Ancient papyrus was normally made by glueing horizontal strips of papyrus to vertical strips. The horizontal side was the writing side. The reverse was difficult to write on, but it could be done if the message were particularly long or important or urgent. The scroll in the hand of God contains a message that is all three.
The importance of the message is signified by the fact that it is sealed not with one or two seals, but with seven. Who has the right to reveal such an important message? To the victor belongs the spoils and all rights of the victorious, and the lamb, the lion of the tribe of Judah – Jesus – is the victor. He controls the message of the scroll. He controls the future.
Jesus did not, however, become the victor by trampling on innocent people – like the figures of the four horses in chapter 6. He became victorious in a much more noble way: by purchasing people for God with the payment of his own blood. Jesus does not force people into servitude. He dies for them.
Christ’s death has the power to turn believers into kings and priests, and the benefits of his death are not confined to any race, nation or culture, but available to us all.
One final note: Jesus is not a “servant” or an “adjunct” to God. He is God. He stands in the center of the throne, where God is, and is worshiped along with the Father (5:13) by the same heavenly host, in virtually the same words (compare 4:11 and 5:12).