And I beheld, and, see, in the middle of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the middle of the elders…
I. Jesus in heaven appears in His sacrificial character; and I would have you note that THIS CHARACTER IS ENHANCED BY OTHER CONSPICUOUS POINTS. Its glory is not diminished, but enhanced, by all the rest of our Lord's character: the attributes, achievements, and offices of our Lord all concentrate their glory in His sacrificial character, and all unite in making it a theme for loving wonder.
1. We read that He is the Lion of the tribe of Juda; by which is signified the dignity of His office, as King, and the majesty of His person, as Lord. The lion is at home in fight, and "the Lord is a man of war." Like a lion, He is courageous. Though He be like a lamb for tenderness, yet not in timidity.
2. Further, it is clear that He is a champion: "The Lion of the tribe of Juda hath prevailed." What was asked for was worthiness, not only in the sense of holiness, but in the sense of valour. One is reminded of a legend of the Crusades. A goodly castle and estate awaited the coming of the lawful heir: he, and he only, could sound the horn which hung at the castle gate; but he who could make it yield a blast would be one who had slain a heap of Paynim in the fight, and had come home victorious from many a bloody fray. So here, no man in earth or heaven had valour and renown enough to be worthy to take the mystic roll out of the hand of the Eternal. Our champion was worthy.
3. In this wonderful vision we see Jesus as the familiar of God. To Him there is no danger in a close approach to the infinite glory, for that glory is His own.
4. We observe, in addition to all this, that He is the prophet of God. "He who unveils the eternal will of the Highest is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."
5. Our Lord always was, and is now, acknowledged to be Lord and God. Yet, in the glory of His Deity, He disdains not to appear as the Lamb that has been slain. This still is His chosen character. Write, then, the passion of your Lord upon the tablets of your hearts, and let none erase the treasured memory. Think of Him mainly and chiefly as the sacrifice for sin.
II. In the second place, note that, IN THIS CHARACTER, JESUS IS THE CENTRE OF ALL. "In the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain." The Lamb is the centre of the wonderful circle which makes up the fellowship of heaven.
1. From Him, as a standpoint, all things are seen in their places. Looking up at the planets from this earth, which is one of them, it is difficult to comprehend their motions — progressive, retrograde, or standing still; but the angel in the sun sees all the planets marching in due course, and circling about the centre of their system. Standing where you please upon this earth, and within human range of opinion, you cannot see all things aright, nor understand them till you come to Jesus, and then you see all things from the centre. The man who knows the incarnate God, slain for human sins, stands in the centre of truth.
2. The Lamb's being in the midst signifies, also, that in Him they all meet in one. Christ is the summing up of all existence. Seek you Godhead? There it is. Seek you manhood? There it is. Wish you the spiritual? There it is in His human soul. Desire you the material? There it is in His human body. Our Lord hath, as it were, gathered up the ends of all things, and hath bound them into one.
3. Being in the centre, to Him they all look. As the Father's eyes are always on Jesus, so are the eyes of the living creatures and the four-and-twenty elders which represent the Church in its Divine life and the Church in its human life. All who have been washed in His blood perpetually contemplate His beauties.
4. All seem to rally round Him as a guard around a king. All things ordained of the Father work towards Christ, as their centre; and so stand all the redeemed, and all the angels waiting about the Lord, as swelling His glory and manifesting His praise.
III. Thirdly, our Lord is seen in heaven as the Lamb slain, and IN THIS CHARACTER HE EXHIBITS PECULIAR MARKS. None of those marks derogate from His glory as the sacrifice for sin; but they tend to instruct us therein.
1. Note well the words: "Stood a Lamb as it had been slain." "Stood," here is the posture of life; "as it had been slain," here is the memorial of death. Our view of Jesus should be two-fold; we should see His death and His life: we shall never receive a whole Christ in any other way.
2. Note, next, another singular combination in the Lamb. He is called "a little lamb"; for the diminutive is used in the Greek; but yet how great He is! In Jesus, as a Lamb, we see great tenderness and exceeding familiarity with His people. He is not the object of dread. A lamb is the most approachable of beings. Yet there is about the little Lamb an exceeding majesty. The elders no sooner saw Him than they fell down before Him.
3. He hath seven horns and seven eyes. His power is equal to His vigilance; and these are equal to all the emergencies brought about by the opening of the seven seals of the Book of Providence.
IV. Jesus appears eternally as a Lamb, and IN THIS CHARACTER HE IS UNIVERSALLY ADORED.
1. Before He opened one of the seals this worship commenced. We trust Him where we cannot trace Him. Before He begins His work as the revealing Mediator, the Church adores Him for His work as a sacrifice. Jesus our Lord is worshipped not so much for what benefits He will confer as for Himself.
2. That adoration begins with the Church of God. The Church of God, in all its phases, adores the Lamb. If you view the Church of God as a Divine creation, the embodiment of the Spirit of God, then the living creatures fall down before the Lamb. No God-begotten life is too high to refuse obeisance to the Lamb of God.
3. The Lamb is not only worshipped by the Church, He is worshipped by angels. What a wonderful gathering together of certain legions of the Lord's hosts we have before us in this chapter I
4. Nay, it is not merely the Church and angelhood; but all creation, east, west, north, south, highest, lowest, all adore Him. All life, all space, all time, immensity, eternity; all these become one mouth for song, and all the song is, "Worthy is the Lamb."
5. Now, then, if this be so, shall we ever allow anybody in our presence to lower the dignity of Christ, our sacrifice?
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
WEB: I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.