right hand of him that was sitting upon the throne. And when he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the four-and-twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp and bowls of gold full of incense—which are the prayers of the saints; and they sing a new song, saying—Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open the seals thereof; because thou wast slain and didst redeem unto God by thy blood [men] out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, And didst make them unto our God a kingdom and priests—and they reign on the earth.” – (The Emphasized Bible).

Thus, in accordance with the promise of Yahweh made to Israel, men and women freed by the sacrificial death of the Lamb have been constituted “kings and priests” and reign with him “on the earth.” From the start, the visions of the Book of Revelation are anchored in the past Death and Resurrection of Jesus. And following his enthronement, Jesus, the Lamb, began to unveil what was previously veiled. In him, the “season” dawned.

Any Christian still waiting for a presumed future date for new revelation and insight into the prophecies of Daniel is a day late and a dollar short. The messianic age and the time of fulfillment has already arrived in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus - Already, Jesus reigns!

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