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 throne's center, 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 saints' prayers." (Revelation 5.6-8)✞

Sevenfold Spirit

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." "The Lamb" is the main title for Christ and is used twenty-nine times in Revelation. It is used only once elsewhere in the New Testament in John 21.15, where Jesus says to Peter, "Feed my lambs." "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' appearance to receive God's scroll "as a Lamb" is like a coronation. The four living creatures encircle the throne, and the twenty-four elders surround the focal point, Jesus. The "Lamb" stands in the center of the whole heavenly scene.

Without Blemish

Lamb in Field

The term "Lamb of God" comes from the Latin "Agnus Dei." It is Jesus' title in John 1.29, "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the world's sin!'" In Christianity, this concept of God's Lamb is central to our beliefs. The Lamb bears the crucifixion's sacrificial wounds, but simultaneously God clothes him with might to annihilate his enemies. The Greek word used for Lamb in Revelation is significant. John of Patmos always uses the Greek word "arnion" for the "slain Lamb" in Revelation. In all other Bible passages, the term used for "lamb" is "amnos." John the Baptist points to Jesus at his baptism as the "amnos" or the "Lamb of God." The Apostle John writes in John 1.29, "John (the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him and said (using the Greek word "amnos,") '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 disciples' fisherman leader, speaks of Christ's precious blood 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 Christ's precious blood, a lamb ("amnos") without blemish or defect." Peter always used the same word "amnos" when he described Jesus as the "lamb without blemish."

Gentle Lamb

Lamb of GodThe prophet Jeremiah also uses the word "amnos" 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 (amnos) brought to the slaughter." In Revelation, by using "arnion" instead of "amnos" and using it so often, John wishes us to see that the concept of the Jesus slain Lamb is a brand new one and not a repeat of an Old Testament idea.

Wounds Still Seen

Jesus IconJohn of Patmos sees the Lamb as if it had been "slain." The wounds inflicted on Jesus' body during his trial and crucifixion are still visible asserting that Jesus is the final sacrifice for all sins. Although Christ is a sacrificial lamb, he is not weak. He died, but now he lives in God's strength and power. Here we have the picture of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, still visible in the heavenly places. Even in heaven, Jesus Christ is the one who loves us and gives himself for us. With the crucifixion marks always on him, Jesus is the powerful and all-knowing Lamb.

Lamb's Seven Horns

Number SevenThe Lamb's seven horns and seven eyes use the symbolic number seven in Revelation, indicating completeness. The seven horns show the Lamb's supreme power and the seven eyes that he sees everything. This passage tells us that the seven horns and seven eyes are of great significance as God's seven spirits sent out upon the earth. The "Lamb's Seven Horns" stand for the Lamb's all absolute power and nature. The horn takes on different meanings in different contexts. "Horns" stand for "sheer power" or "honor." In the Old Testament, the prophet Zechariah, whose name means "the Lord has remembered," declares 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."'" Such is the horns' immense power.

Powerful Horns

Zedekiah makes a pair of iron horns as a sign of God's unconquerable strength in triumphing over the Syrians. The "Lamb of God's seven horns" 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 "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 indicates 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". Here, the "horn" points to "strength." God increases the honor, dignity, and strength of those who trust in him. The "seven horns" and the number seven stand for the Lamb's perfection. The power of the Lamb's horns is complete and irresistible.

Lamb's Seven Eyes

Seven EyesThe Lamb's seven eyes are the Spirits dispatched into all the earth. The picture comes from Zechariah 4.10, where he sees the seven lamps, "the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole earth." It is an eerie but quite clear picture of God's omniscience or all-knowing nature. There is no place on earth that is not under God's eyes. Jesus Christ appears as a Lamb with "seven eyes," standing for God's all-seeing nature. He is all-seeing, for the Lamb sees everything. The "eyes" may also be seven Spirits, dispatched into all parts of the earth. The Lamb's seven eyes view the earth and survey all as he stands in the center of God's throne encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.

Majesty and Meekness

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

"Jesus Slain Lamb"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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