During the period of Bible writing the common book form was that of a scroll or roll. The Scriptures were written and often copied on roll or scrolls of leather, parchment or papyrus. (Jer. 36:1, 2, 28, 32; John 20:30; Gal. 3:10; 2 Tim. 4:13; Rev 22:18, 19) A scroll was made by gluing together pieces of such material to form a long sheet, which was then rolled around a stick. For a very long scroll, a stick was used at each end and the scroll was rolled on both sticks toward the center. When about to read such a roll, a person unrolled it with one hand while rolling it with the other until he located the desired place. After reading, he again rolled up the scroll.—For details as to material, size, and so forth, see BOOK.
“THE ROLL OF THE BOOK” BEARS WITNESS TO JESUS
Jesus Christ came to earth to do God’s will, as foretold within the Hebrew Scriptures, in “the roll of the book.” (Ps. 40:7, 8; Heb. 10:7-9) In the synagogue at Nazareth Jesus opened the scroll of Isaiah and read the prophetic words about his anointing by Jehovah’s spirit to preach. Christ then rolled up the scroll, handed it to the attendant, sat down, and explained to all present: “Today this scripture that you just heard is fulfilled.” (Luke 4:16-21; Isa. 61:1, 2) In fact, since “the bearing witness to Jesus is what inspires prophesying,” all the scrolls of all the Scriptures and the public proclamation of the good news contained in the scrolls of the Christian Scriptures concerns Jesus Christ’s position and work in Jehovah’s purpose.—Rev. 19:10.
At the conclusion of John’s Gospel account he said: “There are, in fact, many other things also which Jesus did, which, if ever they were written in full detail, I suppose, the world itself could not contain the scrolls written.” (John 21:25) John in his Gospel did not try to write it all, but only what was sufficient to establish his main point, namely, that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and His Messiah. Indeed, there is enough in John’s “scroll” (as well as the other inspired Scriptures) to prove to the fullest satisfaction that “Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.”—John 20:30, 31.
There are several instances of symbolic use of the word “scroll” in the Bible. Both Ezekiel and Zechariah saw a scroll written on both sides. Since only one side of a scroll was commonly used, writing on both sides may refer to the weightiness, extent and seriousness of the judgments written in these scrolls. (Ezek. 2:9–3:3; Zech. 5:1-4) In the vision of Revelation, the one on the throne held in his right hand a scroll having seven seals, preventing detection of what was written until God’s Lamb opened them. (Rev. 5:1, 12; 6:1, 12-14) Later in the vision John himself was presented a scroll and commanded to eat it. It tasted sweet to John but made his belly bitter. Since the scroll was open and not sealed, it was something that was to be understood. It was “sweet” to John to get the message contained therein, but apparently had bitter things for him to prophesy, as he was told to do. (Rev. 10:1-11) Ezekiel had a similar experience with the scroll presented to him in which were “dirges and moaning and wailing.”—Ezek. 2:10.
“The scroll of life of the Lamb”
From the “founding of the world” idolatrous worshipers of the symbolic “wild beast” have not been God’s choice for those to be the associates of the Lamb. Hence, “the name of not one of them stands written in the scroll of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered from the founding of the world.”—Rev. 13:1-8; 21:27.
Scrolls of judgment and of life
John also observed that “scrolls were opened” and resurrected ones were “judged out of those things written in the scrolls according to their deeds.” These scrolls apparently contain Jehovah’s laws and instructions setting forth the divine will for humans during that judgment period, and their deeds of obedience in faith or of disobedience to what is written in the scrolls reveal that they are worthy of life or of death. Those fully meeting God’s requirements have their names written finally in Jehovah’s “scroll of life.”—Rev. 20:11-15.
‘Rolled up like a book scroll’
At Isaiah 34:4, the prophet speaks judgment against the nations, saying: “And the heavens must be rolled up, just like a book scroll.” Evidently he here refers to the rolling up and putting away of a scroll after one has finished reading it. So the expression is a symbol of the putting away or doing away with that which is no longer of any use or value.