The Lion and the Lamb
As the promised Son of David, Jesus came to redeem His people and conquer His enemies. But this victory was accomplished in a most unexpected way. In this clip, R.C. Sproul focuses on how the book of Revelation depicts our triumphant Savior who is worthy of unending praise.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch trustworthy Bible teaching each week.
“But then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep, for behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.’” Talk about a roller coaster of emotions. Here is John, joyous in anticipation, going to see the scroll opened, plunging into the depths of despair when nobody is found worthy, and now the elder whispers in his ear, “Don’t cry. Don’t despair. There is One who’s worthy. For behold, the Lion of Judah has prevailed, the One who has come from the root of Jesse.” Now beloved, if you don’t know the Old Testament, it’s meaningless. But John knew the Old Testament. He knew what that image of the Lion of Judah referred to all the way back to the book of Genesis, to the patriarchal blessing that Jacob gave to his sons. The promise of the kingdom went to the tribe of Judah, and Judah, the son of Jacob, was known as the “lion’s whelp,” and so he would be the king. But the king that is referred to here is the One who is in the descendancy of David, out of the seed of Jesse. And David was known as the lion of Judah, but obviously what is being referred to here is David’s greater Son, to the Messiah, to Jesus, the Lion of Judah. So, John said, “All right! Okay!” It’s like Telemachus waiting for his father to come and bend the bow. Now John is saying, “All right, where is the Lion of Judah who has prevailed?” And he’s waiting now for Aslan to come pouncing onto the stage with his muscular legs and arms and limbs and his powerful claws and just grab that scroll and rip open the seals and let us see the secrets of God. “And I looked, and behold, 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.” Let me stop right there. He’s waiting for this magnificent beast, the lion, in the fullness of its strength, to come and open the scroll. But when he turns to see the lion, he doesn’t just see a lamb, but he sees a lamb as it had been slain. He sees a lamb that had been slaughtered. He doesn’t see a figure of power. He doesn’t see a symbol of exultation. He sees the suffering servant of God in His humiliation, in His passion, in His meekness as the sacrifice for the people of God. “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 out unto all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures, the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song.” Do you remember when we talked about how songs were composed in the Old Testament to celebrate a new victory that God performed for His people? The Song of Moses, the Song of Deborah, and now we have the “New Song” that is composed by the saints in heaven as they come with the bowls of the prayers of the people of God, those who had been crying from behind the altar, waiting for their redemption. Now they begin to sing a new song to this Lamb. And God, who is seated on the throne, hands the scroll to the Lamb, because the Lamb met the test. Remember the question: “Who is worthy?” And what is the gist of the New Song? “Worthy is the Lamb to receive honor and glory, dominion, and power and majesty,” so that now the whole host of heaven is singing the praises of the Lamb as the Lamb now appears in heaven to receive His reward, to receive His throne because He has fulfilled His mission. He did what He was sent into the world to do. He accomplished His vocation.