And they sang a new song, saying, Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. Revelation 5:9-10 (ESV)
Once Israel had conquered the enemies of the promised land each tribe was given a portion of the land as an inheritance. This land was their most prized possession. It was passed down from generation to generation and was the object of many wars.
Occasionally a family would fall on hard times and would be forced to sell their land and serve the new owners as slaves. When the property was sold two documents were used as proof of the transaction; a sealed scroll and an open scroll. The open or unsealed scroll stated the purchaser as the new owner of the land. It was the public transaction of the purchase. The sealed scroll contained the details of the sell and the terms of redemption. This scroll had the signatures of witnesses on the back.
Reference to the sealed and open scrolls are made in Jeremiah 32:8-14. God told Jeremiah to purchase a field that was owned by Jeremiah’s cousin Hanamel. Then Jeremiah charged Baruch to place the open and sealed scrolls in an earthenware vessel for safekeeping.
There were two ways a Jewish family could obtain their land back once it was sold. One of the ways the land could be returned was by the law of the kinsman-redeemer. If they were willing and had the means a person who was the nearest of kin to the original land owner or another person could redeem the land and return it to the original owner.
A beautiful example of the law of the kinsman-redeemer is found in the book of Ruth. Boaz redeemed the land owned by Elimelech because he was the next of kin who was willing to pay the purchase price for the land and take Ruth to be his wife (Ruth 3 & 4).
The sealed scroll could only be opened when a nearest kinsman was willing to pay the price of redemption. That is why John began to weep; no one was found worthy to open the scroll. He recognized that the inheritance had been sold and saw no way for it to be redeemed. However, the elders knew something that John was soon to learn. The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David had prevailed to open the scroll.
It was not by coincidence that the slain Lamb opened the scroll that had been sealed. In doing so he established himself as the kinsman-redeemer. Not only was he willing to purchase the lost inheritance he was also able to pay the necessary price for redemption. The price he had paid for that redemption was his blood. This revelation led all of creation into a new song. Jesus had become the center of heaven’s worship because he had become the kinsman-redeemer.
Have you realized that the blood of Jesus has redeemed you from the law of sin and death? Is Jesus the center of your worship?
Scriptures for meditation: