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Revelation 5:5-6

Revelation 5:5-6
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“And one of the elders said to me, ‘Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”

In Revelation 5:5-6, John mourns that no one is worthy to open the scroll containing and concluding God’s purposes for human history. However, an elder tells him not to weep because the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” has conquered and is able to open the scroll. After hearing this, John is met with an unexpected sight. He no doubt expected to see a conquering lion, but instead he sees “a Lamb standing as though it had been slain…” (Revelation 5:6). The conquering Lion is the slain Lamb. This is a theme expounded throughout the rest of the book of Revelation, and one that I tried to express in this image as well. Let me draw your attention to just a few elements in the image that I hope will help you more fully appreciate the beauty of Jesus Christ as John saw Him and communicated Him to us in scripture.

First, notice that in this image the Lion is superimposed over the Lamb such that the eye of the Lamb unites both Lion and Lamb. I intentionally made the Lion hard to see at first, but if you look at the Lamb’s eye, you should be able to see the Lion as well. This is an attempt to emphasize what John emphasizes. Christ is referred to as the Lamb all throughout Revelation, that is this book’s definitive symbol for our Lord. However, He is a Lamb who conquers, and a Lamb who rules, and a Lamb who pours out wrath—He is a Lionlike Lamb.

Second, notice that the Lion’s mouth is opened in roar / attack directly over the Lamb’s wound. This is because the mouth is the place of a lion’s strength. A lion conquers its enemies with the power of its mouth. But how did the Lion of Judah conquer (Revelation 5:5)? By becoming the Lamb who was slain (5:6, 9). The Lamb being slain is the Lion conquering; Christ’s sacrifice at the cross is His triumph over every enemy (Col.2:15). The almighty teeth of the Lion of Judah are bared in the wounds of the Lamb—He is a Lamblike Lion.

Third, the red of the Lamb’s wound is echoed by the red of His spilled blood. Beneath the blood—which represents the death of our Lord on the cross—you can see the fires of hell / God’s wrath swallowed up, and the ancient serpent (Revelation 20:2) trampled under the feet of the True “offspring of the woman” (Genesis 3:15).

Fourth, the halo behind the Lamb’s head represents the open tomb. The slaughtered Lamb is the glory and revelation of God only in light of His resurrection. He is the Lamb standing (that is to say, “alive”) as though He has been slain (Revelation 5:6), He is the one who died, and yet—behold!—is alive forevermore (Revelation 1:18). We will forever look on His wounds, we will forever recall His death, we will forever know the glory of the One True God in the face of the Lamb who was slain (Revelation 22:1-4), and yet the sight of the Crucified Lord—which will be the eternal joy of His saints—comes only and ever and always in the light of His victorious and vindicating resurrection!

And finally, see that the stone—representing death, suffering, sin, etc.—is rolling away into the same ocean of redeeming blood under which Satan and the hell of the elect have been drowned. Because Christ died and rose again, every effect of the curse will be swallowed up into and harmonized with the beauty of God and the joy of His saints.

Praise God for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—the Lion and the Lamb—in whom alone we come to know and enjoy the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit! Amen.