Saturday, August 19, 2023

The Lamb

Bobservations' Column
Titled - "The Lamb"
Written by: Pastor Bob Lawrenz

We have heard it said, and discovered through diligent study, that the New Testament is hidden in the Old, the Old Testament is fully revealed in the New.

Last week, John’s eyes were following a book, or scroll. No man in heaven was found to be worthy to unseal the book or read it. John began to weep. Then one of the 24 Elders came and told him that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David had prevailed to open the book, and release the seven seals. Excitement was building!

But when John turned to see Him, the Lion of Judah was not the image he saw. What John saw instead was a lamb as it had been slain, the Lamb of God!

It was not an image of Jesus as he was taken down from the cross though, this Lamb was a Victor, having seven horns (full authority) and seven eyes (all seeing), as the seven Spirits of Jehovah God (Isaiah 11:2)! This victorious Lamb came and took the Book out of the hand of the Father on the Throne.

The description of the Lamb of God as victor having full authority, is now incredible. John had seen the vision of Christ in his full Glory in Revelation 1, and now he sees the victorious Christ in full “Slain Lamb Regalia!” Suddenly, the four living Creatures of Revelation 4:6 and the 24 Elders around the Throne fall at His feet with harps and vials containing the prayers of the saints. They have waited for this moment! What wonders John is seeing! These are the images of events in heaven, and we shall also see them one day! Even Disney’s Pixar could not depict such a scene as this! The four Creatures and the 24 Elders sang a new song. The Angelic Host join them in exalted praise and worship as a full choir of 10,000 times 10,000, and thousands and thousands! It is a glorious scene! While we can only imagine it, John is living it.

This end to chapter 5 will be the last we read of the Church until Chapter 19. The raptured Saints will be with the Lord, just as John is here. But those unbelievers still on earth will live in a very different reality, with much hardship during the Great Tribulation Period. It’s coming; God is faithful to His Word.
“For it is written, ‘I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God'” - Romans 14:11.

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 5:8-14 - "The Lamb" - Part 2


We are continuing our study in the book of Revelation. This morning we are continuing our study in part 2 of chapter five in the book of Revelation.  

Again, chapters 4 and 5 are some of the most breathtaking passages in Revelation.  Last week, John is weeping because he realizes that no man is worthy to open the scroll and loose the seals.  One of the twenty-four elders tells him there is One worthy.  In verse 5, "Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof."

Last week we noted that both of these titles of the Messiah are found in the Old Testament.  The Lion with great power and fierceness, who comes from the tribe of Judah; and the Root of David, literally the offspring of David, carrying royal blood.  

So here in verse 5, the elder tells John the Lion is coming. When John looks, he sees a Lamb, as though he were slain.  No one could mistake this for anyone other than Jesus.  Jesus.  Notice, "And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb... " (verse 6).  Jesus is not dead, but alive.  He resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven.  Here, this Lamb, stood, as though he had been slain.  

See what the description tells us:
  • The Lamb is obviously a symbol for Jesus Christ himself, whom John the Baptist had proclaimed, "The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). But this is no ordinary lamb.
  • Appearing to have been slain, his wounds were visible in this vision. A sacrificial lamb would have been slain by having his throat cut. Yet somehow, this Lamb who has been slain has triumphed -- just how he has triumphed we'll see as the vision unfolds.
  • The Lamb is standing (Greek histÄ“mi, Perfect tense) in the midst of the throne and the elders. Though he had been slain, He is now standing and lives -- a clear allusion to Jesus' resurrection from the dead.
  • The Lamb has seven horns. In Scripture, horns always symbolize power, because in the animal kingdom they are used to exert power and inflict wounds in combat.  Seven horns signify complete or perfect power.  Unlike other defenseless lambs, this One has complete, sovereign power.  This is reflected in the Gospels by the risen Christ declaring, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18).
  • The Lamb has seven eyes -But seven eyes indicate that the Lamb sees fully, completely. He has perfect knowledge, perfect wisdom, perfect insight, perfect ability to see and assess and understand.  Those seven eyes really are the seven-fold Spirit of God sent out into all the earth to see what needs to be seen. The slain Lamb that stands is all powerful and all knowing -- omnipotent and omniscient.
As we read on, beginning in verse eight, we know that worship is due this Lamb. Again we see the twenty-four elders, the four living creatures falling prostrate in humble worship of the One who is greater.

See what the description tells us:
  • The harp - is an ancient stringed instrument used to accompany the songs of God's people (1 Chronicles 25:6; Psalm 33:2), but also accompanied prophecy (see 1 Samuel 10:5).  The twenty four elders, representative of the redeemed Church, played their harps in praise and in a symbolic indication that all the prophets had said was about to be fulfilled.
  • The bowls of incense - These gold, wide-mouth saucers were common in the tabernacle and temple.  Incense was a normal part of the Old Testament ritual.  Priests stood twice daily before the inner veil of the temple and burned incense so that the smoke would carry into the Holy of Holies and be swept into the nostrils of God.  This symbolized the prayers of the saints rising to Him.
  • Filled with incense - Incense was burned to send a fragrance upward.   The Old Testament priests burned incense because it symbolized prayer rising to God fragrantly.    As incense went up and the smoke carried the fragrance up, it symbolized the offering of fragrant prayers to God.
  • The prayers of the saints - Specifically, these prayers represent all that the redeemed have ever prayed, especially concerning redemption.   
This is quite a picture.  You and I may not be there in this heavenly enthronement ceremony, but our prayers are, valued with golden bowls that bear our petitions before the Lord. Our prayers are not forgotten but heard in the very presence of the Almighty God on high!
  • Who are the saints?  God's people are referred to as "saints."
There seems to be some confusion as to who the saints really are.  In Roman Catholic theology, the saints are in heaven. In the Bible, the saints are on earth. In Roman Catholic teaching, a person does not become a saint unless he/she is “beatified” or “canonized” by the Pope or prominent bishop. In the Bible, everyone who has received Jesus Christ by faith is a saint. In Roman Catholic practice, the saints are revered, prayed to, and in some instances, worshiped. In the Bible, saints are called to revere, worship, and pray to God alone. 

The word “saint” comes from the Greek word hagios, which means “consecrated to God, holy, sacred, pious." It is almost always used in the plural, “saints.” Scripturally speaking, the “saints” are the body of Christ, Christians, the church. All Christians are considered saints. All Christians are saints—and at the same time are called to be saints. First Corinthians 1:2 states it clearly: Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's.”  The words “sanctified” and “holy” come from the same Greek root as the word that is commonly translated “saints.” Christians are saints by virtue of their connection with Jesus Christ. Christians are called to be saints, to increasingly allow their daily life to more closely match their position in Christ. This is the biblical description and calling of the saints.

Continuing on the song the twenty-four elders sing is a "new song," one not heard before. It is sung upon the occasion of enthroning the triumphant, conquering Lamb. Examine the words in Revelation 9-10.  The song explains the basis of the Lamb's worthiness to open the scroll and execute God's plan for the Last Days. It is because He was the Lamb without blemish, sacrificing His own life to atone for our sin.  His sacrificial death paid the price for us, and we are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.  
For this victorious feat, the Lamb is worshipped and praised.

And what of the redeemed? Who are they? Not just God's chosen people, the Jews, but now from every tribe, language, people, and nation (ethnē) -- throngs of people from around the globe are purchased for God.

In verse 11, innumerable millions of angelic beings sing a second song in praise to the Lamb.  This doxology records seven qualities intrinsic to God and to the Lamb that demand our praise. 

So, we have the twenty-four elders, the 4 living creatures, the innumerable number of angels and then in verse 13, all of creation joins in worship to the Lamb of God, saying, "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever. "  Endless worship and blessing and honor and praise and glory belong to God, to Christ.  All of God's creation joins in... incredible!

Who is worthy to open the scroll and loose the seal?  Jesus is.  The curse is reversed, and God's kingdom comes forever and ever... Amen!

Amen is a solemn confirmation.  It means let it be. 

Jesus, "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" -- and your sin as well as mine -- this Jesus is worthy of our worship and praise. In Revelation 5, heaven can't seem to restrain itself. It breaks out in songs of praises to the Lamb again and again. 

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