By Pastor Victor Atallah
Brethren, the vision of this 5th chapter of Revelation is of the Lion-Man/Lamb of God. It reminds us of a parallel Old Testament passage in Isaiah 59. Both passages lead to the same conclusion -- the problem of man’s sin and inability to liberate himself from its consequences required Almighty God’s initiative and personal intervention. It required a Redeemer-Mediator enjoying both full divinity and full humanity who is perfectly sinless. In Christ, the blessed second person of the Holy Trinity, complete salvation has been provided. As the Lion-Lamb, he alone in all visible and invisible existence is qualified to claim the scroll in the right hand of the one who sits on the throne. He is the only one who was worthy to take the locked-up registry of the Redeemed, because in his earthly life and ministry he alone conquered sin, the devil, the world and death.
Like other visions in the Book of the Revelation, the presentation of Jesus, Revelation 5, as both Lion and Lamb was symbolic. All scenes in the Book were visionary. They represent the overall redemptive theme of the Book, and indeed, of the whole Bible. None of the visionary scenes, numbers, events and figures in the Book of Revelation should be viewed in a literal fashion. Jesus was not literally a two head animal. But the vision of him as victorious lion from the tribe of Judah pointed to the fact that he is the promised Messiah Savior, coming through Judah, the son of Jacob (Israel), who descended from Isaac, the chosen son of Abraham. He is Immanuel, God with us. By the Holy Spirit he received a sinless human soul in the womb of the virgin Mary. Thus, he alone is qualified to claim the divine registry of the redeemed. It is his title deed to the redeemed people of God, past, present and future from all nations. He paid for their redemption with his own precious blood.
The wonderful message of Revelation 5 is a vital key to understanding the apocalypse, the Book of Revelation and indeed all of Scriptures. All visible and invisible existence, represented in the vision was awaiting the event of the Lion-Lamb receiving the registry of life-eternal. That is why the rest of the chapter gives us three wonderful songs of praise representing all their reaction.
All of creation and history, represented by the four living creatures, joined the 24 elders representing Christ’s Body, the Church -- the sanctified people of God, in worship declaring that the Lion-Lamb deserves to claim the Book of Life and open its seals. All of existence, visible and invisible makes the declaration which represent the new song of praise, the ever-recurring prayer of God’s people:
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10)
This song represents the abiding New Song of the Church. It must be at the center of all church ministry whether evangelism, discipling, teaching, pastoring, worship or deeds of mercy. This is the core mind and heart conviction of all true churches. Ignoring that is deviating from true faith and leads to the slippery slope of unbelief.
The heavenly hosts, of angels and archangels respond by the assertion of the Lamb’s right to worship:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
After all, the heavenly hosts awaited the fulfillment of the promise that the Seed of the Woman would crush the head of the Serpent. This the promised One, the Christ of God, completely and perfectly fulfilled in his earthly ministry as the sinless victorious divine Savior. The worship of angels is tied in with the redemptive work of the Lion-Lamb, the true Messiah of God.
The remaining scene in revelation 5 provides a wonderful affirmation:
13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
All creatures in all existence, visible and invisible, all knees ultimately make the confession of adoration, worship and submission to the Almighty God and the divine Savior, the Lamb of God. Worship is due to them and to them alone. Even those “under the earth” who joined the rebellion of the devil and are condemned with him and his host in the torment of hell – they too must ultimately render full submission and worship.
The chapter ends with the ever present jubilant “Amen” of the Church represented by the entire Church, the redeemed people of God in all ages and of all races, represented by the 24 elders.
This is the core of the overall message of the Book of Revelation – the True Messiah of God, the Lion-Lamb, has a plan for the gathering and blessing of his redeemed people, past, present and future, from among all of humanity. His plan is that they share in his victory over sin, the devil, the world and death. The plan calls for their triumph, through tribulation and sufferings. They are called for that and their lives is that of worship and service to him:
“And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Hallelujah!