Revelation 5:6ff – Jesus Christ: The Lamb Who Had Been Slain

By Wayne Jackson

The 5th chapter of the book of Revelation is a marvelous portrait of the majesty of Jesus. Four times in this chapter Christ is designated as the “Lamb” —an obvious allusion to the sacrificial nature of the Lord’s mission. As the chapter opens, John beholds God upon his throne, holding a sealed scroll in his right hand. The context reveals that the document is a record of events yet to transpire. But who is qualified to reveal the future?

At first John was sad, because it appeared that no one was worthy to open the scroll. But the apostle was told that the Lion from Judah, the Root of David, had overcome, and so was qualified to break the seals, and reveal the contents of the scroll. About that time, John saw “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain…” (5:6).

We pause here to make a significant comment. Both of the verbals, “standing” and “having been slain” are perfect tense forms in the original language. The perfect tense denotes action in the past with abiding results. The language thus suggests this:

  1. Though the Lamb had been slain, it stood up and remained standing. This is a clear allusion to Christ’s resurrection from the dead (cf. 1:18).
  2. Though the Lamb’s death had occurred at a previous point in history, the effects of that death remained; hence, Jesus’ sacrifice is as efficacious today as it was in the first century.

The Lamb “took” the book from God’s hand (7) —the tense (perfect) reveals that he kept it —an affirmation that human destiny is in the Lord’s hands. What comfort!

These are significant points. Make appropriate notes in the margin of your Bible.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.