A cursory reading of Revelation 5 reveals simple truths. God has all authority. He created the world. Unfortunately, we ruined it with sin. But Jesus redeemed us.
The chapter opens with God seated on His throne, revealing His sovereignty. God has a scroll in His right hand, demonstrating His ultimate authority. The scroll has seven seals and is filled with writing, representing His complete plan.
What is the scroll? It represents the plan for what transpires in the rest of Revelation: judgment and salvation.
- Judgment: The symbols of seals, trumpets, and bowls.
- Salvation: Available to anyone—every tribe, language, people, and nation.
But there is a problem in Revelation 5. No one can open the scroll. Will God’s plan be accomplished? There is no one in heaven to finish the story. Will we remain forever “between the times” waiting on Christ to return? The scene is so disturbing to John, the author, that he begins to weep. Heaven has a serious problem. . . so he thinks.
Then one of the elders steps forward. There is One who can finish the story: the Lion of Judah. It’s a reference to Genesis 49:9-10, which reveals the Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah. This person is also the heir to David’s throne, as prophesied in Isaiah 11. This Lion is none other than Jesus Christ.
But there is more. No one can be prepared for the dramatic shift in Revelation 5:6. The elder told John to look for a victorious lion. What does John see? A slaughtered lamb.
The Greek word for “lamb” in Revelation is special. It’s used twenty-nine times in the book and appears in only one other place—in John’s gospel. The Lamb language reveals to the resurrected Jesus.
The “slaughtered” Lamb is “standing” in verse six. The slaughter refers to the death of Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. The standing references resurrected Christ. Additionally, He has seven horns and seven eyes.
- The seven horns symbolize Jesus’ perfect power (He is omnipotent).
- The seven eyes symbolize Jesus’ perfect knowledge (He is omniscient).
John wrote previously about this Lamb and His interaction with John the Baptist.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29 (NLT)
We find that Revelation 5 is not just about any lamb but the Lamb. Jesus isn’t just a way. He’s the Way! The Lion-Lamb figure in this chapter is the salvation-giving God-Man, the Savior of the world.