I’ve found myself reading the book of Revelation front to back a lot in this season, making up for years of youth pastoring, church planting and pastoring when I pretended that the Bible went straight from Jude to the maps. It seems each time I go through these 22 chapters, something catches my eye that I didn’t see the time before.
This morning I was in Chapter 5 – where Jesus makes His grand appearance and exercises His authority as the one to open the seals that will initiate a series of events leading to the culmination of natural history and the appearance of the next age. John, getting a prophetic synopsis of those days, is standing before a throne, watching creatures that he cannot accurately describe (he says they’re like…..an ox, a man, a lion, an eagle, because he cannot tell us exactly what they are. They are beyond his language and experience).
He sees a scroll and an angel calling out, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” The angel is not gathering volunteers. The angel is pointing out the obvious – none are worthy. Then, in that setting, far more fantastic than Narnia or Middle Earth, as John sheds tears because none are worthy, an elder turns to him and gives him a tip of what to look for.
The elder says “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
John must have taken heart. It’s possible. These seals can be broken open. John is torn between terror and joy. History can commence to it’s ultimate destiny – and he looks for this promised lion, a literal Aslan, not for the amusement of children but for justice on the earth.
I think there is a fair amount of emotion that we cannot detect in the next few words he recorded. “Then I saw a Lamb…”.
Unspoken, I expect his thoughts were “A lamb? I was looking for a lion! What is this? Yes, he obviously has the right to be here – He’s being worshiped, the seven spirits of God surround Him, and the 24 elders fall down before this Lamb….but a lamb?” In moments, tens of thousands of angels are singing the declaration of heaven – that the Lamb is worthy. The elders agree “Amen!”.
John’s struggle is our struggle to this day. The one thing that we cannot imagine is an authoritative servant…an absolute king with a tender heart…a lion willing to take on the appearance of a lamb while surrendering none of His right to open the seals of time, unleash heaven and obliterate the forces of hell.
Even knowing the events that must come to pass, we pray to hasten the day of His appearing. Even so, Lord, come quickly.
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