Revelation #13 Revelation 5:1-14 (MSG) The Lion Is A Lamb!


Revelation #13 Revelation 5:1-14 (MSG) The Lion Is A Lamb!


John has done his best to describe the throne room of God.  This is a grand celestial sanctuary, a place of awe, reverence, and worship.  It is more majestic and beautiful than words can capture.  For me, it brought back memories of an Easter Sunrise service at Hanuma Bay in Hawaii, the expanse of sea and sky, the sun blindingly bright on the horizon. But here we get so much more, we get a glimpse of God’s sovereignty, His Holiness, and His power.  Here is the One who is the ultimate authority, the One who is in charge of all creation.  But John can’t describe the One seated upon the throne.


1 Timothy 6:14-16 (MSG)

Our Master, Jesus Christ, is on his way. He'll show up right on time, his arrival guaranteed by the Blessed and Undisputed Ruler, High King, High God. He's the only one death can't touch, his light so bright no one can get close. He's never been seen by human eyes—human eyes can't take him in! Honor to him, and eternal rule! Oh, yes.


God is spirit (John 4:24).  God’s being is so gloriously brilliant that even Moses could not look upon Him (Exodus 33:21-23).  There is only one human who has seen (John 6:46), and Jesus is about to enter this sacred place.


John’s heavenly vision continues.


Revelation 5:1-3 (MSG)

I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One Seated on the Throne. It was written on both sides, fastened with seven seals. I also saw a powerful Angel, calling out in a voice like thunder, "Is there anyone who can open the scroll, who can break its seals?" There was no one—no one in Heaven, no one on Earth, no one from the underworld—able to break open the scroll and read it. 


A scroll is in the right hand of God which means God holds ultimate power and authority over the contents of the scroll. The scroll itself is the unfolding plan for humanity’s redemption, for the renewal of the earth, for making things the way they were intended to be in the beginning when all was declared good. That the scroll is written on both sides suggests that what is contained is detailed and comprehensive. This is the scroll of destiny. It contains the final stages for God’s redemptive plan “the overthrow of evil, and the gathering of the redeemed to enjoy the blessings of God’s rule (Ladd, p 81). That the scroll is sealed means that there is more to come, that there are things yet to take place necessary to usher the consummation of the Kingdom.


The call goes out throughout the universe, throughout all creation, for someone worthy to open the scroll allowing God’s plan to unfold.  If no one can open the scroll it means life is meaningless.  It means that tomorrow will be the same as yesterday, as the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, there will be nothing new under the sun. Human suffering and misery will continue, there is no purpose to life. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32). This is why John sobs in pain, in the realization that if no one can open the scroll it means there is no purpose, no goal, no arrival. God’s end game is permanently postponed.


Revelation 5:4-5 (MSG)


I wept and wept and wept that no one was found able to open the scroll, able to read it. One of the Elders said, "Don't weep. Look—the Lion from Tribe Judah, the Root of David's Tree, has conquered. He can open the scroll, can rip through the seven seals."


Lions are a symbol of strength, courage, and of royalty. There is a prophecy concerning the Messiah in Genesis 49:9.  From the tribe of Judah the lion Messiah will come.  Jesus is a member of the tribe of Judah. King David is Jesus’ 27th

great-grandfather (Isaiah 11:1).  Jewish tradition used the symbol of the lion to represent the Messiah. The prophecy foretells that the Lion Messiah will be a powerful victorious ruler.


Isaiah 11:1-5 (MSG)

A green Shoot will sprout from Jesse's stump, from his roots a budding Branch. The life-giving Spirit of God will hover over him, the Spirit that brings wisdom and understanding, The Spirit that gives direction and builds strength, the Spirit that instills knowledge and Fear-of-God. Fear-of-God will be all his joy and delight. He won't judge by appearances, won't decide on the basis of hearsay. He'll judge the needy by what is right, render decisions on earth's poor with justice. His words will bring everyone to awed attention. A mere breath from his lips will topple the wicked. Each morning he'll pull on sturdy work clothes and boots, and build righteousness and faithfulness in the land.


Finally, some vindication for what the churches have suffered at the hands of their oppressors. The Lion is going to tear the opposition to shreds. Jesus is the one worthy to open the scroll of destiny and now He enters the throne room of God.


Revelation 5:6 (MSG)

So I looked, and there, surrounded by Throne, [Cherubim], and Elders, was a Lamb, slaughtered but standing tall. Seven horns he had, and seven eyes, the Seven Spirits of God sent into all the earth. 


What a minute, what happened to the lion? In the center of the whole scene is a lamb.  Sheep aren’t noted for their ferocity. The sheep need protection, they are never the protector. Worse still this lamb looks as if it has had its throat slit like the lambs offered in sacrifice during Passover. The lamb is covered in its own blood. How is a slaughtered lamb still standing, still alive? This is a strange-looking lamb, with seven horns, and seven eyes, what’s that all about?  When you dig into the original language the word translated for us as lamb is arnion.  An arnion is a little lambkin. It’s not even a full-grown sheep, it’s a baby. What happened to the lion?


The arnion is an incredible representation of Jesus.  Jeremiah puts these words in the mouth of the Messiah “I was like a gentle lamb that is lead to the slaughter (Jeremiah 11:19). In the gospel John the Baptist proclaims that Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).  Peter writes of the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or spot (1 Peter 1:19). Here is the powerful message, by being the lamb, Jesus wins the lion’s share of the victory. It is by being the lamb that the victory is won. “The Lamb’s very defenselessness is his lion-like strength; his suffering death is his victory; His method of operation always is that of the Lamb, but the consequences, the results, always are the victory that belongs to the character of the Lion” ( Vernard Eller, The Most Revealing Book of the Bible, p.80).


We know that the lamb is victorious because it has 7 horns.  7 is the number of completeness.  Throughout the bible horns represent power and authority, victory and triumph, abundance and prosperity, holiness and righteousness. The horns represent the Lamb’s irresistible might (Mounce, p 146). The 7 eyes reveal to us that the Lamb sees it all. He knows what is in the heart.  He sees what people have done, what His servants are enduring. The lamb’s oneness with the Holy Spirit is evident (John 14:8).  In Zechariah's vision, the eyes of the Lord are identified as 7 lampstands that see throughout the whole earth (Zechariah 4:10).  Nothing is hidden, nothing is unknown. The Lamb is victorious for even though it was slaughtered, it, He, is alive and well.


On Golgatha, the Lord was crucified.  Paul wrote “Christ our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7).  In chapter 1 of the Revelation we read that “Jesus freed us from our sins by his blood” (Revelation 1:5). Peter wrote “By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).  Here in the throne room of God Jesus’ sacrifice is clearly displayed for the whole universe to see. The slain Lamb is very much alive. On the third day, he rose and ascended into heaven proclaims the Apostles Creed. The ascension is not the final act.


Hebrews 9:29 So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.


Revelation 5:7-14 (MSG)


He came to the One Seated on the Throne and took the scroll from his right hand. The moment he took the scroll, the Four [Cherubim] and Twenty-four Elders fell down and worshiped the Lamb. Each had a harp and each had a bowl, a gold bowl filled with incense, the prayers of God's holy people.


And they sang a new song:
Worthy! Take the scroll, open its seals. Slain! Paying in blood, you bought men and women, Bought them back from all over the earth, Bought them back for God.

 Then you made them a Kingdom, Priests for our God, Priest-kings to rule over the earth.

11 I looked again. I heard a company of Angels around the Throne, the [Cherubim], and the Elders—ten thousand times ten thousand their number, thousand after thousand after thousand in full song:

The slain Lamb is worthy! Take the power, the wealth, the wisdom, the strength! Take the honor, the glory, the blessing!

Then I heard every creature in Heaven and earth, in underworld and sea, join in, all voices in all places, singing:

To the One on the Throne! To the Lamb! The blessing, the honor, the glory, the strength, For age after age after age.

14 The Four [Cherubim] called out, "Oh, Yes!" The Elders fell to their knees and worshiped.


The roar of acclimation rises into a universal acknowledgment of praise and worship for what Jesus had done at the command of the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.  


Philippians 2:9-11 (MSG)

Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.


“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.”  What is revealed here is the universal Lordship of Christ.  With it, there are truths that we can apply to our lives today.


First, it is love that wins in the end. When in doubt as to what to do in the face of oppression, choose to love.  It is the Lamb that wins the Lion's share of the victory even if you as the lamb get slaughtered in the process.


Second, Jesus’ sacrifice is for you, suffering and slaughtered so that an atonement could be made to bring you to God. He laid it all on the line to set you free from sin and death.  The only righteous response is to bend the knee in fidelity to Him.

“You are not your own; you were bought at a price” (1 Cor 6:19-20 (NIV).  Live the life Jesus died to give you.  Don’t waste your redemption.


Third, Jesus makes every believer a king and a priest.  That means those loyal to Christ are enabled to live victorious lives overcoming the challenges and enduring the rough times ahead.  It is your new birthright.  Exercise this power and live righteously.


Things are not what they seem to be.  A world in chaos. Time in a never-ending circle.  History repeats itself on the backs of human folly. There is one seated upon a throne in splendor and majesty, in charge of everything even amid your tribulations.  He is with you, the Holy Spirit resides within you even as he is before the throne, guiding you, empowering you, and interceding for you. There is One who has laid the foundation for bringing God’s plan to fruition.  And Jesus has taken the scroll of destiny.  Friends, everything is going to be alright.



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