The Scroll Had Writing on Both Sides


Often, my eye gets caught by the tiniest detail, and I just can’t let it go until I’ve researched it ad nauseum. It happened again last night.

Rev 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

You’ve probably read this verse many times, right? There’s so much to puzzle over in the book of Revelation that this tiny detail may seem low-priority, but if a book, which is actually a scroll, is written on both sides, there’s something important here. Surely, the message is something more significant that conserving parchment. 

I've come to embrace the idea that every detail in Scripture is important – and often I have no idea why.

A conclusion to the question of double-sided printing jumped to my mind. Not trusting that conclusion, I asked the internet. The explanation I found was that something is described as being written on both sides only to illustrate how significant the writing was. Doubting that explanation, I felt like I got a spiritual smack-down:

Focus on what I’m telling you, not on what other people think. Ouch.

So I started to think about this scroll a little more. This is the very scroll that was in God’s hand, and no man could be found in heaven or on earth, or even below the earth, who was worthy to open it – until the Lamb who was slain arrived to take it out of God’s mighty right hand. The contents are important and can only be released when our Savior shows up after enduring unimaginable torment.

Plus, the scroll was completely and perfectly sealed with seven seals. Considering these seals represent the countdown to Tribulation, we could even call them BIG HAIRY SEALS. Sorry, not funny. What comes out of those seals being opened is no laughing matter. What’s inside has got to be really important.

If the contents were that exclusive, then why is there writing on both sides? Wouldn’t that mean that at least part of the important contents would be visible even when the scroll is sealed?

But the idea of “front and back” isn’t completely unique in scripture. It’s unusual, sure, but not unique to this scroll. There are other items on which something is written both front and back:

Exodus 32: 15 Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands. The tablets were written on both sides - they were written on the front and on the back. 16 Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.



Ezekiel 2: 9 Then I looked and realized a hand was stretched out to me, and in it was a written scroll. 10 He unrolled it before me, and it had writing on the front and back; written on it were laments, mourning, and woe.

Both the first set of commandments and the scroll given to Ezekiel to prophesy to Israel were written on both sides. The tablets and scrolls which originated from Heaven are all specifically stated as having had writing on both sides.

Commandments:  both sides clearly mentioned, stone provided by God
Ezekiel scroll to Israel:  both sides clearly mentioned, scroll provided by God
Scroll in God’s hand with seven seals:  both sides clearly mentioned, scroll provided by God

What really got me wondering about all this is that the second set of commandments, which replaced the set Moses broke when he found the people worshiping an idolatrous calf.

Exodus 34: 1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest. 2 And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount. 3 And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount. 4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.

Could it be that when God provides some kind of covenant, law, or legal document to us, it’s two sided – as in a bi-lateral agreement? Promises that must be kept by both parties in the agreement? If so, it’s no wonder the first set was broken by Moses.

By what were those sacred tablets, provided directly by God and written in His own holy hand, replaced?

Exodus 34: 27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel. 28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.

There are three very strange things to note about this passage.

  • First, God told Moses that He would write the words that were contained in the first set of tablets, BUT verse 28 says that Moses is the one who wrote the words down.
  • Second, there is no mention whatsoever of the second side of these tablets having writing on them.
  • Third, and last, the tablets Moses brought from the ground to the mountain top were hewn by Moses, even though God specifically said hewn stones were defiled stones just twelve chapters earlier.

Exodus 20: 25 If you make me an altar of stone, you must not build it of stones shaped with tools, for if you use your tool on it you have defiled it. 26 And you must not go up by steps to my altar, so that your nakedness is not exposed.'

I don’t know what the nakedness thing is all about, but I know that Solomon used hewn stones to in creating his magnificent temple and that didn’t turn out very well for him. Any foundation of hewn stone, given God states a hewn stone is defiled, sounds like a recipe for disaster. But THAT will have to wait for another blog post.

Also, according to a recent video by Amir Tsafarti of Behold Israel, the stones used in the Jerusalem temple were later removed to create the Colosseum in Rome, and then removed from there to create the Basilica of the Vatican. Those defiled, hewn stones have certainly made their way through history, haven't they? Stones hewn by man, like doctrine set forth by man, sure seem to have caused us a lot of trouble.

So now it’s time for some speculation on my part, and I welcome your thoughts about this so please feel free to comment.

Could the second set of commandments written on a defiled stone, by a man's hand, and only written on one side be a foreshadowing of how mankind has defiled the purity of God’s covenant, added to God’s word and doctrine, and that doctrine not resulting in a bi-lateral (two-sided) agreement with God?

If so, it could be a reference to any false doctrine, whether promulgated by Pharisees, a church that worships their own denomination over God’s word, a false religion, new age teaching, and even a defiled temple.

Don’t forget that in 2 Chronicles 9:13, the King was given 666 talents of Gold. Also, in 2 Chronicles 2:15 (the king traded wheat, barley, oil, and wine – giving all that to the King of Tyre – in exchange for the materials used to build Solomon’s temple. See Revelation 6:6 for the same list. And, the temple was built by foreign laborers, referred to as "aliens" in some versions of the Bible.

So, all that from a little line that said “on both sides.” Friends, please stay in the Word. Every detail is important, and there’s a strong possibility the religious system in place is doing exactly what it was designed to do – give you a defiled, hewn-stone imitation of the Original. It's practically a cheesy souvenir.

Eyes up – our Redemption draws nigh!

Comments

  1. Great perception, and you are right, in that i passed over the 2 sides

    ReplyDelete

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