Friday, October 25, 2013

God's Awesome Lamb in Revelation

Revelation 5:6 "And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth."

Author Ann Spangler has this to note about the significance of the lamb in the Bible: "To the Jews the lamb represented innocence and gentleness. Because the sacrifice was meant to represent the purity of intention of the person or people who offered it, lambs had to be without physical blemishes."1  In thumbing through a Bible concordance that lists the scriptures where every word occurs, I discovered that the word "lamb" occurs nearly 75 times in the Old Testament, with one reference undoubtedly predicting the lamb-like character of Jesus in Isaiah 53:7.

When you come to the New Testament, Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God is mentioned twice in the Gospels (John 1:29,36), once in Acts 8:32, once in the epistles in 1 Peter 1:19 and nearly thirty times in the book of Revelation. In today's post I want us to consider Jesus Christ the Lamb of God in the Book of Revelation. Why Revelation? Two reasons: First the sheer amount of times we find Jesus referred to as the Lamb and secondly the main point of Revelation as being "the revelation of Jesus Christ". So what do we learn about Jesus Christ the Lamb of God in the book of Revelation?  Note the following three headings that summarize all of the verses in Revelation that mention Jesus as the Lamb of God...

1. Saving Lamb.  Revelation 5:6,12; 7:14; 12:11; 13:8; 15:3

2. Sovereign Lamb. Revelation 5:8,12,13; 6:1,16; 7:9,10,12

3. Soon Coming Lamb. Revelation 13:8; 14:1,4,10; 17:14; 19:7,9; 21:14,22,23; 22:1-3

Jesus Christ, the Saving Lamb
Dr. John MacArthur notes this about the Lamb's saving activity in Revelation: "At first glance it seems a disastrous mismatch to pit a lamb against a dragon (12:9) and the hordes of hellish locusts (9:3), frogs (16:13), and human soldiers (19:19) who follow the dragon.  But this Lamb is more than just a willing sacrificial offering for sin; He is also a Lion and the 'King of Kings and Lord of Lords' (19:16). He has already defeated Satan (1 John 3:8; cf John 12:31;16:11; Rom 16:20; Heb 2:14) and his forces (Col 2:15; 1 Peter 3:22) at the cross and is about to consummate that victory."2  As you survey some of the scriptures concerning Jesus the saving Lamb, here are some of the details you discover:

-Revelation 5:6 shows Him as central 
-Revelation 5:12 reveals He is worthy 
-Revelation 7:14 His blood washes sin away
-Revelation 12:14 He is the source of victory
-Revelation 13:8 He has a book in which every child of God's name has been written 

So Jesus Christ in the Book of Revelation is the Saving Lamb, but notice also how...

Jesus Christ is the Sovereign Lamb.
Dr. W.A Criswell gives the following insight into Jesus as the Sovereign Lamb in Revelation: "The Lamb slain standing. There Christ, the Lamb of God, stands, in the midst of the throne, preparing to receive the sovereignty of God's universe; standing on the basis of His sacrifice, having identified Himself with us as our kinsman-redeemer; standing to take the purchased possession and to cast our the interloper, the dragon."3 Jesus Christ as the Saving Lamb is so named because of what He did on behalf of sinners on the cross.  However Jesus Christ as the Sovereign Lamb is Who He has been from before the foundation of the World.  There has never been a time when Jesus Christ was never the Sovereign Lamb. Revelation 13:8 proves this observation: "All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (NKJV). The following passages in Revelation paint for us in vivid color this Sovereign Lamb:

-Revelation 5:8 The people bow before Him
-Revelation 5:12-13 He is fully Divine
-Revelation 6:1,16 He possess the power of final judgment
-Revelation 7:9,10,12 He is powerful enough to save His people

As John meshes together the Sovereignty and Saving power of the Lamb, we are reminded too that even though Jesus Christ as the saving lamb accomplished salvation in history on the cross, such salvation was planned before creation. So we have seen Jesus Christ the saving and Sovereign Lamb in the book of Revelation.  Notice one more designation...

Jesus Christ - The Soon Coming Lamb
What the Holy Ghost does in Revelation is to add together the Saving and Sovereign activities of Jesus Christ, the lamb of God in a final crescendo that result in us seeing the fact He is the Soon coming Lamb.  Out of the three designated categories we have pointed out today about the Lamb of God in Revelation, none dominate more than the fact He is the Soon coming Lamb.

-Revelation 14:1,4,10 He is coming to redeem Israel and judge the unbelieving world
-Revelation 17:11,14 The Lamb will defeat the beast or Anti-Christ and his world forces.  
-Revelation 19:7,9 The Lamb will have a meal with His people, the church, following His catching away of them  
-Revelation 21:14,22,23; 22:1-3 Here we see the Lamb of God in the New Heavens and new Earth. In these last visions, Jesus Christ has come, reigned for 1,000 years and will forever be central to the worship of God's people who were chosen, who freely believed on Him. 

This quick tour of Revelation in regards to Jesus Christ being the Lamb of God aimed to unfold three main truths that I hope have excited you more about Jesus Christ than ever before:
1. Jesus Christ, The Saving Lamb.  
2. Jesus Christ, The Sovereign Lamb. 
3. Jesus Christ, The Soon Coming Lamb. 

1. Ann Spangler. Praying the Names of Jesus, Zondervan. 2006. Page 80

2. John MacArthur. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Revelation 1-11. Moody. 1999. Page 168

3. W.A. Criswell. Expository Sermons on Revelation - Volume 3. Zondervan. 1966. Page 73

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