Where's the Lamb? And where are we?

23:29

I've just read something quite remarkable in the Bible that I'd never noticed before. I'm reading Revelation and have just read chapter 5. And I was reading it in the ESV (which will be relevant later on). I love Revelation 4 and 5 with their description of the worship of heaven, and particularly chapter 5 where all the focus is on the Lamb who was slain and lives. But when the Lamb first appears on the scene here, where is He?

And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain (Revelation 5:6 ESV).
Do you see where the Lamb is? Of course He's in the middle, but where in the middle? Among the elders. Among the people of God. With us.

Chapter 4 has just described this throne room. There is the Father seated on His throne (Rev. 4:2) with the Holy Spirit proceeding from Him (Rev. 4:5). And around the throne we're told about two things: the 24 elders clothed in white (righteousness) and crowned with gold (Rev. 4:4), and the four living creatures (Rev. 4:6). Now, try not to focus on the lion, ox, man and eagle for a moment, and think about the rest of the description of those four living creatures. They have six wings and cry out 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty' - sound familiar? (If not, the answer's in Isaiah 6.) So we've got the redeemed and justified people of God and the seraphim all around God's throne.

But I've always imagined it like this: God in the middle, surrounded by the seraphim, and them the 24 elders around them. So that's why the ESV of Revelation 5:6 struck me so much tonight - because it describes it very differently. There's something in between the Father and the seraphim - the Son and His redeemed people. The Son and those who are united to Him. Jesus and us!

God isn't guarded from us by the seraphim. We don't just enter into his throneroom as His subjects, standing in the presence of the King and His impressive guards. No, we enter in as sons in the Son. Because of Jesus, we enter in to God's heavenly throneroom as His beloved children. And no good king needs guards between him and his well-beloved children!

What a wonderful picture we have presented here in Rev. 5:6! That's how close we are brought to the Father, even to enter in beyond the seraphim (which from what Isaiah saw, you wouldn't even think would be possible), right to His very throne. And it's all because the Lamb has been slain, and He's been slain for us. It's because the Lamb is ours and we are His. With the Lamb as our refuge we are brought right into the loving fellowship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit - that's who's within this circle between the four living creatures, the Father, Son, Spirit and us. Jesus brings us into their "space" - their own loving fellowship.

This is all very biblical. I'd just never noticed it here in Revelation 5 before. So I had a look in my normal Bible to see why - and saw that from the translation there I'd never have seen it this way. So I opened up my Greek New Testament and saw that both translations are right, they've just had to make a few exegetical choices along the way and have chosen differently. I'm not sure I'd have translated it that way off my own bat, but that's why I'm not an expert translator. Given the whole-Bible context, it strikes me as a wonderful translation and it gives such a wonderful image of the reality of salvation in Christ.


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The Tenets of the Apostolic Church


The Unity of the Godhead, and Trinity of the Persons therein.

The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for repentance and regeneration and the eternal doom of the finally impenitent.

The virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, triumphant resurrection, ascension, and abiding intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ; His second coming, and millennial reign upon earth.

Justification and Sanctification of the believer through the finished work of Christ.

The Baptism of the Holy Ghost for believers, with signs following.

The nine gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Church, which is the body of Christ.

The Sacraments of Baptism by immersion and of the Lord's Supper.

The Divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures.

Church government by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, elders and deacons.

The possibility of falling from grace.

The obligatory nature of tithes and offerings.