The Reign of the Lamb
- Reading I: Revelation 5:1-10
- Resp. Psalm: Psalm 149:1-2,9
- Gospel Reading: Luke 19:41-44
The liturgical scenario that immediately begins after John’s description of the the center of power unfolds in dialogue form after a scroll is presented by the one who sits on the throne. There is a bit of drama here as no one seems to be worthy to open the scroll and break the seals. In fact, the opening of the scroll and the breaking of its seals structure the whole of the vision. Each time a seal is opened, something happens that lead to the creation of the new heavens and the new earth.
John weeps but is told not to by one of the elders. There is one who will open the scroll, the lion of Judah, the root of David. When the lion of Judah does appear, he comes as a Lamb standing up though looking slain. The imagery used here is intentional: there is nothing earthly in heaven. The Lamb is filled with power (seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God). The Lamb is not named here, although the allussions would have identified him as the Lord Jesus. John the Baptist calls him "Lamb of God" and Luke describes him at the beginning of his ministry as one filled with the Holy Spirit. Here, the Lamb receives the scroll that is filled inside and out. It is the scroll of human history which he will open up as Lord.
This is a high moment being described. The new song that is sung eclipses the new song of Moses on the event of the crossing of the Red Sea. The Lamb has received lordship and will now direct history as the Alpha and Omega (see the title as used in Rev. 1). The song that is sung by the elders and the four unearthly beasts point to the Lamb’s identity: He, the Risen One.
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