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Revelation 5:6–10

“Between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne” (vv. 6–7).

Hearing that the Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered and can open the scroll in God’s hand (Rev. 4:5) prompts John to turn and catch a glimpse of this Lion, the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, John sees not a Lion but “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (v. 6). In symbolic form, John sees a glorious truth of our redemption—namely, that Jesus is both Lion and Lamb, that He conquers the enemy in His passion (Col. 2:13–15). Satan and sin threw their worst at our Savior, wielding their most powerful weapon—death. Jesus died, of course, but He did not stay dead. He rose again, proving that He overcomes even the strongest opposition possible. Augustine of Hippo explains the significance that Jesus is both Lion and Lamb: “Why a lamb in his passion? Because he underwent death without being guilty of any iniquity. Why a lion in his passion? Because in being slain he slew death. Why a lamb in his resurrection? Because his innocence is everlasting. Why a lion in his resurrection? Because everlasting also is his might.”

John’s further description of the Lamb underscores His power. The Lamb has “seven horns and . . . seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6). We have already said that multiple eyes are a way of conveying that someone is all-seeing, so the eyes convey our Lord’s omniscience. There is nothing that escapes His sight. In the Old Testament, horns frequently symbolize strength (e.g., 2 Sam. 22:3; Ps. 18:2), so here they emphasize our Savior’s power and might. These are all connected to the seven spirits of God, a metaphor for the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 11:1–5 and Zechariah 4:6 highlight the importance of the Spirit in achieving God’s purposes and giving the Messiah success, so John’s vision confirms that Jesus is the Almighty, Spirit-empowered Messiah who in taking the scroll is the agent through whom God will bring His plan to pass (Rev. 5:7).

Once Jesus takes the scroll, the four living creatures and twenty-four elders surrounding the throne of God begin to worship the Lamb, singing a new song that praises Him for His salvation (vv. 8–10). Under the old covenant, new songs frequently attended God’s great works of salvation, particularly the song of Moses that accompanied the exodus from Egypt (Ex. 15:1–21). A greater exodus from sin has taken place in His death, so it is only right to sing to Him a new song of praise.

Coram Deo Living before the face of God

Jesus the Messiah conquered sin, Satan, and death not with the sword but by dying for His people. As we wait for His return, we battle His enemies not with earthly weapons but with the proclamation of the gospel that warns people of the judgment to come. By our knowing and proclaiming the truths about the Lion and the Lamb, people come into the kingdom and sin is put to death in our own lives.


For Further Study
  • Isaiah 53
  • John 1:29–34

The Scroll with Seven Seals

A Wildly Uneven Exchange

Keep Reading Covenant Theology

From the October 2020 Issue
Oct 2020 Issue