Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Symbolic Nature of the Imagery in Revelation

[6] And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. [7] And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. [8] And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. [9] And they sang a new song, saying,
"Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
[10] and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth."
Rev. 5:6-10 (ESV)

“A Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.” I’ve never seen a Lamb stand, much less a slain lamb, or a lamb with seven horns and seven eyes. Heaven is putting on quite the show for John. Of course the Lamb that was slain, is Jesus who just moments ago was referred to as the Lion of Judah.
Now I’m not going to say that John didn’t see these things. But that these are symbols revealing greater mysteries. It is possible for Jesus to appear however he wants. What baffles me is people who take this literally so as not to see that it is in fact Jesus. Or who take it literally and realize it is Jesus, but then cannot see that Jesus appeared in the upper room by walking through a wall or closed door that was locked and not by a special trap door. Or that Jesus can not be in with and under the bread and wine. I actually had a baptist argue with me that these were not mere visions and symbols but real creatures, and then ask why I take Revelation to be figurative and not the Lord’s Supper. Hmmm. One happens to be a Testament. But the other is said to be a vision. Far be it from me to say that there isn’t a lamb with seven horns and seven eyes, Jesus could take that shape if he wanted to. But then he does so for a purpose and that purpose is symbolism as is seen in the fact that the seven eyes are the seven spirits sent out into the world.


Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Hmmm, weren't there seven lampstands and 7 churches and stuff like that. . . wonder if there's some connection to this 7-eyed Lamb. . . maybe saying that these Churches are belonging to the Lamb --

No, must just be a random 7 eyed Lamb walking around.

Bror Erickson said...

You got it Eric.

Scottydog said...

In any attempt to analyze symbolism in scripture - and especially in Revelation - I have often fallen into an eisegetical exercise that ends up missing the forest for the trees.

However, authorities seem to be unanimous that the number 7 signifies completion (cf. Judges 16:18, etc.). Eyes signify sight (duh!) or knowledge. Horns signify strength. Therefore the symbolism would indicate that the lamb who was slain (i.e.: Jesus) is all seeing (omniscient) and all powerful (omnipotent) and therefore is God.

IMHO, of course.