Chapter 49 The Reigning Lamb

And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain (Revelation 5:6).

The Lamb in the midst is central to the whole revelation of God. Here is one of the most thrilling and exciting chapters in Holy Writ. Our Lord’s humiliation is past; His exaltation is present. He is high and lifted up, as Isaiah promised He would be. The scene is one of magnificence and majesty, and there is nothing to equal it as a grand spectacular.

The Triumph of the Lamb

At the center of the vision is a rainbow-encircled throne on which the Lord God is seated with a seven-sealed book in His hand. Seven being the number of completion, it represents a completely sealed book. It is not a book of the past, nor of the present, but of the future. It has to do with the finalities of human history, the winding up of this old creation, the final fulfillment of God’s purposes, the ultimate issues of human destiny, the bringing in of a new Heaven and a new earth.

A challenge is put forth by a strong angel as to who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals. John weeps much because no man of Adam’s race could open, read, or even look upon such a book. He is told, however, to cease weeping, for the Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed to do so. When John turns to see the Lion, he sees instead a Lamb—a newly slain little Lamb. The Lord Jesus prevailed over all opposing forces as a strong Lion, but He did so as the Lamb of God in the blood-letting of the cross. That is where the victory was won.

He alone is counted worthy to open the book, and that for several reasons. He is the only One who has conquered Satan and all the hosts of hell. In His cross, the Lord stripped Satan of his weapons so that never again dare Satan come near Him, or rule over those who are sheltered in Christ. The Lord disarmed, discarded, and destroyed the devil’s power. Again, the Lord Jesus is the sole Redeemer of sinful man by reason of His sufficient sacrifice for sins made on Calvary’s cross. Our sins were a mighty load, but He bore and sustained them. Justice made tremendous claims upon us, but Jesus paid it all on our behalf.

The Characteristics of the Lamb

We see from Revelation 3:21 that the Son of God in His glorified humanity is seated with the Father on His throne and, as Daniel said, “the heavens do rule” (Daniel 4:26). This is a great comfort to the Lord’s people who still dwell on earth amidst increasing moral breakdown, unashamed iniquity, and unblushing sexualism. The Lord reigns. The crucified Substitute for sinful man is the now-crowned sovereign Lord of all.

In Revelation 5 John describes Him in seven characteristics—four of them having to do with His human nature, and three with His divine:

(1) The Lion of Juda (verse 5), suggesting the Father’s appointed King from the royal tribe of Judah, David’s Son after the flesh—David, who, in the defeat of great Goliath, foreshadowed Christ’s victory over Satan.

(2) The Root of David (verse 5), having the same basic office as David, a Shepherd King. One of the loveliest verses concerning our Lord’s office as Shepherd is Isaiah 40:11: “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”

(3) The Lamb slain (Revelation 5:6), His death, the only ransom price, the one atonement for all sin. He is not spared so that we may be redeemed.

(4) The Worthy One (verse 9), the glory of His people, the perfect Man, the ideal Man made worthy by the glory of pure sinlessness.

(5) Having seven horns (verse 6), complete power and authority. This is the exclusive divine attribute of omnipotence—absolute power in every realm of the universe.

(6) Having seven eyes (verse 6), complete perception and vision. This is the exclusive divine attribute of omniscience—absolute knowledge of all things.

(7) Having seven Spirits (verse 6), complete control and rule over all events and all created beings in every place in the universe. This is the exclusive, divine attribute of omnipresence—absolute presence in every place possible.

He is the Lord. He is God—the only begotten Son of God Most High. Being appointed by the Father to execute the work of redemption, He became Man—one of the human family by birth, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, very God yet truly Man. Oh, such a One! All the heavens now chant His praise, and the redeemed sing a new song: “Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation” (Revelation 5:9).

The Praise of the Lamb

Here is worship, adoration, praise, and thanksgiving to the Lamb by all who are in Heaven. It is again sevenfold-representing a complete ascription of praise. The Lamb in the midst of the throne is their delight; and in this happy land, this Heaven of heavens, God is their God forever and ever. Praise cries aloud to adore the Lamb. The whole being of every redeemed person reposes in an atmosphere of joy and gladness.

Billions of heavenly beings have this to say of our dear Saviour: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Revelation 5:12). He only is fit to handle these things. See what takes place when sinful man grasps them! What cruelties are inflicted upon humanity— what ravishing of countries, what destruction of homes, what sorrows to people, what dark confusion, what floundering in the midst of conceit! Sinful man cannot handle these things without some vile abuse of the trust. There is only One who is worthy, and all Heaven speaks His praise— the Lamb in the midst of the throne.

Rejoice, the Lord is King!
Your Lord and King adore,
Mortals, give thanks and sing,
And triumph evermore:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Jesus, the Saviour, reigns,
The God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains,
He took His seat above:
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice!
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice!

Charles Wesley