Revelation 5:1-15 Part 5


1)    And I did see a scroll on the right of the One sitting on the throne

2)    having been written front and back having been sealed with

a.     seven seals.

3)    And I did see a mighty messenger announcing in a great sound, “who worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?”

4)    And no one in the heaven or upon the earth or under the earth was enabled to open the scroll or to see it.

5)    And I was weeping greatly because no one worthy had been found to open the scroll or to see it.

6)    And one of the elders says to me, “don’t be weeping!  Lo!  The Lion from the Judah tribe, the David Root, did overcome to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

7)    And in midst of the throne and of the four creatures and in midst of the elders I did see a lamb standing as slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.

8)    And He did come and He takes from the right of the One sitting upon the throne.

9)    And when He did take the scroll, the four creatures and the twenty-four elders fell before the Lamb, each having a lyre and golden bowls filling with incense which are the prayers of the holy ones,

10) and singing new songs, saying “worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, for You were slain, and You did buy for God in Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

11) And You did make them a kingdom, and priests for our God, and they will reign upon the earth.

12) And I did see and hear a sound of many angels and the creatures and the elders around the throne, and was the number of them myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands

13) saying in a great sound, “worthy is the Lamb, the One slain, to receive the power and abundance and wisdom and might and honor and glory and praise.

14) And every creature which is in the heaven, upon the earth and under the earth, and upon the sea, and all things in them I heard saying, “the praise and the honor and the glory and the might into the ages of the ages to the One sitting upon the throne and to the Lamb”.

15) And the four creatures kept on saying “Amen”!  And the elders fell down and paid homage.


At the end of our time together last Lord’s Day, we had just finished reading several Scripture passages having to do with God’s Lamb.  And we had read that John the baptizer, when seeing Jesus approach, said (twice) “Lo, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.”

That word “lo”, written two times by the apostle John in his Gospel, introduces the most profound “fullness” of the prophetic Word.  In the life of covenantal-national Israel, there wasn’t one Revelation from God that wasn’t filled with the anticipation of the coming Lamb of God.  Of the thirty-nine “books” of the older Scripture, there isn’t one that is devoid of astute and penetrating references to the coming Christ of God – the Anointed One Who is the Savior of mankind.  Of the Law and the prophets there is nothing that lacks content concerning Jesus Savior of the world.

As I’ve said previously, the sixty six books of the Bible aren’t broken down into a “Jewish section” with thirty nine books, and a “Christian section” of twenty seven, for it is all one book; and it is all Christian!  And there’s no better place to understand that than the statement by the baptizer: “Lo, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world”.

By inspiration of Holy Spirit, John the baptizer recognized that the One Who “is become” before me is the very One Who is prophesied and anticipated by the entirety of the text of the first thirty-nine books.  He is the Lamb sent from God Who is to be sacrificed for the sin of the world.  He is the “atonement” for the creation.  “For God SO loved the world that He gave His only Son… the very One who Abraham looked forward to as he was prepared to sacrifice his only son!

The atonement was to be provided by God Himself; and His Lamb was sufficient for the “overcoming” of the world.  He was sufficient for complete victory over all His enemies, including sin – and death!

And before we leave the “Lamb of God” identity here to Whom the apostle John is introduced in the throne-room, we need to spend just a couple of minutes on an important English word.

Since our Lord told His disciples to be confident, for He has “overcome” the world; and since John the baptizer identified the fullness of the entire Law and the prophets by the words “Lo, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world”, the word “atonement” occupies a very special place in the vocabulary of Christian doctrine.  And therefore it needs be that our hearts and minds and emotions and behavior ought to be peculiarly aware of this priceless word and what it means.

And please note first that the vast majority of instances in which the English word is used to translate a Hebrew requirement are found in the Revelation of God’s Law to Israel!  In the Law of the sacrifices, the priests, the tribes, families and individuals were to bring items of ownership – especially lambs as whole-burnt offerings – in exchange for their sins.  And, in so doing, their sins were forgiven, and there was reconciliation – a change in status – between the offerer and God.

In the Law of God there are well over a hundred instances of this process in the English translation of the Hebrew terminology – all of which receive their “fullness” in the appearance of the Lamb of God.

The very root of the Hebrew word that we know as atonement is “change”, by “exchange”.  By exchanging (or substituting) an item of great value (such as a perfect, one-year-old male lamb as a whole-burnt offering), there occurs a change in status between the offerer of the lamb and God… all of which, of course, prophesies the coming of the Lamb of God Who “overcomes” the world in victory, for He “takes away the sin of the world”!

Another English word that is used here in place of atonement, especially in the Newer Testament, is ‘reconciliation”.  But it’s the same Greek word that is used to translate the Hebrew word.  And it means change by exchange!  It is a transformation of the state between God and man.

Listen to this very carefully.  Paul clearly gives us the sense of the word “atonement”… to change by exchange.  It’s in second Corinthians chapter five:


17) Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.

18) But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation;

19) to wit, that God was, in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

20) We are ambassadors therefore on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be ye reconciled to God.

21) Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.


And listen to the apostle once again as he writes to the Church at Rome, chapter five.  And only the King James version has it absolutely right:


10) For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved in his life;

11) and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the atonement.


What’s spoken of here, by way of inspiration, is the most comprehensive “change” possible.   And it’s not merely a change in man’s disposition; nor is it just a change in man’s legal status before God.  But, by exchange, there is a total change of life!

And it is obvious from these passages that man is not on equal terms with God here.  The atonement is not something reciprocal!  And we don’t become “friends” with God in a relationship by which we can “barter” with Him.  God never changes His mind or His life; we are the ones who are “changed” (passive voice) from death unto life by the “exchange” – the atonement – by the Lamb of God Who is decisively and completely victorious over the sin of the world.

God’s Lamb, the One He Himself provides, is the exchange prophesied in the Law and the Prophets.  In the Lamb that He provides for Himself, there is a complete change in the status of men and women and children before God – and, indeed, in the whole creation!  For in His Lamb is total victory over sin and death.

And the best word to describe that change is “atonement” – or, as it is so often translated: reconciliation.  And when you’re reading that word, please be aware that it is God Who is reconciled.  That’s clear in both of the Pauline texts that we just read.  The sacrifice that He has provided is sufficient and efficient to take away the sin of the world.  He is completely “satisfied” by His Own sacrifice, and He is reconciled to His creation.  It has been “redeemed”; it has been rescued; there has been atonement for the sin of the world.  The atonement – the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God (the exchange for the sin of the world) – reconciles God to us.  And absent that atonement, God would not be reconciled to us, or to anything else that He’s created!

Now let’s continue at verse seven:


“And in midst of the throne and of the four creatures and in midst of the elders I did see a lamb standing as slain, having seven horns and seven eyes which are the Spirits of God sending forth into all the earth.”


Now, the view that the apostle John has of our Lord Jesus Christ is one of the once-dead but eternally standing Lamb of God Who was chosen before the foundation of the earth to be the Lamb Slain.  And you must see the record that John has left for us in that light.  We’ve already seen instances of the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ in the text of the Revelation.  He appears to John as Daniel saw Him, in all His resurrected and glorified body.  His head and hair white as snow, His eyes as flaming fire, His feet like burnished brass as in having been fired in a furnace, His voice as a sound of many waters, having seven stars in His right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword proceeding out of His mouth, and His face as the sun shines in its power….

He also appears in the scroll itself, for the Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us.  He also appears to John in the same manner as He appeared to Ezekiel – in the likeness of a Man upon the throne in the heaven.  John also says that He is “in midst of the throne”, and we read that the creatures in the heaven are worshipping Him “as” God.

So there are many written, revealed views of our Lord – the Second Person of Triune God, this – the Lamb – being one.  And we have to avoid constructing our own views – our own mental or emotional records, our own interpretations and expectations - and see Him as He reveals Himself.  After all, He IS God; and His Revelation is from Him; and it is TO us – not BY us!  We’re not allowed to make up stuff as if it were coming FROM us.

I went to my barber for a haircut this past week; and, as always with occasional contacts like this, I manipulated the conversation to include Biblical things - theological things.  The barber, who confesses to be a Christian, came out with an age-old view of the Christ which is as anti-Christian as you can get; it was an understanding of Him that can be found in ancient Gnostics and eastern mystics as far back as the first century.  And my refutation from Scripture made not one whit of a difference (as far as I know).  He was stone-deaf to the Truth.

He said that his own view was that God made the world; and that Jesus was a “manifestation” of God that came down to earth to see what was going on here!  And what he taught while he was here was “love”.  So if you have love in your heart instead of hate, then you’re a Christian.

This, of course, is just one example of the many views and understandings, made up by men, of who Jesus is.  Absent the mysticism, the view of the barber is very similar to that of many who claim to be Christian, in that Jesus is lamb-like.  He’s not the “Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world”, but He’s Lamb-like in the sense of being gentle, meek, sweet - mild - loving.  And people just need to be like him!  Jesus is God’s Lamb, so we should be God’s lambs and be loving like He is.

As I said, there are a lot of self-generated understandings of who Jesus is, but the Biblical Revelation of His being the Lamb of God, to most folks who haven’t been taught any better, has to do with His nature!  His nature is like a lamb. 

But God’s Revelation of the Lamb Slain here in the text of John’s record has little to do with His nature.  It has to do with His work!  It has to do with His work of His being slain for atonement!  His being slain to take away the sin of the world!

The One in full view of the apostle, and the view that the apostle records, is the One whose sacrificial work is the very center of salvation history!  The foundation laid for His victorious covenantal Kingship was His mediatorial atonement – the exchange for the sin of the cosmos!  It was because of His sacrifice as God’s Lamb that He has been exalted to the place of supreme rule and authority over all things in the heavens and on the earth!  Jesus Christ attained victory by “overcoming” the world by His sacrificial suffering and death as the Lamb slain in fullness of the entire prophetic Word.

So what John sees and records here is the Person of Jesus Christ in His work of being God’s sacrificial Lamb.  And by His atoning work He has overcome the world.  And we overcome, in Him, and we sit on the throne, in Him, when we are faithing in Him and when we anticipate – with confidence – that His atoning work is a complete work in overcoming the world!  As John the baptizer said, in bringing forward the entire Law and the Prophets, “Lo, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world”!

What John sees here in the heaven is a Lamb standing as slain – standing in the midst of the throne and the throne-creatures, surrounded by the twenty-four elder-creatures.  And He has seven horns and seven eyes.

And I just want to “tweak” your sensitivities here a little bit, without going off too far on a tangent.  We’ve been through the Scripture rather thoroughly regarding God’s qualitative perfection, revealed in all the “sevens” in the Bible.  So we don’t need to do that again.

But, seven horns and seven eyes?  Along with the detailed description of the cherubim throne-creatures, this record describing the Lamb Slain probably elicits some pretty strange images in the minds of most folks; and it most likely evokes some pretty compelling emotion in many… especially those of us in the twenty first century who have long been exposed to imaginative alien creatures in films and on television.  However, this isn’t a bar-room scene in Star Wars, is it?

The reaction when reading this, I think, is to just turn away from it, and not explore it, because it seems too “weird”.  Vivid impressions and strong emotions come forth.  Either folks don’t want to think of our Lord looking like this, or they make up something that has no basis in Scripture – only in human imagination.

In contemplating the Lord Jesus, there are, I think, two primary mental visuals that come to mind in most people – the first being that of a handsome and sensitive man with long hair and blue eyes – maybe holding children.  And the other, of course, is the crucifix – Jesus hanging on the cross.

But upon reading the descriptions of Him in Daniel and in Ezekiel and in Isaiah and in John’s Revelation, there is either this visceral opposition to them – being repelled in distaste for them – or their imaginations are set in motion!  One of the two.

It makes me think of the many books and paintings and descriptions of Ezekiel’s view of the heaven as he was enabled to see up through the Glory Cloud.  And people with imagination have actually “prophesied” the coming of great spaceships from other worlds by reading Ezekiel’s account of the cherubim-wheels of the throne of God.

But we’re not reading about what some artists think Jesus looked like; we’re not even reading the Biblical record of Jesus’ crucifixion.  And we certainly aren’t looking through John’s eyes at some alien creature.

What we’re seeing through his eyes is a most holy convocation in the throne-room of almighty God, wherein our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God slain at the sacrificial altar, having overcome the world, having ascended to glory, and is standing in the midst of the throne victorious, having made atonement for the sin of the world; and with all authority in the heavens and the earth taking the scroll, opening it and loosing its seals – a scroll which He Himself sealed until the time of the end (Daniel 12).

What we have before us is not a lamb-like creature of the imagination, but the Lamb of God with seven horns and seven eyes!  His nature is NOT as a gentle lamb; and His work included the atonement for the sin of the world.  And His work, as John sees Him, isn’t finished!  As we observe Him through John’s record, He does have those horns and those eyes; and the time is near for Him to open the scroll and to loose its seals!

So, what do the horns mean?  What are they?  Why does the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world now have horns?  And why seven?

And in explanation I must read for you almost the entire chapter seven of Daniel’s prophecy of the four great beast-kingdoms of the world before the King of the fifth and everlasting Kingdom receives His Kingship.  Now, this is a bit lengthy, but it is crucial to your understanding of the horns on the Lamb of God:  Listen please:


2)    Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.

3)    And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

4)    The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.

5)    And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.

6)    After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.

7)    After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

8)    I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things.

9)    I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

10) A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

11) I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

12) As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

13) I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

14) And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

15) I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.

16) I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.

17) These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.

18) But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

19) Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;

20) And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.

21) I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them;

22) Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.

23) Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.

24) And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

25) And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

26) But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

27) And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.


Did you listen carefully?  Four great kingdoms, in succession; Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome.  All ruling the earth’s civilization.  All civilization-changing, culture-changing, language-changing, law-changing… brutal.

The last one – Rome – had ten horns… and then an eleventh, each representing an emperor in succession, a ruler, an authority, a sovereign.  The horns in Daniel’s prophetic vision are representative of the world-wide authority, strength and power of the kings (emperors) of Rome.

Daniel was so disturbed by the vision of the horns of the fourth great kingdom that he required explanation and clarity, which he was given.  And in the midst of this world-wide, civilization-changing sovereignty there arose One Who was given all authority in the heavens and on the earth; One Who overcame the world; One Who was given all the nations as His inheritance; One Who was crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and Whose Kingdom would be an everlasting Kingdom – the FIFTH great Kingdom of the prophecy of Daniel.

And here He stands in John’s full view.  Not with one horn in succession, but with a full array of seven.  The perfect fullness of Daniel’s vision of the fifth Kingdom.

The Lamb of God Who decisively and definitively defeated sin and death, having made atonement for the sin of the world.  The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us in order that HE might be the sacrificial Lamb in exchange – FOR us!

And having ascended once into the Glory Cloud Holy of Holies, He was given His inheritance – absolute sovereignty.  And here He stands, the Lamb of God in perfect fullness of His Own prophetic Word through the prophet Daniel – the seven horns of absolute power and authority in all of God’s creation.  Never again would there be a sovereign ruler over all the nations of the earth – other than Him.  And, as the apostle John looks on, it is HE, Jesus, Who is now ready to loose the seals of His Own Word, and show His servants that which is necessary to be done in quickness (Rev. 1:1).