(cf. Rev. 5:6-14)

John looked to see the Lion, but instead saw a Lamb as though it was slain. It had seven horns and seven eyes. In the Old Testament, ‘horns’ were a metaphor for strength and power (cf. Deut. 33:17) while the ‘eyes’ symbolize the all-knowingness of the Lamb – a direct allusion to Zech. 4:10 where the eyes of Yahweh run to and fro the whole earth. So the Messiah as the slain Lamb is all-powerful and all-knowing, which is an affirmation of His deity. Notice, “…seven Spirits of God – i don’t think this always refer to the Holy Spirit, in context, it just doesn’t fit here. In verse 7, He came and took the book from the right hand of Him who was sitting on the throne, and when He took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb each with a harp and golden bowls that were full of incense which represent the prayers of God’s people. This scene is a magnificent symbol of the death of Christ the efficacy of which qualified Him to open the book and its seals. Also this clearly presents the perfect harmony between the will of God and the will of Christ. We learn from 2 inter-Biblical books, Tobit 2:15 and 3rd Baruch 11 that angels are seen as mediators between man’s prayers on earth and God in heaven, and we have that sense right here. This idea of incense might go back to Psalms 141 – notice how precious these prayers are to God. The word “saints” is mentioned here. I think that’s the idea of the church found throughout the book of Revelation, particularly chapter 11:18 and 19:8 were it has to refer to the church. And then in vs. 9, the Lamb’s action evokes a great outburst of praise and worship, and they sang a new song. In the Old Testament there were new songs and when something happened in history that God did, they were to sing a new song about what God has done. This is an ultimate song of what God has done in Jesus Christ, and in the new song, they’re given 4 reasons why He’s worthy. Number 1 is found in verse 9, “because You have been slaughtered” (aorist tense) – this is the idea of the substitutionary atonement through His blood. Number 2 is very significant – “You have purchased men from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. This goes back to Rev. 1:5, the idea of purchasing or redeeming. The idea of paying a price to redeem man – it’s universal in scope. It’s men from all over the world. And then it says, He’s made them a kingdom of priests (aorist tense), meaning the redeemed were made a kingdom of priests (cf. Exo. 19:6 that was God’s purpose for the nation of Israel). In Rev. 20:6, this same concept of the New Testament people of God as the priests of God shows us that there’s just one people of God, and they’re going to reign or rule over the whole earth (cf. Luke 22:30). In Rev. 20:4 & 6 it seems to refer to the millenial reign, but in Rev. 22:5 it seems to refer to an eternal reign. I think both concepts are here and it’s kind of fluid. Now notice that it seems to be three groups of them (angels, living creatures, elders) in verse 11, and there’s thousands and thousands and thousands them (cf. Daniel 7:9-10). Now notice as it mentions in verse 12 that the Lamb was slaughtered – here’s the idea that It’s been killed in our behalf. And then 7 things are attributed to Him. Seven wonderful attributes – power (cf. 1 Cor. 1:24), wealth (cf. 2 Cor. 8:9; Eph. 3:8), wisdom (cf. 1 Cor. 1:24), strength (cf. Eph. 6:10), honor (cf. Heb. 2:9), and glory (cf. John 1:14), and blessing. “Every creature in heaven and on earth, under the earth and in the sea” – is the idea of us all praising God. All conscious life is one day going to praise Jesus Christ for who He is and what He has done. there cannot be the slightest doubt that the Lamb is to be reckoned with God, and as God. God the Father and the Son, both sitting on the same throne is a way of affirming the full deity of Christ.

It’s been somewhat strange to us about the metaphors being used in the book of revelation – a ‘Lamb with horns’ sounds funny, but a clear allusion by John to several inter-testamental literature, and if we don’t see that background, we are not going to be able to interpret the book. The book must relate to its day, as it relates to every day. We’ve got to be careful that our presuppositions don’t put the text into out of a box. We’ve got to be careful that we’re dealing with symbolic language, and we don’t take it too literally. But it is spiritual truth. It is inspired and we must try to get the truth. We need to see it in its own day, and against the background of apocalyptic literature in order to interpret the book correctly. What a great two chapters – 4 and 5, God as Creator and God as Redeemer.