Jesus Slain Lamb
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27. Jesus Slain Lamb
Revelation 5.6-8

"Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints." (Revelation 5.6-8)✞

Living Creatures

Slain LambThe "seven spirits of God" may be translated as "the sevenfold Spirit," meaning the Holy Spirit. One of the elders calls John of Patmos to look at the "Lion," but when John turns around, he sees "a Lamb" instead, Jesus the Lamb of God. "The Lamb" is the main title for Christ in Revelation and is used twenty-eight times. "The Lamb" is pictured with seven horns indicating his power and seven eyes revealing his supreme knowledge. We find it difficult to visualize such a creature, but this describes Jesus.

Slain Lamb

Lamb of GodJesus "a Lamb" appears coming to receive the scroll from God. It is like a coronation. The four living creatures encircle the throne, and the twenty-four elders make up a wider circle surrounding Jesus as the focal point as a "Lamb" standing in the center of the whole heavenly scene.

Without Blemish

Lamb in FieldThe word for "slain Lamb" used by John of Patmos for Jesus is only found in the Book of Revelation. The "slain lamb" described the Greek word "arnion." In all other Bible passages, the term used for "lamb" is "amnos." John the Baptist points to Jesus as the "amnos" or the "Lamb of God." The Apostle John writes in John 1.29, "The next day John (the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and said (using the "amnos" Greek word), 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" Later in John 1.36, the Apostle John writes, "When John the Baptist saw Jesus passing by, he said, 'Look, the Lamb of God!'" Saint Peter the fisherman leader of the disciples speaks of the precious blood of Christ in 1 Peter 1.18-19. "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." The writer always uses the same word "amnos." when he described Jesus as the "lamb without blemish."

Gentle Lamb

Lamb of GodJeremiah uses the word "amnos" also when he prophesies of Jesus in Jeremiah 11.19, "I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter." In Isaiah 53.7, we read of "the lamb brought to the slaughter." In Revelation, by using "arnion" instead of "amnos" and using it so often in Revelation, John wishes us to see that the concept of Jesus slain lamb is a brand new one and not a repeat of the idea from the Old Testament.

Wounds Still Seen

Jesus IconJohn of Patmos sees the Lamb looking as if it had been "slain" and indicating that the wounds inflicted on Jesus' body during his trial and crucifixion can still be seen. Jesus is the final sacrifice for all sins. Although Christ is a sacrificial lamb, he is in no way weak. He died, but now he lives in God's strength and power. Here we have the picture of the sacrifice of Christ, still visible in the heavenly places. Even in Heaven, Jesus Christ is the one who loves us and gives himself to us. This same Lamb, with the marks of the crucifixion still on him, is the Lamb with all power and supreme knowledge.

Lamb's Seven Horns

Number SevenThe Lamb's seven horns and seven eyes use the symbolic number seven in the Book of Revelation. The Lamb has all power and sees everything. This passage tells us that the seven horns and seven eyes are the seven spirits of God sent out upon the earth and are of great significance. The "Lamb's Seven Horns" stand for the lamb's complete omnipotence and his all-powerful nature. The seven spirits here indicate "the sevenfold Spirit of God" or the Holy Spirit. The horn takes on different meanings in different contexts. "Horns" stand for "sheer power" or alternately for "honor." In the Old Testament, Zechariah the prophet, whose name means "the Lord has remembered," prophesies in 1 Kings 22.11, "Now Zedekiah son of Kenaanah had made iron horns, and he declared, 'This is what the Lord says, "With these, you will gore the Arameans until destroyed."'"

Powerful Horns

Such is the great power indicated by the horns. Zedekiah makes a pair of iron horns as a sign of God's unconquerable strength in triumphing over the Syrians. The "seven horns" on the Lamb of God also indicate "honor." Psalm 89.17 reads, "For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor, you exalt our horn." "Our horn" here symbolizes the "our strength." The Psalmist is confident that God shall increase our strength. In Psalm 112.9, he also writes, "They have scattered their gifts freely to the poor, their righteousness endures forever, their horn will be lifted high in honor." The "horn" here symbolizes another quality, "dignity." Psalm 148.14 adds, "And he has raised for his people a horn, the praise of all his faithful servants, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the Lord". The "horn" here points to "strength." God increases the honor, dignity, and strength of those who trust in him.

Seven Eyes

The Lamb has seven eyes, which are the Spirits dispatched into all the earth. The picture comes from the prophet Zechariah. In Zechariah 4.10, he sees the seven lamps, which are "the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole earth." It is an eerie picture, but quite clearly, it stands for the omniscience or the all-knowing nature of God. It says that there is no place on earth that is not under the eye of God. The "seven horns" and the number seven stands for the Lamb's perfection. The power of the Lamb's horns is complete and irresistible.✞

Sacrificial Wounds

Lamb with Seven HornsThe term "Lamb of God" comes from the Latin "Agnus Dei." It is a title for Jesus that appears in John 1.29, "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'" In Christianity, this concept of the Lamb of God is central to our belief. The Lamb bears the sacrificial wounds of the crucifixion upon him, but at the same time, God clothes him with might, which will annihilate his enemies.

Jesus Hand Marks

Seven EyesThe lamb's seven eyes view the earth and surveys all as he stands in the center of the throne of God encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. Jesus Christ appears as a Lamb with "seven eyes," standing for the all-seeing nature of God. The number seven also indicates completeness. He is all-seeing, and the Lamb sees everything. The "eyes" may also be seven Spirits, which dispatched into all parts of the earth. This image comes from Zechariah 4.10b. There the prophet sees the seven lamps, which were "the eyes of the Lord, which range through the earth."

Four Living Creatures

Jesus Hand MarksThe Lamb is also the fulfillment of all the hopes and dreams of Israel. A lamb is usually without blemish and is intended for sacrifice, and so is the "Lamb of God." He is the culmination of centuries of sacrifices in the Temple and Tabernacle on earth. At one point in time, God provides forgiveness for the sins of all human beings who trust him. We are made aware by his wounds that the lamb still bears the marks of his crucifixion in the heavenly places. But the tragedy is now turned to triumph, and the shame becomes glory. He is the one whose all-conquering might none can withstand and whose all-seeing eye none can escape. In the Lamb of God, we see, according to the Biblical Commentator Henry Barclay Swete (1835-1917), "the majesty and the meekness of Jesus Christ." In the one image is the humiliation of his death and the glory of his risen life.

"Jesus Slain Lamb"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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