On October 31, 2018, a single web of lightning flashed and stretched 440 miles over Brazil. About the distance from Boston to Washington, it was the longest (in distance) lightning strike ever measured. Then on March 4, 2019, a lightning bolt lit up over Argentina and lasted 16.73 seconds, the longest (in time) lightning strike ever. These two lightning strikes were powerful and awe-inspiring, but nothing compared to the infinite and eternal power of God!
Today’s chapter opens with a dilemma (vv. 1–5): Who is worthy to open the scroll and set in motion a series of end times judgments? The apostle John, the author of Revelation, wanted to know the answer so intensely that he wept. An elder reassured him that “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed” and is worthy to open the scroll. These are Messianic titles. John turned... and instead of a Lion, saw “a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain” (vv. 6–7). Its seven horns symbolize authority and power, while its seven eyes indicate knowledge and wisdom.
The Lamb, an image from Jewish apocalyptic literature and tradition, is a common picture of Christ throughout Revelation. It blends two truths: The Lamb had been slain as a substitutionary, redemptive sacrifice for sin (v. 9). Yet at the same time, the Lamb is a conquering king (see, for example, Rev. 17:14).
When the Lamb takes the scroll, heaven responds with worship of the One who is worthy. The four living creatures and 24 elders bow down (vv. 8–10), then a heavenly host of angels joins in (vv. 11–12), and finally every creature in all creation sings the praise of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (vv. 13–14)!
>> A great topic for additional Bible study would be to look up all the Lamb references in the book of Revelation. Or, if time is short, we invite you to read Revelation 7:9–17, in which the Lamb is also our Shepherd!