A Lamb Standing

Revelations 5:6-14

Then I saw between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered, having 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 the one who was seated on the throne. When he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

They sing a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood you ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.”

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels surrounding the throne and the living creatures and the elders; they numbered myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, singing with full voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped.

In his visions of a new heaven and a new earth, John sees the Lamb of God. John sees this “Lamb standing as if it has been slaughtered,” but it is clearly alive. The four living creatures and the elders all worship the Lamb. Angels join in the chorus, praising the Lamb.

This is clearly no ordinary lamb. This Lamb is praise at one and the same time as the “one seated on the throne.” The Lamb and God are identified with one another, with equal dignity, glory and honor.

This is the first mention of the lamb once slain who lives. It occurs in a vision that was meant to give hope to people who had already seen the destruction of the Temple and the holy city of Jerusalem. They had seen the slaughter of martyrs who died for their faith. They may have been afraid of what might still be coming. However, John has a vision unlike anything anyone could hope for or imagine. It is clear that the Lamb had been slaughtered, but it was just as clear that the Lamb was standing alive before the throne of God. It was also clear the elders of the people, along with all the heavenly hosts recognized the divinity of the Lamb.

No one expected to see a lamb once slain standing alive and well. No one expected to see a lamb standing before the throne of God with equal dignity. Isaiah has had visions of a lamb being led to slaughter, but this was clearly much more than anything Isaiah could have imagined.