Summary: The Throne and The Lamb, part 7 Revelation 5:1-14
The Throne and The Lamb, part 7
The Lion Who is the Lamb is Worthy
November 23, 2014
We are in the middle of a series on Revelation chapters four and five, “The Throne & The Lamb.” We finished chapter four and started chapter five last week. If you remember I have said that chapter four sets the stage for the drama that is played out in chapter five. Or we could say that chapter four is the canvas that is prepared for the masterpiece that is painted in chapter five. Last week we opened chapter five seeing a universal challenge sent out to all creation with a frightening response, universal inadequacy. No one is found worthy to open the scroll and break the seals. John wants us to feel this great tension, God's redemptive purposes are at stake! This week we see that there is one who is worthy, the Lion who is the Lamb.
Big Idea - The Lion is worthy and able to open the scrolls because he conquered by sacrificing his life.
The Lion Who is a Conquering King (vs. 5)
John is told to stop weeping because one has been found worthy to open the scroll and break the seals so Gods purposes are not thwarted! 'One of the elders said to me, Weep no more; behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.' John is introduced to the real Lion King who is qualified, who is worthy and thus able to bring history to its intended end. Remember the scroll gives us the content of the events in chapter six through twenty two which describes the final salvation of God's people and eternal judgment toward his enemies. The world is made up of two groups of people: those who find mercy by seeking refuge in Christ and those who will face eternal judgment by rejecting Christ. These two images, the Lion of the tribe of Judah and the Root of David come from the Old Testament. Let's look at the first image, from Genesis chapter forty nine, where Jacob blesses his twelve sons. When he comes to Judah, he calls him a lion depicting a future royal dynasty to whom all the nations will render obedience which is set in motion when God selects David to replace Saul as King. Things are going well for the nation for hundreds of years until they are defeated and taken into exile and become subservient to the Babylonian king. The dynasty is then described as chopped off like a tree leaving only a stump and root. But then Isaiah prophecies a fresh shoot growing out of what was thought to be dead stump. He describes this coming king as bringing salvation to God's people and judgment upon his enemies. John understands Isaiah's prophecy lion as the greater Davidic king, fulfilled in King Jesus, who has conquered. He has won a violent struggle and overcome victoriously. This king is a victorious warrior who has conquered sin, death, and Satan. And it is because this Lion has conquered that he can open the scroll, both revealing what God's plans are and executing them. John looks expecting to see a Lion but instead sees a Lamb, as though he had been slaughtered. “And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain.”
The Lamb Who is a Sacrifice (vs. 6)
Remember John is not referring to Jesus as a literal lion or literal lamb or being both a lion and a lamb at the same time. He is using and mixing his symbols to communicate truths at the same time. The lion is a symbol of a king, of power, and a warrior; the lamb is a symbol of weakness, innocence, and sacrifice. The Lamb looks as though it has been slain but it is standing. The symbols point to Jesus as the sacrificial lamb showing the nature of the struggle in which he has triumphed, still bearing the scars of the conflict and will for all eternity! He is standing because he is no longer dead because of his resurrection. The conquering Lion gained his victory as a lamb who was sacrificed in a violent death. It is as though he had been slain, but he is standing, alive forevermore. The Lamb becomes the dominant metaphor of Jesus for the rest of Revelation. He has conquered through death, a sacrificial death on behalf of others. The point is that God's power has been displayed in weakness, Gods victory came through what seemed to be a defeat. The purposes of God revolve around the Lamb who takes aways the sins of the world. The Lion who is the Lamb is the center of everything. He is the reason the world exists and the reason you exist. John sees the Lamb in the midst of the throne between the four living creatures and among the twenty four elders. He is the only one worthy to pass through the twenty four thrones, the four living creatures, the thunder and lightning, and cross the impassable sea and approach the unapproachable throne. He is the only one worthy to break the seals and open the scroll and execute God's plan for final salvation and judgement because he is not merely man but the God man, fully human and fully divine who by virtue of his perfect life was a perfect sacrificial death on our behalf. God has given him his stamp of approval, the worthy one. There is something else peculiar about this slain Lamb, he has seven horns and seven eyes. Horns are symbols of royal power in the Old Testament and seven, the number of fullness or completeness. The Lion who is the Lamb has all power, omnipotence, to crush his enemies. He also has seven eyes because he sees all and knows all. He is omniscient. This Lion who is the Lamb is able to take the scroll from the right hand of God because God endorsed him, approved of him as the glorious man, the sovereign Lord over history. Everything centers on him, and our futures are secure in Him. This is why all creation explodes in worship.