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God and the Lamb know the secret of the end

July 5, 2024
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Daily Scripture

Revelation 4:1-3, 5:1-13

Revelation 4
1 After this I looked and there was a door that had been opened in heaven. The first voice that I had heard, which sounded like a trumpet, said to me, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” 2 At once I was in a Spirit-inspired trance and I saw a throne in heaven, and someone was seated on the throne. 3 The one seated there looked like jasper and carnelian, and surrounding the throne was a rainbow that looked like an emerald.

Revelation 5
1 Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one seated on the throne. It had writing on the front and the back, and it was sealed with seven seals. 2 I saw a powerful angel, who proclaimed in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or look inside it. 4 So I began to weep and weep, because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look inside it. 5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Don’t weep. Look! The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has emerged victorious so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6 Then, in between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb, standing as if it had been slain. It had seven horns and seven eyes, which are God’s seven spirits, sent out into the whole earth. 7 He came forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the one seated on the throne. 8 When he took the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each held a harp and gold bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 They took up a new song, saying,
“You are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals,
        because you were slain,
        and by your blood you purchased for God
            persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation.
10 You made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
        and they will rule on earth.”
11 Then I looked, and I heard the sound of many angels surrounding the throne, the living creatures, and the elders. They numbered in the millions—thousands upon thousands. 12 They said in a loud voice,
“Worthy is the slaughtered Lamb
        to receive power, wealth, wisdom, and might,
        and honor, glory, and blessing.”
13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea—I heard everything everywhere say,
“Blessing, honor, glory, and power
belong to the one seated on the throne
    and to the Lamb
        forever and always.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

This awe-inspiring vision of God’s throne room drew language from the ones in Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 1. But there was a new element: a “lion of the tribe of Judah” who looked like a sacrificed lamb. This symbolism clearly pointed to Jesus. It is the only place where Revelation used the “lion” image—but the book mentioned the sacrificed Lamb over 20 times. “What links the scenes of blood and judgment with those of rapturous worship? Always, it is the Lamb…. His sacrifice is the source of creation’s redemption.” *

  • Jesus as “the lion of the tribe of Judah” was an image from Genesis 49:9 and Jeremiah 33:15 (Israel’s King David belonged to the tribe of Judah). But this strong “lion” also looked like a sacrificed lamb (cf. Isaiah 53:7, 1 Corinthians 5:7). No Roman emperor ever dreamed that such a “lamb” could exercise any lion-like power. How did this vision show that God’s power is utterly different from the human types of power we see around us?
  • “In the OT the ‘new song’ was always an expression of praise for God’s victory over the enemy, which sometimes included thanksgiving for his work of creation…. the ‘new song’ is used analogically or even typologically here [in Revelation 5:9], since the powers of evil and sin have been conquered.” ** Can you join spiritually (and musically, if you wish) in singing with heaven’s choirs “Worthy is the Lamb”?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, your power came from your willingness to give yourself up to open the gates of life to me. Yes—blessing, honor, glory and power belong to you forever and always. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Ashton Barlow

Ashton Barlow

Ashton Barlow is a returning intern this summer at Resurrection, working in Public Relations. He is a junior at the University of Nebraska Wesleyan studying Theatre Arts and Religion & Philosophy. He teaches Middle School Theatre throughout the year and works in his school's campus ministry department. He loves to write in any medium he can, including plays, music, and poetry.

Our faith is meant to be colorful and creative. As a Theatre Major who plans on becoming a pastor, I get one question a lot: “There’s not too much overlap between theatre and religion. How are you going to use your theatre experience in church?” To that, I say… there is so much overlap!! I mean, there is way less overlap in some of the other things I do: Competitive Air Guitar, exhausting board game nights, and arguably hobbyist ukulele playing. BUT THEATRE? The Bible is one of the most theatrical collections of books there is, and our churches are full of theatrical rituals.

If you couldn’t tell, I am very passionate about a “creative” faith, and Revelation is one of the books of the Bible that I think backs this up really well. Revelation is a confusingly creative tome, and when you’re an artist creating or examining something like this, you are tasked with distilling the babble of color and imagery into a point… something we can get out of a confusing book. We do this by examining the culture that existed around the time of the writing of this text, the hermeneutical analogies or scriptural analogies, and the history that might change how we look at it.

I say all of this because I believe that as Christians we are called to be creative and colorful individuals. We are called to sing, to dance, and to draw on the beige walls of life. Revelation is ultimately a very liberating text, not just for the readers when it was written, but for us now. The Lamb defeats the powers of evil and sin not for us to continue day-by-day living by the dull elevator music of life, but for us to truly live in the creative color of the world.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Virginia Stem Owens, Introduction to Revelation in The Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible. HarperSanFrancisco, 2005, p. 2268.
** G. K. Beale and Sean M. McDonough, comment on Revelation 5:9 in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007, p. 1102.