The creatures cannot open it, nor read it; the Lord only can do so. Those who see most of God, are most desirous to see more; and those who have seen his glory, desire to know his will.
(Rev 5:2 KJV) And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
He heard a proclamation made concerning this sealed book. The crier was a strong angel; not that there are any weak ones among the angels in heaven, though there are many among the angels of the churches.
(Rev 5:2 KJV) And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice,....
This was not the uncreated angel, Jesus Christ; for he is after spoken of as the lion of the tribe of Judah, and as the Lamb in the midst of the throne, but a created one; though who he was, whether Gabriel, as some say, because his name signifies the strong or mighty One of God, is not material to be known; angels are said to be mighty, and to excel in strength: this is called so here, chiefly with respect to his voice, which he, by reason of his great strength, exerted so loudly, as to be heard by all the creatures in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth however, this was not John the Baptist, but if a minister of the Gospel, rather some one since, making the following proclamation:
This angel seems to come out, not only as a crier, but as a champion, with a challenge to any or all the creatures to try the strength of their wisdom in opening the counsels of God; and, as a champion, he cried with a loud voice, that every creature might hear. The cry or challenge proclaimed was, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
(Rev 5:2 KJV) who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
Suggesting, that if there was any such person, that he was desired to come, and do it; and it seems, that he must not only be one of power and ability, but of dignity and authority, a person of greatness and worth, from whence his ability arises; as he ought to be that can engage his heart to draw nigh to God, and take a book out of his right hand, this mysterious book of the Revelation, as it was indeed while sealed; and open and explain it to others, unseal it or exhibit it, as it afterwards was in the following scenes and visions, and gave a view of all that is contained in it; and not only so, but fulfill and accomplish all the prophecies in it; and who can, or is worthy to do all this, but he that sits at the right hand of God, and who is God as well as man? and this proclamation was made to stir up an earnest desire in John, and all the saints he represents, to know what was in this book; and to show the impotence of all creatures to make any discovery of it; and to illustrate, and set off with a greater foil, the glory, excellence, ability, and worth of Jesus Christ. There seems to be an allusion to the president of the temple calling to the priests under him, to attend to the several parts of service assigned them, saying unto them, מי שזכה, "whosoever is worthy, let him" do so and so.
If there by any creature who thinks himself sufficient either to explain or execute the counsels of God, let him stand forth, and make the attempt.
But even good men may be too eager and hasty to look into the mysteries of the Divine conduct.
(Rev 5:3 KJV) And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
None in heaven or earth could accept the challenge and undertake the task: none in heaven, none of the glorious holy angels, though before the throne of God, and the ministers of his providence; they with all their wisdom cannot dive into the decrees of God:
(Rev 5:3 KJV) And no man in heaven,....
Or "no one in heaven", whether angels, or the souls of departed saints; neither the one nor the other know anything of what is to come, until it is revealed unto them: none on earth, no man, the wisest or the best of men, none of the magicians and soothsayers, none of the prophets of God, any further than he reveals his mind to them:
(Rev 5:3 KJV) nor in earth:
among all the men on earth, even those of the greatest sagacity and penetration, the wise, the prudent, the scribe, the disputer of this world, such who are most conversant with books, and have the greatest reach into the things of nature, or of grace: none under the earth, none of the fallen angels, none of the spirits of men departed, though they should return to our world, can open this book. Satan himself, with all his subtlety, cannot do it;
(Rev 5:3 KJV) neither under the earth;
the dead buried there, good or bad; which may be said agreeably to the notions of the ancient Jews, who believed the immortality of souls, and that they were rewarded or punished, υπο χθονος, "under the earth", according to their virtue or vice in life: or the devils in hell; or whoever on the earth are influenced by them, as magicians, sorcerers, soothsayers, and necromancers: the creatures cannot open it, nor look on it; they cannot read it.
(Rev 5:3 KJV) was able to open the book, neither to look thereon;
or in it, so as to read it, understand it, and show to John what was in it; for the sense is, there was no creature in heaven, earth, or hell, who were masters of the deepest knowledge, and made pretensions to any, that were able to foresee and foretell things to come; or to exhibit the prophecies in this book, and represent them to John in the manner they afterwards were, and much less to accomplish them. God only can do it.
Ray Zink has been intensely researching the Holy Word of God for the past 28 years. As a published author through article writings and blog posts, he now shares with others the deeper wisdom of the Scriptures that he has had the blessings to discover. More of his work can be seen at http://bible-mysteries.com/