Summary: The revelation of the Lamb who is worthy to be praised is the central theme to the book of Revelation.
Worthy Is the Lamb, Revelation 5:1-14
Charles of Anjou, King of Hungary, was crowned three times. The first time he was crowned with an emergency crown because the historic crown of St. Stephen was not available. Some people said the value of the crown was not the fact that it had been handed down from St. Stephen but had been consecrated by the pope. So papal envoy Cardinal Gentils consecrated a new bejeweled crown and Charles was crowned a second time. Finally, keepers of the original crown, the crown of St. Stephen, released it and Charles was crowned a third time on August 20, 1310. Our Lord was crowned three times: once with thorns at Golgotha, once at the right hand of God after the ascension, and once when you crowned him Lord of your life. “Crown him with many crowns, the Lamb upon his throne.”
John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Several years later, in exile on the Island of Patmos, John the Beloved was inspired by God through a vision, the Revelation, to refer to Jesus as the “Lamb” who was slain who is worthy to receive blessing and honor and glory forever.
Unique to the book of Revelation is a reference to Jesus as a Lion, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah; speaking of His messianic kingship. Equally unique to John’s writing is the Greek word arnion, which means “a small or young lamb.” While words translated lamb are used elsewhere in the New Testament, this specific word is used only in Revelation, exclusively of Jesus; twenty seven times.
This morning, as we continue our walk through the prophecies surrounding the Second Coming of Jesus, we will look at the motif of Jesus as Lamb in the book of Revelation. What does the phrase mean in relation to Christ? How can the phrase Lion and Lamb be used of Jesus in the same book with equal emphasis?
As I said before, it will be my greatest desire to exposit the text and then apply it. Our primary goal in the study of the book of Revelation is not to leave here scholars in the field of biblical eschatology. Our goal will remain, as it has been, and always should be, to discover what the Bible says, on its own terms, and then seek the power of the Holy Spirit to live it out in the context of our daily experience in the here and now of our lives.
Jesus, the Lamb of God, will be our focus today. Today we will look at some of the major themes of Jesus as Lamb in the book of Revelation. John’s revelation is packed with the motif of Jesus as Lamb but who is this Lamb? At the outset we must allow John to answer this primary question.
The Vision of the Lamb:
The book of Revelation is primarily about the vision of the Lamb. As John receives his vision from the Angel whom God sent to tell him about the future things, the end of days, the second coming of Christ, the Angel is revealing not primarily the nature and manner of the end of this age; but revealing Christ.
The revelation which john receives is certainly full of information about Christ return but its focus is on the one who is returning, not the return itself. The subtleties of this distinction may seem insignificant at first glance but let’s take a look at a few passages from Revelation concerning Jesus.
In Revelation 1:8 the words of Jesus are recorded as follows, “I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (ESV) Here Jesus, the Lamb, is revealed as being the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The first letter of the Hebrew alphabet is aleph and the last letter is tav.
To ancient Jews to say that something was aleph to tav was to say that it was from beginning to end or “first to last.” This was very similar to our common saying, “from a to z.” the common usage of the Hebrew phrase in relation to God most likely indicates why Jesus uses it of Himself. To John’s early audience, as with much of Jesus says throughout the Gospels, the implication of Jesus claim to deity would not have been lost by any means.
Jesus is saying at the outset of the book of Revelation, the book which reveals the manner of His imminent return to this earth in great glory, I am the beginning and the end, the first and the last, all time is measured by me, all that exists finds its existence in me, all that is so is such because I AM!