Mistaking a Lion for the Lamb

[This is a segment of ideas written by Michael Hardin which is helpful for us to untangle the imagery of Revelations' Lion and Lamb. I have reorganized and added to improve flow.]

Lion & The Lamb  (Rev. 5)

Maybe you have heard “He came first as a Lamb, but he is coming back as a Lion” from the pulpit with whoopin’ and hollerin’ Amens from the pews? Innumerable.

BUT... Let's look again.

Notice that it is one of the ELDERS that sees the lion (Rev. 5:5). Not an angel, not the voice of God, a human. It is the voice/perspective of a human and it is immediately corrected and redirected.

Let's look a little further:

“I looked and I beheld a Lamb as it had been slain standing at the center of the throne . . . “ (Rev. 5:6)

This is statement is a correction - No, not a Lion but a lamb!

A little deeper:

The Lamb is standing on the throne, and the significance of the standing is often missed. You don’t stand on thrones. By standing, a statement is being made, immediately after a human (elder) had just made a wrong assessment. Imagine a bunch of people talking, (“worshipping”) carrying on, and then the one with real authority in their midst has had enough and stands up to speak.

The slaughtered, standing lamb is an emphatic correction coming from the throne of God at the center of the universe. The lion and the lamb are two incompatible and competing understandings of how Messiah will rule the cosmos.

Remember, the entire book of Revelations is very Jewish in its imagery. Notice that even here, at the end (apocalypse), humans are still hoping for the Davidic warrior messiah to fix everything. This is a tragic misdiagnosis and the exact opposite of what is intended in the text. This smudge has marred the image of Christ through much of history leading to tragic events.

Christ, as the Lamb who was slain, is on the throne. The slain Lamb is a picture of self-giving love, whole-making love, and who will reign forever and ever.

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