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Home » Daily Readings, New Testament Writers

The Reign of the Lamb

Submitted by on Thursday, 20 November 2008No Comment
  • 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.

Revelation 5:1-10
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
1And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book written within and without, sealed with seven seals.
2And I saw a strong angel, proclaiming with a loud voice: Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
3And no man was able, neither in heaven, nor on earth, nor under the earth, to open the book, nor to look on it.
4And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open the book, nor to see it.
5And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not; behold the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6And I saw: and behold in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the ancients, a Lamb standing as it were slain, having seven horns and seven eyes: which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth.
7And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne.
8And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints:
9And they sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.
10And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.
Psalm 149:1-2,9
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: let his praise be in the church of the saints.
2Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: and let the children of Sion be joyful in their king.
9To execute upon them the judgment that is written: this glory is to all his saints. Alleluia.
Luke 19:41-44
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
41And when he drew near, seeing the city, he wept over it, saying:
42If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace; but now they are hidden from thy eyes.
43For the days shall come upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side,
44And beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee: and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone: because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.

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