The Exalted Lamb

The death and exaltation of Jesus are inextricably linked in the Book of Revelation. The Divine plan to redeem humanity and the Creation itself is unveiled in its visions, and the death, resurrection, and enthronement of the Son put this plan into action. His sovereignty is the result of his faithful obedience unto death. However, he is no tyrant. He does not subjugate his enemies through violence. Instead, he “shepherds the nations” and purchases men from every “tribe and people and tongue” through his shed blood.

Cemetery Sunrise - Photo by Ayanna Johnson on Unsplash
[Photo by Ayanna Johnson on Unsplash]

At the outset, he is called the “
Faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the Dead, and the Ruler of the Kings of the Earth.” The term “Faithful Witness” points to the death by which he bore witness to the world, and “Firstborn of the Dead” to his resurrection. As a direct consequence, he became the “Ruler of the Kings of the Earth.”

In his first vision, John saw Jesus as the glorious “Son of Man,” a term alluding to the incident when Daniel saw “one like a son of man” receiving the “kingdom and dominion” from the “Ancient of Days.” This figure describes himself as the “Living One, and I became dead and, behold, living am I unto the ages of ages,” clear references to his death, resurrection, and exaltation - (Daniel 7:13-14, Revelation 1:12-20).

Though he reigns, he remains the one who died and rose from the dead, therefore, he has the authority to unveil to the Seven Assemblies of Asia “what things must come to pass soon.” He is the priestly figure who walks among the “Seven Golden Lampstands” in the Sanctuary of God attending to his churches.

He encourages, corrects, and chastises his assemblies as needed, and he assures every saint who “overcomes” everlasting rewards. His saints participate in his reign, “just as I also overcame and took my seat with my Father in his Throne,” and he “overcame” by enduring the Cross.

In the same manner, the men who follow the “Lamb wherever he goes” overcome Satan and his earthly agents by “the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and because they love not their lives even unto death” - (Revelation 3:20-21, 12:11).

THE SEALED SCROLL


The theme of his “overcoming” through death is central to the vision of the “Sealed Scroll” that is held by the One who sits on the Throne.  God’s redemptive plan cannot be put into motion until the Scroll is unsealed and its contents implemented.

After an exhaustive search, the only one in the entire Cosmos who is found “worthy” to open the Scroll is the slain “Lamb.” Though he is the “Lion of Judah,” He fulfills that Messianic role as the sacrificial “Lamb” - (Revelation 5:6-10).

From this point forward in the Book, the name “Lamb” becomes the dominant title applied to Jesus, a total of twenty-eight times (4 x 7). In contrast, he is called “Christ” seven times, and “Jesus” fourteen times (2 x 7). The term “Lamb” stresses the theme of victory through self-sacrificial death.  He is never called the “Lion” again.

Upon arriving before the Throne, he takes the “Sealed Scroll” from the “right hand” of the “One Sitting” on it, and the heavenly choir declares him “Worthy to take the Scroll and to open its sealsBECAUSEyou were slain and thereby redeemed unto God by your blood men from every tribe and tongue, and people, and nation” - (Revelation 5:9-10).

It is the slain “Lamb” who acts in concert with the “One on the Throne.” Together, they reign over the Cosmos, judge the impenitent, destroy their enemies, inaugurate the New Creation, and grant rewards and everlasting life to the righteous.

In Chapter 7, John sees an innumerable multitude of men from every nation standing before the Throne and the “Lamb.” They proclaim loudly, “Salvation to our God who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb!” These men are seen exiting the “Great Tribulation, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Redemption, victory, and everlasting life are achieved through the “Lamb who has been slain” - (Revelation 7:9-17).

Later, John sees the Devil poised to destroy a male figure about to be born from the “Woman clothed with the Sun.” Identified as the Messianic “son,” he is the one who is destined “to shepherd all the nations with a scepter of iron.” Before the “Dragon” can destroy him, the child is “caught away to God and to his Throne” - (Psalm 2:7-10, Revelation 12:1-11).

In the vision’s interpretation, the “Great Red Dragon” represents Satan. He is banished to the Earth and loses his prosecutorial power. Then, a loud voice proclaims, “Now has come salvation and power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ… And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb!”  Thus, the “brethren” are declared victorious over Satan because of the sacrificial death of the “Lamb” – (Revelation 12:9-11).

FINAL VICTORY


In Chapter 14, John sees 144,000 males standing victorious on “Mount Zion.” Each one has the name of the “Lamb” and of his Father “written upon his forehead.” Together, they “sing a New Song” that no one else can learn. Only those who belong to the “Lamb” can sing this song of redemption - (Revelation 14:1-5).

The 144,000 “males” are identified as those “who have been redeemed from the Earth” and “follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” This is the same group seen previously in the vision of the Throne. Note the parallels:

  • They sing a NEW SONG, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the Scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain and by your blood REDEEMED unto God men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” – (Revelation 5:9-12).

The Book culminates in the vision of “New Jerusalem.” All God’s enemies are defeated. Sin and death are no more, and overcoming saints inherit everlasting life. The victory is total. Nevertheless, even in the Book’s final vision, Jesus is still identified as the “Lamb.”

New Jerusalem” is the “wife of the Lamb.” The apostles are the “Twelve Apostles of the Lamb.” In the city, the “Lord God, the Almighty, is its temple, and the Lamb.” The city is illuminated by “the glory of God, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb.”

Only those whose names “are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” gain access to the city. The “river of water of life” flows out from the “throne of God and of the Lamb,” and at the center of the Universe is the “Throne of God and of the Lamb” - (Revelation 21:9-22:5).

Thus, by his death, the “Lamb” fulfills the role of the Davidic Messiah and reigns as Sovereign over the Cosmos. His exaltation, the redemption of humanity, and the Creation are based on the past death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Truly, therefore, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!



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