The Lamb of God

23 November 2006: Thursday of the 33rd Week in Ordinary Time
Revelation 5, 1-10: The Lamb of God

In the book of Revelation, Jesus has been always called twenty-nine times as the Lamb. He was heard John the Baptism call him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (John 1, 29, 36). The word John uses in the book of Revelation is arnion, which Jeremiah used, “I was like a gentle lamb that is led to the slaughter” (Jeremiah 11, 19). And thus in the first reading we notice this type of lamb who was led to the slaughter: it still bore the marks of having been slain. But it has with it seven horns and seven eyes.

Let me explain the horns and the eyes. First, the horns are symbols of omnipotence, with a special focus on power and honor in the Old Testament. In Deuteronomy 33, 17, it is said that Moses blessed with the horns of Joseph... who will push the people together to the ends of the earth. The Psalms says that good man’s horn shall be exalted with honor (Psalm 112, 9). Second, the eyes stand for omniscience. In the book of the prophet Zechariah 4,10, he saw seven lamps like “the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole world.” Perhaps, we Filipinos can understand this if we have a picture of the Sacred Heart. Wherever we stand, we feel that the eyes of Jesus in the picture keep staring at us! Thus, with the horns and the eyes, we take two meanings. That Jesus, as the Lamb, now has all power and honor, and that nothing escapes from him. He sees all that we do.

Surrounding the gentle Lamb are the four living creatures, which we explained yesterday, and the twenty-four elders in white robes and crowns (stephanoi). There are different explanations of the twenty-four elders, ranging from the twenty-four stars in the Babylonian religion, adapted by the Jews into twenty-four angels in the council of God, or the twenty-four works in the temple of Jerusalem. It is written in the book of Revelation that the 12 Patriarchs are written in the gates of the New Jerusalem and the 12 Disciples in its foundations. But many exegetes affirm that the twenty-four elders symbolized the whole of the Church: the twelve tribes of Israel (the Jews) and equally another twelve for the Gentiles. And all these, together with the angels and the saints, sing praises to the Lamb who was led to the slaughter. The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders were singing praises to the Lamb.

And what are they singing? They were singing a new song of praise. The idea of a new song can be seen in all of Scriptures. We sing a new song in the Psalms (Psalm 33, 40, 144, 149) and the prophets such as Isaiah. The book of Revelation is about new things --- new heavens, new earth, and a new Jerusalem. And thus it assures as that in the life to come everything else will be new, including a new quality of life.

What is the whole vision telling us today? It tells of our destiny: we are destined to praise and give glory to Jesus Christ, our Lord. In fact, this leads us to the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King this coming Sunday. We affirm that goal of all of creation is the ‘praise, glory and reverence’ of God. And the quality of life will forever be new.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you might be interested in my Bible Reading Notes, covering the whole of Scripture
www.christinallthescriptures.blogspot.com
www.theologyofgcberkouwer.blogspot.com
http://chascameron.spaces.live.com
Best Wishes.

Jessel Gerard said...

Hi charles,

yes, definitely will be interested. I will open you blogs. You see, i work with students, and I have to explain the scriptures first, before any application to life. your bible reading notes might be of great help. thanks a lot!