We see then this book which is sealed and now heaven and earth is scoured to find one who is worthy to open that book. God wrote it but who is worthy to open it and bring it into actuality. Johnson stated that “The sweep of the panorama, that has pictured forth upon its canvas the destiny of the Church and the world, cannot begin until the seals of this book are opened. Had no one been found able to open the seals, the closing book of the Bible would never have been written.” Consequently, without a mediator between God and men, no full redemption could be realized and therefore no end of death and sin which is where this book leads. Christ is introduced behind a dual backdrop. First, we saw the worthiness of God. Now we see the unworthiness of men and angels. “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.”
The basic question here is again a question of redemption. The one that took that book must be a redeemer for they will be affecting the redemption of creation by opening that book. The first thing that we note is the desire of the angels. The angels are not worthy to open the book for here it is an angel who cries out the grand question “Who is worthy?” This angel is identified as a strong angel. The strongest angel in heaven is not worthy to open that book. We see though the grand desire which the angel has which is representative of all the heavenly angels. The angel heralded through heaven searching for one that was worthy. Peter told us that the angels have a great desire to look into and understand the redemption of the saints (I Peter 1:12). Their desire has already been highlighted. They long for the honor and glory of God. Here they direct men to see Jesus Christ who alone is worthy to open the book and to redeem creation. They know that God is honored through Christ and they desire us to see Christ exalted. In order for us to see Christ honored we must see our own unworthiness. Christ must increase and we must decrease. This question should lead all of us to the foot of the Savior. Who is worthy? The answer is always, “I am not worthy.”
Next we see the total inability of the creature. “No man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.” Three classes of men are here declared unworthy. No man in heaven was worthy. Those who have been glorified by Christ are declared unworthy not only to open the book but even to look upon the secret counsels of God contained therein. They have been rewarded with crowns and have been dressed in white which is righteousness of the saints. They have been given a seat around the throne of God. Yet, they have no worthiness intrinsic to themselves to allow them to be a mediator between God and men. This singlehandedly destroys the false doctrine of sainthood embraced by Roman theology. No human being who is now or will be glorified in heaven is worthy to stand between God and men. There is indeed a fellowship of saints (meaning all believers) in which we pray for and with one another but there is no mediator role taken by any human being in heaven. Secondly, no human being on earth was able to open the book of God’s secret decrees or even to look up it. We may think of some living person that we believe is worthy but not when they are compared with the one that sat on the throne. Ultimately we shall see that to open the book and to loose the seals involves approaching God and taking the book from Him. To do so we would need one who is deity, and thus we need the man Christ Jesus. There are good men, when compared solely to men, which live on this earth. They build charities and care for the dying. They feed the hungry and are advocates for the week and needy. But, there are none upon this earth that can approach God in their own righteousness. Finally, no man under the earth is worthy. This takes on the whole of human history. Many among humanity have been worthy to endure in the pages of history; days are dedicated to their memory and statues are built for their honor. Even though they are dead they have left lasting impacts on our world. Yet, the greatest men and women in our history are still unworthy to open the book or even to look at it.
Lastly, we see the grand sorrow of the believer. John said, “I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.” The one who sees humanity for what they are may well weep for humanity. Man at his best stated is altogether vanity. No man is able to open the secret counsels and decrees of God. No man is able to approach God in their righteousness. Mankind stands in a sad position without a Mediator. We are without God and without hope in this world and in the world to come. Thankfully, our God has laid our help on one that is mighty.