Across Revelation 4 and 5, we are given a most unique picture of the throne of God and its surroundings. The imagery is exquisite in description and it’s all connected back to how the prophets of old had described it – particularly Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 1). However, the interesting thing to note in John’s vision in Revelation is that, in chapter 5, we are now told that there is a Lamb. The scenery has changed just a bit.
Even more, we start to see that the worship is now being directed toward this Lamb. Not just any old Lamb, but the Lamb who was slain. This is Jesus Christ.
John has a difficult time getting his head around all that he sees and hears. It’s drawing him in both visually and audibly. We’re told that there are angels numbering “thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand” (5:11). If this were a vision of today, someone might say, “I see billions and billions of angels!” He also says he hears a “loud voice” (5:12). It’s a very sensory-driven vision, one that’s left a lasting impression upon John.
The praise radiates from:
- the angels
- the living creatures (specific angelic beings)
- the twenty-four elders (representing all God’s people: 12 tribes of the old + 12 apostles of the new).
However, it doesn’t stop there. The praise now moves to “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them” (5:13).
This is a lot of praise! But the Lamb is worthy. Not for what we might usually deem kings and rulers as worthy of. Rather, this Lamb is worthy because of one thing: he was slain.
What king allows himself to be slain?
Paul said the cross event was a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles (1 Cor 1:23). But for God’s people, it was to be the power and wisdom of God.
What? Our king being slain is the power and wisdom of God?
Because of this act, the Lamb is given all power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise from both heaven and earth. It’s an odd thing to worship one who has been put to death, but that’s what John is seeing in the vision. We also know the story doesn’t end there. Matter of fact, standing at the center of the throne is the Lamb (5:6). So we know he is alive.
What a fantastically amazing scene!
Here’s the point to reflect on. Isn’t it interesting that God honors the slain? God lifts up the humble? God cares deeply for the poor, oppressed, afflicted, and broken-hearted?
This is so backward, so different, so upside-down from the way the world works. It may even be different from some of the Christian contexts we have been in. But this is the way of our God; the way of his King.
Worthy is the Lamb . . . who was slain.
Today, let us turn our lives in praise and honor and glory to the Lamb who was slain. And let us remember to walk in the footsteps of the slain One as we honor, lift up, and care for the weak, poor, hurting, and oppressed.