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."

Most of the rest of the book of Revelation revolves around the book that is mentioned in the above verse.  There is much that we are told about this book in the succeeding verses and chapters.  Some have tried to put a label on this book, such as this being "the Lamb's book of life" or the "book of life" or the "book of revealed truth," etc.  Unsealed this book reveals the eternal and timely salvations of God's elect.  I suppose if we were to put a name on it, it might be the "book of salvation" or the "book of redemption."           

The book was in the "right hand" of him that sat on the throne.  The right hand is the position of honor and the position of power as the following verses show: 

          1.  Ex. 6:6 "Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy."

          2.  Ex. 12:12 "Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them."

          3.  Deu. 33:2 "And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them."

          4.  1 Kings 2:19 "Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand."

          5.  Ps. 16:8 "I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved."

          6.  Ps. 17:7 "Show thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them."

          7.  Ps. 20:6 "Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand."

          8.  Ps. 45:9 "Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir."

          9.  Ps. 80:17 "Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself."

          10.  Matt. 25:33 "And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:" 

Thus this book that is in the right hand of the Lord Jesus Christ, our King, shows forth the power of Christ to save us and to place the elect in a position of honor at his right hand. 

This book was written within and on the backside.  We find a similarly described book in Ezekiel: Ezek. 2:8 "But thou, son of man, hear what I say unto thee; Be not thou rebellious like that rebellious house: open thy mouth, and eat that I give thee. 9 And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; 10 And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe."  The book in Revelation appears also to be a roll as it was unfolded by the loosing of the seals.  The book in Ezekiel was written on both sides, thus there was no wasted space.  Thus everything that was written must be important both in the book mentioned in Ezekiel and in the book mentioned in Revelation.  The book written in Ezekiel was said to be God's word to the rebellious house of Israel.  In it were pronounced lamentations, and mourning, and woe.  Are the elect children of God any less rebellious today than the rebellious house of Israel?  There are also lamentations, and mourning, and woe set forth in the succeeding chapters of the book of Revelation.  However, unlike the book in Ezekiel, the book mentioned in Revelation also sets forth blessings, rejoicing, and deliverances to God's obedient children.  

The book was sealed with seven seals.  The word "seal" is used to mean two different things in the scriptures.  First there is the type of seal made by a signature ring or other device to make an impression so as to indicate the authenticity and authority of the thing or ones sealed.  This type of "seal" is set forth in the following verses: 

          1.  I Kings 21:8 So she wrote letters in Ahab's name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth."

          2.  Neh. 9:38 "And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it."

          3.  Est. 3:12 "Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring."

          4.  Rom. 4:11 "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:"

The second use of the word "seal" is to indicate something closed or kept secret until the time of unsealing.  The following verses indicate this type of seal:

          1.  Job 14:17 "My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity."

          2.  Is. 29:11 "And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed:"

          3.  Jer. 32:10 "And I subscribed the evidence, and sealed it, and took witnesses, and weighed him the money in the balances."

          4.  Dan. 12:4 "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."

          5.  Eph. 4:30 "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." 

The seven seals are like the second seal.  That contained in the book is sealed up and secret until the one who has the ability and authority to open the seals comes and opens them.  In the succeeding chapters we will see what is unveiled when the Lamb comes and opens the seven seals.    

Rev 5:2, 3 "And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon."

"And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice…"  We will first attempt to identify who the strong angel is.  The only time the phrase, "strong angel," appears in the scriptures is in this verse of scripture.  However, the Greek word translated "strong" is also translated "mighty."  Three times in the scriptures the term "mighty angel" or "mighty angels" appear in the scriptures and two of those times the context suggest that it has reference to the Lord: 

          1.  2 Thes. 1:7 "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels."

          2.  Rev. 10:1 "And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:"

          3.  Rev. 18:21 "And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all."

While I can't prove without a doubt that the "strong angel" is the Lord, I suspect it probably was the Lord.  I certainly can't prove that it was anyone other than the Lord. 

"Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?"  Obviously there were qualifications that a person had to meet in order to be considered "worthy."  From later verses it is apparent that the Lamb of God is the only one who met the qualifications.  A lamb to be qualified as an acceptable sacrifice had to meet certain qualifications: the lamb was to be without blemish and without spot: 

          1.  Ex. 12:5 "Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening."

          2.  Lev. 1:3 "If his offering be a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish:"

          3.  Lev. 22:21 "And whosoever offereth a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the LORD to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein. 22 Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD.    

          4.  Num 28:3 "And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering. 4 The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even;"

          5.  Num 29:17 "And on the second day ye shall offer twelve young bullocks, two rams, fourteen lambs of the first year without spot:"

          6.  1 Pet. 1:18 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: "

The priests who made the offerings had to meet certain qualifications as well: Lev. 21:17 "Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. 18 For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, 19 Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, 20 Or crookbacked, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; 21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the LORD made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God." 

When it came to redemption we find that all of mankind are found unworthy: 

          1.  Ps. 14:2 "The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD."

          2.  Ps. 53:2 "God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. 3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread: they have not called upon God."

          3.  Is. 63:5 "And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me." 

"And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon."  We find that the word of God teaches three heavens and this verse doesn't differentiate which heaven.  Since it doesn't then we can assume that no man in either the law heaven, or the kingdom of heaven, or the glory world was found worthy to open the book or look thereon.  Likewise there was no man in earth that could open the book or look thereon.  Finally there was no man under the earth (in the grave?) who could open the book or look thereon.  This effectively rules out all of mankind.  It wasn't because there weren't some who desired to look thereon, but rather they were not found worthy.  They and we didn't meet the qualifications of worthiness.