Stephen Caswell © 2004
Memorial To A Crushed Lamb
On a little church in Germany stands a stone lamb which has an interesting history: When some workmen were building the roof, one workman fell to the ground. His companions hastened down expecting to see him killed. But he was unhurt. A lamb was grazing below when he fell on it, crushing the lamb. He was so grateful that he made an image of the lamb in stone and placed it on the building as memorial. The lamb saved him from the fall. We can relate to this, can’t we? For all eternity we will remember Him as the Lamb of God who died for us. The Lamb is used more than any other title in Revelation. 28
Last Sunday we saw a glimpse of God the Father, seated on the throne. Today we will see the Lamb of God Who is mentioned 4 times. He is risen, glorified and seated on His Father’s throne. Christ possesses all power and authority. Some sentimental Christian poetry and hymnody dethrones our Savior and emphasizes only His earthly life. These poems and songs glamorize the gentle Carpenter or the humble Teacher, but they fail to exalt the risen Lord! We do not worship the Babe of Bethlehem or even the Christ of Calvary. We worship the living, reigning Lamb of God who is in the midst of all in heaven. 3 things, The Proclamation, The Presentation and The Praise & Adoration.
1. The Proclamation
Revelation 5:1: And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
a. What Is The Scroll?
What is the scroll that God is holding in His right hand? The Tile Deed to the earth. This scroll is the Father’s last Will and testament. A title deed or will can be opened only by the appointed heir. This was typical of various contracts in the ancient world, including deeds, marriage contracts, rental and lease agreements, and wills. The inside of the scroll contained all the details of the contract, and the outside - or back - contained a summary of the document. Jeremiah 32:6-15 describes this kind of deed. In this case it is the title deed to the earth. God will give the world to One who will establish a righteous kingdom.
Adam and Eve were given dominion over the earth in the beginning. Tragically, they lost this when they broke God’s commandment. Satan took the kingdom from them and has ruled over this world ever since. 1 John 5:19: We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. He is in charge of a kingdom that opposes God. However the Lord won’t tolerate this for much longer. He will take the kingdom from Satan and give it to one who’s worthy. The Great Tribulation is God’s judgment upon an evil world. God’s decrees will prepare the world for His anointed King. God’s will outlines God’s plans to bring in a righteousness kingdom.
Dan 9:24: 70 weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. 69 weeks or 483 years passed from Cyrus decree to rebuild Jerusalem and the 1st coming of the Messiah. However the 70th week didn’t unfold then. The Great Tribulation or 70th week climaxes with the coronation of Jesus Christ as King of everything. week = 7 years.
b. Who Is Worthy?
Revelation 5:2-4: Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals? And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it.
God is looking for someone worthy to execute His judgments and rule over His kingdom. Who is able to free the world from Satan’s grip? Who can break the bondage of this world? Sadly, verse 4 says that No one, celestial, terrestrial, or subterranean, was found qualified to unroll it or to read it. No angel, man, or demon has the wisdom and knowledge to execute judgment. No wonder John wept, for he realized that God’s glorious redemption plan for mankind could never be completed until the scroll was opened. Without someone worthy Satan would continue to rule the kingdom and enslave mankind in sin. Wrong could never be put right. John wept much because no one was able to restore the kingdom. Satan’s power could not be broken.
Have you ever seen Auction Squad on TV? Each week 1 or 2 properties go up for auction. The auctioneer calls for bids. Those bidding have a few characteristics. Firstly, they want to own the property. Secondly, they have the resources to buy it. Thirdly, they are willing to pay the price to buy it. Now we see there’s One who can claim the earth.
2. The Presentation
a. Christ The Lion
Rev 5:5: But one of the elders said to me, Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.
1. He Conquered. In v1-3 we saw God looking for One worthy to regain the kingdom lost to Satan. Here, Jesus Christ is presented as the One Worthy! An elder tells John not to weep for Lion of Judah has prevailed. Prevail, νικάω, means to conquer, to overcome, to be victorious. John calls Him the Lion of the tribe of Judah. The Lion is the King of the beasts. This image speaks of dignity, sovereignty, courage, and victory. Jesus Christ the God Man crushed the serpent’s head on the cross. Genesis 49:8-10: Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.
2. He Came. In His humanity Jesus Christ was born into the tribe of Judah. Judah is the royal tribe. David came from the tribe of Judah. He was created by God and appointed to sit on the throne of Israel. Revelation 22:16: I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David. Jesus Christ is the only living Jew who can prove His kingship from the genealogical records. Humanly speaking only Jesus Christ has the right to David’s throne. He is worthy to take the scroll and claim the kingdom. Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
John 18:37: Pilate therefore said to Him, Are You a king then? Jesus answered, You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Jesus Christ is our rightful King. A title deed or will can be opened only by the appointed heir, and this is Christ. Hebrews 1:2: God has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; Psalm 2:6-8: Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
b. Christ The Lamb
5:6a: And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain.
1. He is Savior. When John turned to see, he saw not a lion but a lamb! Jesus Christ is called the Lamb at least twenty-eight times in the Book of Revelation. The Lion speaks of His Sovereignty as King. The Lamb speaks of His Sacrifice as Savior. The Bible tells us that the Messiah would be both Savior and King. Matthew 1:21: And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Luke 1:31-33: And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.
Isaac asked his father the question, Where is the lamb? Genesis. 22:7 Abraham replied that God would provide a lamb. Israel was redeemed from bondage by the blood of the lamb at the first Passover. Exodus 12: These lambs could not atone for our sin. They only covered sin until a perfect sacrifice was offered. John the Baptist cried out, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29 Mankind needed a Redeemer to buy back both the kingdom of this world and the people in it. Jesus Christ is the Redeemer. The redeemer must be near of kin, willing to redeem, and able to redeem. Jesus Christ meets all of the qualifications. He became flesh, so He is our Kinsman. He loves us and is willing to redeem; and He paid the price, so He is able to redeem.
1 Peter 1:18-19: knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
Chinese - Righteousness
The Chinese character for righteousness is most interesting. It is composed of two separate characters - one standing for a lamb, the other for a person. When lamb is placed directly above me, a new character - righteousness is formed. Righteousness is someone under the Lamb. He is clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.
2. He is Sovereign.
6-7: And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
Through death Christ conquered Satan. 1 Corinthians 2:7-8: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. Where is the Lamb now? He is risen, exalted and seated in the midst of God’s throne. The Lamb is the center of all that transpires in heaven. Hebrews 1:3: Christ being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
The Lamb is Worthy! Here the Lamb stands in midst of throne, the living creatures and the elders. He approaches the Father to receive the scroll. The Father gladly gives it to His Beloved Son. The pathway to Christ’s exaltation came through suffering and death. He had to die to redeem us. Through death Christ overcame Satan and his kingdom. Because of Christ’s obedience the Father has exalted Him to the highest place. Soon, He will receive an everlasting kingdom. All glory and praise be to the Lamb of God!
Daniel 7:9, 13-14: I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels a burning fire; I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
Jesus Christ is God the Son. As God, He possesses all the divine attributes. Since seven is the number of perfection, we have here perfect power (seven horns), perfect wisdom (seven eyes), and perfect presence (seven Spirits in all the earth). The theologians would call these attributes omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence; and all three are attributes of God. The Lamb is God the Son, Christ Jesus! God’s people need not fear; for the Lamb of God will always be gracious to us. The Lion has conquered His enemies, but the Lamb will comfort His people.
Turning The Tables
Who would have thought it: a harmless mouse felling a venomous serpent? An Inland Taipan, one of the world’s deadliest snakes, whose poison ducts pack enough venom to kill 1,200 humans, was itself poisoned by a bite from its dinner - the mouse. The supposedly stunned victim bit the snake on its left cheek while being swallowed.
How naturally symbolic of Christ on the cross! Jesus died, like all the rest, a son of Adam, paying for Adam’s sin. But appearances deceive. For while he seemed a helpless victim in death, he gave Satan a bite from which he will never recover - a bite that neutralized his death-venom and rendered him powerless to kill even one more soul. All this is seen in Revelation 5:5–6. John was told that the Lion of Judah had conquered. Yet when he looked, he saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain. Jesus submitted to death to prove that it had no power over righteousness. He proved that while death is fearsome and forbidding it is not final!
3. The Praise & Adoration.
After the Lamb had taken the scroll that unfolds God’s plans, worship breaks forth in heaven. This is fitting because Christ has accomplished what no else could do. He alone is worthy to execute judgment and rule over the world.
The 4 Living Creatures & 24 Elders Worship The Lamb
a. The Lamb Is The Restorer
Revelation 5:8-9a: Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals;
Firstly, Christ is the Restorer of the world. He alone has the power to remove sin and restore righteousness to the world. He will take the scroll and execute God’s judgment. He will restore a fallen world that is groaning into a perfect kingdom. Romans 8:19-21: For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
b. The Lamb Is The Redeemer
Revelation 5:9b: For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
Secondly, Christ has Redeemed mankind to God. The entire human race was enslaved by sin. We were in a hopeless situation. Then Christ came and died for our sins.
His blood paid the debt that we owed. Galatians 3:13: Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree. The Lamb is seen in all His glory as having been slain to redeem us.
Spurgeon Tests The Acoustics
Charles Spurgeon, once while testing acoustics in Agricultural Hall in London, rang out over the empty building, Behold, the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world! A workman up in the ceiling heard the message, was convicted, went home, knelt before the Lord and found salvation.
c. The Lamb Is The Rewarder
5:10: And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.
Thirdly, Christ rewards His people. He will lift us higher than we were before the fall. The Lamb has made us kings and priests to serve God. 1 Peter 2:9: But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
Billions of Angels join the 4 Living Creatures & 24 Elders to Praise The Lamb
d. The Lamb Is the Rightful King
Revelation 5:11-12: Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing! 7 things are ascribed to Christ who is worthy. Perfect praise.7
In this closing burst of praise, all the angels and every creature in the universe joined together to worship the Redeemer. What a wonderful collection of harmony John heard! In this hymn, they stated those things that Jesus Christ deserved to receive because of His sacrificial death on the cross. To save mankind Jesus Christ laid aside His power, glory, riches, strength, honor and blessing. He humbled Himself and became a servant redeem us. Now God has exalted Him to His own right hand and given Him all these things in abundance. The Lamb is truly worthy!
Every Creature Praises God and the Lamb
e. The Lord and the Lamb are Praised
Revelation 5:13: And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!
This song is universal. Although this may not happen at the current time. John sees the time when every creature will praise God. Everyone in heaven on earth and in hell will praise God the Father and the Lamb. Satan and His demons and all the damned will acknowledge God’s worthiness to be praised.
Philippians 2:9-11: Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The 4 Living Creatures & 24 Elders Worship The Lamb
Revelation 5:14: Then the four living creatures said, Amen! And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
After hearing the praise of every creature the 4 living creatures say amen, or so be it! They agree that God is worthy to be praised and receive blessing, honor, glory and power. God alone can exercise this kind of authority without being corrupted. The very highest creature Satan, failed dismally. The Lamb alone is worthy of the kingdom! Have you submitted to His rule?
How should we respond to the Lamb who was slain for us as the perfect sacrifice? By giving our lives back to Him as a living sacrifice! C.T. Studd said; If Jesus Christ be God and died for then no sacrifice that I can make could be too great. The song in verse 12 is one that believers will sing for eternity. Why not sing it and live it now? One commentator put it like this. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive: power — over my life, the church, the world, the universe; riches — all my silver and my gold; wisdom — the finest of my intellectual powers; strength — my physical strength for His service; honor — a single, pure desire to magnify Him in all my ways; glory — my entire life devoted to glorifying Him; blessing — all my powers of praise for Him.
1Timothy 1:17: Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.