Seven seals on documents 

Example (Type) 

6And Jeremiah said, The word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 7Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it.

8So Hanameel mine uncle’s son came to me in the court of the prison according to the word of the LORD, and said unto me, Buy my field, I pray thee, that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thine, and the redemptionis thine; buy it for thyself. Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.

  • 9And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle’s son, that was in Anathoth, 
  • and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver. 
  • 10And I subscribed the evidence, 
  • and sealed it
  • and took witnesses
  • and weighed him the money in the balances. 

So I took the evidence of the purchase, both 

  • that which was sealed according to the law and custom, 
  • and that which was open:

And I gave the evidence of the purchase unto Baruch the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, in the sight of Hanameel mine uncle’s son, and in the presence of the witnesses that subscribed the book of the purchase, before all the Jews that sat in the court of the prison. 

13And I charged Baruch before them, saying, 14Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. 15For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land.

​Under Roman law, scrolls were required to be sealed seven times, and it is known that the scrolls of Roman Emperors, such as Augustus and Vespasian, were sealed seven times. The point of similarity, here, is that the content would be a secret or a mystery until it was opened following the death of the Emperor.

 Some of this also seems to apply to Revelation five: Only the Lion-Lamb was qualified to open the seven-sealed scroll, as only God the Son had shed His blood and died; this seems to be emphasized in the statement describing the Lion-Lamb as “though He had been slain.” Though Roman practice may have been of some influence in John’s writing, I think the Jewish background fits it better. However, it is possible that John used both concepts here.

According to Roman law, each legal document was sealed by the owner himself, and six witnesses had to affix their personal seal also.In order to be a legitimate witness, a person had to have a close relationship with the testator, and have first hand knowledge of their will and purpose in the disposition of his estate.

Scroll represents a piece of papyrus or parchment that is usually bound or sewn together and rolled on a wood spindle. In order to read it, it was unrolled. (Codices in the second century—books—replaced this.) If it were an official legal document, as this was, it was tied and sealed with wax. This denotes the power and eminence of His Word. Here, it is depicted as a “Roman will” containing God’s covenant of the deed of creation and our redemption, and His promise and plan (Ex. 32:15; Psalm 2:8; Ezra 2:9-10. Dan. 12:4; Heb. 1:2; Rev. 10:2, 8-10). 

Writing on both sides. This is called “opisthography.” Normally, only one side of the papyrus was written on, the side where the fibers of the papyrus paper line up horizontally. The “recto,” as it was called, was the smooth side designed for writing. The outside, the rough side was used for the title information and address and was called the “verso.” Here, the fibers were vertical and rough and were where the ties and seal were placed. 

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