took the scroll εἴληφεν
] , perfect tense. An aorist use of the perfect tense encountered in narratives.1
The emphasis is on the past action rather than the continuing results. The Greek conveys a dramatic action in the tense of the verb took (perhaps a dramatic perfect?): He went up and took it, and now he has it. 2
Having stood, Christ now takes the scroll out of the hand of the Father. As Christ initiates these actions, the world slumbers below, oblivious to the thief approaching in their night.3 He who moved at first to create, now moves to restore. . . . The Lamb Becomes a Lion . . . in the scene before us Christ is not on the Fathers throne; the age of His intercession has come to a close. We shall see Him acting in an entirely new character. . . . The age of the Church is over. This is now prophecy of the future.4
Here is a pivotal moment in history, second only to the crucifixion in its import
. This is the sublimest individual act recorded in the Apocalypse. It is the act which includes all that suffering creation, and the disinherited saints of God have been sighing, and crying, and waiting for, for all these long agesfor six thousand years of grief and sorrow.5 His taking of the scroll marks the initiation of proceedings to convert its contents into reality and eventually usher in the promised kingdom.6
After age-upon-age of death, murder, disease, and sinwhile countless bones piled upon the earth belowGod has waited in patience so that all that would come to Him would respond (2Pe. 2Pe. 3:9
). Even since the cross, where the cost of sin was paid in full, justice has slept due to grace. With the Lambs taking of the scroll, the events of history take a turn toward the impending redemption of all that is Gods from the dominion of Satan and sin. Once the Lamb rises from the right hand of the Father to take the scroll, the die is cast and the program leading to the redemption of the created order moves now in rapid succession. The Son of God has begun to take the nations for His inheritance (Ps. Ps. 2:8
; Ps. 82:8
). He is now about to take possession of that which has been His since the cross, an everlasting dominion which shall not pass awaythe one kingdom which shall not be destroyed (Dan. Dan. 7:14
, Dan. 7:27
). When the last of the seals has been loosed, triggering the trumpet and bowl judgments, it will be said, The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!
(Rev. Rev. 11:15+
). Rom. 8:22
This is no gradual conversion of the world to Christ, but the initiation of a dramatic, cataclysmic intervention into His history to reject Satan and unrepentant earth dwellers
. See Trouble Ahead
1 Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1999, 2002), 578.
2 Alan F. Johnson, Revelation: The Expositors Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), 72.
3 Mtt. Mat. 24:43; Luke Luke 12:39; John John 12:6; 1Th. 1Th. 5:2, 1Th. 5:4; 2Pe. 2Pe. 3:10; Rev. Rev. 3:3+; Rev. 16:15+.
4 Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), 98, 100.
5 J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), 117.
6 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1-7 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1992), Rev. 5:8.
7 Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987), Rev. 5:5.