Saturday, 01 October 2016 00:32

33. In Heaven, right before Pentecost * Revelation 5:6

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6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

*** The Lamb who was slain ***: John first heard about the arrival of the Lion of the tribe of Juda (Revelation 5:5). But when he turned around to look, he saw something different. He didn’t see a Lion. John saw a lamb. The words of John the Baptist about Jesus easily come to mind: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29). The word “Lamb” used in Greek is arnion, which means “little lamb”. In the New Testament, this word is also used in John 21:15, when Jesus asked Peter for the first time if he loved Him. After Peter answered, Jesus told him to feed His little lambs [arnia]. In the Old Testament, we see a passage that refers to a young lamb. When God was about to take the Israelites out of Egypt, He told them specific instructions about their last meal before the trip. They were supposed to take a 1-year old blameless lamb, care for it at home for a few days, and then kill it and eat it (Exodus 12:5-6). The time they had to spend with the little lamb, feeding it, caring for it, playing with it, created a bond that made its sacrificing a lot more meaningful. It meant a lot more because time spent together made it feel like the lamb was part of the family. For them, that little 1-year old lamb was now very special. The time Jesus spent on Earth, living among human beings, allowed His followers to understand that Christ wants to have a personal relationship with them. And so, the Lamb John describes in Revelation 5:6 is also special, and it has 3 characteristics that makes it different from any other lamb in the Universe:

- It had been slain: As we read in chapter 5, the Lion and the Lamb refer to the same individual: Jesus. The fact that Jesus was seen as Lamb is perhaps the most important aspect about His arrival. Revelation 5:5 says that Jesus had prevailed, and that is why He was able to open the scroll. Jesus was the necessary sacrifice in order to win the battle over sin once and for all. This is the reason why God the Father was not able to open the scroll. Jesus was the One who had laid down His life for humanity (Isaiah 53:4-12). This is not to say that there was no sacrifice on the part of the Father, or the Holy Spirit. To use the words of Daniel 9:26, Jesus was ‘cut off’ the living Trinity, ripped apart from the Divine unity. Suffering was shared in equal measure among all three. The first part of John 3:16 reveals a Father who deeply feels the separation experienced at the Cross: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son […]”. God loved the people in the world in such an extreme way, that He gave His Son to them. But God also greatly loved His Son, whom He gave to the world. Through the death of Christ, God was reunited with His earthly children, but separated from His only begotten Son. Through Christ’s resurrection, God could once again have a complete family. And so, we can see the power of the second part of John 3:16: “[…] that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

- Seven horns: Throughout the Old Testament, we see the word ‘horn’ being used to represent power and strength (Numbers 23:22; Deuteronomy 33:17; 1 Samuel 2:1; 1 Samuel 2:10; 1 Kings 22:11). 2 Samuel 22:2-4 says: “And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from my enemies.” It is no surprise that the concept of a horn was used both in Daniel and Revelation as a symbol for powerful systems arising on Earth (Daniel 7:7-8,20; Daniel 8:3-9,20-22; Revelation 13:1,11). In the scene John describes in chapter 5 of Revelation, the Lamb has seven horns. As we’ve studied before in lesson #11, seven represents divine fullness and perfection. As a slain Lamb, Jesus arrived in heaven with complete power as Savior and Judge.

- Seven eyes: Verse 6 specifically says that “the seven eyes are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” Back in lesson #5, we saw that the seven Spirits of God is the Holy Spirit. We can understand this scene a little better when we read Isaiah 11:1-5: "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the belt of his loins, and faithfulness the belt of his waist.Revelation 5:6 depicts the Holy Spirit, in all his fullness, resting on the Lamb. The end of the verse 6 tells us where God is sending Him to Earth after the arrival of the Lamb in Heaven. The Holy Spirit is being sent down to fulfill Jesus’ promise to His disciples. Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit, to teach His people all they needed to know about Christ and and His salvation plan (John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15). Right after Jesus’ arrival, God sent the Holy Spirit to all the Earth. Jesus had to be glorified first, In order for God to send the Holy Spirit to His people (John 7:39). During the Pentecost, which was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Christ’s followers, Peter said this about Jesus in his sermon: “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured forth this, which you now see and hear.” (Acts 2:33).

*** Overview ***: Jesus, the Lamb who was slain, had arrived in Heaven to take His place at the right side of God. He had just arrived from Earth, where He had laid down His life in order to reestablish the connection between God and His children. His ultimate sacrifice gave Him the right to open the sealed book, and full authority and power to rule as the King of the Universe. The Holy Spirit was resting on Jesus, right before being sent to all the Earth. It all happened just as Jesus had promised His disciples, and just as it was described by the prophet Isaiah. The arrival of the Lamb triggered the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Earth, and we can read about it in Acts 2. Christ had accomplished His mission on Earth, and now it was the Holy Spirit’s turn to directly interact with the people. The plan of Salvation involves all the individuals of the Trinity, not just Christ. All of them have a specific role. The promise Jesus made to His disciples is still true for us today. The fact that we have the Holy Spirit here, shows us clearly that Jesus is alive, and sitting next to the Father in Heaven. Everything is under God’s control.

   
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