Lamb and Messiah

In Revelation, Jesus began his Messianic Reign on the Throne of God following his Death and Resurrection – Revelation 5:6-10

Lighthouse Starry Night - Photo by Nathan Jennings on Unsplash
book of Revelation assures the beleaguered congregations of Asia that Jesus is reigning now and has events firmly under his control, despite appearances and hostility from the surrounding society. His exaltation and kingly authority are based on his past Death and Resurrection, which marked the commencement of his reign from the messianic “throne.” - [Photo by Nathan Jennings on Unsplash].

Ever since his resurrection, the kingdom of God has been progressing on the earth, and Jesus, the “ruler of the kings of the earth,” has possessed full authority over events, life, and even death - (Revelation 1:17-18).

In Revelation, several times the second Psalm is applied to Jesus, especially its promise that the “kings of the earth” would be “shepherded” by the anointed “Son” of Yahweh:
  • (Psalm 2:2-9) – “The kings of earth take their station, and grave men have met by appointment together, against Yahweh and against his Anointed One… Yet I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain… You are My son. I, this day, have begotten you. Ask of me and let me give nations as your inheritance and as your possession the ends of the earthYou shall shepherd them with a scepter of iron, as a potter’s vessel shall you dash them in pieces.
Jesus is identified as the “faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the KINGS OF THE EARTH.” He gave “faithful testimony” in his sacrificial death and became the “firstborn of the dead” in his resurrection. Consequently, God appointed him the “ruler over the kings of the earth,” the Messiah who has reigned ever since on “Zion” – (Revelation 1:4-6, 14:1-5).

And his death made his followers a “kingdom of priests.” Overcoming believers participate in his reign as they carry out “priestly” functions for the kingdom, and because they “overcame,” they are seated with Jesus on his “throne.” However, they participate in the kingdom in the same manner that he did; by their faithful witness, even to the point of martyrdom - (Revelation 3:21, 5:6-10, 12:11).
  • He that overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me in my throne, just as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne.
In the vision of the “sealed scroll,” John wept because no one worthy was found who could open it. But he was commanded to cease weeping, for the “Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, overcame to open the scroll and its seals.” However, when he looked, instead of the “lion” he saw the slain “Lamb.” That is, Jesus is the “lion of Judah, but he fulfills that role as the “Lamb.”

The “Lamb” was standing “in the middle of the Throne,” a picture of his enthronement. His first act was to take the “sealed scroll,” and he immediately began to break its “seven seals.” The “Lamb” had “seven eyes, the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth,” which signified that his authority extended to “the UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH.” And the heavenly choir confirmed that his exaltation to the “throne” was based on his sacrificial death:
  • Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain and purchased for God with your blood men from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation, and MADE THEM A KINGDOM AND PRIESTS; and they reign upon the earth” – (Revelation 5:9-11).
Not only does the “Lamb” reign supreme, but those purchased “by his blood” reign with him as “priests.” And he opens each “seal” to release its contents, for he is in firm control of events on the earth - (Revelation 6:1-8).

The second Psalm is applied in the vision of the “woman clothed with the sun,” for Jesus is the “son, the male” born from the woman, and who is destined to rule the nations:
  • (Revelation 12:2-5) – “And she brought forth a son, a male child, who was about TO SHEPHERD ALL THE NATIONS WITH A SCEPTER OF IRON; and her child was caught away unto God and to his throne.
The “Son” was none other than the anointed figure “who is to shepherd the nations.” Here, Revelation follows the Greek Septuagint version of the second Psalm, which translates the Hebrew verb for “rule” with the Greek term for “shepherd.” Something more than the forced subjugation of the “nations” is in view.

The “Son” was “caught up to God and to his throne” before the “Dragon” could destroy him. The same reality was portrayed in chapter 5, where the “Lamb” appeared before the “throne” after his death. The “Dragon” failed to stop his enthronement, therefore, a great voice declared that “now is come the salvation, the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ, for the accuser of our brethren is cast down.”
Thus, the “Dragon” was defeated by the death of the Messiah. And now, there is no limit to the latter's authority. His enemies cannot act without his consent. For example, the “beast from the sea” cannot launch its “war” against the “saints” until it is authorized to do so - (Revelation 13:5-7).

In the vision of the “rider on a white horse,” the messianic figure rode out with “the sharp sword proceeding from his mouth with which HE SHOULD SMITE THE NATIONS. He will SHEPHERD THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON.” Once again, the same words from the second Psalm are applied to Jesus, and once more, “rule” is changed to “shepherd.”

In the final vision, John saw “New Jerusalem” descending to the earth, and the “kings of the earth” and the “nations” were resident in the “city,” which begs the question:  How did the “kings” and “nations” gain entrance to the “holy city,” since so often they were set in opposition to the “Lamb?

In fact, the inclusion of the “nations” and “kings” in the “holy city” is the result of the “Lamb shepherding the nations,” for his reign means something more than the destruction of his human enemies; in fact, many of them are redeemed in the end.

In fulfillment of the second Psalm, Jesus now “shepherds” the nations from the messianic throne. His only “weapon” is the “sword” that proceeds out of his mouth, the “word of God.” With it, he defeats all his enemies. All who submit to even his “faithful testimony” find themselves in “New Jerusalem,” while all who reject it are cast into the “lake of fire,” the “second death.”

Considering the stress throughout the book on “overcoming” believers remaining steadfast in their “testimony,” the “sword” represents the proclamation of the gospel by the “saints,” the “kingdom of priests” inaugurated and now ruled by the “Lamb.”


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