Jesus as the Lambpdf download



                 It is the purpose of this study to determine the significance of designating the Messiah a Lamb in the New Testament; both in regard to the dimension of salvation portrayed through the use of that symbol, and to the issues in the great controversy which it tends to illuminate or resolve.

                  The first step toward arriving at a conclusion was to study the issues in the great controversy which required reconciliation. The second step was to study the two words for Lamb that appear in the New Testament (amnos and arnion), in an attempt to determine what they mean in their respective contexts. Whereas arnion occurs in respect to Christ twenty-­‐eight times throughout the Revelation, it is necessary to study the structure of that Book. The last step was to draw these findings together to determine the theological significance of calling Jesus the Lamb, in the light of His work as the Savior of men, and the Revealer of God’s real character.

                  This study revealed the Lamb (amnos) of God phrase to be applied to Jesus only in looking forward to the cross. Here it was seen that this is the title of Jesus which bears as its essential significance the concept of suffering. All the suffering of the lambs sacrificially slain was to be the lot of Jesus as the Redeemer.

                  The arnion Lamb title we found to be a composite symbol bearing the characteristics of the amnos Lamb and the Lion of the tribe of Judah. This title is used in reference to Jesus only after His resurrection. A review of the different occurrences of the arnion title in the Greek Old Testament showed the word is there always used as a metaphor; its exact significance being taken from the context. In the New Testament, too, the word has the general meaning which its composite parts bear, while the explicit significance of the word in any particular passage must be determined by studying the context in which it appears.

                  This linking together of the victorious Lion with the suffering Lamb to refer to Jesus’ work after His resurrection shows us that the work which brings about the realized salvation of man, the clearing of God from all Satan’s charges, and the total destruction of sin, could not be accomplished apart from the much suffering which is the central message of the amnos Lamb title, plus the exercise of such might and authority as is inherent in the Lion designation.

Andrews University

Seventh-­‐day Adventist Theological Seminary


A Thesis

Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree

Master of Theology

By Bernard Spencer

August 1973

Approval:  Thomas H Blincoe


Some time ago I became aware that Mrs. White writes that if we “realized the nearness of the events portrayed in the Revelation, a reformation would be wrought in our churches, and many more would believe the message.” (Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1923), p. 118. (Hereinafter referred to as T.M.)) Quickly reading through the book, I saw some relationships and possible messages that I had not seen when studying the Revelation to find the historical meaning of its symbols. As I continued to read, it seemed to me more and more that the meaning of a symbol or passage was dependent on its location in the book.  As my interest grew, the time was arriving to select a thesis topic, hence it was natural to seek a topic that would deal with the Book of Revelation in its many sections. When Dr. Blincoe suggested I study the Lamb in the Revelation I was delighted. As this study of the Lamb progressed it grew until it is now a study of Jesus as the Lamb, the significance of which title is most fully found in the messages involving the Lamb in the New Testament. As we now take up the study of the dimension of salvation and theodicy portrayed by ascribing the title ‘Lamb’ to Jesus, we will be seeking to determine what role and function the Lamb title fills in resolving the issues of the great controversy between Good and evil. We will limit our study of the issues of theodicy in the final chapter to centering around those set forth in the introduction.

I wish to acknowledge my debt to Elder J. Paul Grove of Walla Walla College who taught me invaluable lessons regarding how  to study God’s word; to Dr. Thomas Blincoe for all his help as chairman    on my M.Th. study, and to Dr. W. G. C. Murdoch whose willingness to help me all those times I managed       to need a counselor have perhaps made the difference in success and failure in my attempts to prepare to work for the Lord. My greatest debt is of course to God, around Whom this study centers, for over-­‐ ruling the natural course of events to enable me to have these opportunities to study here at Andrews University.   Gloriemur  Solo  in Deo.



PREFACE ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….


Chapter       …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………


  1. INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………………………….
  2. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CALLING JESUS THE LAMB (AMNOS). A STUDY OF JOHN 1: 29, 36 A Word Study of John 1:29 ……………………………………………………………….

The Exegetical History of John 1:29……………………………………………………

A Brief Evaluation of the Proposed Theories Reviewed ……………………….. An Adventist Interpretation………………………………………………………………



The Meaning of Arnion …………………………………………………………………….

A Brief Look at Some of the Suggested Structural Systems of the Apocalypse Summary and Evaluation………………………………………………………………….

Commentary Survey ………………………………………………………………………..

Revelation 5:6 …………………………………………………………………………..

Revelation 5:8 …………………………………………………………………………..

Revelation 5:12 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 5:13 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 6:1 …………………………………………………………………………..

Revelation 6:16 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 7:9 …………………………………………………………………………..

Revelation 7:10 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 7:14 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 7:17 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 12:11 ……………………………………………………………………….

Revelation 13:8 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 14:1 …………………………………………………………………………


Revelation 14:4 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 14:10 ……………………………………………………………………….

Revelation 15:3 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 17:14 ……………………………………………………………………….

Revelation 19:7 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 19:9 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 21:9 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 21:14 ……………………………………………………………………….

Revelation 21:22 ……………………………………………………………………….

Revelation 21:23 ……………………………………………………………………….

Revelation 21:27 ……………………………………………………………………….

Revelation 22:1 …………………………………………………………………………

Revelation 22:3 …………………………………………………………………………

  1. THE THEOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE LAMB …………………………….. The Message of the Lamb in the Revelation ………………………………………. The Message of Chapter Five ……………………………………………………… The Message of Chapter Six ……………………………………………………….. The Message of Chapter Seven …………………………………………………… The Message of Chapter Twelve, Verse Eleven …………………………….. The Message of Chapter Thirteen, Verse Eight………………………………  The Lamb and Chapter Fourteen, Verses One and Four ………………….  The Message of Chapter Fourteen, Verse Ten ……………………………….  The Message of Chapter Fifteen, Verse Three ……………………………….  The Message of Chapter Seventeen, Verse Fourteen ……………………..  The Message of Chapter Nineteen, Verses Seven and Nine …………….  The Message of Chapter Twenty-­‐One, Regarding the Lamb…………….  The Message of Chapter Twenty-­‐two, Verses One and Three………….  The Significance of the Lamb Message to Salvation and to Theodicy …….. The Nature of the Lamb …………………………………………………………….. The Nature of Satan ………………………………………………………………….. The Nature of Sin ……………………………………………………………………… The Nature of God’s Justice ………………………………………………………..


The Nature of God’s Law…………………………………………………………….

To Reveal God as He Is ………………………………………………………………. APPENDIX       ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

BIBLIOGRAPHY …………………………………………………………………………………………………





. . . when God was about to open to the beloved John the history of the church for future ages, He gave him an assurance of the Saviour’s interest and care for His people by revealing to him ‘One like unto the Son of man,’ walking among the candlesticks, which symbolized the seven churches.  While John was shown the last great struggles of the church with earthly powers, he was also permitted to behold the final victory and deliverance of the faithful. He saw the church brought into deadly conflict with the beast and his image, and the worship of that beast enforced on pain of death. But looking beyond the smoke and din of battle, he beheld a company upon Mount Zion with the Lamb, having, instead of the mark of the beast, the ‘Father’s name written in their foreheads.’ And again he saw ‘them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God’ and signing the song of Moses and the Lamb. (Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5 (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1948), pp. 752-­‐753.   (Hereinafter referred to as  T.)


There is a day just about to burst upon us when God’s mysteries will be seen, and all His ways vindicated; when justice, mercy, and love will be attributes of His throne. When the earthly warfare is accomplished, and the saints are gathered home, our first theme will be the song of Moses, the servant of God. The second theme will be the song of the Lamb, the song of grace and redemption. . . . Thus the song of God’s providence is sung, connecting the varying dispensations; for all is now seen without a veil between the legal, the prophetical, and the gospel. The church history upon the earth and the church redeemed in heaven all center around the cross of Calvary. This is the theme, this is the song, -­‐-­‐Christ all in all,-­‐-­‐.  . . .  (White, T.M., p. 433.)


As we take up our study to determine what were the issues in the great controversy which brought about the death of God’s Son, the Lamb of God, and how designating Him ‘the Lamb’ was significant to the issue of sin, we are dealing with a question that is directly tangent to that of the meaning and significance of the atonement; but it is not our purpose to examine the question of the atonement itself, but rather to attempt to determine what were the issues which required Jesus to be designated ‘the Lamb of God,’ and why did an omnipotent God not respond in a different manner – one that would not have cost Him so much. John Murray in his book Redemption Accomplished and Applied


(John Murray, Redemption Accomplished and Applied (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1961). (Hereinafter referred to as R.A.A.) has asked the question this way; “Why did not God realize the purpose of his love for mankind by the word of his power and the fiat of his will? If we say that he could not, do we not impugn his power? If we say that he could but would not, do we not impugn his wisdom?” (Ibid., p. 11.)  The question can be pressed further; why did the Great Creator of all things and people become as one of His created? Why did He subject Himself to the atrocities which occur to a humanity who had by choice separated themselves from their Creator and His loving care after He had made every provision to enable them to have faith in Him and to know His love and concern for them? And, if He felt a necessity to become one of the family of humanity, why did He have to die, and if He must die, why must He die the death which occurred?


There are those who suggest that salvation could have been brought about by other means but that God selected this particular one because “this is the way in which the greatest number of advantages concur and the way in which grace is more marvelously exhibited.” (Ibid., p. 12.) Those who hold this position feel that there is nothing inherent in the nature of God or in the remission of sin that makes blood reconciliation anything indispensable.

Mrs. White addresses the question of human beings understanding the issue under discussion by saying they see the work of evil, with its terrible results of woe and desolation, and they question how all this can exist under the sovereignty of One who is infinite in wisdom, in power, and in love.

Here is a mystery of which they find no explanation. And in their uncertainty and doubt they are blinded to truths plainly revealed in God’s word and essential to salvation.  There are those who, in their inquiries concerning the existence of sin, endeavor to search into that which God has never revealed; hence they find no solution of their difficulties; and such as are actuated by a disposition to doubt and cavil seize upon this as an excuse for rejecting the words of Holy Writ. Others, however, fail of a satisfactory understanding of the great problem of evil, from the fact that tradition and misinterpretation have obscured the teaching of the Bible concerning the character of God, the nature of His government, and the principles of His dealing with sin.


It is impossible to explain the origin of sin so as to give a reason for its existence.  Yet enough may be understood concerning both the origin and the final disposition of sin to make manifest the justice and benevolence of God in all His dealings with evil. (Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Co., 1911), p. 492. (Hereinafter referred to as G.C.)


By the word justice reference is made in theology to (1) the nature of God; (2) the integrity or righteousness of man lost by virtue of his sin; and (3) the proper relationship which should exist between men. When used in the context of points two and three, “justice is defined as that virtue that disposes a man to give to every other man those rights belonging to him.” (Van A. Harvey, A Handbook of Theological Terms (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1964), p. 134f.) When the justice of God is referred to in this study we mean the aspect of God’s character which causes Him to always act in harmony with His law – Mrs. White puts it this way: “What is the justice of God? It is the holiness of God in relation to sin.”  (M.S. 145, 1897, quoted in F. D. Nichol, Seventh-­‐day Adventist Bible   Commentary, Vol. 7 (Washington, D. C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1957), p. 951. (Hereinafter referred to as B.C.)) It is this attribute of justice which gives stability and trustworthiness of God’s love.


A love that could change we might love, but we could not trust it, however immense. It is the holiness within love that is the ground of such trust in it as makes religion. It is this holiness that enables us to meet the love of God with faith, and not merely with gladness; to trust it forever and not only welcome it at a time. (P. T. Forsyth, Cruciality of the Cross (London: Independent Press Ltd., 1957), p. 71.  (Hereinafter referred to as C.C.))


The divine plan for dealing with sin, as revealed in Scripture and the Spirit of Prophecy, has four important aspects—the rise of the conflict, development of the issues, the clarification of the issues by way of demonstration, and the resolving of the conflict—that is, the destruction of all that is evil.


This end goal—the destruction of evil at a future time, is that which necessitates the concept within theology which is known as the justification of God, or the vindication of God. Mrs. White speaks to this relationship when she writes,


The earth was dark through misapprehension of God. That the gloomy shadows might be lightened, that the world might be brought back to God, Satan’s deceptive power was to be broken. This could not be done by force. The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifest in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. Upon the world’s dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, ‘with


healing in His wings’. Mal. 4:2. (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1940), p. 22. (Hereinafter referred to as D.A.))


By the justification of God is, therefore, meant those acts of God which He expressly does and those which He permits in His guidance of the affairs of individuals and nations, which, when observed collectively, clearly demonstrate the issues of the great controversy between Christ and Satan which reveal the character of God so that He can never again be misunderstood or His righteousness, love, or wisdom questioned or impugned.


God desires from all His creatures the service of love—homage that springs from an intelligent appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced allegiance, and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service. (White, G.C. p. 493.)

When it is suggested that God needs or seeks justification or vindication some people are offended. It seems to suggest to them that Christ’s death on the cross may have been the result of something other than, or in addition to, His loving desire to redeem us. This synthesis they find foreign. “Few realize how important to God is the vindication and the triumph of His saints.” (Edward Heppenstahl, Our High Priest (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1972), p.

  1. (hereinafter referred to as O.H.P.)) (cf. footnote, p, 198.) Peter Forsythe in his book The Justification of God writes further that

There is even what we might call a racial egoism, a self-­‐engrossment of mankind with itself, a naïve and tacit assumption that God were no God if He cared for anything more than He did for His creatures. We tend to think of God as if man were His chief end, as if He has no right to a supreme concern for His own holy name, as if His prodigals were more to Him than His only begotten Son in whom He made the worlds and has all His delight. We think and worship as if the only question was whether God loves us, instead of whether His love has absolute power to give itself eternal and righteous effect. (P. T. Forsyth, The Justification of God (London: Independent Press Ltd., 1957), p. 11. (Hereinafter referred to as J. of G.))

In Patriarchs and Prophets it is expressed thus;


But the plan of redemption had a yet broader and deeper purpose than the salvation of man. It was not for this alone that Christ came to earth; it was not merely that the inhabitants of this little world might regard the law of God as it should be regarded; but it was to vindicate (Note:


the vindication of God is the vindication of His own righteousness; the vindication of man is on basis of his having claimed Christ’s righteousness.) the character of God before the universe. (Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1958), p. 68. (Hereinafter referred to as P.P.))


Gottfried Quell states


That God posits law, and that He is bound to it as a just God, is a fundamental tenent in the Old Testament knowledge of faith in all its variations. The element of unity in the faith of all the righteous in Israel, whether prophets, priests, lawgivers, or men of less distinctive sociological type, is the acknowledgment of God’s law ordering all life both great and small and forming a basis for hope. (Gottfried Quell, “The Concept of Law in the OT,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel, II (1964), 176.)

Isaiah expresses this relation between God’s law and the hope of the nation when he writes “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, . . ; he will save us” (Isaiah 33:22). The character of the law and its blessedness to those who possessed it was noted by Moses;


And what nation is there so great who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you (Deuteronomy 4:7, 8, 2).


The New Testament also has this same understanding. (See for example, Matt. 5:17, 18; Rom. 3:20; 4:15; 5:13; 7:12; James 4:12, etc.)

When the controversy and its issues have been set forth “the whole universe will have become witnesses to the nature and results of sin. And its utter extermination, which is the beginning would have brought fear to the angels and dishonor to God, will now vindicate His love and establish His honor before the universe of begins who delight to do His will, and in whose heart is His law.” (White, G.C., p. 504.)


The centrality of the law to the issues of the great controversy, and the fact of its presence in the heart of all who choose to sever God, requires a brief analysis as to what constitutes law that it can be so very important.


Webster (“Law”, Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, 1963.) gives several definitions of law. The most simple is “The general expression of will enforced by power.” More specifically certain facts are associated with the presence of a law; (1) a lawgiver or authoritative will; (2) subjects to whom the law is given; (3) a command or expression of this will; (4) a power enforcing the command.

Therefore to speak of laws of nature or mind is a contradiction in terms if we think of them as not having an ordering will behind them.

When we bring the forensic concept of law into the milieu of divine revelation we shift from an abstract concept to the concrete—the Law of God. This law has two forms; the elemental law and the positive enactment. “Elemental law is law inwrought into the elements, substances, and forces of rational and irrational creatures.” (Henry Clarence Thiessen, Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1963), p. 239.) This elemental inwrought law in irrational being sis known as natural law; in the material universe it is known as physical law and in rational beings it is known as moral law. Moral law is in each being and its presence implies all four of the points which are characteristic of law. We contain the moral law, which tells us to do good and avoid evil through our consciences, but which doesn’t tell us what is good or what is evil.

This elemental law can be summed up thus: (1) It is an expression of the nature of God; of His character in relation to rational beings; (2) It is in us without our choice—but we can silence its voice to us; (3) all men bear witnesses to the existence of that law; (4) those men who have received the written (positive) law recognize this elemental law as being in harmony with it.


The positive law is the expression of God’s will for man published in ordinances and addressed to man in the condition in which he is. (Signs of the Times, April 15, 1886, quoted by Dr. Dederen.) It constitutes a definition of what God declares to be good, in its admonitions, and what he declares to be bad, in its prohibitions. This means the Law of God is the expression of His character, and as such is a revelation of His love and holiness. (White, P.P., p. 52.) This positive law is (1) never arbitrary; arbitrariness denotes ignorance; (2) it is eternal, it is a manifestation of the essential nature of God; (3) not negative: God asks—requires—a positive adherence to it. Back of each law is a real requirement, therefore it is spiritual. (4) It is not partial: it is to all of man. The law does not deal with only a part of man’s nature but with every aspect of man, because it is from God and reveals and represents the whole nature of God. (5) It is not limited in its scope by man’s consciousness of it. We can’t do away with God’s dominion by denying it or refusing to submit to it. (6) It is not local or confined to place. No moral creature can escape from God or from himself. (7) It is not changeable or capable of


modification—except when so expressed in God’s word because it reflects His character and He changes not. Any expression of God’s will lasts as long as the condition which called it forth lasts. (Taken from Dr. Dederen’s lecture and Thiessen, pp.  238-­‐247.)

In summary, God’s law is both built into the creatures that He has created and explicitly expressed. It is in principle always the same as it reflects the character of the Great Lawgiver who never changes; but in formula it is expressed in various ways so as to meet the specific needs of man in the condition he is when God addresses him. This means that each formulation of the law by God is another revelation of His character and His will for man. It also follows that for man to live in a way that doesn’t follow the expression’s of God’s will as set forth by Himself causes estrangement between that man and God.


We can now see why in any controversy involving a challenge to the authority of God, or questioning His intent toward and for His creatures, His law would be attacked; the character of God cannot be questioned without the direct expression of His Character also being questioned.  It is also now clear that any actions on the party of God which served to reveal the truth of His character (cf. D.A.,

  1. 341, ¶1, line 18f.) or to make clear the nature of the one making the accusations against Him and His acts, would at the same time reveal the nature of the law which He had formulated. Thus any discussion of the charges against, or the resolving of the conflict involving the lawgiver must of necessity simultaneously deal with the laws He formulated which are the expression of the aspect of character which is involved in the controversy; if the whole nature and character of the Giver is being questioned then also all His laws are questioned, and with the condemnation or vindication of the lawgiver, His laws are condemned or vindicated. Finally, if the issue at hand is to conceal the real character of the lawmaker to enable one to present him differently, His law must also be concealed, changed, or made to appear changed.

While we can now see that God’s law is a constituent element in the great controversy, it is not, as we noted above, the central issue; God Himself is the direct object of Satan’s attacks.


Peter Forsythe comments “War makes at least one contribution to salvation—it is sins apocalypse.” (Forsyth, J. of G., p. 19.) In war man is revealed at his worst, generally; he is seen to be vastly different than His creator. Dr. Forsythe then asks, “If man is a failure—is God too?” (Ibid., p. 16.) When man, Christian man and Christian nations, are seen as being so un-­‐Christlike is it reasonable   to


believe in God’s government of the world and His destiny for it? (Ibid., p. 13.) Albert Bledsoe believes it is. He feels we are looking in the wrong direction when we ask this question. He notes that


Although God is infinitely willing to secure the existence of universal holiness, to the exclusion of all sin, yet such a thing is not an object of power, and therefore cannot be produced by omnipotence itself. . . . Sin is that which his soul abhors, and which all the perfections of his nature, his infinite power and wisdom, no less than his holiness, are pledged to wipe out from the face of his creation. He does not cause, he does not tolerate sin, on account of its happy effects, or on account of the uses to which it may be turned. The only word he has for such a thing is woe; and the only attitude he bears toward it is one of eternal and inexorable vengeance. All the schemes of men make light of sin; but God is in earnest, infinitely and immutably in earnest, in the purpose to root out and destroy the odious thing, that it may be no place amid the glory of his dominions. (Albert Taylor Bledsoe, A Theodicy: or Vindication of the Divine Glory (New York:  Carlton and Phillips, 1853), p. 352.)

Before the entrance of evil there was peace and joy throughout the universe. All was in perfect harmony with God’s will. Love for God was supreme, love for one another impartial. Christ the Word, the only-­‐begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father—one in nature, in character, and in purpose,—. . . ‘By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, . . . whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers’ (Colossians 1:16); and to Christ, equally with the Father, all heaven gave allegiance.


The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all created beings depended upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love—homage that springs from an intelligent appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced allegiance, and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.  (White, G.C., pp.  493-­‐494.)


“So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony       throughout the universe of God.” (White, P.P., p. 35.) But one of God’s created begins became proud of himself, because of his wisdom and beauty.   He was one of the cherubs that covereth the throne of God.    His name was Lucifer and it is said of him that he was perfect in all ways from the time of his creation by    God until he lifted up his heart against the One who had made him and given him all he possessed (Ezekiel 28: 11-­‐19).  Mrs. White states “Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came  to


regard it as pertaining to himself.   Not content with his position . . . he ventured to covet homage due    alone to the Creator.”   (Ibid.)   He said in his heart, “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:   I will      sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north:   I will ascend above the heights of    the clouds; I will be like the most High.”   (Isaiah 14:13, 14, quoted in White, P.P., p. 35.)   Instead of     seeking to love impartially and be an agent of revelation to his fellow angels, a responsibility he could       fulfill due to his closeness to God, he sought to turn their service and loyalty to himself.   By acting thus        he was coveting the power and glory which were the particular prerogative of the Son of God.   (White,    P.P., p. 35.)   As time passed and Lucifer continued to cherish these desires to have that which belonged       to  another—God’s  Son—the  desire  became  stronger  and  stronger  until  to  “dispute  the  Supremacy  of the Son of God, thus impeaching the wisdom and love of the Creator, had become the purpose of this   prince of angels.” (Ibid., p. 36.) He then began to work actively, though subtlely to gain the support and loyalty of the other angels, who were quite confused by the presence of conflict and the sophistry of    Lucifer.   God called the council and explicitly declared the position the Son was to have in heaven.   God   was not willing that any of His children should be deceived concerning His loving desire for them to be  happy and free. (Ellen G. White, The Story of Redemption (Washington DC: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1947), pp. 13-­‐19. (Hereinafter referred to as S.R.)) When Lucifer left the council meeting of the hosts of heaven he began again to seek to turn the loyalty, allegiance, and service of the angels to himself. He sought to accomplish this aim by suggesting that God’s laws for the angels were  capable of improvement.   He pointed out to them that he would make the necessary improvements if        he could have the opportunity, but that he would first have to attain to his true and exalted position;       once realized he would then secure freedom for all.   (White, P.P., p. 37.)   He claimed that changes in the   law and order of heaven were necessary for the stability of the divine government, and that these     proposed changes did not constitute sedition for he himself was perfectly loyal to God.   (Ibid., p. 38.)        The Father of all worked with this erring    son.


Lucifer himself had not at first been acquainted with the real nature of his feelings; . . . He did not see whether he was drifting. But such efforts as infinite love and wisdom only could devise, were made to convince him of his error. His disaffection was proved to be without cause, and he was made to see what would be the result of persisting in revolt. Lucifer was convinced that he was wrong.  He saw that ‘the Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works’ (Psalm 145: 17); that the divine statutes are just, and that he out to acknowledge them as such before all heaven.  (Ibid., p. 39.)


But Lucifer chose to continue his opposition; when the angels suggested he should be quickly reconciled to God he would point to the long-­‐suffering of God and declare it was an evidence of his own superiority and an indication that he would prevail and the Father would accede to his terms. “He persistently defended his own course and fully committed himself to the great controversy against his Maker.” (Ibid., p. 40.) Thus Lucifer became “the adversary of God and holy beings and the destroyer of those whom Heaven had committed to his guidance and guardianship. . . . He would never again acknowledge the supremacy of Christ.”  (Ibid.)  He promised to all those who would enter his ranks and support him as he attempted to gain the honor that he felt should have been given him by the Creator, that he would provide them with a new and better government. (Ibid.)  As the loyal angels continued to seek to turn the rebellious from their course, many were inclined to seek God and forgiveness, but Lucifer declared to them that they had gone too far; that he knew the law of God and that the Father would not forgive them. (Ibid.)  The rest of the rebellious were stopped from seeking to be reunited with their fellow angels by “pride, love for their leader, and the desire for unrestricted freedom.” (Ibid., p. 41.) Lucifer accused the loyal angels of indifference to the good of the heavenly hosts. He made God appear as severe and unforgiving (White, D.A., p. 22.) by subtle arguments. He casts doubts upon the plainest statements of God.

It was necessary for his [Satan] plans to be fully developed, that their true nature and tendency might be seen by all. . . . He had artfully presented his side of the question, employing sophistry and fraud to secure his objects. . . . By disguising himself in a cloak of falsehood, he had gained an advantage. All his acts were so clothed with mystery that it was difficult to disclose to the angels the true nature of his work. Until fully developed, it could not be made to appear the evil thing it was; his disaffection would not be seen to be rebellion. Even the loyal angels could not fully discern his character or see to what his work was leading. (Whites, D.A., p. 41.)


Lucifer’s desire for supremacy was in opposition to the laws of heaven, hence he misrepresented God’s government, sought to make false the word of God, and claimed that God was unjust when he placed the angels under laws. He claimed God was seeking only His own exaltation by His form of government and that God was thus responsible for his speaking out and the resulting discord; that when the truth and perceptiveness of his claims were recognized all heaven would realize the good he was seeking to promote. Because of this claim by Lucifer to be seeking the good of all and to improve God’s law, God permitted him to demonstrate the nature of his claims. Satan had claimed from the beginning he was not in rebellion. (White, P.P., p. 42.)  God does not force anyone to serve Him; He seeks to be  loved,


which love finds its foundation in an intelligent appreciation of His wisdom and kind justice. (White, G.C., p. 541.) God knew that to let Lucifer work out his plan of rule would effectively show “what must be the fruit of setting aside the divine authority. It would testify that with the existence of God’s government and His law is bound up the well-­‐being of all the creatures He has made.  (Ibid., p. 499.)  God allowed Lucifer to speak to the angels while His love and mercy sought to reconcile them with His law and Himself; but ultimately there was war in heaven, which caused each angel to take his stand on the issue, and the rebellious were cast out of heaven. “Not a taint of rebellion was left in heaven. All was again peaceful and harmonious as before.”  (White, S.R., p. 19.)


Even when he was cast out of heaven, Infinite Wisdom did not destroy Satan. Since only the service of love can be acceptable to God, the allegiance of His creatures must rest upon a conviction of His justice and benevolence. The inhabitants of heaven and of the worlds, being unprepared to comprehend the nature or consequences of sin, could not then have seen the justice of God in the destruction of Satan. Had he been immediately blotted out of existence, some would have served God from fear rather than from love. The influence of the deceiver would not have been fully destroyed, nor would the spirit of rebellion have been utterly eradicated. For the good of the entire universe through ceaseless ages, he must more fully develop his principles that his charges against the divine government might be seen in their true light by all created beings, and that the justice and mercy of God and the immutability of His law might be forever placed beyond all question. (White, P.P., p. 42.)


Any final action by God that would have left any doubt or fear in the minds of any of His created would have been “as evil seed that would yield the better fruit of sin and woe.” (Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons (Washington DC:  Review and Herald Publishing Association,, 1941), p. 72.  (Herein after referred to as C.O.L.,) Even when Lucifer was cast out of heaven and had caused man to fall he declared God’s unjust restrictions were the cause of man’s fall as they were the cause of his own. (White, G.C., p. 500.)


When Adam and Eve disobeyed God they broke His law for His word is the expression of His will.

By disregarding His will for them they opened a great gulf between themselves and God. “Sin brought separation between God and man.”  (White, P.P., p. 67.)  “The wages of sin is death”  (Romans 6:23). The broken law of God demanded the life of the sinner. In all the universe there was but one who could, in behalf of man satisfy its claims. Since the divine law is as sacred as God who made it, and exalted it equal to Himself, (White, S.R., p. 19.) it was necessary for one who was equal with God, to make the


broken law whole, if transgressors were to have any hope of life.   “None but Christ could redeem man   from the curse of the law and bring him into harmony with heaven.” (White, P.P., 63. Note: such passages as Hebrews 1:1-­‐3; 2: 9-­‐18; 9:9-­‐14, 22-­‐28, teach very plainly that the efficacy of Christ’s work is contingent upon the unique constitution of His person. Murray, R.A.A., p. 14.)  As the controversy  developed the inhabitants of the other worlds watched with ‘deepest interest’ what was going on at    planet Earth after the fall of Adam and    Eve.

God’s revelation of the nature of sin began almost immediately. When Cain sinned so violently, perhaps no one would have questioned God had He slain Cain; but “In sparing the life of Cain, God had demonstrated to the universe what would be the result of permitting sin to go unpunished.” (White, P.P., p. 325.) The influence of Cain, spread to those who were near him, both through his example and his teaching, produced the state of affairs that demanded the destruction of the world by the flood. (Ibid.) This development of conditions on the earth illustrated to the inhabitants of other worlds “the results of the administration which Lucifer had endeavored to establish in heaven, in rejecting the authority of Christ and casting aside the law of God.” (Ibid., p. 79.) The flood itself served to reveal proleptically the ultimate destruction of evil; it was a revelation of the principle that when evil is clearly seen to be evil—God will destroy it; there is no more reason for Him to let it exist.

Lucifer had said “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God,” but though the Son of God “thought it not robbery to be equal with God:” He “made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man: . . .” (Phil. 2:6, 7). (Cf. White, D.A., p. 22.) When Christ came to this earth He was mistreated and unappreciated;

Heaven marked the insult and mockery that He received, and knew that it was at Satan’s instigation. They marked the work of counteragencies going forward; Satan constantly pressing darkness, sorrow, and suffering upon the race, and Christ counteracting it. (White, P.P., p. 69.)


All the time of Jesus’ active ministry, from His experience in the wilderness until the crucifixion “Satan’s wrath beat upon Him;” but all these difficulties only served by contrast to show the loveliness of Jesus’ character. (White, D.A., p. 759.) The experiences inflicted on Jesus in the trial in the  wilderness,

The daring blasphemy of his demand that Christ should pay him homage, his presumptuous boldness is bearing Him to the mountain summit and the pinnacle of the temple, the malicious intent betrayed in urging Him to cast Himself down from the dizzy height, the unsleeping malice that hunted Him from place to place, inspiring the hearts of priests and people to reject His love,


and at last to cry, ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him!’—all this excited the amazement and indignation of the universe.  (White, G.C., p. 501.)


It is easy for us to understand that all the unfallen worlds along with heaven were witnesses to the controversy, and that they had a great and intense interest in the closing scenes of the conflict. (White, D.A., p. 759.)


When Jesus was on Calvary He prayed “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” This prayer, is in the midst of His suffering, filled all heaven with wonder. (Ibid., p. 760.) They had been observing for four thousand years how Lucifer and his angels, and fallen man reacts when treated as Jesus was being treated, but the Spirit of the Son of God was not one of self-­‐seeking or revenge, but  trust in God in spite of being cumbered with fallen human nature. When Jesus was dying and He cried, “It is finished”, Satan and his cause was forever doomed. “The great controversy which had been so long in progress was then decided, and the final eradication of evil was made certain.” (White G.C., p. 503.) All this was made possible by the love and patience of God—a patience that allowed Satan’s own works to reveal his true nature and the results of his type of government. God had demonstrated that He loved others more than Himself. This demonstration was for the angels and the unfallen worlds in addition to the inhabitants of this world.  (White, D.A., p. 758.)


It was for them as well as for us that the great work of redemption had been accomplished. They with us share the fruits of Christ’s victory (p. 758), if He had yielded to Satan in the least to escape the torture, Satan would have triumphed, but Jesus held fast His faith and His submission to God.  (Ibid., p. 761.)



. . . had accused God of seeking merely the exaltation of Himself in requiring submission and obedience from His creatures, and had declared that, while the Creator exacted self-­‐denial from all others, He Himself practiced no self-­‐denial and made no sacrifice.  Now it was seen that for  the salvation of a fallen and sinful race, the Ruler of the universe had made the greatest sacrifice which love could make; for ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.’  2 Corinthians 5:19.  It was seen, also, that while Lucifer had opened the door for the entrance of sin by his desire for honor and supremacy, Christ had, in order to destroy sin, humbled Himself and become obedient unto death.  (White, G.C., p. 502.)


Jesus’ death fully answered the question as to whether the Father and the Son had enough love for their fallen creatures to exercise self-­‐denial and sacrifice. Before Jesus died the character of Satan was not clearly revealed to the angels or the unfallen worlds, for he had stood next to God and “had been the highest of all created beings, and had been foremost in revealing God’s purpose to the universe.” (White, D.A., p. 758.) Satan’s charges now were seen as revealing his character as a liar, while the events of Calvary revealed him to a murderer also. The inhabitants of heaven and all the universe saw now that

. . . the very same spirit with which he had ruled the children of men who were under his power, he would have manifested if permitted to control the intelligences of heaven. With one voice the loyal universe united in extolling the divine administration. (White, P.P.., p. 70.) But even after the death of Jesus on the cross, Satan was not to be immediately destroyed.

For the angels did not even then understand all that was involved in the great controversy. The principles at stake were to be more fully revealed. And for the sake of man, Satan’s existence must be continued.  Man as well as angels must see the contrast between the Prince of Light and the prince of darkness. He must choose whom he will serve. (Ibid., p.  761.)


In this brief setting forth of the origin of the great controversy we have considered the rise and evil and the action and counteraction of Lucifer and God in the major developments of the conflict, and some reasons why Christ came and died. We now move to the third stop in this study, the role of the law in the great controversy. While it is true this issue is the integral part of the conflict in all its stages, for the sake of clarity we have chosen to discuss it separately, though briefly.

Mrs. White writes that from the very beginning the great controversy had been upon the law of God. “Satan had sought to prove that God was unjust, that His law was faulty, and that the good of the universe required it to be changed.” (White, P.P., p. 69.) By attacking the law which is the expression of the will of its maker, and thereby a reflector of His character, Lucifer had hoped to overthrow the authority of its Author. Therefore as the controversy developed it would be shown whether the law of God was holy, just and good or defective and subject to change. (Ibid.)

Satan grew bold in his rebellion, and expressed his contempt of the Creator’s law. This Satan could not bear. He claimed that angels needed no law but should be left to follow their own will, which would ever guide them right; that law was a restriction of their liberty; and that to abolish law was one great object of his standing as he did. (White, S.R., p. 18f.)


Therefore it was to be shown that


The transgression of God’s law in a single instance, in the smallest particular, in sin. And the non-­‐execution of the penalty of that sin would be a crime in the divine administration. God is a judge, the avenger of justice, which is the habitation and foundation of his throne. He cannot

dispense with His law, he cannot do away with its smallest item in order to meet and pardon sin. The rectitude and justice and moral excellence of the law must be maintained and vindicated before the heavenly universe and the worlds unfallen. (Nichol, B.C., Vol. 7, p. 951.)


When the law was broken death was the penalty, and God was in a position where “he must either inflict punishment or assume it.” (Forsyth, C.C., p. 98.) “The death of Christ was to be convincing, everlasting argument that the law of God is as unchangeable as His throne.” (Nichol, B.C., Vol. 3, p. 1166.) “Through Jesus, God’s mercy was manifested to men; but mercy does not set aside justice . . . God did not change His law, but He sacrificed Himself, in Christ, for man’s redemption.” (White, D.A., p. 762.)  All that Jesus suffered while He was here on earth, furnishes


. . . sufficient and thrilling demonstration that God’s justice, when it punishes, does the work thoroughly. The fact that His own Son, the surety for man, was no spared, is an argument that will stand to all eternity before saint and sinner, before the universe of God to testify that He will not excuse the transgression of His law. (Nichol, B.C., Vol. 3. p. 1166.)

Thus we see that Jesus came to this earth and died not only for the redemption of man but


. . . to magnify the law and make it honorable.  Not alone that the inhabitants of this world might regard the law as it should be regarded; but it was to demonstrate to all the worlds of the universe that God’s law is unchangeable. Could its claims have been set aside, then the Son of God need not have yielded up His life to atone for its transgression. The death of Christ proves it immutable.  (White, G.C., p. 503; compare Gal. 2:21; 3:21.

It is easy to understand now, that the same law which from the first was the center of contention, and which was of sufficient value to Him, the God of Love, that he would take the penalty of transgression to Himself rather than let the sinner die, or abrogate the law, and die Himself, will be honored as the law of liberty. All those who have observed the developments of the controversy have seen God’s high valuation of the law vindicated in His willingness to pay the penalty of violation Himself, and they have also seen the law vindicated by comparing the works of violation with the effects of


obedience. “The law of God, which Satan has reproached as the yoke of bondage will be honored as the law of liberty.” (White, G.C., p. 504.) “The history of sin will stand to all eternity as the witness of that with the existence of God’s law is bound up the happiness of all the beings He has created.” (Ibid., p.



As has been noted, the law of God has been the central point of attack by Lucifer since the beginning of the rebellion in heaven.


. . . Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed, that justice was inconsistent with mercy, and that, should the law by broken, it would be impossible for the sinner to be pardoned.   (White, D.A., pp. 761-­‐762.)

Such a claim obviously implies a certain understanding of Satan’s part about God’s relationship to the law and anyone who transgressed it. This understanding was a result of his own experience, for


“After he rebelled, in order to save himself he wished God to change His law, but was told before the whole heavenly host that God’s law was unalterable. Satan knows that if he can cause others to violate God’s law, he has gained them to his cause; for every transgressor of that law must die.”  (EW 215)

He obviously felt every sin must be punished and that if the law were really a perfect representation of truth and righteousness any act of God that would remit the punishment would reveal Him to be less than a God of truth and justice; ‘truth’ had declared death the penalty of transgression, and justice required the transgression be punished. He in this manner recognized the justice of His own exclusion from heaven, and sought to guarantee by logic that fallen man would remain shut out from God’s favor. God could not be just and yet show mercy to man, he argued, unless, of course, God would accept him too.

But even as a sinner man was in a different position from that of Satan. Lucifer in heaven had sinned in the light of God’s glory. . . . Understanding the character of God, knowing His goodness, Satan chose to follow his own selfish, independent, will. This choice was final. But man was deceived; his mind was darkened by Satan’s sophistry. The height and depth of the love of God he did not know. For him there was hope in a knowledge of God’s love. By beholding His character He might be drawn back. (Ibid.)


Since the service of love is that which God desires, a revelation to fallen man of ‘the height and depth’ of His love could be the basis of winning man’s affections; if a way for such a demonstration could be found it could also redeem man, and recover the dominion he had forfeited, (White, P.P., p. 67.) and carry a power to convince of God’s justice and benevolence, thereby forming the basis of man’s love to God.  (White, G.C., p. 498.)

“In all the dealings of God with His people there is, mingled with His love and mercy, the most striking evidence of His strict and impartial justice.” (White, P.P., p. 469.) The history of Israel gives examples of God’s justice. At the time of the Golden Calf God declared that justice must be visited upon the traitors. Yet mercy was revealed when forgiveness was extended to all who of their own free choice would repent. The only ones punished were those who persisted in rebellion. (Ibid., p. 325.)  Even among those who refuse to repent of their rebellion against God His justice is vindicated; “through their confession did not spring from true repentance, it served to vindicate the justice of God in dealings with them.”  (Ibid., p. 393.)

At the time just before Jesus’ coming


The people whom God had called to be the pillar and ground of the truth had become representatives of Satan. They were doing the work that he desired them to do, taking a course to misrepresent the character of God, and cause the world to look upon Him as a tyrant. . . . The ordinances which God Himself had appointed were made the means of blinding the mind and hardening the heart. God could do no more for man through these channels. The whole system must be swept away.

The deception of sin had reached its height. All the agencies for depraving the souls of men had been put in operation. . . . The bodies of human beings, made for the dwelling place of God, had become the habitation of demons. The senses, the nerves, the passions, the organs of men, were worked by supernatural agencies in the indulgence of the vilest lust. The very stamp of demons was impressed upon the countenances of men.  Human faces reflected the expression of the legions of evil with which they were possessed. Such was the prospect upon which the world’s Redeemer looked. What a spectacle for Infinite Purity to behold!

Sin had become a science, and vice was consecrated as a part of religion. Rebellion had struck its roots deep into the heart, and the hostility of man was most violent against heaven. It was


demonstrated before the universe that, apart from God, humanity could not be uplifted. A new element of life and power must be imparted by Him who made the world.


With intense interest the unfallen worlds had watched to see Jehovah arise, and sweep away the inhabitants of the earth. And if God should do this, Satan was ready to carry out his plan for securing to himself the allegiance of heavenly beings. He had declared that the principles of God’s government make forgiveness impossible. Had the world been destroyed, he would have claimed that his accusations were proved true. He was ready to cast blame upon God, and to spread his rebellion to the world’s above. But instead of destroying the world, God sent His Son to save it. (White, D.A., pp. 36, 37.)


When at the incarnation the Son of God became a man, it was His object, as the Christ,


. . . to reconcile the prerogatives of justice and mercy, and let each stand separate in its dignity, yet united.  His mercy was not weakness, but a terrible power to punish sin because it is sin; yet a power to draw to it the love of humanity. Through Christ, justice is enabled to forgive without sacrificing one jot of its exalted highness. (Nichol, B.C., Vol. 7, p. 936.)


Justice demands that sin cannot be merely pardoned.  When the Father allowed His Son to become man’s Redeemer, to die in man’s stead, the penalty was exhausted and a pardon provided. (Ibid., Vol. 6,

  1. ) In the cross heaven saw God’s abhorrence of the principles of rebellion—in His willingness to go to Calvary rather than let sin occupy even one corner of His creation—and a revelation of His justice. The penalty of the law fell upon Christ, One who was equal with God, in whom God Himself was; “. . . man was free to accept the righteousness of Christ and by a life of penitence and humiliation to triumph, as the Son of God had triumphed, over the power of Satan. Thus God is just and yet the justifier of all who believe in Jesus.” (White, G.C., p. 503.)


God will ultimately exercise his power and authority to put down all rebellion, ‘yet all the manifestations of retributive justice will be perfectly consistent with the character of God as a merciful, long-­‐suffering, benevolent being.”  (Ibid., p.  541.)


Summing up thus far, we have reviewed some background issues in Theodicy, we have noted briefly, the origin of evil—the who, where, what, why, how, —and the response of God; we have studied why Christ came and died, the role of the law in this controversy, and finally, we noted some statements that focused on the role God’s justice plays through all the issues and actions of the great conflict


between Good and evil. In doing this we have attempted to present the issues involved in a context that would make their existence understandable; we have also attempted to keep them in their proper time-­‐ setting. We are now ready to set forth in a list the issues in the great controversy which required blood reconciliation.  They will be divided into give subject-­‐divisions for the sake of  clarity;






  1. Reveal Satan’s character and the character of his


  1. Reveal that Satan and his followers are not as powerful as Christ and His


  1. Show the nature of Satan’s


  1. Reveal the truth regarding Satan’s


  1. Make clear what he would have done if allowed to rule in


  1. Demonstrate the total change in Lucifer since his creation was in no way chargeable to God of His






  1. To show where sin leads, its nature, how far it will go, and its


  1. Demonstrate the thoroughness of the punishment of


  1. Show sin in irreconcilable with God of His


  1. To make clear there is no reason for


  1. Show sin can never be


  1. To destroy




  1. To show that while God is longsuffering justice means that ultimately the penalty of transgression must be
  2. That though God’s justice can never excuse sin He is never severe or


  1. To reconcile the prerogatives of justice and mercy and let each stand in its own dignity,


  1. To make clear that while mercy does not set aside justice, love can unite them into


  1. To reveal that God is a just






  1. To reveal the necessity of expressed guidelines—law.


  1. To show that God’s law is necessary to the happiness of God’s created


  1. To bring beings into accord with God’s


  1. To show the perfectness of God’s law as a revelation of His


  1. To reveal the law is unchangeable and


  1. To show the close relationship between God’s law and


  1. To demonstrate disagreement with God’s law is rebellion against


  1. Show that law is holy, just, and good; what it prohibited is shown to really be


  1. Make clear that because the law reveals sin it is the law of


  1. To set forth the limitation of the law—it can’s pardon or


  1. To reveal the all-­‐encompassing nature of the law.


  1. To show us the death penalty for transgression is


  1. To magnify the law and make it


  1. To demonstrate the motive behind the Law of God—Love.




To Reveal God and Win His Creature’s Love and Trust


  1. To show God’s word is


  1. To demonstrate God is not seeking His own


  1. To show that God wants our love so much He will sacrifice even Himself, but that He never forces us to love
  2. To reveal the greatness of His love in


  1. To enable His character, wisdom and


  1. To cause us to take a stand on the


  1. To demonstrate God’s abhorrence of


  1. To secure the whole universe to Himself


  1. To make certain the ultimate destruction of His


  1. Reveal the love that exists between the members of the


  1. To draw a contrast so all could see the difference between Christ and Satan—in their actions to others, and in what they sought for
  2. To demonstrate necessity of faith and submission to


  1. To show God is


  1. To make clear true greatness is in service, humbleness, and


  1. To show God’s love great enough to practice self-­‐denial—even to sacrifice Himself.


  1. To restore free will to man and guarantee freedom of choice to him by giving sufficient evidence of His character to enable man to make an intelligent


  1. To elevate the moral worth of man to God by uniting humanity to


  1. Repurchase the lost


  1. To demonstrate that love and righteousness are the basis of all God’s words and


  1. To show obedience is central to


  1. To reveal God to man who didn’t know His love in


  1. To awaken love by expressing


  1. To gain the confidence of His creatures so that He can destroy evil and have the result be seen as an expression of

In this brief review of the plan of salvation and the issues to be resolved by the plan we have seen that Jesus, as the Messiah, carries a central responsibility. John the Revelator has said it this way:


And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: And the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.

And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in   the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever (Revelation. 5:11-­‐ 13).







Having briefly set forth the issues in the great controversy, which controversy brought about the death of God’s Son, the Lamb of God, we will now take up our study of how designating the Messiah ‘the Lamb’ is significant to the resolving of the great controversy, and man’s salvation.


The word Lamb is a translation for two Greek words in the New Testament, amnos and arān       (ars). (The Analytical Greek Lexicon (New York: Harper and Brothers, [n.d.]), p. vii, sec. vi, 4.) Amnos appears four times; John 1:29, 36; Acts 8:32; and 1 Peter 1:19, while arān appears thirty-­‐one times; Luke 10:3, John 21:15, and twenty-­‐nine times in  Revelation.

The two occurrences of amnos outside of the Gospel of John do not give a dimension to the meaning of the word not contained in John 1:29, 36.  Acts 8:32 is, of course, a quotation of Isaiah 53:7f., a passage which must be studied in connection with John 1:29, while 1 Peter 1:19 compares Jesus to a lamb without blemish and without spot. This is obviously an allusion to the Old Testament practice of typifying the Messiah as a Lamb.  William Barclay writes of this text, “When Peter spoke like that of Jesus, His mind was going back to two Old Testament pictures. He was going back to Isaiah 53, with its picture of the Suffering Servant, through whose suffering the people were saved and healed. And above all he was going back to the picture of the Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:5).”  (William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter (Philadelphia: The Westminister Press, 1960), p. 218.) The Interpreter’s Bible commentary also writes in regard to 1 Peter 1:19, “Christ is conceived as the Christians paschal lamb, and the figure sets forth Christ as the flawless sacrifice (cf. Ex. 12:5; John 1:29-­‐34; Revelation. 13:8).” (Martin Rist, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine,” in Vol. XII of The Interpreter’s Bible, ed. By George Arthur Buttrick (New York:  Abingdon Press, 1957), p. 103.)


Due to the very close association of the Lamb concept in these verses with the Lambs of Exodus 12 and Isaiah 53, which passages must be discussed in connection with John 1:29, 36, these two verses will not be treated independently.


In this study of John 1:29, 36 we will attempt first to determine what scholars say is the basis of the Baptist’s calling Jesus the Lamb of God, what he meant to convey by the phrase, and what the people understood when they heard him say it. We will then attempt to set forth an Adventist understanding in regard to the questions raised above in order to arrive at the significance of the term amnos when it is applied to Jesus.

This study becomes significant in the light of statements such as that made by Leon Morris where he declares that though the expression ‘the Lamb of God’ is now part of the vocabulary of all Christianity, it is very difficult to know what it means. He then notes that this phrase, ‘the Lamb of God’ is not found anywhere else in the New Testament or in any writings now known to us that are not directly dependent on John’s words in 1:29, 36. (Leon Morris, Studies in the Fourth Gospel (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1959), p. 143f. (Hereinafter referred to as F.G.)

Scholars generally attempt to explain the phrase by looking to the Old Testament for a particular lamb—among all the lambs sacrificially significant—and then limiting John’s saying to the meaning of that particular lamb.


There are also scholars who deny the historical reliability of the scripture. Still others seek elsewhere than scripture for the source of John’s idea, and/or for its significance; this is generally done because of a belief that the thought conveyed in John 1:29 is too advanced in understanding of the Messiah’s work and nature for the Baptist to have spoken it, but the finding of the Qumran scrolls and their concept of a suffering righteous one have made the words of the Baptist more acceptable to scholars. Dr. Morris notes that if this statement is not authentic “it is difficult to see where the saying comes from.” (Ibid., p. 150.) He means that amnos does not occur in John outside of this saying, that the term airo, in 1:29, does not occur in John’s Gospel in the context of the removal of sin elsewhere, nor are the words hamartia and kosmos connected in the sense of the ‘sin of the world’, anywhere else in the Gospel, though the words individually occur often.


In the light of factors such as these C. H. Dodd says there is “no reason why the whole expression should not have been used by John the Baptist.” (HTFG, pp. 270f., cited by Eric O. May, Ecce Agnus Dei! (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1947), p. 150. (Hereinafter referred to as May.)

A Word study of John 1:29


There are no significant variants for the Greek original of John 1:29. (For a discussion of this point see Appendix A.) The text simply reads, “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

tei epaurion—“the next day”. This phrase occurs in the Septuagint almost thirty times with hēmera omitted by elipsis; it simply means, the next day. It also occurs in the New Testament seventeen times with the same meaning. (May, p. 5. J. Stegenga, The Greek-­‐English Analytical Concordance of the Greek-­‐English New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1963), p. 96.   (Hereinafter referred  to  as  Stegenga.)


Barrett notes (C. K. Barrett, The Gospel According to John (London: S.P.C.K., 1965), p. 146.) that this “cannot be the occasion of the baptism of Jesus since already (v. 32) John is able to bear witness to the descent of the Spirit upon Jesus. The baptism has already taken place. . . .” (Ibid.) “For the Baptists testimony of the previous day rests on the revelation that immediately followed Jesus’ baptism.” (R. C.

  1. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John’s Gospel (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1942), p. 125. (Hereinafter referred to as G.)


blepei—“he saw”. “This is the following verb legei are in the present tense. The evangelist uses the historical present to supply for the aorist indicative, a substitution frequently made in lively, descriptive narrative.” (May, p. 6. Cf. H. E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1963), p. 185.  (Hereinafter referred to as Dana and Mantey.)



This is really the aorist imperative singular of the verb horaō, (The Analytical Greek Lexicon (New York:  Harper and Brothers, n.d.), p. 199, lists ide as the imperative of eidon, originally eidw (cf.p. xl).) “see”, but it is used as a demonstrative particle and retained in the singular even

when addressed to a plural audience. Frequently it keeps its verbal force, as in Phillips invitation to Nathaniel, erchou kai ide—“come and see”.  (John 1:46)  It is not unusual for this particle to be followed by the nominative case. We find ide used in the fourth gospel no less than eighteen times; . . . (May, p. 7)


ho amnos tou theou—“the Lamb of God.” There are three points here; the definite article, the use of amnos for lamb, and the significance of the genitive.


The article, when used to designate the particular object has a two fold possible significance: it can mean this is the one, the known, determined, before mentioned—or, it can be a generic designation. If the individual designation is that which we have in our text it could be translated “this is the Lamb I have told you of,” etc. If, on the other hand, John 1:29 is an example of the generic use it simply means this is the Lamb, in opposition to other kinds of animals; or it can be both of the above together.  (Ibid., p. 9.)

Lenski notes that ‘the Lamb of God’, with the definite article points out Jesus as the one particular Lamb of God, the Lamb in the most eminent sense of the word, as ‘the prophet’ in verse 21 designates the subject of a very specific prophetic expectation. (Lenski, J.G., p. 126.)


amnos—“lamb.” This word occurs eighty-­‐two times in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament; (Statistics based on Edwin Hatch and Henry A. Redpath, A Concordance to the Septuagint (Graz, Austria: Akademische Druck-­‐U. Verlagsanstalt, 1897), I, 66. (Hereinafter referred to as Hatch & Redpath.) seventy-­‐three times as a reference to a literal sacrifice. Of the other nine occurrences, four refer to flocks, one refers to food, one refers to clothing, and three compare people to the literal animal    and it’s life experience.   (See appendix B    for details of analysis.)


Jeremias writes that when amnos appears in the New Testament “it is always applied to Jesus, who is compared with a lamb as the One who suffers and dies innocently and representatively.” (J. Jeremias, “Amnos, Aran, Arnion,” in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. By Gerhard Kittel (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1965), I, 338.) Vine writes that amnos is

. . . used figuratively of Christ, in John 1:29, 36, with the article, pointing Him out as the expected One, the One to be well known as the personal fulfillment and embodiment of all that had been indicated in the O.T., the One by whose sacrifice deliverance from Divine judgment was to be obtained; in Acts 8:32 . . . and 1 Pet. 1:19, the absence of the article stresses the nature and character of His sacrifice as set forth in symbolism. The reference in each case is to the Lamb of God’s providing, Gen. 22:8, and the Paschal lamb of God’s appointment for sacrifice in Israel, e.g., Ex. 12:5, 14, 27 (cp. I Cor. 5:7). (W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Westwood, New Jersey:  Fleming H. Revell Company, 1966), p. 307.  (Hereinafter referred to as Vine.))


The significance of the genitive in this passage is that of a true possessive according to Lenski.

He thinks the meaning is, this is the Lamb which belongs to God; His Lamb, “which he ordained as a sacrifice for himself. This is far better than to make the genitive: the Lamb which comes from God (origin), or which God presents to the world.” (Lenski, J.G., p. 126.) Morris notes though that “The genitive ‘of God’ may mean ‘provided by God’ (cf. Gen. 22:8), or ‘belonging to God’”. He then adds that this may be another case where “the Evangelist wants us to combine both meanings.” (Morris, F.G., p. 144.)

May feels that there are several possible interpretations of the genitive in this phrase. “Grammatically, tou theou could be a genitive of origin or possession (‘lamb belonging to God, coming      from Him’); and objective genitive (‘lamb consecrated to, for God’); an attributive (‘God—lamb, divine  lamb’); a morally qualitative genitive (‘lamb pleasing to God’); a subjective genitive (‘lamb sent, provided      by God’).”   May then notes that Hebrew thought often referred anything outstanding to God.   He cites        as an illustration of this use of the genitive in Psalm 36:6, where we read of ‘the mountains of God’; and Psalm 80:10, where we hear of ‘the cedars of God’.  May then states, “According to this way of thinking,   then genitive in John 1:29 would lend emphasis:  “the noble, remarkable Lamb”.  Having listed these   possible interpretations May concludes “. . . we should note that it is difficult at best to distinguish one     kind of genitive from another and that one form of genitive is not always exclusive of other types.” (May, pp. 11-­‐12.)


ho airōn—“who takes away”. We (The following word study is abstracted from May, p. 12ff.) have to consider two things in connection with this participle: the meaning of the verb and the time expressed. The article refers back to and accentuates the definiteness of the lamb, the entire phrase acting as a modifier.

In the Old Testament airein (For another study of airō see Markus Barth,

Was Christ’s Death a Sacrifice? (Scottish Journal of Theology Occasional Papers No. 9, Distributed by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1961), pp. 38-­‐39.) is made to translate no less than twenty-­‐eight different Hebrew roots.  The verb occurs in one form or another  approximately two  hundred  times.   It translates  nāsā’, in  all save  about forty cases.


The verb nāsā’, according to Gesenius has the following meanings in the Old Testament:


  1. To take up, lift up,
    1. the


  1. or the
  2. or the
  3. the
  4. or
  5. or soul (set the heart upon).
  6. to lift up the heart to
  7. or to raise in the


  1. To take, take away (tollere, auferre).
    1. to expiate, make atonement
    2. forgive sin, pardon (said of man or God).


  1. To take (simply).
    1. a
    2. or, accept the person of anyone (show favoritism to).
    3. or, take the sum of


  1. To take upon oneself, bear,
    1. take up and
    2. bear,
    3. take charge
    4. bear the sin of guilt of



More significantly when nāsā is linked with the notion of sin (het’) or iniquity (‘āwon), as happens so frequently in the Old Testament, it can have one of the five significations, depending upon the context.  It can mean:


  1. To bear one’s own sin (undergo punishment for one’s sin).


  1. To bear the sin of another (suffer with another on account of sin; this is not yet vicarious satisfaction) Ezekiel 4:4, 5, 6; 18:19,


  1. To bear the sin of another (to remove it; full notion of vicarious satisfaction) 16:27; Isaiah 53:12.


  1. To take away the sin of another by condonation (effected by God). (It perhaps should be noted that if Webster’s definition of condonation is what May has in mind here, it would appear to us to be questionable as to whether this word properly designates a Biblical concept. Webster defines it thus: implied pardon of an offense by treating the offender as if it had not been committed.) Ex. 34:7; Ps. 32:5; 85:3; Isa. 33:24; Ps. 32:1.)


  1. To take away the sin of another by obtaining condonation for him (from God) 28:38; Lev. 10:17.


This specific usage of the word is important since John the Baptist spoke originally in Aramaic; and as a priests’ son supposedly conversant with the Hebrew tongue and scriptures and liturgy, he could well have used a phrase corresponding to the Hebrew nāsā’ ‘āwon, in his witness to Christ the Lamb.


We find instances in the Septuagint where airein translates n-­‐s-­‐‘ in the sense of ‘take away, remove’, even in connection with sin. And where the Septuagint thus links the word to the notion of sin, it seems to do so always in the sense of ‘taking away, destroying’ the sin.

New Testament usage of airein follows the same broad outlines as Septuagint and classical usage. The verb occurs eighty-­‐five times in the four gospels, sixteen times in the rest of the New Testament. Uses of the word fall into three categories. The fundamental meaning  is:


  1. To lift, raise
    1. the hand, in
    2. the eyes, in
    3. the voice, in calling upon
    4. the soul (metaphorically: psuchān airein, keep in


  1. To take up and bear, keep, sustain the thing taken up, as:
    1. the
    2. the yoke of Christ (metaphor).
    3. one’s
    4. another’s
    5. and the element of sustaining predominates in the prophecy concerning the angel’s guardianship over Christ, bearing Him


  1. To take, move from its place, remove:
    1. A thing: especially to loose something from another, to take by rearing or wrenching away, as bodies from the cross (John 19:31), branches from a vine (John 15:2), a patch from a garment (Matt.9:16), etc.; again, to remove a thing which is an impediment, or which should not be there, as the stone from a tomb (John 2:16); to abolish something, take it completely away, as the decree against the human race (Col. 2:14), judgment of Christ (Acts 8:33), and sin itself (1 John 3:5); or to destroy, as a people and a temple (John 11:48).
    2. A person: to remove someone from one place to another as to exclude from one’s society (1 5:2; cf. John 17:45); to take away from among the living (Matt. 22:13; 24: 39); to take and crucify (John 19:15; Luke 23:18; Acts 21:36).


The above listed meanings are those which airein has in the New Testament.


The next consideration with regard to ho airōn is its use as a present participle. Repetition of the article brings the participle into definite attribution with ‘the Lamb’. So far as the temporal element is concerned, participles, basically, express kind of action rather than time and take their time from the finite verb.  The same holds good here.


Dana and Mantey note that the complimentary participle “approaches very near the sphere of the infinitive.” (Dana and Mantey, p. 228) If this is indeed the function of the participle in John 1:29 it serves to designate the purpose for which Christ came; ‘to take away the sin of the world’.

tēn hamartian—“the sin”.


In classical usage this world meant a concrete ‘failure, fault, or sin’, -­‐-­‐a verbal noun coming from hamartanō, which originally meant, ‘miss, miss the mark’; whence, generally, ‘to fail of doing, to fail of one’s purpose, to go wrong’.  A second meaning, therefore, was ‘to fail, do wrong, err, sin’. Plato used the world to denote aberration from the truth in word or thought, ‘falsehood’ in opposition to orthōtes.

Hamartia occurs hundreds of times in the Septuagint, translating fifteen different roots meaning ‘sin, crime’. Most frequently it stands for the form of the root h-­‐t’, especially hattā’t ‘expiatory sacrifice’ (Lev. 4:21).  Very often it occurs in the idiomatic substantive phrase to or ta peri    hamartias with the same meaning of “expiatory sacrifice’ (cf. Lev. 9:7; 10:19, 14:13; Bar. 1:19).


In the New Testament hamartia is the term most frequently used for a ‘sin committed’, a violation of God’s law which, once committed, continues to remain as guilt until pardoned by God John 8:46; 15:22, 24; 19:11; 9:34); elsewhere it practically means the state of being a sinner (Rom. 3:9; Gal. 3:22; John 16:8ff.). Several times it connotes that which is imputed to someone as sin (Rom. 14:23; James 4:17).


St. Paul has a special signification for hamartia, particularly in Romans, chapter 5-­‐8. There he uses the term to mean a certain quasi-­‐power dominant in each and every man. Sometimes the word stands for original sin itself; elsewhere it means the effective of original sin,       concupiscence. . .  .


What therefore did the Baptist mean by saying that the Lamb of God would take away the sin of the world: Did he mean sin? Guilt? Punishment? All three? Use of the article implies definiteness. Most authors would be inclined to agree . . . that Christ the Lamb took away ‘whatever there was of sin; (original and actual) in the whole human race. (May.)

tou kosmou—“of the world”. This noun has a variety of meanings.  Its first signification in classical Greek is ‘order’, whence:  ‘good order, or behavior, decency’, or the ‘form fashion’, and ‘order (in state) government’. A second meaning is ‘ornament, decoration, embellishment, dress’ (especially of women); thus also metaphorically: “honor, credit’. A third signification ‘ruler, regulator’. Fourth: ‘the world universe’, sometimes, ‘the known world’.


The Septuagint use kosmos in some of the above senses, especially in meaning of ‘world, universe’. This usage of the word appears most often in the books of Wisdom, Sirach, and Macabees, and thus (with the exception of parts of Sirach) has no Hebrew equivalent. In other books it translates eight different Hebrew roots. (May.)


The New Testament preserves many of the classical uses of this word, defines some more clearly, and adds others.  We find these meanings:


  1. Adornment (the external cult of the body, especially with women: 1 Peter 3:3).


  1. World, Universe of created things, heaven and earth (a frequent Septuagint use; 24:21; John 17:5).


  1. The Earth (Matt 4:8; 13:38; John 8:12; 9:5).



  1. The inhabitants of the earth, men; the human


  1. Things of the world which we use or value (Matt. 16:26; Luke 9:25; 1 John 2:15ff.).


  1. The kingdom of sin (opposition to the kingdom of God: John 12:31; 16:11).


  1. The totality of certain things. (We find it so used of the tongue in James 3:6.)


Most of the uses of this word, philologically vouched for, are found exemplified within the Gospel of St. John. According to Stegenga the genitive form of kosmos always means world in the New


Testament. (cf. Stegenga, p. 429, kosmou.) Thus far our philological investigation has shown what the Baptist could have meant by using the words he did. It is now our task to review the interpretations that have been proposed through the years to see what scholars think he did mean, and then to put our findings together with the Spirit of Prophecy and formulate a Seventh-­‐day Adventist position as to what the Baptist mean, and what message is implied, by calling Jesus the Lamb (amnos) of God. (The above word study is from May, p. 12ff.)

The Exegetical History of John 1:29


Basic to an understanding of the meaning of John 1:29, 36 is the question of what the phrase ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ signifies; does it necessarily imply a substitutionary atonement? Could John the Baptist have really had such an understanding of Jesus and His work prior to the beginning of His actual ministry? To find answers to such issues as these scholars generally seek the answers to two questions; what was the source for John the Baptist’s terminology, and what meaning did the worlds have to him. This portion of our study will be concerned with reviewing some of the answers that have been suggested. The first point to be reviewed concerns the lamb as the ‘natural symbol’.


“Lambs have certain natural qualities which have appealed to man from time immemorial: their innocence, patience, meekness, playfulness, blind obedience, and so forth.”  (May, p. 19.)  They have also proved both useful and valuable as a source of food, clothing, and as sacrifices.

The suggestion that the Baptist drew his ‘Lamb of God’ phrase from an association of such qualities with what had been revealed to him of the coming Messiah is possible, but the real question is as to whether there is any evidence of such ‘natural’ lamb qualities being used consistently in scripture as descriptive of a Messianic type of person. In the Old Testament are many references to lambs. They describe the people of the nation (Hos. 4:16), the enemies of Israel (Jer. 51:40), the food of the wicked (Amos 6:4), the character of the Messiah (Isa. 53:7), the action of the hills and mountains when God drew near (Ps. 114), and finally the people are linked to lambs in Isaiah’s presentation of the character of God—the Loving Shepherd (Isa. 40:11). In this group of texts the only reference that directly relates the lamb and God is Isa. 53:7.

In the New Testament the concept of a lamb-­‐like Christ is explicitly stated in our text, John 1:29, and in v. 36; also in Acts 8:32 and 1 Peter 1:19 plus the many allusions in the Revelation to Christ as the lamb. Thus it becomes apparent that an association that appears only once explicitly in the Old


Testament, has become a common concept in the New Testament, while the common Old Testament idea of the lamb representing the people appears only twice; Luke 10:3; John 21:15. From this it becomes clear that there is no reference to a particular lamb-­‐like quality that is consistently set forth in the Old Testament scripture, and that what is found in the New Testament builds directly on the statement of John in spite of the fact that the lamb was a very common symbol in the agricultural milieu of Israel, and of its worship, of which the Old Testament is a part. Therefore it does not seem that John could have found a natural quality of the lamb in the Old Testament to use as the source of his terminology in the New Testament—a concept which is unique with John and which seems to underlie all other New Testament references to Christ as Lamb.


It is sometimes suggested that John the Baptist drew on an apocryphal source that connected      the natural qualities of the lamb with the Messiah.   (For this material I am dependent on May.)   Lambs     are mentioned in various places in the apocryphal literature. In Ps. of Sol. 8:27, 28 we read that God’s servants are like innocent lambs in the midst of the nations; this same type of symbolism appears in the Book of Enoch 90:6-­‐17. Enoch 89:44 mentions two lambs which are thought by some to represent  Samuel and David.         The lamb is also prominent in the Testament of Joseph where from a virgin

. . . went forth a lamb, without spot, . . . and all the beasts rushed against Him and the lamb overcame them, and destroyed them, and trod them underfoot. And because of Him the angels rejoiced, and men, and all the earth, . . . and honour Jedah and Levi; for from them shall arise unto you the Lamb of God, by grace saving all the Gentiles and Israel. (Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, The Ante-­‐Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans  Publishing Company, 1951), III, 35. (hereinafter referred to as A.N.F.))

It seems that this passage, dated c. A.D. 100 (Ibid., p. 5.) points to a Messiah under the symbol of a lamb  and, if the passage is authentic, refers to him the title of Lamb of God and declares him to be the source      of salvation to all. While this is an interesting passage it comes from seventy years after Jesus died and therefore does not help us as to the source of John’s symbolism. It also emphasizes the victor-­‐lamb and not  a  natural-­‐lamb quality.


There is another interesting passage in the Testament of Benjamen.


In thee shall be fulfilled the prophecy of heaven concerning the Lamb of God, even the Savior of the world, that spotless shall He be delivered up for transgressors, and sinless shall He be put to


death for ungodly men in the blood of the covenant, for the salvation of the Gentiles and of Israel, and shall destroy Beliar, and them that serve him. (Ibid., p. 36.)


May comments that even if the passage is purged of that which scholars feel is purged of that which scholars feel is interpolated, “there still remains . . . a pre-­‐Christian reference to vicarious suffering. . . . “ (May, p. 24.) This is a strange remark considering the proposed date of the Testament. If indeed this is a pre-­‐Christian source it is significant in that the natural-­‐lamb quality of innocence is linked to the  Messiah.       This would be the only such reference apart from Isa. 53:7.


Turning to the writings of the Fathers of the Church we find that during the first two centuries those who wrote were more concerned with apologetics than with exegesis.

Irenaeus (The following comments are from May, pp. 27-­‐43.) (d.c. 202) is possibly the first to mention John 1:29.   In so doing he simply points out that John 1:29 contains a knowledge of salvation     which was lacking to the Jews. (Adersus haereses, II, x, 3; PG 7, 875, cited in May, p. 27.) Clement of Alexandria (d.c. 215) thinks whereas Scripture refers to children as lambs, John the Baptist was pointing      out Jesus as the “Son of God, the child of the Father.”  (Paedagogus, I,5; PG8, 279 (GCSI, 104), quoted in   May. P. 27.) Hippolytus (d.c. 237) sees in the Lamb phrase hints at mildness and other lamblike qualities. He feels that because the Messiah was lamblike the Anti-­‐Christ will appear lamblike; even though he is a wolf within. (Adversus Praxeas, cap. 21; PL2, 182 (CSEL 47, 264), cited by May, p. 28.) According  to  Tertullian  (d.c.  240),  the  Lamb  phrase  emphasized  the  distinctness  between  the  Son  and the Father.   (De Christo et Antichristo; PG10, 734, cited by May, p. 28.)   Origin, the first Father to      interpret John 1:29 explicitly notes in his commentary on the Fourth Gospel in historical allusion to Old Testament lambs; to the sacrificial lambs, and to Isa. 53 and Jer. 11:19. (Comm. in Jo., 6, 32-­‐35; PG 14, 289ff.      (GCS4, 160-­‐163); Hom. in Numb., 24.1; PG 12, 391 (GCS 7, 224-­‐225); cf. Comm. in Jo., 1; PG 14,-­‐87

(GCS 4, 41ff.), cited by May, p. 28.) He also comments “John’s fourth testimony of Christ after these points to Him human sufferings. He says, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. . . . “ (A.N.F., X, 343.) Eusebius (d.c. 340) sees the Lamb concept of John coming from Isa. 53 and Jer. 11, in one passage, (Dem Evang. 1, 10; PG 22, 88ff. (GCS 6, 45ff.), cited by May, p. 27.) while he later adds that the phrase refers to Christ in His human nature. (Dem. Evang. k, 10; PG 22, 718, cited Ibid.)

St. Athanasius (d. 393) also sees John 1:29 as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah. (Sermo contra omnes haer.; Opera Omnia (Paris, Sonnium, 1608), p. 289 B, cited Ibid., p. 28.) Dr. May then notes that Ephraem (d. 373), Gregory Nazianzen (d. 390), Gregory of Nyssa (d.394), and Ambrose (d. 397) “all treat


the passage explicitly, and agree in seeing in the text a reference to removal of sin by the Passion.” (May. p. 28.)


In commenting on the phrase ‘the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world’ John Chrysostom sees the Baptist as referring to Isa. 53 and Jer. 11, (Comm. in Jo., hom. 17 (al. 16); PG 59, 109 (cf. 116), cited Ibid.) stressing the innocence of the Redeemer, (Comm. in Matt., hom, 12; PG 57, 203 (cf. 415), cited Ibid., p. 28f.) and announcing Christ’s sacrificial death. Theodore of Mopsuestia (d.

430) feels the Baptist was emphasizing only one point; the Messiah was the Innocent Victim, (Comm. in Jo. Evang., 4, 1; PL 35, 1410, cited Ibid., p. 29.) while Cyril of Alexander (d. 444) sees the Lamb-­‐figure being drawn from Isa. 53 and Ex. 12. (In Jo., Evang., 1, 2; PG 73, 192B, cited Ibid.) Finally, Theodoret  (d.

458) concludes that the Baptist’s words point to the Messiah as the One who would remove sin by His sufferings.  (In Hebr., 4, 14; PG 82, 707A, cited Ibid.)

After the fifth century there are very few references to John 1:29 by the Fathers.   St. Germanus      (d. 733) calls the Lamb of God the logikos amnos. (Orat. in Praesentat. Dey’s., 2; PG 98, 308, cited Ibid.) Venerable Bede (d. 735), in several references to John 1:29 stresses the quality of innocence and sees the Baptist referring to the Paschal lamb (In Jo., Evang. Ex. C.1; PL 92, 648B, cited Ibid., pp. 29-­‐30.) at one time and then later attributes the Baptist’s statement to the Messiah of Isaiah who was to redeem us by His blood.  (Hom. In nat. S. Andre. Ap.; PL 94, 256-­‐257, cited   Ibid.)


This survey of the early writers and the Fathers shows that no one interpretation of John 1:29 was accepted by all, though all agree that the Baptist’s words contain a reference to the removal of sin by the Messiah through His suffering. The Baptist’s words are said to be drawn from:

  1. The sacrificial


  1. The paschal lamb in ex.


  1. The lamb of Isa.


  1. The lamb in Jer.


  1. A combination of these and signifies:
  2. The innocence of the


  1. The patience of the


  1. The suffering of the Messiah to remove


  1. The human nature of


  1. Jesus as the Son of God; the Child of the


  1. The distinctness between the Father and the


The writers of the 8th – 11th centuries generally repeat what has been said by the Church Fathers. There are a couple of exceptions: Because the wool of the lamb exemplifies the garment of virtues with which He would wish to clothe us, Christ is called a lamb, according to Christian Cruthmar (d.c. 850). (Exposit. In Jo., init.; PL 106, 1515, cited May, p. 31.) To Theophylact (10th C.) “Christ is called the Lamb ‘of God’ because God, for love of us, handed him over to death.” (Ibid., p. 32.


A lack of uniformity of opinion characterizes the interpretations expressed in the writings of the scholastics and the medieval writers. To Rupert of Deutz (d.1129) the Baptist referred to the paschal lamb to inform his audience of the two natures of the Lord and to point them to the redemption that would come through the blood of the innocent Christ. (In Evang. St. Jo.; PL 169, 240-­‐241, cited Ibid.) Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) has numerous references to John 1:29. Some of the points he makes are:


  1. Lambs were offered in sacrifice to prefigure the innocence of Christ, and that Christ was called a lamb because of His


  1. The paschal lamb prefigured the Lord’s


  1. The offering of the true Lamb, Christ, would be the consummation of all sacrifices—therefore the Baptist called Him ‘the lamb of God’.
  2. John was pointing the people to the lamb of Isaiah, forshadowed in the Law of


  1. Jesus’ purity was what was emphasized by John. (May, pp. 33-­‐


St. Bonaventure writes more about John 1:29 than Thomas Aquinas. He sees the following emphases as being contained in the Baptist’s testimony:


  1. The lamb without stain of Ex. 12:3,


  1. The Isaian comparison (16:1), who would take away the sins of the


  1. His


  1. Immunity from


  1. Innocence of Christ’s humanity – Isa. 16:1.


  1. Benignity and


  1. John was aware his God and Creator stood before


  1. Power of His divinity (Isa. 43:25). (Ibid., pp. 34-­‐35.)


From the fourteenth century into the Reformation period those who wrote on our text are content to list the various opinions that have been suggested previously. Regarding the effects of the Reformation May notes


The rise of Protestantism did not effect much immediate change in exegetical views bearing John 1:29. . . . Catholic and Protestant commentators alike, for the most part, continued to refer the Baptist’s words to lambs mentioned in the Old Testament, and to insist more and more on the victim aspect of the Lamb of God.  (Ibid., p. 35.)


Erasmus (d. 1536) feels John the Baptist is referring to Isa. 53 (Ibid., p. 37.) while Luther (Ibid.) (d. 1546) and Calvin (Ibid., p. 38.) (d. 1564) feels he is drawing his title for the Messiah from the paschal lamb.

The eighteenth century saw the rise of Rationalism, a philosophy that holds “that man’s natural abilities are to be used exclusively in the formulation of religious beliefs. There is no reliance on authority or revelation. . . .” (Warren C. Young, “Rationalism,” Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, ed.

Everett F. Harrison, et. al.  (Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Baker Book House, 1960), p. 434.  May notes that   these “independent critics” were “unhampered by any real notion of biblical inspiration,” and therefore sought their own solutions to what they saw as problems in John’s statement.  First they concluded that  John the Baptist could not have had the knowledge reflected in John 1:29; that he probably did not say “Behold the Lamb of God” and that he definitely did not announce Him as the One who takes away the       sin of the world. They decided the text had its source as (1) and addition of some later editor of the Greek text; (C. J. Ball, “Had the Fourth Gospel an Aramaic Archetype?” Expt, 21 (1909-­‐1910), pp. 91-­‐92, cited  May, p. 39.)   (2) a  later development  of the  Fourth  Evangelist and  the  Christian community; (James


  1. Cameron, “The Lamb of God,” (ser. 7), 10 (1910), pp. 277-­‐278. Cf. also George F. Moore, “Sacrifice,” Encyclopedia Biblica, (edd. Cheyne & Black), (London: Black, 1914), coll. 4231-­‐4233, cited May, p. 39.)   or (3) the words were credited to the Baptist by John the Evangelist after the crucifixion     when he had had time to reflect on what he happened. (This third view is the dominant one among the critics who hold one of these views.  For a partial list of men and sources, cf. May, p. 41, ns.   141-­‐158.)

May then notes that the “past one hundred and fifty years almost duplicates preceeding centuries so far as interpretation of John 1:29 is concerned. We find the familiar diversity of opinion.” (May, p. 42) He then notes that the greatest difference is the development of fairly well-­‐defined theories regarding what the Baptist meant and where he found the basis of his terminology.


As May notes—before beginning a study of the different positions that are presently set forth— it perhaps should be pointed out that the paschal lamb and other Old Testament sacrifices were definitely types of Christ; that the Old Testament contains various references to the death of the promised Messiah; and that when Jesus came as the promised Savior, He did manifest many lamblike qualities. The question that scholars wish to ask though is what did John the Baptist mean by his statement and where did he find the source of his lamb-­‐concept? What was the message that he intended to give here at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry?  The real issue is how was John the Baptist able to speak words that reveal such a great understanding of the Messiah’s mission when the disciples were unable to understand fully even after the crucifixion (cf. Luke 24:45).


  1. The first proposed theory was formulated by Friedrich Spitta. (Friedrich Spitta, Streitfragen der Geschichte Jesu (Gottingen: Vanderhoeck and Ruprecht, 1907), 172-­‐224, cited Ibid., p. 51.) He suggests the Baptist was really saying “Behold the Victor—Lamb of God, Leader and Protector of the people of Israel!” He feels that because this was the type of messiah expected by the people, the interpretation that sees a reference to the sacrificial lamb was developed later by Christians under the influence of Isa. 53. And inserted into the text.   He holds that the apocalyptic apocrypha support this       view as does the Old Testament.   He feels John the Baptist could very well have been thinking of Isa.       16:1, and that it in fact fits into John the Baptist’s message very well—once the later Christian insertions     are removed. He states that Jesus did not go from John to Cana but rather that He left the Jordan and headed for Jerusalem.  It was this situation he feels that caused John to make a statement about a   Lamb—he was thinking of Isa. 16:1, “Send forth, O Lord, the lamb ruler of the earth, from Petra of the  desert, to the mount of the daughter of Sion” (Vulgate), and he said “Behold the Lamb who is sent from the rock of the wilderness (Jordan) to the Mount of the daughter of Sion (Jerusalem).”  (Ibid., pp.  50-­‐56.)


Morris remarks concerning this view that, though Dodd accepts the idea, it is difficult to see, whereas the thought of John 1:29 is not that of victory over enemies but one of sacrifice for sin. (Morris, p. 146.)


  1. What the Baptist meant was “behold the Innocent Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” or “Behold the Holy One, the Innocent One, who far from having anything in common with sin, is able to take away the sin of the ” Men like Lagrange, (M.J. Lagrange, Evangil selon S. Jean, pp. 39-­‐ 42; idem, L’Evangile de Jesus-­‐Christ (EB), (Paris: Lecoffre, 1929), 6th ed., pp. 80-­‐81, cited May, p. 57.) Pratt, (Ferdinand Prat, Jesus-­‐Christ,se Vie, sa Doctrine, son Oeuvre, (Paris: Beauchesne), I (1938), 7th ed., pp. 174-­‐175, cited Ibid.) and Ceuppens (P. F. Ceuppens, De Incarnatione (Theoloigia Biblia, III, I), (Rome: 1939), pp. 12-­‐15, cited Ibid.) who hold this view think that John’s Lamb terminology was a witness to Christ’s innocence and holiness. They feel there was no reference to a sacrificial death in the latter half       of the verse because such an idea would have been too advanced for John at the beginning of Jesus’  ministry.   They  feel John’s testimony, as presently  recorded  in  John  1:29, conflicts with  his preaching as

recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, but that when the statement of John 1:29 is understood in harmony with this theory all the text come into harmony.

Lagrange develops his position by arguing that in the Synoptic Gospels John preaches of a coming judge while in the Gospel of John he preaches of a Messiah who will die to redeem mankind; two conflicting messages. He feels that removing from the text the passage that implies expiatory death on the part of the Messiah removes the difficulty which, to him, is very acute in light of John’s message to Jesus when he was in prison (cf. Matt, 11:3).  He then appeals to some of the Fathers who have seen a reference to Christ’s innocence in John 1:29. He points out that this interpretation has the following points in its favor:

  1. His theory agreed with an interpretation given in Catholic tradition by important (Lagrange was, of course, a Catholic.)


  1. It explains the context well—Jesus appeared to those present as an innocent


  1. It agrees with the Messianic expectations of John’s


  1. It brings harmony between the Synoptics and John’s gospel; One who is innocent would be one who cleanses the threshing


  1. That the Lamb symbol thus understood could have easily been drawn from of Sol. 8:28 which speaks of a just man among sinners and dates from about the time of John.


In conclusion, the Innocent Lamb theory emends the text, omitting any reference to a sacrificial death, and thus to any lamb in the Old Testament, and concludes that the Baptist was appealing to the current notion which symbolized the Messiah as an innocent lamb.  (May, pp.  56-­‐68.)

  1. The next theory, that of the Tamid-­‐Sacrifice, is primarily set forth by A. Schlatter. (D. A. Schlatter, Der Evangelist Johannes, wie er spricht, denkt und glaubt, (Stuttgart: Calwer, 1930), pp. 46-­‐ 47, cited Ibid., pp. 68-­‐75.) This theory hold that the Baptist meant “Behold the Victim Lamb of God   Who, as contrasted with the inefficacious sacrifice offered twice daily in the temple for the sins of Israel, takes away the sin of the   world.”


This analysis is based on the belief that John the Baptist’s words were based on a well-­‐known lamb. The lamb sacrifice offered each morning and evening was, by nature, well known. Schlatter points out that the people of Israel offered this sacrifice even during the temple seige. He also notes that the Baptist, as a member of the priestly family, was well acquainted with this daily sacrifice. He then adds that the expression “as the lamb . . .” was an approved form of making solemn promises; a form based on the daily sacrifice.


Edersheim (Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1962), I, 342-­‐343. (Hereinafter referred to as Edersheim).) adds another dimension to this theory when he contends that at the time of Christ the daily sacrifice was understood to have a relation to forgiveness of sin. He finds proof of this in the Pesiqta, a Jewish commentary he feels dates from the time of Christ, and which he says, “. . . reads almost like a Christian interpretation of sacrifice.” Dr. Edersheim then notes “It explains how the morning and evening sacrifices were intended to atone, the one for the sins of the night, the other for those of the day, so as ever to leave Israel guiltless before God; and it expressly ascribes to them the efficacy of a paraclete— that being the word used.” He then notes that this interpretation is credited to both the school of Shammai and that of Hillel—‘Kebhashim’ (the Hebrew words for ‘lambs’), explained the school of Shammai, ‘because, according to Micah vii. 19, they suppress our iniquities (the Hebrew word kabhash meaning he who suppresseth)’. Even more interesting is the statement of the school of Hillel, to the effect that the sacrificial lambs were termed kebhasim (from kabhas, ‘to wash’), ‘because they wash away the sins of Israel.’


Proponents of this view conclude from these facts that the Baptist was referring to Christ as a sacrifice; that he drew his lamb-­‐phrase from that which was well-­‐known to the people—the daily sacrifice; a lamb offered each morning and evening at the temple for the sins of the people.

  1. The Baptist had in mind the well-­‐known figure of the paschal lamb, according to this He was saying to the people, “Behold the real, the innocent Paschal Lamb of God by whose blood we will be freed from our sins as our fathers were freed from Egyptian bondage through the blood of the paschal lamb.” (May, p. 75.)  The many proponents of this theory seek a well-­‐known lamb, due to the   definiteness of the Baptist’s words.   They also see a lamb with some reference to sacrificial removal of       sin.   The paschal lamb commemorating the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt is seen by them as     filling these needs.   They argue that the paschal lamb was well known; according to Josephus 256,000   lambs were offered at the passover in one year, with an average of ten to twenty people for each lamb. (Flavius Josephus, “Wars of the Jews,” The Works of Flavius Josephus, trans. W. Winston (Philadelphia: Winston), VI, 9, 3:   (paperback edition, p. 832.)   The argument is further developed by pointing to the       fact the passover was at hand when John made his announcement regarding Jesus.   It is pointed out that   the day after John 1:29, John again points Jesus out as the Lamb of God (v. 36).   The following day He    invites several more disciples to follow Him.  On the third day is the marriage of Cana (2:1) and after that  “the Passover of the Jews was at hand. . . .” (John 2:13). Therefore, it is concluded, the people must have been thinking of the Passover festival.  (This section based on May, pp.  75-­‐83.)


Another argument that is put forward claims that the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, commemorated by the paschal lamb, was the most conspicuous symbol of Messianic deliverance from slavery of sin and the devil. Therefore when John called Jesus the Lamb of God it was to let them know what would be the future of the Messiah; by calling to their remembrance the ‘type’. “Therefore the Baptist taught that Christ, the most innocent Lamb of God, was to be immolated after the manner of Lambs.”  (May, p. 78.)

Finally it is stated that the paschal lamb was an expiatory sacrifice. Hengstenberg, for example, claims that the paschal lamb was the true source of all offerings of sacrifice for sin, (E.W. Hengstenberg, Christologie des A. T., pp. 109-­‐110, cited Ibid., p. 79.) and LeCamus remarks in his book, Life of Christ,  that the paschal lamb was a victim of expiation because it had been instituted to preserve the firstborn of Israel from the sword of the exterminating angel.  (p. 271, cited Ibid.)


  1. The Suffering Servant Theory contends that when John the Baptist spoke the words recorded in John 1:29 he knew that Jesus was the Messiah, that He was divine, and that He would die a sacrificial death to redeem men from sin. It also holds that by his testimony the Baptist wanted to tell the people and the disciples of these things though he knew they probably would not understand him, therefore he used the language of Isa. 53 where the sacrificial death of the Suffering Servant, the Lamb of God, was predicted. (May, p. )

In support of this view four points from Isa. 52:13-­‐53:12 are emphasized:  (1) the text refers to   the Messiah; (2) the Messiah suffers vicariously; (3) He makes expiation for the sins of all men; (4) this Suffering Servant at one point is likened to the patient lamb led to slaughter. (Ibid., p. 106. For a non-­‐ messianic interpretation of this passage see I. W. Slotki, Isaiah, Vol. V of the Soncino Bible, ed. A. Cohen       (14  vols.;  London:   The  Soncino  Press,  seventh  impression,  1970),  p.  260ff.   For  a  defense  of  the Messianic interpretation see E. W. Hengstenberg, Christology of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids,   Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1970; reprint from the Francis and John Rivington edition, London, 1847), pp. 234-­‐262, and Edersheim, I, 488, fn. 1.  For a discussion of the Servant concept in history see   Geoffrey

  1. Bromiley, ed., Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1967), I, 341. (hereinafter referred to as T.W.N.T.)) Also seen to be significant but not strongly stressed is the fact that both Isa. 52:13 and John 1:29 begin with ‘Behold’. In verse 4 where it is said that “it was our suffering that he bore” the Hebrew verb used I nāsā’, the word most frequently translated by airein, the verb used in John 1:29. (See p. 7ff. above.)


Finally it is pointed out that John had been called to be the Forerunner to the Messiah; that he had spent years studying the scriptures in preparation for his work, especially the prophecies of Isaiah, and finally that he had heard of the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus, and of His sinless life. Dr. May then concludes that John through these facts realized Jesus must be the Messiah; he also states that he learned from God by special revelation.  (May, pp.  96-­‐140.)

  1. Johann Sepp has suggested what might be called the Scapegoat Theory. He feels the scapegoat of Leviticus 16:21, 22 (cf. Job 7:21) serves in symbol the function Jesus was assigned by John the Baptist in John 1:29; that in fact John was referring to the expiatory sacrifice of this goat. He believes this relationship is established at the baptism of Jesus. He writes,


Just as the high priest cleansed himself on the day of expiation, and took away the sins of the people upon himself in order to burden the scapegoat with them, so the Savior at the moment


of His baptism appeared as a sinner in the name of all mankind; and just as the scapegoat was driving forth into Azazel or the devil of the wilderness, so too is Christ led by the Spirit into the wilderness, and the evil enemy is given power over Him. ((Johann N. Sepp, Das Leben Jesu Christi (Regensburg:  Manz), II, (1865), 2nd  ed., pp. 167-­‐170,  cited May, pp.  83-­‐84.)

In our discussion of theories proposed to explain certain questions in regard to John 1:29, we have thus far looked at the explanations which seem to be the best known. We will now look briefly at some theories which are less  well-­‐known.


  1. The Peaceful Lamb Theory finds the source of John the Baptist’s ‘Lamb of God’ phrase in the twenty-­‐third The proposer of this theory feels John was pointing out that God, the Good Shepherd of Psalm 23, cares for the Messiah, the Lamb of God, as His Lamb.  In this Psalm God is     described as a loving Shepherd Who takes gentle and tender care of His sheep and lambs, leading them through  rich  pastures  and  beside  quiet  pools—always  guiding  and  guarding  them.   The  author recognizes that the phrase ‘who takes away the sin of the world’ seems to be an allusion to Old     Testament sacrifices, but he still feels John had Psalm 23 in mind. Christ is recognized as One “whose confidence  has  never  been  disturbed,  whose  steadfast  peace  no  agitations  of  life  have  ever  ruffled.” And again, “He who was to reconcile God and man needed to be first at peace himself.” (Seeley, Ecce Homo, pp. 5-­‐7;  q. by Michael, Expt, 50 (1938-­‐1939),    p. 361, cited by May, pp. 85-­‐85.)


  1. Emile Burnouf professes to find the origin of John 1:29 in the Vedic god of fire, Agni. He attempts to establish his Vedic Agni Theory by saying that the disciples invented the “christ-­‐myth’ and called Him the Lamb of God in memory and honor of this fire god, famous in the ancient chants of India, after being introduced to the cult of Agni by a secret society widespread in the Orient; a society which transmitted its doctrine under the veil of mystery. (Emile Burnouf, La Science des Religions (Paris:

Maison-­‐neuve, 1876), 3rd  ed.  This theory is rebutted in C. de Harlez, “Agni”, Dictionaire Apologetique de

la Foi Catholique, (ed. J. B. Jaugey), Parist:  Delhomme and Briquet, 1899), coll. 36-­‐43, cited May, p. 85.)


  1. The Zodiach Theory suggests a connection between the Lamb of God and the zodiacal sign of Aires, the ram, based on assertion that t-­‐1-­‐h is the rabbinical name for the constellation (Carl Clemens, Religions geschichtliche Erklarung des Neuen Testaments (Giessen: Topelmann, 1924), 2nd rev. ed., pp. 382-­‐384, cited May, p. 86.) C. H. Dodd thinks this has some merit. (C. H. Dodd, review of Kittel’s TWZNT, I-­‐VIII, in The Journal of Theological Studies, 34 (1933), pp. 284-­‐385, cited May, p.  86.)


  1. E. Blakeway proposes the Apocrypha Theory. He believes that John the Baptist addressed    Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God’ but that the words ‘Who takes away the sin of the world’ were added to the story by the Evangelist. Blakeway thinks the Baptist found his terminology in a current Messianic title. In support of this opinion he cites such sources as Enoch 90:37-­‐38 and the Testament of Joseph 19:3-­‐9.

He also tries to show that the Baptist was acquainted with the Apocrypha.  Blakeway feels that when the   text is understood in this way the Baptist in not saying anything that conflicts with his preaching as recorded in the Synoptics. (C. E. Blakeway, “Behold the Lamb of God,” Expt, 31 (1899), pp. 364-­‐365, cited May, pp. 86-­‐87.)


  1. The Servant of the Lord theory is another way of seeing the origin of the Baptists words ‘the Lamb of God’ in Isaiah 53. Those who hold this theory suggest that an ambiguous expression in Aramaic meant as ‘the Servant of the Lord’ was mistranslated into ‘the Lamb of God’.   Proponents suggest the   fourth Gospel is a translation; that the Baptist, speaking Aramaic, used the word  talya, meaning ‘child’,   ‘boy, ’young man’, or ‘servant’. The Hebrew word for lamb, tāle, was understood to be meant by the translator and thus ‘the Lamb of God’ may stand for a Hebrew phrase intended primarily to bear the      sense, ‘the Servant of God’, i.e. Yahweh’s righteous Servant who, according to Isaiah 53:11, 12, was to      bear the sins of many.  (Charles Fox Burney, The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel (Oxford:  The  Clarendon Press, 1922), p. 106. The suggestion was developed by C. J. Ball, “Had the Fourth Gospel an Aramaic Archetype?”   Expt, 21 (1909-­‐1910),  91-­‐92.)


  1. The last ‘theory’ to be reviewed is in a class distinct from the rest. The position of ‘Independent Critics’ is set forth by such men as John Marsh who accounts for John 1:29 by writing that “looking back on the story of the Baptist and his first encounter with Jesus from the much later days and the much       more considered experience of the Ephesian Church, the evangelist could now see that there was  something different, indeed unique, even about that first meeting, something which was in its essence,        if not in all its appearances, a real acknowledgment by the Baptist that he had been confronted by the  Savior of the world. Such revisions of reminiscence are not unknown to any generation and they are probably defensible as bringing a proper if further dimension into the understanding of an historical ” (John Marsh, The Gospel of John (Baltimore, Maryland: Penguin Books, 1968), pp. 123-­‐124; see also R. H. Lightfoot, St. John’s Gospel (Oxford:  The Clarendon Press, 1956), pp.  96-­‐97.)


Micklem, expresses it this way. “John II’s account of the meeting of Jesus and the Baptist cannot, as it stands, be accurate.” (Nathaniel Micklem, Behold the Man (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1969), p. 75.) Micklem describes the material in the first chapter of John as being “entirely credible; . . . it is of the


stuff of history.” (Ibid., p. 77.) Barrett develops this position when he writes that there is definitely an Old Testament background, but that one can’t be too sure what it is. He lists some suggested sources— Exodus 12, Isa. 53, Lev. 16, the daily sacrifice—and then adds “yet none even of these provides an entirely satisfactory explanation.” Then Dr. Barrett writes,

The probable source of John’s thought and language is the paschal interpretation of the last supper and the eucharist. The eucharist is a paschal meal and in it the death of Christ for the remission of sins is portrayed. In the present context, the two propositions (a) Christ was the Passover lamb, (b) Christ bore, or took away, sins, though originally unconnected, are combined.

. . .


By his amalgamation of Old Testament ideas John indicates that the death of Jesus was a new and better sacrifice.  (Barrett, pp.  146-­‐147.)

The ‘mechanics’ of this method of interpretation are set forth by Schnackenberg when he says


The Evangelist were not interested in historizing their narrative, they followed another literary genre in which the narrative was employed in the service of faith, by means of a presentation which developed more fully what was already contained in germ in the historical elements.

He refers to this process as the ‘method of interweaving the interpretatio christiana into the historical narrative.” (Rudolph Schnackenberg, The Gospel According to St. John (New York: Herder & Herder, 1968), p. 301.)


This ends our discussion of developed theories of interpretation, but it must be noted that many authors hold ‘combination views’; taking parts of theories and joining them or taking two or three whole theories and combining them.


Before leaving this study of proposed explanations there are a few ‘undeveloped’, or only ‘slightly developed’ suggested meanings that we should review briefly. The God-­‐provided Lamb of Gen. 22:8 is said to provide the important aspect of divine initiative in Christi’s sacrifices. (Morris, F.G., p.

147.) Taylor feels the Baptist was pointing out ‘the relationship of the person and work of Christ to God” in his words about the Lamb. (Vincent Taylor, The Person of Christ in New Testament Teaching (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1963), p. 231.) Cullman  notes


There can be no doubt that the fourth evangelist understood the voice from heaven as a summons for Jesus to take on himself the task of the ebed Yahweh. This is the only way we can understand the witness of the Baptist when he says, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (vv. 28, 36). These words clearly relate Jesus’ baptism and his vicarious suffering. The connection lies in the words from Heaven. (Oscar Cullman, The Christology of the New Testament (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1963), p. 67.)

To Lenski


The Baptist spoke by revelation, he uttered thoughts which towered above his own mind. . . . And yet . . . the Baptist uttered no empty sounds as far as his own mind and heart were concerned, no riddles or enigmas with out key or solution, but glorious truth which his own mind beheld as truth, absorbed and penetrated more and more, in which his own heart trusted with ever-­‐increasing joy.  (Lenski, J.G., p.  129.)


Again Lenski writes


The Baptist’s title for Jesus should not be referred back to this or that particular ‘lamb’ mentioned in the Old Testament rituals, but rather to all of them, since each could typify and illustrate prophetically only some part of the stupendous work God’s own Lamb would perform. (Ibid., p. 126f.; also cf. William Hendricksen, New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1953), I, 98.)


Walter Luthi writes


. . . John himself did not know what he means when he calls Jesus of Nazareth the Lamb that      bears the sin of the world.   But he says it.   He declares it in obedience to the call that was laid    upon him.   Even the Baptist is overcome with amazement that God claims both to conquer and       to bear sin, and that He evidently intends to do it through the unusual man who came to be  baptized . . . above whom the heavens opened, and of whom the voice said, ‘This is my beloved    Son in whom I am well pleased. (Walter Luthi, St. John ‘s Gospel (Richmond, Virginia: John Knox Press, 1960), pp. 18-­‐19.)


To end this section we will quote F. F. Bruce, as he reflects the indecision of many scholars;


The same combination of the paschal lamb with the lamb led to the slaughter of Isaiah 53:7 probably underlies the description of Jesus in the Fourth Gospel as ‘the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’.  It is a matter of additional interest that in Palestine Aramaic the word talya . . . could mean ‘lamb’, ‘servant’ or ‘child’ as the context might require; but apart from this  we have here a clear application of Jesus of the sin-­‐bearing and sin-­‐removing ministry  of the Servant.  (F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Development of Old Testament Themes, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1968), p. 96. (Emphasis  ours.)


A Brief Evaluation of the Proposed Theories Reviewed


  1. The Theory of the Victor Lamb is in apparent conflict with the text which speaks not so much of victory over enemies as of sacrifice for sin. It also finds it necessary to rearrange the text and deny certain verses (43)


  1. The Innocent Lamb Theory also denies certain portions of the Scripture involved and argues from the viewpoint that John the Baptist could not have had such an advanced understanding of the Messiah; it submits as proof the views of the people, denying John any knowledge that careful thought wouldn’t
  2. The Tamid-­‐Sacrifice Theory argues that the daily sacrifice was well-­‐known, which is true, but so were other lamb sacrifices. It also has been suggested that the pesiqta commentary may not date from   the time of Christ.   May, p. 75.)        Finally, it seems the daily sacrifice was never called “God’s Lamb”.


  1. The Paschal Lamb Theory again argues from the basis of familiarity, etc. The greatest weakness seems to be that the Passover victim was referred to as pascha rather than ‘lamb’.
  2. The Suffering Servant Theory—This interpretation is itself in harmony with the Scripture record, though this viewpoint, as formulated in this paper, goes beyond the information contained in


  1. The Scapegoat Theory fits well the general thought of taking sin but it ignores the fact that the scapegoat was not a lamb and that the function of the goat in 16 can not be made to line-­‐up with Jesus experience of Baptism and Temptation. The goat bore the sins of Israel out of the camp and never returned—symbolizing permanent separation, while Jesus’ work was only begun at the wilderness temptation, etc.
  2. Seeley’s Peaceful Lamb Theory is beautiful and what he says about God, the Good Shepherd, caring tenderly for His Lamb, Jesus, is certainly true, but it ignores the message of One Who bears our sins.


  1. The Verdic Agni Theory sees no message, no special Book, and no truth in the


  1. The Zodiac Theory ignores the context of the phrase—the Gospel of John; the purpose of the Gospel (20:31), leading to faith that Jesus is the Christ, and accepts a purely hypothetical


  1. The Apocrypha Theory is interesting as it seeks to determine the contemporary milieu, but in that it denies the historicity of the text it is


  1. The Servant of the Lord Theory is based on the conjecture that denies the Lord having any part in the composition of the Scriptures. As with several of the views above it reduces the Bible to a common book and prefers to find problems of its own making and then seeks for solutions. It is entirely conjectural.


  1. The ‘Independent Critic’ takes out of the text what he feels doesn’t fit there and puts back what agrees with the way he feels. He never allows Scripture to speak because he doesn’t believe in an Active God Who involves Himself with men for their salvation to a very real eternal life. He also fails to deal with the very real problem created with this particular interpretation—the fact that the text possesses none of the characteristic marks of a Johannine construction. He also fails to deal with the witness of Zacharias and Simeon and Anna and Luke 3:15; which show that there were Messianic expectations among the people in John the Baptist’s




An Adventist Interpretation


We have seen that many sources have been suggested as the matrix for John’s statement about Jesus as the Lamb of God. Much effort has been put forth by many in an attempt to determine which lamb is the lamb in the literal sheepdom of sacrifice, according to the Baptist’s thinking. As the reader has noted, there is no consensus of opinion. Neither is there a consensus as to how the individual sacrifices fit into the total view of salvation presented by the sacrificial ceremonies, or as to the meaning of the Baptist’s words.

To present an Adventist understanding of each of the solutions suggested above is beyond the scope of this study. Therefore we will here only review briefly the purpose of sacrifices, the significance of the paschal lamb, the milieu into which the Christ came, and last our understanding of John 1:29.

Whereas Seventh-­‐day Adventists are not without varieties of opinion we will proceed by drawing from the writings of Mrs.   White.


The sacrifices and offerings of the Old Testament dispensation represented Christ (White, D.A.,

  1. 50.) and pointed forward to the sacrifice He was to make. (Ellen G. White, Selected Messages


(Washington, DC.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), I, p. 237. (Hereinafter referred to as S.M.)  The slain lambs typified the Lamb that was to take away the sin of the world. (Ibid.)


By the paschal service, God was seeking to call His people away from their worldly cares, and to remind them of His wonderful work in their deliverance from Egypt. In this work He desired them to see a promise of deliverance from sin. . . . There was virtue in the symbolic service only as it directed the worshippers to Christ as their personal Savior. (White, D.A., p. 82.)


The lamb was to be prepared whole, not a bone of it being broken; so not a bone was to be broken of the Lamb of God, who was to die for us. John 19:36. Thus was also represented the completeness of Christ’s sacrifice.  (White, P.P., p. 277.)

It was not enough that the paschal lamb be slain; its blood must be sprinkled upon the doorposts; so the merits of Christ’s blood must be applied to the soul.  We must believe, not only that He died for the whole world, but that He died for us individually. We must appropriate to ourselves the virtue of the atoning sacrifice. (Ibid.)


The hyssop used in sprinkling the blood was to symbol of purification. (Ibid.)


The flesh was to be eaten. It is not enough that we believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sin; we must by faith be constantly receiving spiritual strength and nourishment from Him through His word. (Ibid.)


The lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs, as pointing back to the bitterness of the bondage in Egypt. So when we feed upon Christ, it should be with contrition of heart, because of our sins. (Ibid., p. 278.)

The use of unleavened bread also was significant. Just as leaven was forbidden in the Jewish houses during the feast, the leaven of sin must be put away from all who would receive life and nourishment from Christ. (Ibid.)


Through the centuries that followed the wonderful preservation and deliverance of God’s people at the time when the destroying angel slew all the first-­‐born in  Egypt,


The first-­‐born of both man and beast were to be . . . bought back . . . by a ransom, in acknowledgement that when the first-­‐born in Egypt perished, that of Israel, though graciously


preserved, had been justly exposed to the same doom but for the atoning sacrifice. (Ibid., p. 274.)


. . . The law for the presentation of the first-­‐born was made particularly significant. While it was  a memorial of the Lord’s wonderful deliverance of the children of Israel, it prefigured a greater deliverance, to be wrought out by the only-­‐begotten Son of God. As the blood sprinkled on the doorposts had saved the firstborn of Israel, so the blood of Christ has power to save the world. (White,  D.A.,  p. 51.)


The passover was to be both commemorative and typical, not only pointing back to the deliverance from Egypt, but forward to the greater deliverance which Christ was to accomplish in freeing His people from the bondage of sin. The sacrificial lamb represents ‘the Lamb of God’, in whom is our only hope of salvation.  (White, pp., p. 277.)


As the Jews departed from God, they lost sight, to a great degree, of the teaching of the ritual



That service had been instituted by Christ Himself. In every part it was a symbol of Him; and it had been full of vitality and spiritual beauty. But the Jews lost the spiritual life from their ceremonies, and clung to the dead forms. (White, D.A., pp. 29.)

“Many of them regarded the sacrificial offerings much as the heathen looked upon their sacrifices, as gifts by which they themselves might propitiate the Deity.”  (Ibid., pp.  112-­‐113.)


The very priests who ministered in the temple had lost sight of the significance of the service they performed. They had ceased to look beyond the symbol to the thing signified. In presenting the sacrificial offerings they were as actors in a play. The ordinances which God Himself had appointed were made the means of blinding the mind and hardening the heart. God could do no more for man through these channels.  (Ibid., p. 36.)


Therefore “the system of types which pointed forward to Christ as the Lamb of God that should take away the sin of the world was to pass away at His death, . . . “ (Ellen G. White, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1956), p. 50. (Hereinafter referred to as M.B.)


Sin had become a science, and vice was consecrated as a part of religion.  Rebellion had struck its roots deep into the heart, and the hostility of man was most violent against heaven. It was demonstrated before the universe that, apart from God, humanity could not be uplifted. A new element of life and power must be imparted by Him who made the world.

With intense interest the unfallen worlds had watched to see Jehovah arise and sweep away the inhabitants of the earth. And if God should do this, Satan was ready to carry out his plan for securing to himself the allegiance of heavenly beings. He had declared that the principles of God’s government made forgiveness impossible. Had the world been destroyed, he would have claimed that his accusations were proved true. He was ready to cast blame upon God, and to spread his rebellion to the worlds above.  But instead of destroying the world God sent His Son to save it.  (White, D.A., p. 37.)

When it was time for the Savior to begin His ministry,


The popular conception of the Messiah and His work was such as wholly unfitted the people to receive Him. The spirit of true devotion had been lost in tradition and ceremonialism, and the prophecies were interpreted at the dictate of proud, would-­‐loving hearts. The Jews looked for the coming One, not as a Saviour from sin, but as a great prince who should bring all nations under the supremacy of the Lion of the tribe of Judah.  (White, M.B., pp.  1-­‐2.)

With this expectation pervading everywhere it is not surprising that God called the one who was to prepare the way for the Messiah into the desert where he was taught of God. There


He studied the revelations of God in nature. Under the guiding of the divine Spirit, he studied the scrolls of the prophets. By day and by night, Christ was his study, his meditation, until mind and heart and soul were filled with the glorious vision. (E. G. White, Gospel Workers (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1948), p. 54.  (Hereinafter referred to as G.W.)

The life of John was not spent in idleness, in ascetic gloom, or in selfish isolation. From time to time he went forth to mingle with men; and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world. From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events. With vision illuminated by the Divine Spirit he studied the character of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven.  The burden of his mission was upon him. In


solitude, by meditation and prayer, he sought to gird up his soul for the life-­‐work before him. (Ibid.,  p. 57.)


Isaiah’s rapt portrayals of the Messiah’s glory were his study by day and by night –the Branch from the root of Jesse; a King to reign in righteousness, judging ‘with equity for the meek of the earth’; ‘a covert from the tempest; . . . the shadow of the great rock in a weary land’; Israel no longer to be termed ‘Forsaken’, nor her land ‘Desolate’, but to be called of the Lord, “My delight’, and her land ‘Beulah’. Isa. 114; 32:2; 62:4 margin. The heart of the lonely exile was filled with the glorious vision.  (White, D.A., p. 103.)


John did not fully understand the nature of the Messiah’s kingdom. He looked for Israel to be delivered from her national foes; but the coming of a King in righteousness, and the establishment of Israel as a holy nation, was the great object of his hope. Thus he believed would be accomplished the prophecy given at his birth—


‘To remember His holy covenant; . . . That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life.’ (Ibid.)


With awed yet exultant spirit he searched in the prophetic scrolls the revelations of the Messiah’s coming—the promised seed that should bruise the serpents head; Shiloh, ‘the peace giver’, who was to appear before a king should cease to reign on David’s throne. Now the time had come. A Roman ruler sat in the palace upon Mount Zion. By the sure world of the Lord, already the Christ was born.” (Ibid.)


Jesus and John the Baptist were cousins, and closely related by the circumstances of their birth; yet they had no direct acquaintance with each other. . . . Providence had ordered this. No occasion was to be given for the charge that they had conspired together to support each other’s claims.  (Ibid., p. 109.)



John was acquainted with the events that had marked the birth of Jesus. He had heard of the visit to Jerusalem in his boyhood; and of what had passed in the school of the rabbis. He knew of His sinless life, and believed Him to be the Messiah; but of this he had no positive assurance. The fact that Jesus had for so many years remained in obscurity, giving no special evidence of


His mission, give occasion for doubt as to whether He could be the Promised One. The Baptist, however, waited in faith, believing that in God’s own time all would be made plain. (Ibid., p . 110.)

As the Baptist declared God’s message to Israel many gave heed to his instructions. Many sacrificed all in order to obey. Multitudes followed this new teacher from place to place, and not a few cherished the hope he might be the Messiah. But as John saw the people turning to him, he sought every opportunity of directing their faith to Him who was to come. (Ibid., p.



It had been revealed to him that the Messiah would seek baptism at his hands, and that a sign of    His divine character should then be given. Thus he would be enabled to present Him to the people.   (Ibid., pp. 109-­‐110.)

When Jesus came to be baptized, John recognized in Him a purity of character that he had never before perceived in any man.  The very atmosphere of His presence was holy and  awe-­‐inspiring.

. . . Never had he come in contact with a human being from whom there breathed an influence so divine. All this was in harmony with what had been revealed to John regarding the Messiah. (Ibid., p. 110.)

After Jesus’ baptism


As the glory of God encircled Him, and the voice from Heaven was heard, John recognized the token which God had promised. He knew that it was the world’s Redeemer whom he had baptized. The Holy Spirit rested upon Him, and with out-­‐stretched hand pointing to Jesus, he cried, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ (Ibid., p. 112.)

None  among  the  hearers, and  not even  the  speaker himself, discerned  the  import of these words, ‘the Lamb of God’.   Upon Mount Moriah, Abraham had heard the question of his son,        ‘My Father, . . . where is the lamb for a burnt offering?’ The father answered ‘My son, God will provide Himself a lamb for the burnt offering’.  Gen. 22:7, 9.   And in the ram divinely provided in   the place of Isaac, Abraham saw a symbol of Him who was to die for the sins of men.  The Holy   Spirit  through  Isaiah,  taking  up  the  illustration,  prophesied  of  the  Savior,  ‘He  is  brought  as  a lamb to the slaughter’, ‘and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all’ (Isa. 53: 6,7); but the people of Israel had not understood the lesson.  (Ibid., pp. 112-­‐113.   Emphasis  supplied)


When at the baptism of Jesus, John pointed to Him as the Lamb of God, a new light was directed to the words of Isaiah—‘He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter’. Isa. 53:7. During the weeks that followed, John with new interest studied the prophecies and the teaching of the sacrificial service.  He did not distinguish clearly the two phases of Christ’s work (King=Lion)—as a suffering sacrifice (Lamb, Isa 53) and a conquering king (King=Lion),—but he saw that His coming had a deeper significance than priests or people had discerned.  (Ibid., pp.  136-­‐137.)

Of the vast throng at the Jordan, few except John discerned the heavenly vision. Yet the solemnity of the divine Presence rested upon the assembly. The people stood silently gazing upon Christ. His form was bathed in the light that ever surrounds the throne of God. His upturned face was glorified as they had never before seen the face of man. From the open heavens a voice was heard saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ (Ibid., p. 112.)

On the following day, while two disciples were standing near, John again saw Jesus among the people. Again the face of the prophet was lighted up with the glory from the Unseen, as he cried, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’ The words thrilled the hearts of the disciples. They did not fully understand them. What meant the name that John gave Him—‘the Lamb of God?” John himself had not explained it.  (Ibid., p. 138.)


During the preceding months of the Baptists ministry many had refused to heed the call to repentance. Thus they had hardened their hearts and darkened their understanding. (Ibid., p. 136.)

In vain had John the Baptist, with the heart searching power of the ancient prophets, called them to repentance. In vain had he, beside the Jordan, pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. God was seeking to direct their minds to Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering Savior, but they would not hear. (White, M.B., pp. 102.)

‘Lamb of God’ meant, that all the suffering implied in the title, He would endure as the representative of the Father.  (White, S.M., I, 385.)




As has been noted there is no consensus of opinion among scholars today as to John 1:29.


The Seventh-­‐day Adventist position includes the following points:


  1. The sacrifices of the Old Testament dispensation represented Christ and pointed forward to the sacrifice He was to
  2. The Jews departed from God and their worship through the sacrifices instituted by God became corrupt to the point of hindering people from finding


  1. The paschal service pointed backwards to the miraculous deliverance from Egypt and forward to deliverance from sin. It was only of value as long as it directed the people to Christ as their personal


  1. The lamb as an atoning sacrifice and the temple ritual all point to Christ and different aspects of the work of


  1. When the Savoir came the world was exceedingly corrupt and the people of God sought vengeance on their enemies through the coming Messiah—rather than deliverance from sin and a right relationship with


  1. John the Baptist, inspite of studying the Old Testament and having the aid of the Holy Spirit didn’t understand the work of the Messiah as a suffering


  1. John knew of Jesus and the events surrounding His birth, etc., and thought Him to be the Messiah, but he didn’t know for certain until after the baptism of Jesus when he saw the Holy Spirit descend in the form of a dove that Jesus was the Promised


  1. John spoke the words ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’ under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and not understanding what it meant he studied again the prophecies of the Old Testament and the sacrificial
  2. By calling Jesus the Lamb (amnos), God was attempting to point the people to the prophecy in Isa. 7, about the suffering work of the Messiah—but they didn’t want to understand.


  1. The title ‘Lamb of God’ (amnos) signified Jesus would endure all the suffering implied in that title, as the representative of the








The Meaning of Arnion


Leon Morris, after noting that the word used in Revelation to designate Christ as ‘the Lamb’ is arnion, and that the word used in the Gospel of John is amnos, writes, “There does not appear to be any real difference of meaning between to two.” (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971), p. 144, N. 45. (Hereinafter referred to as G.J.)) W. E. Vine, on the other hand, says


The contrast between arnion and amnos does not lie in the diminutive character of the former as compared with the latter. . . The contrast lies in the manner in which Christ is presented in the two respects. The use of amnos points directly to the fact, the nature and character of His sacrifice; arnion (only in the Apocalypse) presents Him, on the ground, indeed, of His sacrifice, but in His acquired majesty, dignity, honor, authority, and power. (Vine, p. 307.)


Dr. Vine here sees a difference that is built on a study of the message associated with the different worlds. We too feel there is a difference in the message borne by amnos and arnion. Ogden and Richards in The Meaning of Meaning also suggest that a word has no meaning apart from a context. (C.

  1. Ogden and I. A. Richards, The Meaning of Meaning, International Library of Psychology, Philosophy, and Scientific Method, ed. By C. K. Ogden (10th ed.; London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1923), pp. 9-­‐ 10.) Because we too feel that a word must be defined in regard to its use, we will begin our study of the Lamb in the Revelation by seeking to establish a probable meaning of the term arnion by studying it in the Septuagint of the Old Testament. This will be followed by a study of the structure of the Revelation

and a survey of what commentators are writing so that each ‘Lamb-­‐text’ may be considered in regard to its peculiar place in the Book, and its message studied in the final chapter of this thesis.


Amnos, as has been noted, occurs eighty-­‐two times in the Septuagint of the Old Testament, with seventy-­‐three of these occurrences being a direct reference to literal sacrifice.

Arnion, a diminutive form of arnos in pre-­‐New Testament times, (G. Mussies, The Morphology of Koine Greek as Used in the Apocalypse of St. John, Vol. XXVII:   Supplement to N.T. (Leiden:         E. J. Brill,


1971), pp. 108-­‐109, par. See Appendix D for Mussies statement in part.) occurs as arnos twenty-­‐ four times; all of which refer to literal animals, directly or indirectly. Of these twenty-­‐four occurrences, seven refer directly to sacrifice, while two have sacrificial associations.   (Hatch and Redpath, I, 159, list        26 texts but I only found the word in 24. See Appendix E for analysis.) The word which we are studying, arnion, occurs only four times:  ps. 114:4, 6, where the hills are said to skip like arnia probatōn; Jer.

11:19 where the prophet writes, “But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter; and I knew not what they had devised against me, . . .”; Jer. 50:45 (27:45 LXX), where we read that when the Lord turns against mighty Babylon she will be so weak “the least of the flock shall draw them out” (ta arnia tōn probatōn autōn); and Isa. 40:11 where we read of the Lord, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry then in his bosom, . . .”


In these four passages the word arnion is used as a symbolic term; as a term of comparison. The exact significance must be taken from the context. For example, in Jer. 11:19 the word is used as a symbol for the lack of total knowledge the prophet had in regard to his enemies’ schemes, while in Isa. 40:11 God’s kindness toward His people is described as His gathering the Lambs and carrying them gently.

In this brief study we have seen that Old Testament passages with amnos generally have a definite Christological value, and an association with sacrifice. We have also seen that arnion has a symbolic meaning which is drawn from the nature and life experience of a lamb; that the exact significance of the word must be provided by the context in which it appears.


We now turn to a study of structure of the Revelation.




A Brief look at some of the suggested structural systems of the apocalypse


Among the types of interpretation applied to the Book of Revelation in an attempt to understand that which it contains, are the Historico—eschatological, Literary—analysis, allegorical methods, and the Dramatic interpretations.


The Historico-­‐eschatological interpretations follow the assumption the author is dealing with a chronological scheme. This assumption is based in text like Revelation. 1:19 or 20:5-­‐10. According to  this thought the Book is either contemporary; dealing entirely with events surrounding John’s lifetime; futuristic, dealing  only with  ‘eschatological’ time  seen  in  three  stages—that which  just precedes, exists


during, and that which follows the 1,000 year period of Revelation 20, or, generally historical, meaning either that the author is believed to be giving a Divine overview of history and its meaning, or that he is writing predictions of unconnected future events to the end of time, or that he is writing of characteristic acts which God repeats through history in relation to His redemptive purpose, and men’s reactions to them.

The  literary-­‐analytical  approaches  generally  are  better  known  as  the  ‘scissors-­‐and-­‐paste’ method which sees in the various portions and shifts of the book the results of several  being synthesized    by an editor or editors, and further assumes the redactors have often misunderstood their original      sources. For an example of this type of analysis see Appendix F.


The allegorical methods date from the Alexandrian school of biblical interpretation, which is to say, from the second century. On the surface it would appear they are more useful here than in other portions of scripture as some text seem to be allegorical by their very nature; for example, Rev. 1:20; 12:9. In practice though the allegorical method is quite unhelpful due to there being no method of control which can uniformly regulate it.


Dramatic interpretations are hypothetical reconstructions resulting from the ‘recognition’ of the ‘highly dramatic style’ of John’s Book. According to this method the book naturally divides into seven parts, each with seven sub-­‐parts (this feature being common to most of the methods suggested). These major divisions are seen as seven Acts, each Act having seven Scenes, which structure is further declared      to be based directly on the stage productions of John’s time; particularly those of Ephesus.   (The      foregoing material is drawn, mostly, from John Wick Bowman, “Revelation, Book of,” The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, ed.  George Arthur Buttrick et. al., IV (1962),  58-­‐71.)


The above listed methods of interpretation are generally mixed together in their actual application to the Revelation. As the paper progresses it will become clear that the divisions listed in the table of contents are based on the major emphasis of the view under discussion and that in fact the different interpreters are often very similar in their approach to the problem of the structure of the Book differing most significantly in regard to the details of any particular system.

The literary-­‐analytical approaches that were quite influential in the past will, not be dealt with individually whereas “Today, . . . most exegetes take the position that Ap is ‘as a whole a work of strict composition and of magnificent completeness.’” (Elizabeth Fiorenza, “The Eschatology and Composition of the Apocalypse,”  The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, XXX (1968),  537-­‐569.


Basic to an interpretation or structure study of the Book of Revelation is the interpreter’s concept of revelation, inspiration, and illumination. Most of the authors we will review fail to give an explicit treatment of this question, leaving their understanding to be abstracted from what they write. Our first author, Dr. Austin Farrer, (Austin Farrer, A Rebirth of Images: The Making of St. John‘s Apocalypse (Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith, 1970.) is the lone exception. He tells us that the inspiration of John was that which comes from reading carefully and widely in the Old Testament, and other sources; then meditating and writings what “an intuitive instant sufficed to join.” (Ibid., p. 21.)  He further feels that “St. John even studies to inlay the plainer outline of his vision with riddles and mysteries so that his book may be an inexhaustible mine of truth for those who ponder it.” (Ibid., pp.

21-­‐22.) In Dr. Farrer’s words, John would tell anyone who interrupted him during his writings of the Revelation, “I am making my meditation on the Last Things.”       (Ibid., p. 23.)


This information was perhaps included in his book in order to help us be prepared to receive the structural hypothesis he was going to suggest. (Later in the book he seems to shift his position on inspiration.)

Dr. Farrer sees the Apocalypse “threaded upon several strands of continuous symbolism” stretched over a general “shape of the poem.” (Ibid., 91.) We will limit our discussion of Dr. Farrer’s thesis to describing this basic structure, and noting briefly the strands.


Dr. Farrer feels some of the Book’s structure is very obvious.  He sees chapters 1-­‐11  as constituting the first half of the book, containing three series of seven. The first of these series is the seven messages of chapter 1-­‐3;  the second series, chapters 4:1-­‐8:6,  is the seven unsealings, and the   third series is, of course, the seven trumpets.   He further suggests that whereas the first vision ‘falls on      the first of the week, the Lord’s day,” (Ibid., p. 37.) that the seven messages “spell out the favourite apocalyptic period, the symbolic week.” (Ibid.) He then remarks that the seven messages are not particularly related to the different days of the week, “except for the last (day), where the sabbath-­‐note   is unmistakably heard.   Here Christ, significantly named the Amen, . . . stands at the door and knocks,        and he may enter and sup with the true believer in a holy sabbath feast.”  (Ibid.)  He sees the basic     structure of each of the three series of seven following this development of six working days followed by        a sabbath, (Dr. Farrer doesn’t seem to be disturbed by suggesting that the week begins with the Lord’s       day and ends with the Sabbath, inspite of the many conflicts which result in his thesis as a result, such as   this one where he specifies the first day of the week as a work day because of the Sabbath rest—    experience coming at the end of the week, or on the seventh day of the week, in John’s work.) except


for a variation which shifts, temporarily, the sabbath experience from the seventh day to the first in the series of the seals by use of two ‘instructive visions’ between the sixth and the seventh seals which he feels constitute “a” seventh and “a” eighth day. The first intrusive vision, he feels, follows the sixth unsealing with a sabbatical pause, while the second intrusive vision “adds a spectacle of heavenly glory and final redemption, . . . to be understood, surely, as a Sunday-­‐vision.” (Ibid., pp. 39, 40.) This  ‘intrusion’ is followed by the seventh seal, or the seventh day of the series, which carries with it a reshifting of the emphasis concerning the sabbath experience to the seventh day for a “more modest sabbath.” (Ibid.)


This basic concept of chapters 1-­‐11 containing three series of seven and being approximately equal to half of the Book of Revelation causes Dr. Farrer to conjecture that the more difficult section of the book, chapters 12ff., which doesn’t have as obvious a structure pattern, is to be seen as a unit—the last half of the book—and that this unit will also contain three series of seven, giving the book a basic structural division of six; each being divided into seven. (Ibid., p. 45.) He feels this hypothesis is substantiated by the content of the Book which he sees as dividing itself as follows;

Section 1 – Seven Messages                                                    chps. 1-­‐3 (125 lines)


Section 2 – Seven Seals                                                              chps. 4-­‐7 (133 lines)


Section 3 – Seven Trumpets                                                     chps. 8-­‐11:14 (122 lines) Section 4 – (Unidentified section) Blank                                                      chps 11:15-­‐14 (144 lines) Section 5 – Seven Vials                                                                                     chps. 15-­‐18 (159 lines) Section 6 – (Unidentified section) Blank                                                      chps. 19-­‐22 (148 lines) (Ibid.)

Dr. Farrer summarizes this outline by noting “the two blanks are sections comparable with the others,” which means that St. John’s “whole work falls into six divisions.”  (Ibid., p. 46.)  The repetition of the same form through the book shows, according to Dr. Farrer, that the number interior to each series is a six of work-­‐days plus a sabbath. Therefore it is probable to him that the book is a sixfold work, which culminates in the sixth vision of the sixth series, which in fact gives way “at the seventh vision to the everlasting sabbath of God.” (Ibid., p. 59.) He therefore sees the whole book as built on the structure of the week, in a dual scheme which divides the week into six major sections plus a partial section, a would be seventh, each major section containing seven subdivisions which again represent the week.


He further states that these six major sections of the book represent the six days of creation week recorded in Genesis chapter one. He feels the evenings and mornings of Genesis 1 are delineated in the Revelation by the blank places in the series and/or the ‘unbalance’ of the series, seven being composed of a 3 plus 4 or 4 plus 3. The sequence followed in recording the creation story, for example earth, and sea on the third day, etc., is said to show the sequence of judgment-­‐activity in the Revelation. Following this principle the author states

We can now see why the series of the third day begins with earth, sea and waters instead of light, heaven and earth, and we can see why in the fourth day the order of the first four is reversed: luminaries, waters, sea, earth, instead of earth, sea, waters, luminaries. (Ibid., p.  66.)


To review, this is to say the book is divided into six sections, each of which represents a day.

Thus day one is chapters 1-­‐3, days two is chapters 4-­‐7, etc. When Dr. Farrer states “we can now see why the series of the third day begins with earth, sea and waters instead of light, heaven and earth,” he is pointing out that the judgments recorded in Rev. 8:1-­‐11:14 are recorded in the third section of the Revelation which is to be identified with the third day of creation week and that the things to be judged receive judgment under the order of their recorded creation, each separate item  receiving  its judgment from an angel with a vial.   Hence the first angel of Rev. 8 sounds and the earth is affected.   When the   second angel sounds the sea is affected, etc. A quote from Dr. Farrer will draw this together. “From our investigations, then, it results that the Apocalypse consists of six evenings and mornings, plus a final sabbath eve (xxiff.)” with “the creation-­‐works regularly disposed through their proper days, . . . “ (Ibid.,  For outline see Appendix   G.)

Dr. Farrer feels the six ‘days’ of John’s Book deal with a period of time, though they do not seem to him to represent the six ages of world history. He feels they deal with the “little while” which was to elapse between the first appearing of Christ and the second. He feels this period of time was conceived of as being very short, by John, “less than one hundred years.” (Ibid., p. 67.)  The first five ‘days’ of John’s Book therefore occur during this period while the sixth is a 1,000 years, the millennium.


It follows from this that St. John‘s six ‘days’ are grossly disproportionate to one another. . . . A striking disproportion, yet nothing compared with the disproportion of the sixth to what follows it; for what are a thousand years to the days of eternity. (Ibid.)

Onto and through this basic design Dr. Farrer sees John threading additional strands centering around certain themes. The author feels the Jewish festal calendar represented the movement, in


symbol, of the people (eschatology) toward their ultimate destiny. He therefore sees John, as a Jew, weaving this movement into the Revelation, spreading it over a four-­‐cornered year.  Dr. Farrer then  states “Each section of his book represents the feasts of a single quarter (Dr. Farrer here appears to overlook the fact he has established the Book has six sections, while a quartered year, of course, has only four.) and yet (we now discover) within each section he flies around all four quarters not only once, but twice or three times.” (Ibid., p. 215.)  We can now understand why Dr. Farrer remarks that “the seven term cycle does not simply repeat itself; it becomes elaborated and modified with each repetition,

. . .”  (Ibid., p. 37.)


Dr. Farrer also sees multiple Old Testament typology and the scheme of Christ’s prophecy, joined with the astrological signs to make other strands which are likewise stretched over and through John’s basic structure. He then asks the significant question, “if John is keeping so many concerns in mind, . . . how can he move at all and how can he keep his pattern firm?” (Ibid., p. 305.) Dr. Farrer suggests the answer is found in seeing John working his themes around a diamond shaped diagram. He suggests John

. . . makes each movement by working round the diagram: each such movement, or group of such movements, is a day in the week, a quarter of the year, and so on. . . The diagram, as St. John comes back over it, retains the enrichments of meaning with which the previous movements have overlaid it. These afford materials for the fresh movements and give rise to that continually varied embellishment of a standing cyclic pattern which is the literary miracle of the apocalypse. (Ibid., p. 307.  For a copy of Dr. Farrer’s suggested structure in final diagrammatic form see Appendix H.)

In concluding this discussion of Dr. Farrer’s hypothesis it must be noted that he feels the Apocalypse is a divine work which deals with the work of judgment. “. . . it is judgment which had the sixfold pattern of the working days, and always on the sixth day there is the culmination of judgment.” (Ibid., p. 259.)


However distant we may be from Jewish ways of thought, we are presumably able to appreciate the naturalness to a Jewish mind of conceiving the work of judgment which accomplishes the world as a week of divine labors.  In six days God made the world, in six he is to fulfill it:  and that will bring in the World to Come, the sabbath in which not only God Himself, but also the saints will rest; . . . (Ibid., p. 66. For a brief description of the historical background of Dr.


Farrer’s type of approach see R. H. Charles, Studies in the Apocalypse (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1913), pp. 50-­‐54.  Since publishing The Rebirth of Images Dr. Farrer has changed his ideas in  regard to the structure of the Apocalypse and now suggests that the sequence of Mark 13 is    decisive for the thematic development of the Revelation, and as a result he ignores the structure inherent to the Apocalypse.   Cf. Austin Farrer, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (Oxford,     1964), reviewed briefly in Elizabeth Fiorenza “The Eschatology and Composition of the    Apocalypse,” The  Catholic Biblical Quarterly, XXX  (1968), 553, n.    82.)

The next suggested structure design is based on the premise the Apostle adapted the form of a stage play to give himself a guide to writing his work. This author, Dr. John W. Bowman, (John Wick Bowman, “The Revelation to John: Its Dramatic Structure and Message,” Interpretation, IX (1955), 436-­‐ 453.) does not think John ever intended, or had real hope, that his work would be enacted upon the stage but that “the Graeco-­‐Roman stage suggested to him a new dramatic form in which to cast the gospel message which it was his wish to present.”  (Ibid., p. 449.)  As one conceives of a stage production and all the backdrops and other things used to make the message, which is distinctly separate from the props, easily understood, one can understand the author’s strong insistence that the form of the book and its contents are “inextricably combined and that it is due to a misunderstanding relative to the nature of the book’s dramatic form that so many fantastic interpretations have been made of its teachings.” (Ibid., p. 440.) He sees John’s ‘drama’ as having seven acts, each being composed of seven scenes.  (Dr. Bowman presents a comparative outline of four other scholars who also observe a sevenfold pattern. See Appendix I.) He also, along with many others, see great significance in John’s repeated use of the number seven, “representing perfection to the Semitic mind.” (Ibid., p. 444.) Dr. Bowman accordingly feels that it was the Apostle’s aim, therefore, to set forth the complete purpose of God for human history in a sevenfold drama. As a result Dr. Bowman, like many other writers struggling with this topic, suggests that the sevenfold structure so obvious in some portions of the book should be sought in the sections more structurally ambiguous.

He suggests then that “after the manner of the Greek and Latin dramatists from Euripides and Plantus onward, as well as some of the Hebrew prophetic rhapsodies,” (Ibid., p. 445.) John would probably have included a prologue and an epilogue along with stage settings surrounding the different ‘scene’s’ he has to present. He also suggests that John’s use of the ‘drama’ is complete enough that one may expect to be able to find the organization and arrangement of John’s material organized to follow the standard state arrangement of his time. He feels John is particularly following the stage at Ephesus.


Dr. Bowman begins applying these hypotheses to the book by pointing out chapter 1:7, 8 is to be viewed as a prologue while 22:6-­‐20 is the epilogue. He even details elements in these sections that he feels fit exactly the Graeco-­‐Roman drama. He then notes the sevenfold division of the main body of the Book; each division he assigns the value of an Act, and each Act he divides into seven scenes.

This division follows the obvious sections of John’s subject in the four areas where John’s subject matter naturally divided itself. In the three sections where the Apostle’s material was not concerned with the sevenfold subject Dr. Bowman finds the divisions by making the works eidon, hora, and deizo soi and/or deizo moi designate the sections. He feels John “has signalized the change of scene” (Ibid., p. 447.) by using these terms.


Dr. Bowman now introduces another element into the structure hypothesis which he has been developing; he suggests chapter 14:1-­‐5 is the exact midpoint of the Book and that all which precedes it points up to it and all that is subsequent falls away.   One would therefore expect him to see certain   parallels between Acts 1 and 7, 2 and 6, and 3 and 5.  He does in fact see strong parallels between Act’s  three and five, but he draws most of the ‘parallels’ based in Act four from Revelation 14 rather than from the whole Act, which includes 11:19-­‐14:20; 15:2-­‐4. He therefore fails to explain in what manner the acts and scenes preceding the climax of the book that he sees in 14:1-­‐5 build up to it, or how those acts and scenes which come after it fall away. It is hard to imagine any climax so great that a description of “The Fulfilling of God’s seven-­‐fold plan (20:11-­‐22:5)” (See Appendix J, Act 7.) could be described as falling away from it! (For an outline of Dr. Bowman’s structure see Appendix J. For Dr. Waterhouse’s  variation  of this outline  see  Appendix K.

In dividing the Book into seven sections (Acts) the author does not overlook the fact many scholars have seen some of these portions as disruptive to the sevenfold character of the Apocalypse. He makes his divisions in such a way that these ‘disruptive’ passages are left standing “between every one of the acts as now outlined . . . and nowhere else!” (Ibid., p. 447.) The locating of these passages between the Acts in his structural hypothesis causes Dr. Bowman to declare they contain “scenic data” which forms the background for the stage Acts John has constructed.  He feels all of these scenic data are taken from the furnishings of the temple at Jerusalem. “If we replace respectively, the skene, prothyron, and proskenion with the sanctuary (or Holy of Holies), the paraskenia with the Great White Throne and the twenty-­‐four thrones of the twenty-­‐four elders arranged in semicircular fashion on either side of it, the customary pagan alter . . . with the altar of sacrifice, and then as occasion requires conceive of the other furnishings mentioned . . . as introduced onto the cosmic stage, we appear to have


in these apparently enigmatic sections the required stage furniture for John’s cosmic drams.” (Ibid., p. 449.) When there is action in these same sections Dr. Bowman terms it “background action” which he sees as part of the stage setting.

In concluding this section it must be noted Dr. Bowman declares “John’s book is constructed . . .     on a twofold plan; viz., that of both a drama and a letter.” (Ibid., p. 444.) This declaration regarding the epistolary character of John’s work isn’t to be considered as an integral part of his structure hypothesis however as he quickly adds “This is found only in 1:4-­‐6 and 22:21. When these verses are set aside the rest of the Apocalypse reveals itself as a nicely conceived drama presented in the form of vision.”  (Ibid.)


Robert Thomas in an article entitled “Johns Apocalyptic Outline” (Robert L. Thomas, “John’s Apocalyptic Outline,” Bibliotheca Sacra, 123 (Oct. – Dec. 1966), 334-­‐341.) introduces the suggested structure we will examine next by noting “Of all the keys for unlocking the mysteries of John’s Apocalypse, there is probably no more frequently suggested one than Revelation 1:19. It has been stated time and again that this verse contains the inspired outline of the book, . . .” (Ibid., p. 334.) Dr. Thomas is here referring to the words spoken to John when he was told to write ha eides kai ha eisin kai ha mellei genesthai meta tauta, which commission resulted in the Book of Revelation which we have today. Even if one assumes these words to designate the contents of the book the method of applying them to arrive at a literary structure varies among interpreters. There are three basic interpretations. The first sees the book as being composed of one unbroken division.  A second way of interpreting 1:19 is to take the words to depict two divisions in the Apocalypse, and the third (obviously?!) is to see the words of 1:19 as dividing the Apocalypse into three separate sections.

The first view, that the phrase ‘the things you saw’ sums up the whole book while the phrases ‘the things which are’, and ‘the things which shall be hereafter’ interpret the first phrase, has some basic weaknesses, pointed out by Dr. Thomas. First it means one must translate the words kai ha eisin as ‘and what they are’, making the phrase to read, “write therefore the things which thou sawest, and what they are, even the things which shall shortly come to pass”. While this translation is possible in English it “gives the false impression that the interrogative pronoun tina is used rather than the relative pronoun ha. . . .”  (Ibid., p. 335.)


Another possibility is to take the ‘what you saw’ phrase proleptically, letting the other two phrases again explain it. The unlikelihood of this interpretation is seen as soon as one reads verse 19 and notes the three time designations set forth by the Apostle; and aorist, the present, and the future.


In a series like 1:19 presents, with clauses evenly connected by kai, and the fact of the progression in time, any proleptic designation of the aorist must be viewed as artificial.


The second view of 1:19 takes the words ha eides and ha mellei genesthai meta tauta as parallel expressions with ha eisen being a definition of ha eides. The Book is thus seen as composed of two parts; things present (Rev. 1-­‐3)  and things future (Rev. 4-­‐22).  The text is then translated “the things  which you saw, even what they represent, and the things which are to happen after these things.” Here again the natural structure of the Greek is ignored; only the first kai, in what is an obvious series, is taken ascensively.  This view also overlooks the very obvious future sense of the verbal phrase.  Neither is it good scholarship to translate eisin in 1:19 as ‘represent’, even though it carries this sense in 1:20, because it is in a series in 1:19.  Also due to the very frequent occurrence of the forms of eimi it is useless to argue its meaning on the basis of comparative context; particularly when in 1:19 it is preceded by the aorist and followed by the future; none of which is true in 1:20. Dr. Thomas therefore concludes “Thus the division of the book into two parts on the basis of the outline in 1:19 must be rejected, . . .”  (Ibid., p. 339.)

The third possibility (the “last possibility” to Dr. Thomas) is to see 1:19 as designating three   separate  divisions of the  Apocalypse.   These  three  divisions would  be  the  historical (ha eides), the present (ha eisin), and the future (ha mellai genesthai meta tauta).   This seems to be, Dr. Thomas feels,     the “most natural way of understanding the Greek terminology, when the relative pronoun occurs three times in an identical form with the three forms connected by kai in a perfectly symmetrical arrangement.” (Ibid.) The three divisions would be chapter 1, especially verses 11-­‐18, ha eides; chapters 2 and 3, ha eisin; chapters 4-­‐22, ha mellei genesthai meta tauta. To the objection the major portion of the book is assigned to one division Dr. Thomas simply replies that the major portion of the     book is about the future, and that this is properly (cf. 1:1 ha dei genesthai) John’s subject. Dr. Thomas concludes this analysis by saying “The only defensible conclusion, therefore, would appear to be that     which sees in Revelation 1:19 a reference to three distinct sections in the book: one having to do with        the past, another with the present, and a third with the future.” (Ibid., p. 341. For a very brief critical appraisal of this composition of the Apocalypse, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, XXX (1968), 540, n. 22.)


While Dr. Thomas is an emminent scholar, we would like to suggest he has failed to take note of the most obvious meaning of 1:19 and that which we feel, fits most clearly with the context of the events being related in chapter one. The verse under discussion is in fact John’s commission. When the angel told John to write what he saw, and things which are, and things which are to occur after these


things, it was in the context of the experience John was given and is therefore simply a way of saying write down all of your experience in the Book; begin with the beginning, and was in fact important enough to the angel to be repeated (1:11, 19; 14:13; 19:9; 21:5).

We now will deal with the structure of the book from various aspects of content analysis. The first writer, Richard Moulton, (Richard G. Moulton, A Short Introduction to the Literature of the Bible (Boston:  D. c. Heath and Co., 1909).  (Hereinafter referred to as Moulton.)) declares the Revelation to be poetry which he feels combines “creative literature, with imaginative scenes and incidents used by the prophets as a vehicle for conveying the Divine message with which they feel themselves inspired.” (Ibid., p. 313.) He sees the book as exhibiting two characteristics peculiar to the Hebrew literary forms; first the sevenfold division and subdivision, and secondly, the tendency to place the climax of the poem at its center rather than at the conclusion. (Ibid., p. 315.) He sees another basic design which not only makes progression toward and away from a center, but which in addition sees the supporting segments as being structured in parallel though they do not seem to be seen by him as being in series.

The seven visions, it must be understood, are not bound together by temporal secession; each displays a world process complete in itself. So this contest between the world and Christ must be traced through all its seven stages.  (Ibid., p. 323.)


But “The fifth vision supplements back to the third: . . . as the fifth vision points back to the third, so does the sixth to the second; . . .” (Ibid., p. 325.)

This analysis can be diagrammed thus:  (Ibid., p. 315.)




Salvation:  The Kingdom of the world becoming The Kingdom of the Christ

(4)  xi 19-­‐xv 4                             (4)


The seven trumpets:                  The seven golden bowls; judgment imperfect                                        judgment consumated and and the mystery of                                     the mystery of Babylon. prophecy.

(3)  viii 5-­‐xi                 18                (5)  xv 5-­‐xix 4                            


The seven seals;                                                         The Word of God;

judgment potential;                                                   judgment enthroned.

(2)  vii5-­‐xi   18                                                               (6)  xix 5-­‐xx                                



The sealed Book and                                                                                     The Lamb’s Bride

the Lamb.                                                                                                          and the New Jerusalem.

(1)  iv-­‐v                                                                                                               (7)  xxi-­‐xxi  5                              




We have before us, then, a seven fold vision, prefaced by addresses to the seven churches, with an apilogue of seven last words; the seven visions rising one out of the other like dissolving views; . . . while in the central vision of the seven is to be sought the foundation truth (This same passage was earlier seen by the author as a climax of the work.) upon which the whole is to rest. (Ibid., p. 317.

The significance of such a structure to one’s interpretation is quite apparent, if it does in fact accurately portray the arrangement of the content of the apocalypse.


Finally, the author feels that when John writes that “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10.) he is indication to us a “notable literary feature of the book.” (Moulton,

  1. 316.) The Revelation, Dr. Moulton notes, is full of symbols, almost all of which are drawn from associations with the prophecy of the past. This means that the interpreter who seeks the meaning of a symbol “must draw in all its echoes from the prophetic literature of the old dispensation; before he has attained the fullness of its significance,” (Ibid.) then seek to determine which segment of the Book it occurs in and that segments relationship to the other segments, and any new applications in John’s work, to understand its message.


Edith Hoyt (Edith Armstrong Hoyt, Studies in the Apocalypse of John of Patmos (Ann Arbor, Michigan: Edward’s brothers, Inc., 1959).) builds on Moulton, apparently having been a student of his. She accepts his literary hypothesis regarding the structure of the Apocalypse. She adds as emphasis that whatever the actual process of composition the Book of Revelation has come down to us as “the most nearly complete literary expression in all literature” having “perfect unity and perfect harmony of . . . structure.” (Ibid., p. 6.) Mrs. Hoyt’s contribution to an attempt to understand the Revelation, partially through an understanding of its structural arrangement, is her declaration that the Apocalypse was written in code, that it was a “secret literature that could be understood only by those who understood the code.  This shows how wrong it is to try to understand it literally.  It has no literal meaning.” (Ibid.,

  1. ) She sees the Apostle as “recording the steps of spiritual growth and victory.” (Ibid., p. 4.) She therefore concludes that the Revelation is fascinating and intricate; that it deals with types of thought


“and is in every sense an individual experience” that can be realized as one understands existentially the Old Testament sanctuary. (Ibid. For diagrammatic outline see Appendix  L.)


Dr. Milton Terry (Milton S. Terry, The Apocalypse of John in The Bible as Literature, Edited by Richard G. Moulton, et al. New York: Thomas Y. Cromwell Company, 1896.) also bases his structural hypothesis on an analysis of the content of the Revelation, differing from the other authors we have reviewed thus far by forming his division of the Apocalypse around what he feels are themes peculiar to portions of John’s work.


The first portion of the Apocalypse he sees as being built around a revelation of the Lamb of God, under various symbols, and His work as Revealer of Divine mysteries such as the reward of the saints and the judgments of the wicked. The second part of the Book is seen as centering around the theme of the Church and its conflicts and suffering in the battle with evil, concluding with the Church glorified.


He feels these two sections are not a chronological sequel but are rather a repetition of the same message with a different emphasis which “serves to deepen the impression, and give assurance that the matter is established of God, and destined shortly to come to pass. . . .” (Ibid., p. 355.)


Dr. Terry concludes that the Book is “divisible into two nearly equal parts, the first of which has three subdivisions and the second seven.”  (Ibid., p. 346.)


This proposition is outlined as follows: (Ibid.)


  1. The Revelation of the Lamb, chps. 1-­‐


  1. In the Epistles to the seven churches, 1-­‐


  1. In the opening of the seven seals, 4-­‐


  1. In the sounding of the seven trumpets, 8-­‐


  1. The Revelation of the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife, chps. 12-­‐


  1. The woman and the Dragon,


  1. The two Beasts,


  1. The sevenfold triumph,


  1. The seven last plagues, 15,


  1. Babylon the Great Harlot, 17-­‐19:


  1. The seven Fold Millennial conflict and triumph, 19:11-­‐21:


  1. Jerusalem the glorious Bride, 21:9-­‐


Elizabeth Fiorenza (Elizabeth Fiorenza, “The Eschatology and Composition of the Apocalypse,” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, XXX (1968), 537-­‐569.) is another writer who bases her comments on an analysis of the internal content of the Apocalypse, which she sees as being borrowed by John from Jewish Apocalyptic and other traditions of his time. She feels he works these into an independent literary form which he uses to set forth a personal theological conception, (Ibid., p. 538.) with which he seeks to encourage his fellow Christians to be faithful in spite of persecution. She feels he does this by assuring them of the nearness of the “final eschatological salvation.” (Ibid., p. 539.)  Therefore we are not surprised to find her suggesting that the ecclesiology and eschatology of the Book determine its structure.  This two-­‐fold emphasis she sees as being set forth in a threefold theme:  (1) the   establishment of the Kingdom of God and Christ in judgment of the world; (2) the imminent expectation of the end; (3) the prophetic interpretation of the present situation of the Christian community. This threefold structure is seen as pervading the entire Book, though there are also several other themes within the sub-­‐sections.


The first division of the Book according to this thematic structure is the first three chapters.

Mrs. Fiorenza feels the fact that the recipients of the letter are designated, and that they number seven means that John is intending his work to be understood as for the Church in Asia Minor; which churches represent the whole Christian community due to their numbering seven, and therefore the messages are not to be understood as individual letters but proclamations of Christ to the whole church regarding the setting up of the Kingdom of God in judgment on the world. (See Appendix M, Sections I, II)


The second section of the book chapters 4-­‐16, has as its theme “The ‘little while’ which separates the present time from the eschatological future.” (Ibid., p. 563.) These chapters are further divided around a two-­‐fold theme, based in the two visions of the scrolls in chapters 5 and 10. The first scroll is said to be structured around the “heavenly-­‐transcendent event of the intermediate time in its effects upon the world” (Ibid., p. 567.) while the small scroll of chapters 10:1-­‐15:5 “contains the prophetic words about the ‘little while’ of the activity of the dragon and the two witnesses,” (Ibid., p. 564.) and has as its theme “the situation of the priestly-­‐kingly community.” (Ibid., p. 567.)  This section  is said to “form a closed unity and constitute the formal center of Ap.”   (Ibid.)   Both scrolls are said to   deal with the same time period, but from  different     viewpoints.


The third section of the book according to Mrs. Fiorenza is the eschatological section and is divided into two parts: a prologue (21-­‐8) and the vision of the New Jerusalem (21:9-­‐22:5). She sees the first section and the third sections of the Book as being closely linked. Both sections, she notes, contain promises and an admonition, plus the promise of reigning for ever and ever of 22:5 is seen as having       been hinted at in 1;6; thus the image of the redeemed is present in both.   She further notes that the   Church which is portrayed in the first three chapters as being “under the protection and under the judgment of her Lord who speaks to her through the Spirit” is presented as perfect in 21:1-­‐22:5.    (Ibid.,

  1. 563.) She therefore concludes that the Apostle has arranged his material in such a way that he “builds a bridge from the ‘now’ of the community to that eschatological future announced in the Spirits’ promises for the victorious;” (Ibid.) the result being that the theme of the “eschatological community of salvation” is present in all three divisions of the Book.


Mrs. Fiorenza feels that in actual composition the Apocalypse “consists of pieces arranged one after the other, all of which climax in a description of the final eschatological event,” but this is not to be understood as describing a “continuous way from the beginning to the final eschatological judgment and salvation.” (Ibid., p. 555.) The Apostle is not seen by Mrs. Fiorenza as being concerned with giving a report of visions or the meaning of history, but rather he is concerned, she feels, with bringing a “prophetic message to the Christian communities” (Ibid., p. 562.) that deals with the meaning and the end of the suffering being experienced by that community. (Ibid., p. 557.)  Hence she concludes “The goal and the high point of the whole book, . . . is the final judgment and the eschatological salvation.” (Ibid., p. 555.  For an outline see Appendix M.)


The last suggested reconstruction of the Revelation based on interior analysis to be considered here is that of Raymond J. Loenertz, (R. J. Loenertz, The Apocalypse of Saint John (London: Sheed & Ward, 1967).) who sees the body of the Book beginning at chapter 1, verse 9, and ending at chapter 22, verse 5. He feels this main section is preceded by a title, and initial salutation, and a prologue, and followed by a ‘reply to the title’, an epilogue and final salutation.


The body of the Book is divided into two parts according to Dr. Loenertz.  This two fold division is based on the two statement s of John in 1:10 and 4:2 that he was in the Spirit. He sees these two sections as being two ‘ecstasys’ of identical structure in spite of their large difference in size. One of the general factors bringing about this sameness is their “unity of time, of place and of action.” (Ibid., p. x.) By unity of time he means the vision is presented as being continuous; by unity of place he means John was viewing things from the Heavenly viewpoint—whether those events were occurring in Heaven or


somewhere else—and by unity of action, the author means that to John “It is like an allegorical drama   played within the scenery of the basic vision wherein the seer, too, plays a part as an actor.” (Ibid.) This element of the ‘continuity of action’ makes the author see 1:9-­‐3:22 as a unit, but one which obviously doesn’t fit the basic seven hypothesis, which he favors; the section 1:9-­‐20 is not structured like chapters 2 and 3 which contain the messages to the seven churches. Further, the author sees section 1:9-­‐20 as a preamble to the next two chapters of the Book. He therefore breaks this passage of three chapters into 1:9-­‐20,  and 2:1-­‐3:22.   He then notes that 2:1-­‐3:22  is composed of seven parts “which grouping imparts  to the whole the stamp of the sacred number.”   (Ibid., p. xi.)   This basic structure of a preamble followed    by a section of seven he feels is the plan on which the Book is built and designates it as “scheme 1 plus        7.”  (Ibid.)


Dr. Loenertz then notes that the seven great sections of the Book, (The seven message to the churches, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven signs in heaven, seven vials, seven heavenly voices, and the seven visions of the end. Ibid., p. xiii.) are subdivided into eight parts according to the 1 plus 7 scheme. (Ibid., p. xiii.) He takes those section, which the various authors we have reviewed have dealt with as not fitting the ‘normal’ sevenfold sequence, and assigns them the value of a prologue to the sevenfold passage which follows them.  For example the section of the seven seals is said to be preceded by the ‘prologue’ of chapters 4 and 5 while, again, the passage of the seven trumpets has for a preliminary chapter 8 verses 1-­‐6, and likewise the seven vials are preceded by chapter 15:1 through chapter 16:1. Dr. Loenertz then states that the preliminary sections to those passages where the connection isn’t explicit can be established by analogy. (Ibid., p. xiv.)

The arrangement interior to the section is explained as being equal to the equation 6 plus 77. (Ibid., p. xv.) This is explained as meaning that there is a running connection between the different sections which are to be seen as “joints” rather than divisions. This means that a sevenfold division is first introduced by a preliminary section which gives the formula 1 plus 7. The section represented by the seven is in reality 6 parts plus a seventh part, which can be constructed 6 plus 7. This seventh portion is seen as serving two functions; first, it completes the septenary of which it is the seventh part, the second, it acts as the preliminary to the sevenfold portion to follow, hence Dr. Loenertz’s designation of it as a joint. By virtue of this linking effect, called dovetailing by our author, a ‘complete’ section includes a preliminary section, the first six parts of the septenary, the seventh part, or joint, and the seven sections which follow; hence the 6 plus 77 formula. He illustrates this principle by drawing


our attention to the septenary of the seals, the seventh of which brings forth the seven trumpets, the last of which leads into the series of the heavenly signs, etc.


Before concluding Dr. Loenertz’ analysis of the characteristics of this aspect of the Apocalypse’ construction, one more feature must be discussed. The inner subdivision of some septenaries appears to be arranged around a 4 plus 3 or a 3 plus 4 formula. (Ibid., p. xvii.) This is quite noticeable when one thinks for instance of the seven seals, the first four of which are four housemen while the last three contain visions of much activity, etc. He remarks concerning this fact “The reasons for this strange procedure may not be apparent, but we are none the less bound to see in it something intentional, conscious and deliberate.”  (Ibid., p. xviii.)

‘Intercalation and the scheme A-­‐B-­‐A1 (Ibid., p. xix.) is the last characteristic noted in this book regarding the structure of the Apocalypse. Intercalation is, of course, the repetition at the end of a passage of an emphasis that was given prominence at the beginning of that passage. The A-­‐B-­‐A1 formulation is used by the author to designate the fact the Apostle writes in two places of what is really

one event or episode, with a scene (B) inserted between. “He thus required us to see the combined passage A-­‐B-­‐A1   as an indivisible whole so as to avoid separating from one another the two fragments (a    A and A1) of a single scene.” (Ibid. The danger of separating scene A1 from scene A is in fact very remote due to the obvious connection between the two which the author noted. The reason for this construction is perhaps rather to help the reader understand that scene B is part of the scene sequence; a connection which would not be obvious from internal content alone, but which is made clear from its placement between the obviously connected portions, hence the A-­‐B-­‐A1        formula.)

Another explanation of this particular device in the Revelation would be that John is not concerned with our failure to see that two parts, which would be joined if there wasn’t ‘foreign’ material between them, were in reality all part of a whole but rather that the material that is apparently foreign was in fact placed between two obviously related pieces to show it was also an integral part of the whole in spite of its apparent foreignness. Thus A-­‐B-­‐A1  scheme makes clear a unity of materials that  would otherwise be seen as disjunctives.


Moving away from suggested structures based on internal analysis brings us to Dr. Erdman (Charles R. Erdman, The Revelation of John (Philadelphia: The Westminister Press, 1936).) who suggests that the outline was based on numbers; he feels “the number seven is formative as are its component numbers, 3 and 4.” (Ibid., p. 25.) He also thinks, as do the majority of other writers, that the Apocalypse


has seven major sections plus a prologue and an epilogue. Those portions of the Book which don’t fit a sevenfold structure he sees as ‘intermediate sections’ which serve to fill out the message presented. He sees each series of seven being arranged on a 3 plus 4 or 4 plus 3 basis. (For details, see above, p. 120).

The next observation he makes is that the visions are not successive in order of time, but rather that they are characterized by ‘repetition and review’. “The scenes presented are parallel at least in part.”  (Ibid., p. 26.)  As an example of this principle he notes,


Thus the sixth seal seems to reach the very end of the age; but with the opening of the seventh seal there is a pause, and the seven trumpets go back in time to the events under a portion of the earlier seals. (Ibid.)

As an example of those passages which are not entirely parallel he notes, for example, the seals cover one third of the earth while the bowls effect it all. He therefore concludes that the purpose of the repetition is that it leads to a climax, the one end goal of the Book.


The author next notes that though “fact, contrast, and repetition and climax are evident features in the literary structure of the book . . . the most conspicuous feature is that of symmetry.” (Ibid., p. 27.) This symmetry is seen in the seven messages to the churches, all of which contain a description of the church’s present need and peril. It is again seen in the fact the Book begins and ends with the Church being the central object; at first imperfect and at the conclusion-­‐climax, glorified. Dr. Erdman sees this same harmony and order in the central section which he sees as containing two pairs of sections, each with its respective theme while the fifth section, standing alone, assures the fulfillment of the themes of the two paired sections, the predicts the glorious victory which is seen in chapters 21, 22 as the climax of the Book.


To conclude this discussion of the possible structure patterns of the Revelation we have perhaps    the  most  unusual  discussion  of  the  structure  of  the  Apocalypse  that  I  have  found  thus  far;  that  of Eugene Peterson. (Eugene H Peterson, “Apocalypse: The Medium is the Message,” Theology Today, XXVI (Apr. 1969-­‐Jan.  1970), 133-­‐141.)   He states “the Apocalypse is non-­‐literary in its inception,”    (Ibid.,

  1. 135.) having been written only after it was seen and heard. Even then he believes John intended the blessing to be received by those who read it out loud and those who heard it read. (Rev. 1:3 quoted). “It is an oral construct of visual, auditory, and tactile material.” (Ibid.) He sees the Book as theological poetry which was intended to be ‘said or sung’. “The creation and the construction take place in the milieu of the senses.” (Ibid.) He then notes “What happens in the Apocalypse is that the frightening,


disintegrative effects of evil (persecution, death, suffering, etc.) are reversed by the imaginative reconstruction of a universe in which the senses are used to bring about participation and a sense of totality. . . . Communication is established. God’s voice and man’s ears are united.” (Ibid., p. 137.) Mr. Peterson then notes some passage where the hearing and seeing are connected in the Apocalypse, as in 1:12. He feels this understanding of much ‘sound’ is what gives such significance to silence that when it occurs it is specifically noted by John, as in 8:1.  When “the incusion of violent evil” is set forth by the four horsemen of the seals, it is countered by “the feel of the righteous, victorious multitude in chapter seven. The mass numbers provide a sensory response of victory. The effect of the numbers . . . on a sensorily alive person is to extend his feeling of God’s protection and victory in the face of pressing evil.” (Ibid., p. 138.)


The author then notes that this understanding of the Revelation is not meant to replace or obscure the obvious need of understanding mind when reading the Apocalypse by referring to Rev. 13:18 and 17:9. He then concludes that the Books basic impact through the centuries has been “basically sensory rather than mental. Men have not gotten new ideas out of the Apocalypse they have found new feelings.” (Ibid., p. 140. As part of his conclusion Mr. Peterson remarks that this is the one book where T. V.-­‐trained people have the advantage over book-­‐trained pastors and theologians!)    Hence, if we are to properly understand, the Book of Revelation we must read it aloud or hear it read, according to Mr. Peterson.


Summary and Evaluation


The views regarding the structural arrangement of the Book of Revelation and the relation of such structure to the message are as numerous as the writers. It is sometimes said of the opponent in sports, “he is the kind of player who can make you look bad.” This seems to be very true of the Apocalypse. Before its divinely inspired message the finely developed theories of the best critical scholars look bad. I believe the basic reason for this is the failure of would-­‐be expositors to start with John’s clear statements. John states “I saw,” “I heard,” and “He said to me . . . ,” etc. Expositors have failed to start by accepting that aspect of John’s work as being worthy of serious consideration, choosing rather to assign their own evaluations as to the source and ‘inspiration’ under which John wrote.

Regarding the results of this type of treatment E. Lohmeyer wrote in 1934, “There are few primitive Christian writings which as a whole and in detail have received so much attention and yet seem to remain untouched in regard to the secret of their meaning and history.” This statement is still true


today, even among many Seventh-­‐day Adventists, who in face have a great advantage, when attempting to interpret the Revelation, in the Spirit of Prophecy.


When Mrs. White wrote that the Revelation reveals the position, dangers, conflicts, and the final deliverance of the church (White, G.C., p. 341.) we know what the theme of the Book is; when she adds John wrote that the church might be instructed concerning the perils and conflicts before them, (Ibid., p. 342.) we know the purpose for which, the Revelation was given, and when we read that the judgment message of chapter 14 and its connected messages is followed by the coming of the Son of Man, (White, C.O.L., pp. 227-­‐228.) we have a clue to the structure of one of the more nebulous portions of the Book. Finally, when Mrs. White writes that when the Revelation is properly understood there will be reformation in the Church, (White, T.M., p. 118.) we know the result the study is intended to produce—a personal relationship with the One who is Lord of all and Who reveals Himself in the conflict with evil and the “deceptions” of the Devil.”  (White, G.C., p. 342.)

These statements help us to select from the many good ideas reviewed above and find the structure and message which make the Book a blessing, as it was intended to be.


On the basis of our study of the authors reviewed above and the afore mentioned statements by Mrs. White, we submit the following analysis of the basic structure of the Revelation.


1:1 – 5:14                Introduction to Issues of Book

1:1-­‐3                            Prologue  (1:1 – His angel = Gabriel  (D.A., p. 99) 1:4 – 3:22                                    Message to Seven Churches in   Asia.

This section serves to set forth the object of the Revelation, it reveals the church as containing error and encountering difficulty, but being loved and cared for by the Lord.

4:1                              John told He was to be Shown Things “which must be hereafter.”

This verse serves to mark the transition of focus from the churches in Asia to the Church in succeeding ages.

4:2-­‐11                       A Vision of the Glory of God.

Whereas John is to be shown times of great difficulty, God kindly shows him first a vision of His greatness as an assurance of His ability to see His church through to victory.


5:1-­‐14                       The Crux of the Matter.

5:1-­‐4                          Vision of the Sealed Book

These verses show John the background issue of what is to follow. An inheritance has been forfeited. (Ed. 26, 27; P.P. 67; D.A. 129-­‐ 131; re: Forfeited Inheritance God’s Amazing Grace.  Feb 2.)

5:5-­‐9                          Vision of the Lamb:  Once Dead, Now Alive

This vision serves to show the solution to the problem set forth in

  1. 1-­‐4. The Lamb has redeemed the forfeited inheritance; God has secured the right to do with it according to His will, which is to rewin the love of its inhabitants.

5:10-­‐14                     Song of Praise to the Lamb

This song records the response of heavenly being sand creatures on earth to the solution announced in vv.  5-­‐9.

6:1 – 20:15              Reclaiming the Forfeited Inheritance.

6:1-­‐8:1                      The Seven Seals

6:1-­‐14                       Opening the Six Seals

This chapter shows God’s first act in attempting to rewin the alienated, though redeemed, inheritance.

6:15-­‐17                     Men’s Reaction to the Six Seals.

The reaction to the inhabitants of the earth—woe to us, the Lord is coming and we aren’t ready— reveals the purpose of the judgments.

7:1                              Vision of Angels Holding Winds back.

When men realized their need God compassionately commissions the angels to hold-­‐up the judgment activity to allow men to attain to readiness,  if  they will.

7:2-­‐8                          Vision of Angels with Seal of God.

These angels mark those who are ready to meet the Lord.

7:9-­‐17                     Proleptic Vision of Final Victory of Church.


This vision serves to show what will be the final result of God’s condescension in having held back the winds of judgment.

8:1-­‐6                          Seventh Seal Opened.

Silence in heaven introduces the seven trumpets.

8:7-­‐14:5                   The Seven Trumpets.

God’s second act to get men ready for judgment.

8:2-­‐9:21                   Six Trumpets Sound.

The purpose of those judgments is to show the men without the seal of God their need of Him.

9:20-­‐21                     Response of Men to Warning Judgments of God.

They repented not. 10:1-­‐11:14                                    End of Time Announced.

This vision shows the result of the response of men in 9:20-­‐21, and introduces the last phase of calling evil  men  to repentance.

11:15-­‐12:17              Recapitulation.

Shows result of work done thus far and reviews the issues necessitating a judgment.

13:1-­‐18                     Future Acts of Evil One Revealed

Continued presentation of the issues requiring a judgment, and further revelations of the acts of the evil one as he reacts to the nearness of the judgment.

14:1-­‐5                          Vision of the Lamb and the One  Hundred Forty-­‐Four Thousand.

This vision serves to show proleptically the results of the conflict—between Good and evil—and the results of the judgment, to those who are faithful. These verses serve the same purpose as, i.e., 13:10, where the surety of judgment is set forth as a strength of the persecuted ones.


14:6-­‐13                     Vision of Three Angels with Messages.

An Announcement that the long with-­‐held judgment time has arrived.

14:14-­‐18:24            Vision of the Judgments on Evil.

14:14-­‐20                  Vision of the Beginning of Wrath.

15:1                           Vision of Angels with Seven Last Plagues.

Vision of the beginning of the judgments on evil.

15:2-­‐4                       Proleptic Vision of Faithful in God’s Presence.

This vision serves to give assurance to God’s people that, (1) in the coming time of fearful judgments on evil they will be sustained by God; (2) they will ultimately stand in the physical presence of God forever; recognizing God as the source of their strength and victory, and altogether just.

15:5-­‐15:21              Vision of Outpouring of Seven Last Plagues.

Warns men not to be included among the evil things, and assures them God will act on behalf of His faithful followers.

17:1-­‐18                     Announcement of Judgment on the Great Whore.

17:2-­‐6, 13-­‐14          Reason for Judgment on Whore Announced. 17:7-­‐12, 15-­‐18   Whore Identified.

18:1-­‐24                     Vision of Angel with Great Power and a Message.

This vision serves to assure all that God in mercy makes every effort    to win all people from following the beast and his agents as revealed  in 14:8-­‐17:18.

18:2-­‐7                       Warning Message Repeated.

God sends another angel to aid the three of 14:6-­‐12 in  giving  their message.

18:8-­‐24                     Repeated Assurance Evil will be Punished

This angel aids in the warning of coming judgment and in appealing to men to separate themselves from the evil thing.


19:1-­‐20:15              God Institutes Retributive Judgment.

19:1-­‐10                     Reaction to God’s Work.

He is praised for His dealing with evil.

19:11-­‐21                  Evil temporarily Slain

God stops all evil for the interval that it might be judged.

20:1-­‐15                         Evil Judged; and Destroyed.   (as result of findings of Judgment.)

21:1 – 22:5              The Reclaimed Inheritance.

The earth without evil described.

22:6-­‐21                     Conclusion of the Book

Be faithful and you will receive the reward.



Whereas the significance of the structure to the message will be discussed as an integral part of chapter four we will now set forth some statements, taken from a variety of authors, regarding the twenty-­‐six texts in which the word Lamb appears. These too will be passed by without discussion until chapter four where we will attempt to draw together the significance of the term Lamb, as it has been found in our research, with a view to determining the significance of this name for Jesus, in regard to our salvation and the justification of God.


Commentary Survey



Revelation 5:6


And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been stain, having seven herons and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Barnes. —Stood a Lamb.  An appelation often given to the Messiah, for two reasons:  (1) because the lamb was an emblem of innocence; and (2) because a lamb was offered commonly in sacrifice. . . . as it had been slain. That is, in some way having the appearance of having been slain; having some marks or indications about it that it had been slain. What those were the writer does not specify. If it were covered with blood, or there were marks of mortal wounds, it


would be all that the representation demands. The great work which the Redeemer performed—that of making an atonement for sin—was thus represented to John in such a way that he at once recognized him, and saw the reason why the breaking of the seals was entrusted to him. It should be remarked that this representation is merely symbolic, and we are not to suppose that the Redeemer really assumed this form, or that he appears in this form in heaven. We should no more suppose that the Redeemer appears literally as a lamb in heaven with numerous eyes and horns, than that there is a literal throne and a sea of glass there; that there are “seats” there, and “elders,” and “crowns of gold.”


Having seven horns. Emblems of authority and power—for the horn is a symbol of power and dominion.  Comp. Deut. xxxiii.17; 1 Kings xxii.11; Jer.xlviii.25; Zech. i.18; Dan. vii.24.  The propriety of this symbol is laid in the fact that the strength of an animal is in the horn, and that it is by this that he obtains a victory over other animals. The number seven here seems to be designed, as in other places, to denote completeness. . . . The meaning is, that he had so large a number as to denote complete dominion.

And seven eyes. Symbols of intelligence. The number seven here also denotes completeness; and the idea is, that he is able to survey all things. . . .


Which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. . . . That is, which represent the seven Spirits of God; or the manifold operations of the one Divine Spirit. As the eye is the symbol of intelligence—outward objects being made visible to us by that—so it may well represent an all pervading spirit that surveys and sees all things. The eye, in this view, among the Egyptians was an emblem of the Deity. By the “Seven Spirits” here the same thing is doubtless intended as in chap. i.4; and if, as there supposed, the reference is to the Holy Spirit considered with respect to his manifold operations, the meaning here is, that the operations of that Spirit are to be regarded as connected with the work of the Redeemer. Thus, all the operations of the Spirit are connected with and are part of, the work of redemption. The expression “sent forth into all the earth,” refers to the fact that that Spirit pervades all things. The Spirit of God is often represented as sent or poured out; and the meaning here is, that his operations are as if he was sent out to survey all things and to operate everywhere. Comp. 1 Cor. xii.6-­‐11.


. . . that as his appearing as a lamb was designed to represent in a striking manner the fact that he was slain, and that all that he did was based on the atonement, . . .


May not all that is meant be, that John saw him near the throne, and among the elders, and was struck at once with his appearance of meekness and innocence, and with the marks of his having been slain as a sacrifice, and spoke of him in strong figurative language as a lamb? . . .

May not all that is meant be that John was struck with that in the appearance of the Redeemer of which these would be the appropriate symbols, and described him as if these had been visible?” . . . If this supposition is correct, then all that is meant is this passage would be expressed in such language as the following: “And I looked, and lo there was one in the midst of the space occupied by the throne, by the living creatures, and by the elders, who in aspect, and in the emblems that represented his work on earth, was spotless, meek, and innocent as a lamb; one with marks on his person which brought to remembrance the fact that he had been slain for the sins of the world, and yet one who had most striking symbols of power and intelligence, and who was therefore worthy to approach and take the book from the hand of Him that sat on the throne.” (Albert Barnes, Notes on the Book of Revelation (London: Gail and Inglis, [1852]). (Hereinafter referred to as Barnes), pp.  170-­‐172.)

Charles. —The position of the Lamb, in the scene depicted, depends on the rendering assigned        to en mesō . . . en mesō.  1.  The text may mean “between the throne and the four Living     Creatures (on the one side) and the Elders (on the other).” In this case the Greek would be  Hebraistic = nybw nyb.  The LXX constantly translate in this way the Hebrew  preposition literally,  and not idiomatically, as in Gen. i.4, 7, 18, iii.15, ix.16, 17 etc.   On this view the Lamb would       stand somewhere between the inner concentric circle of the Living Creatures and the outer concentric circle of the twenty-­‐four Elders. 2. Or the two phrases en mesō may be parallel and emphasize the fact that the Lamb stood in the centre of all the beings above named.   In favor of    the latter view may be cited vii.17, to arnion to ana meson tou thronou. If this view is correct it would imply that the Lamb is standing in immediate closeness to the throne.   But v. 7, kai ālthen    kai eilāphen, is against this. Accordingly the text seems to teach that the Lamb, when first seen by the Seer, appeared in the space between the circles of the living creatures and the twenty-­‐ four Elders.


The term arnion as applied to our Lord is peculiar to the Apocalypse—elsewhere in the N.T. it is amnos that is used: John i.29, 36; 1 Pet. i.19; Acts viii.32. This last passage is a quotation from


Isa. liii.7,. . . . That this passage was interpreted of Christ by the first Christians is shown by Acts viii,34 sqq. The prophet applies it to himself in Jer. xi.19, . . . The word is used twenty-­‐nine times in twelve chapters of the Apocalypse as a designation of the crucified Messiah. Vischer (38-­‐46)  has tried to show that arnion is an interpolation in the present passage as well as throughout         the rest of the Apocalypse, but unsuccessfully save perhaps in xiii.8.  So far, however, is Vischer   from  being  right  as  to  the  present  passage,  that  with  J.  Weiss  (p.  57)  the  conceptions  of  the Book and the Lamb are to be regarded as “the kernel of the Vision.” Hōs esphagmenon, i.e. as though slain in sacrifice and still retaining the appearance of death wounds on its body.   The      Lamb is represented hōs esphagmenon, because in very truth He is not dead but alive:  cf. i.18,

  1. 8.


Echōn kerata hepta. The horn first of all symbolizes power in the O.T. Cf. Num. xxiii.22; Deut. xxxiii.17; I Sam. ii.1; 1 Kings xxii.11; Ps. lxxv.4, lxxxix.17, etc.  Next it marks kingly dignity, Ps. cxii.9, cxlviii.14; Zech. i.18; Dan. vii.7, 20, viii.3 sqq.; Apc. xii.3, xiii.1, 11, xvii.3.  In 1 Enoch xc.9 the Maccabees are symbolized by “horned lambs:” “And I saw till horns grew upon those lambs:” and in Test. Joseph xix.8 sq., one of this family is designed under the term amnos, which destroys the enemies of Israel. While the idea underlying arnion hōs esphagmenon is clearly derived from Isa. liii.7, it is very probable that the conception underlying echōn kerata hepta is sprung from apocalyptic tradition. It is probable also that it is the Jewish Messiah that is designated amnos in the above passage of the Test. Joseph; and such is certainly the case in 1 Enoch xc.37, “And I saw that a white bull was born with large horns.” “The Lamb,” then, “with the seven horns” is the all-­‐powerful (observe the perfect number “seven” is used) warrior and king. Cf. Matt. xxviii.18; John xvii.1, 2. Over against the Christ so represented we have His counterpart in the Beast with the seven heads in xiii.1.


(And seven eyes having—etc.) “omniscience appears to be here attributed to the Lamb. The possession of the seven eyes has this import: for these belong to Yahweh in the O.T.:  cf. Zech.  iv.10, . . .   The clause hoi eisin . . . gān has been rejected by Weyland, Spetta (p. 67), Volter, iv.p.    12, Wellhausen (p. 9) as an explanatory addition. Its removal would certainly make the interpretation of the text easier. But there is no objection to this clause as coming from our author’s hand:  cf. iii.1.  In iv.5, on the other hand, we found that alike the very structure of  iv.1-­‐

8 and the order of the words were against the originality of iv.5b, but not against its insertion,

when he edited his visions as a whole. . . . Accordingly recognizing its originality, we should next


determine the true text. This we fear, cannot be done with any certainty. The authorities are divided between apestaimenci, apestalmena, and apostellomena. This word could be used either of the “eyes” or of the “spirits,” and hance give us no help, though the original passage in Zechariah is in favour of connecting the words ophthalmous and apestalmenoi.”

It is quite impossible to conceive a figure embodying the characteristics of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, and the seven-­‐horned Lamb with seven eyes. The Apocalypse deals with ideas, not with plastic conceptions. The terms used have become for the most part purely symbolical and metaphorical. They have been derived from various sources. Taken by themselves and separately, they are but one-­‐sided and partial representatives of the Messiah of our author. Without any fear of seeming contradiction he combines apparently in one concrete whole these various conceptions, in order to embody fitly the Messiah of his faith and visions. If we confine ourselves to the ideas, and ignore the conflicting plastic manifestations, we shall find no difficulty. The Lion of the tribe of Judah is the one strong member par excellence  of this tribe; the Root of Jesse, is, of course, the plant springing from the root of Jesse (cd. Isa. liii.2; Duet. xxix.18).

Such appears to have been the meaning attached to the conception of the Lamb by our author. But some of the elements in the conception may possibly, . . . go back to an ancient heathen myth. One such element is the opening of the sealed Book. Magical books, magical rings, magical oaths and formulas were everywhere current in the East. He who could make himself master of such books or oaths became to a great degree lord of the universe, and a new deity. By virtue of his magical power, however won, he has power to loose the seals of the book of destiny, to bring the old world to a close and enter on the sovereignty of the new, and thus be enthroned among the ancient deities, as Marduk in the Babylonian creation myth. Gunkel and Bousset assume the currency of some such heathen myth which was subsequently adopted into Judaism and from Judaism into Christianity. However this may be, our author has no consciousness of the existence of this myth, even if in the above form it ever existed. Some elements of the picture, however, do appear to go back to a heathen original. (R.H. Charles, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Revelation of St. John, The International Critical Commentary  (New York:  Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1920), pp. 140-­‐143.  (Hereinafter referred to  as Charles).)


Elliott.—And he therefore pointed to him a lamb standing in the Hemicycle of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and the elders: one that bore marks as if it had been slain; and yet had seven horns, the symbol of all power in heaven and on earth, and seven eyes, as of the spirit of omniscience. It was evidently the Lamb of God, the fellow of Jehovah, that had been slain, and now appeared alive again; yea and was alive for evermore, to make intercession, and to receive gifts for his people,—having made the promise to his disciples, ere ascending, that he would

show them the things that were come, He now came to fulfill it. (E. B. Elliott, Horae Apocalypticae; or A Commentary on the Apocalypse, Critical and Historical (5th ed. London: Seeley, Jackson, and Halliday, 1862), p. 95. (Hereinafter referred to as Elliott.)


Ladd.—When John turned to look at the Lion, he did not see a Lion, but a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain. The final victory of Christ as the Lion of the tribe of Judah—as the conquering Messiah—is possible only because he has first suffered as the Lamb. . . .

Christ’s worthiness and ability to break the seals of the scroll of human history and destiny are dependent on the victory he won in his incarnate life. If he had not come in humility as suffering Savior, he could not come as conquering Messiah.


John’s emphasis is that only by virtue of Jesus’ sacrifice as the Lamb of God can He fill the role of the messianic King and bring human history to its denouement in the kingdom of God. . . .

The Lamb had the appearance of having been slain; that is, with its throat cut as though it had been slaughtered. By this John points to the sacrificial death of Christ, not primarily to his weakness and humility. Yet he is standing; he has been slain, but he still lives (cf. 1:18). . . .


The eyes of the exalted Christ as like a flame of fire (1:14) and the seven spirits blaze like torches before the throne of God (4:5). In this symbolic way, John pictures the relationship between Christ and the Holy Spirit.

The inseparable relationship between the Son and the Spirit is seen in John 14:18 where Jesus describes the coming of the Spirit in terms of his own presence with the disciples: “I will come      unto you” (John 14:18). (George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Wheaton, Illinois: Sword of the Lord Publishers, n.d.), pp. 85, 87-­‐88. (Hereinafter referred to as  C. R.).)


Morris.—The Greek perfect tense here signifies that the Lamb was not only slain at a point of time, but that the efficacy of His death is still present in all its power. . . .


The Lamb as seven horns. In the Old Testament the horn is frequently used as a symbol of strength (e.g. Dt. xxxiii.17). Seven is the number of perfection and so the seven horns indicate the perfect might of the Lamb. He is completely adequate for any occasion. He also had seven eyes, which are explained as the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth (cf. Zc. iv.10). The expression may refer to the Holy Spirit. . . . In this case the Spirit is closely associated with Christ (cf. ‘the Spirit of Jesus,’ Acts xvi.7, mg.).  But there seems little reason for an allusion to the Holy Spirit here, and it is possible that the symbolism simply ascribes omniscience to the Lamb. The seven eyes on this view denote perfection of seeing. Nothing escapes Him.  What John appears to be telling us, then, in his different symbols is that Christ, of the tribe of Judah and the line of David, is supremely powerful and all-­‐knowing, and that He has won His victory by His atoning and sacrificial death. There is a striking combination of the thoughts of the utmost in power and the utmost in self-­‐giving.  (Leon Morris, The Revelation of St. John, The Tyndale  New Testament Commentaries, ed. By R. V. G. Tasker (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969), p. 97. (Hereinafter referred to as Rev.)

Seventh-­‐day Adventist Bible Commentary.—Probably means “The Lamb appeared in the midst of all” as “He now becomes the focal point of the vision.


‘Lamb.’ . . . the thought is the same, however, as that conveyed by the word amnos, ‘lamb,’ in John 1:29, . . . and the LXX of Isa, 53:7.

John has just heard Jesus called a lion and a conqueror, but as he looks he sees a lamb. Such a dramatic contrast may suggest that Christ’s victory is not one of physical force but of moral excellence, for above all things else He is declared to be “worthy”. . . . It is the vicarious sacrifice of His sinless life, symbolized by that of a spotless lamb, rather than any demonstration of force, that has gained for Him the victory in the great controversy with evil. . . .

‘As it has been slain.’ . . . The form of the verb translated ‘had been slain’ implies that the act of slaughter had taken place in the past, and that its results remained. . . . For the significance of the figure of Jesus as the Lamb of God see on John 1:29. . . .


‘Seven horns.’ Seven is a number signifying perfection. Horns may be understood as symbols of strength and glory (see on Lam. 2:3).  Thus the seven horns of the Lamb would indicate that he is perfect in strength. . . .

‘seven eyes.’ A symbol of perfect wisdom and intelligence.  These eyes are identified as the seven Spirits of God, an expression used for the Holy Spirit. . . . In ch. 4:5 a different symbol, ‘seven lamps,’ is used. (F. D. Nichol, ed., The Seventh-­‐day Adventist Bible Commentary (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Company, 1957), p. 772. (Hereinafter referred to as B.C.)


Rist.—It is because he is the “faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead” 9L;5), that he is worthy and able to open the seals which will bring death and destruction upon the wicked of this world and liberation and victory of his faithful adherents.

Moreover, the Lamb is intimately associated with God, for it stands close to his throne.  In fact, it is obvious that the traditional tableau of God on his throne in heaven surrounded by his court of supernatural beings, as depicted in ch. 4, has been thoroughly Christianized by the introduction of the glorified Christ, who now occupies the center stage.


This imagery of Christ as a slain but victorious Lamb is a favorite one with John, who uses it twenty-­‐nine times in his book. . . . We have already seen that in the Test. Joseph 19:8 the Messiah is a conquering lamb, indicating that the idea is not wholly original with John. The suggestion may have come in some measure from a messianic application of Isa. 53:7, ‘brought as a lamb to the slaughter,’ to Christ, as was done in Acts 8:32 and 1 Pet. 1:19. More likely, however it was inspired by the account in Exodus of the Passover lamb whose blood saved the first-­‐born of the Israelites from death. For John considers that God’s miraculous deliverance of the Jews from their Egyptian oppressors after a series of devastating plagues was the prophetic prototype of the coming liberation of the Christians, the new Israel, from their Roman persecutors, after a series of similar destructive woes. In addition, the Passover lamb, which was instrumental in this deliverance, is considered as the archetype of Christ, through whose blood the Christians are to be saved. Paul had previously made this identification (1 Cor. 5:7), but failed to develop the idea.

The seven horns of the Lamb testify to its great and complete power. In numerous passages horns are a symbol of power. . . . Form these examples it is seen that while there is no exact


parallel to the seven-­‐horned lamb in Revelation in earlier sources, nevertheless the symbolism in general has its   antecedents.


The Lamb also equipped with seven eyes, equated with the seven spirits of God, which are sent forth throughout the earth. The seven spirits were previously seen as seven torches before the throne of God (4:5), but here they are the eyes of the Lamb. We are reminded of the many eyes of the four living creatures (4:8), also of the little horn of Dan. 7:8 which had eyes like a man.

But in this instance the imagery was probably prompted by the seven eyes of Yahweh in Zech. 4:10, “which run to and fro through the whole earth” seeing everything that occurs. As in his regular practice, John has freely adapted this passage so that Christ shares the omniscience of God as well as his omnipotence. (Martin Rist, “The Interpretation of St. John the Divine.” Vol. XII of The Interpreters’ Bible. Edited by George Arthur Buttrick. 12 vols. (New York: Abingdon Press, 1957), pp. 407-­‐408.   (Hereinafter referred to as  Rist.)

Seiss.—“And behold, and amidst the throne, and the four Living ones, and amidst the elders, a Lamb, standing, as it had been slain.” The description of the location of this Lamb, is of the same sort with that of the Living ones. They were “amidst the throne, and around the throne;” that is, they were seen everywhere with in the bounds of the throne, from centre to circumference, as if the life and being of it, present in every part. And so this Lamb was amidst the throne, the Living ones, and the Elders—visibly omnipresent within these bounds, as if the animating soul of all—the Life of the life of the throne, and of the forms of being and dignity about it.

He who appears here as a Lamb, is the same whom the Elder had just described as a Lion. The two titles might seem to be incongruous.  What more opposite than the monarch of the forest, in strength and majesty, inflicting terror and death, and the lamb, in its uncomplaining meekness, in the hands of the sacrificer. But the two pictures do not conflict. They supplement each other, and combine to bring out what could not be otherwise so well portrayed, and yet what the nature of the case required. The opening of the seals, is an act of strength—an exploit of war—a going forth of power to take possession of a kingdom. As one after another is broken, out flies a strong One in fierce assault upon the enemies and usurpers who occupy the earth.

There is terror and destruction at every successive movement. And in the accomplishment of this, Christ is a Lion, clothed with power, and majesty, and terribleness. But the character in which He overcame, and became in that respect qualified for this work, and that in which He


presents Himself before the throne as a candidate to be adjudged worthy to do it, is that of the sacrificial Lamb, who had innocently and meekly suffered, bearing our sins in His own body, and vanquishing all legal disabilities by His atoning blood. It is in this character of a Lamb that was slain, who overcame by His perfect obedience unto death, and who paid the price of redemption in His meek sufferings, that he is adjudged “worthy to take the book, and to open the seals of it.” It is by His sacrifice as a Lamb slain, that He comes to the qualifications for the further office of a Lion, to assert and enforce His supremacy. Both these characters are essential, hence, both appear in the description. “He was led as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not His mouth” (Is. 53:7); but He is yet to “send forth judgment unto victory” (Matt, 12:20). As a Lamb, He hath “borne our sorrows and carried our iniquities,” and stands before the throne in passive humiliation and loyal suffering; but it is reserved for Him, as Judah’s Lion, “in righteousness to judge and make war,” and to enforce the indignation of the throne against all who stand out in rebellion against it.


He is here described, not by the ordinary word (amnos) used to signify a lamb, but by another (arnios) more intensely significant of gentleness and domesticity—a pet lamb—in sharp contrast with the wild beasts, in opposition to whom He is arrayed. This the more fully bring out His particular mildness and familiar identification with His people, and the utter inexcusableness and guilt of those savage and untamed ones who persist in rejecting, persecuting, and warring against Him. They wrong and injure the gentlest and most inoffensive of beings—they murder the pet Lamb of the family of God.


You will notice the attitude of this Lamb—“standing.” Though He had all the appearances of recent slaughter, He is alive, upon His feet. The resurrection of Christ is not a myth, but a fact. The same John who saw Him dead on Calvary, here sees Him alive in heaven—alive in the body, with the marks of slaughter upon Him. We believe not in a dead Christ only. Our faith does not terminate with a sepulcher. It takes in a living Redeemer, who is as much upon His feet as if He never had been dead, and qualified by His having died for what He never could have done, had he (sic) not surrendered His life and gone down among the dead. And with these tokens of His slaughter, as the once dead but now living Lamb, He stands before the throne—stands accepted and approved—stands for those who accept Him as their Redeemer—stands for the maintenance of their cause and the fulfillment of their hopes.


“Having seven horns.” Here is the intimation that something more than sacrifice and intercession is now to be his business. The horn is the symbol of strength and aggressive power. Moses, in blessing Joseph, says:  “His glory is like the firstling of His bullock, and His horns are like the horns of unicorns: with them He shall push the people together to the ends of the earth.” (Deut. 33:17).  We find the same imagery in Psalms (89:17, 24), applied both to Christ and His people, and in both instances connected with strength and conquest. Zechariah (1:18, 19), says: “I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and behold four horns. And I said unto the angel that talked with me: What be these?  And he answered me:  These are the horns [that is, the powers], which have scattered Judah, and Israel, and Jerusalem.” The horn thus stands for imperial, kingly, and aggressive power. Seven is the number of completeness. So that whilst Christ appears here as the sacrificial Lamb, He is at the same time possessed of the fulness of imperial strength and mighty force. He has ability for invincible conquest, as well as meekness for patient suffering.


And with the “seven horns” are “seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into         all the earth.”   When Isaiah prophesied of the Rod out of the stem of Jesse, he said:   “The Spirit      of the Lord shall rest upon [have its home in] Him.”  And he enumerated seven in the blessed  fulness of the holy endowment:  First, “the spirit of wisdom;” second, “the spirit of     understanding;” third, “the spirit of counsel;” fourth, “the spirit of might;” fifth, “the spirit of knowledge;” sixth, “the spirit of the fear of the Lord;” and seventh, “the spirit of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord.” (Is. 11:1-­‐3). Thus has inspired prophecy identified, and described in advance, these very “seven Spirits of God,” which here come to view as the “seven eyes” of the Lamb. His horns show his fulness of imperial power; His eyes show His fulness of intellectual and spiritual power. His is not a blind force, but an almightiness directed by perfect and all-­‐searching intelligence, and divine understanding. Upon that BRANCH which God was to lay as the chief corner-­‐stone of the mystic temple, where also “seven eyes-­‐eyes of the Lord,   which run to and fro through the whole earth” (Zach. 3:8, 9; 4:10). And this Lamb is the selfsame Branch and Cornerstone; and these are the selfsame eyes of all-­‐penetrating vision and completeness  of  spiritual  and  universal wisdom.

Three grand qualities of the Goel are thus brought to view;—first, sacrificial virtue, to take away sin; second, aggressive strength to conquer and to overcome all foes; and third, perfect and universal intelligence, direct from the indwelling Spirit of God in all its fulness. Such were the


qualifications with which He appeared amidst the throne, the Living ones, and the Elders, and advanced to take the book and break its seals. And when it is considered, that no qualifications less than these would answer, we need not wonder that no one else in heaven, earth or under the earth, was found worthy to open the book, or even to look upon it. . . . Brethern, there is but one sun in our system, and there is but one Christ in the universe. (J.A. Seiss, The Apocalypse, A Series of Special Lectures on the Revelation of Jesus Christ (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1900), pp. 280-­‐286.   (Hereinafter referred to as  Seiss.))

Williamson.—One of the elders call John’s attention to someone whom he did not see, the Lion of Judah, the Lamb that has been slain but was now alive forevermore. . . .


The Lamb looked as if it had been slain. Undoubtly (sic.) John saw the scars of the wounds suffered by the Lamb of God when He was crucified, just as we will see the nail prints in His hands and the thorn scars on His brow. (J. J. Williamson, Student Commentary and Syllabus on the Book of Revelation (Lincoln, Nebraska: The College Press, 1954), p. 52. (Hereinafter referred to as Williamson.)


White.—The Savior is presented before John under the symbols of “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” and of “a Lamb as it has been slain.” Revelation 5:5, 6. These symbols represent the union of omnipotent power and self-­‐sacrificing love. The Lion of Judah, so terrible to the  rejectors of His grace, will be the Lamb of God to the obedient and faithful. (Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association), p. 589. (Hereinafter referred to as A.A.)

The uplifted Savior is to appear in His efficacious work as the Lamb slain, sitting upon the throne, to dispense the priceless covenant blessings, the benefits He died to purchase for every soul who should believe on Him. . . . Christ is pleading for the church in the heavenly courts above, pleading for those for whom He paid the redemption price of His own lifeblood.

Centuries, ages, can never diminish the efficacy of this atoning sacrifice.


The Lamb of God is represented before us as “in the midst of the throne” of God. He is the great ordinance by which man and God are united and commune together. Thus men are represented as sitting in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This is the appointed place of meeting between God and humanity.  (White, T.M. pp. 92, 124.)


Revelation 5:8


And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.


Charles.—Spitta (p. 67) removes epesan . . . arniou as a gloss, (1) because elsewhere not the Living Creatures, but only the Elders fall down and worship. But this is not so in xix.4, and there is no reason why the Cherubim in our author’s view of them should not prostrate themselves.

(2) As the Elders had harps and censers in their hands they could not fall down. But Hirscht (Apocalypse und ihre neueste Kritik, p. 47) adduces the Egyptian picture, in which Rameses II, is represented as falling down before the sun-­‐god  Amen-­‐Ra,  holding the offering in his left hand   and a crozier and a whip in his right (Lepsius, Aegypt.  Wandgemalde d. Konigl.  Museen, 1882.p.  26.).  (3) The falling down of the Elders first takes place in v. 14.  This prostration removes, as  Bousset  points  out,  the  difficulty  alleged  in  (2).   Besides  as  Hirscht  states,  11  seems  to presuppose that the Living creatures are again standing, and the Elders are sitting on their      thrones.   (4) Through  the  addition  of the  verb  the  following  participles are  brought unsuitably into relation with the Living Creatures.   There is no more cogency in this objection than in the      first. The Living Creatures, i.e. the Cherubim, were simply angels, and no longer bearers of the  throne of God. As such there would be nothing strange, even if the Cherubim were conceived as holding harps and censers in their hands. But the latter belong exclusively to the Elders.  On the  other hand, J. Weiss (p. 55) would explain the clauses referring to the Elders as additions of the    final editor, as in iv.4, v. 6, and would represent the Living Creatures as holding harps and censers. But though iv. 4 appears to have been added by our author when re-­‐editing an earlier vision, there seem to be no adequate grounds for the view of Weiss with regard to the other passages.

(last half of verse quoted). The words echontes hekastos appear to refer only to the Elders, through, so far as the grammar goes, the echontes could refer to the ta zōa taken kata sunesin. Cf. echōn in iv.7. But the office of the Cherubim is not of a priestly nature, as we have already seen above, whereas that of the Elders is (see note). They have harps (cf. xiv. 2, xv.2) and censers in their hands, and they theme of their hymn is the self-­‐sacrifice of the Lamb, by the which He has won the salvation of His people chosen from every race and tongue. The hai refers to thumiamatōn and not to phialos. Its gender is to be explained by attraction from


proseuchai. The prayers of the saints are symbolized by the incense: Ps cxl.2, . . . The hagoi are those dedicated to God, i.e. the Christians; for so the latter are frequently designated in the Apocalypse: cf. viii.3, 4, xi.18, xiii.7, 10, xiv.12, xvi.6, xviii.20, xx.9. Spitta (p. 67) and Volter (iv.,

  1. 13) bracketed the clause hai . . . hagiōn, as an explanatory gloss, and a wrong one to boot; for the incense and the prayers are not identical. At most they can be compared to incense. The gloss is due to a spiritualizing of the idea in viii.3, to the effect that prayer is the true incense of heaven. This is no doubt a true idea, but it does not belong to the Apocalypse. The true relation of prayer and incense in our Book is given in viii.3.


The office of presenting the prayers of the faithful before God, which the gloss attributes to the Elders, is assigned to Michael in Origen, De Prin. 1.8.I, and to the guardian angels in the Apoc. Pauli, 7-­‐10. In 3 Bar. xi, Michael descends to the fifth heaven to receive the prayers of mankind. According to the Apoc. Pauli, 7-­‐10,  the doors of heaven were opened at a definite hour to   receive these prayers. Judaism is the source of these views, as we see by going back to an earlier work, the Test. Levi iii.5-­‐6, where it is said that in the highest heaven the archangels, of whom Michael is the chief, “minister and make propitiation to the Lord for all the sins of the righteous, Offering to the Lord . . . a reasonable and a bloodless offering.”   Next, in iii.7, in the      fifth heaven, is the order of angels who present the prayers of the faithful to the archangels, who in turn lay them before God. . . . Thus in our text (except in viii.3-­‐5) the four and twenty Elders have definitely taken the part assigned in many circles of Judaism to the Archangels, if the gloss is a valid interpretation of the text.   They present before God the prayers of the saints,      which they have probably received from a lower order of angels. It is a priestly function, as that of the Archangels in Test. Levi iii.5-­‐7; Origin, De Orat. 11 on Tobit.  In the O.T. and later  Judaism,

. . . the angels acted as intercessors for mankind. But in the face of viii.3-­‐5 the role of the Elders can hardly be that of presenting the prayers of the faithful to God. They exercise priestly functions, it is true, but their chief function is the praise of God and of the Lamb, who has redeemed humanity.   (Charles, I, 144-­‐146.)

Morris.—The Lamb’s action evokes a great outburst of praise and worship. Though the seven-­‐ sealed book is not yet opened all the hosts of heaven discern that it will be and anticipation break out into a mighty chorus of praise. The four living ones and the twenty-­‐four elders prostrate themselves before the Lamb. Each has a harp, an instrument which in this book is associated with the praise of God. . .   .


It is worth noticing before we leave this verse that worship is reserved for God only (xxii.9). That the Lamb is worshipped is evidence of His full divinity.  (Morris, Rev., pp.  97-­‐98.)


Rist.—Since the Lamb was thoroughly qualified, he took the scroll from God. As he did so, the twenty-­‐four elders ell down before him, as they had previously prostrated themselves before God (4:10). Each now has a harp in his hands and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. . . . In either case, though the words of the prayer are not given, it may be assumed that it was a petition to God to initiate his work of punishment and judgment at once. (Rist, p. 408.)


Revelation 5:12


Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.


Barnes.—The idea here is, that the face that he was slain, or was made a sacrifice for sin, was the ground or reason for what is here ascribed to him. (Barnes, p. 172.)

Charles.—(text quoted). The doxology is uttered either in recognition of the power already possessed by the Lamb, or on its immediately impending assumption by Him. The fact of this assumption is subsequently referred to in xi.17, . . .


In iv.9, 11 there are only three predicates over against four in v. 13, and seven in v. 12, vii.12. Next, whereas in iv.11, vii.12 the article precedes each number of the ascription, here one article includes them all, as though the formed one word. Again, the seven members of the ascription in our text recur in vii.12, though in a different order, except that for ploutos in v.12 we find eucharistia in vii.12. The latter doxology, moreover, is addressed to God, as also those in iv.9, 11. The septenary number may indicate completeness. Two heptads of such titles of honour are found as early as I Chron. xxix.11, 12. . . . If our author made any use of I Chron. xxix.11, 12 here he did not use the LXX version of it.


Bousset points out that the seven members of the ascription fall into two divisions of four and three: the four deal with the power and wisdom that he Lamb assumes; the three with the recognition of the Lamb on the part of mankind. In this way he accounts for the different order in v. 12 and vii.12. Spitta (285) thinks that the different order in the attributes in iv.12, v.12,

vii.12 is due to the wish of the writer to bring out more fully the contrast between to arnion to


esphagmenon and the attributes dunamis, plutos, sophia, ischus. Thereupon follow the doxa, timā, eulogia, which in the doxologies address to God, however, are at the beginning. (Charles, I, p. 149.)

Ladd.—They extol the worthiness of the Lamb to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. These seven attributes leave nothing wanting in the ascription of praise; all that belongs to God the Father also belongs to the Lamb because of his redemptive work.  (Ladd, C.R., p. 93.)


Morris.—“For the Lamb and was slain see note on verse 6. A slight difference is that there the Lamb was ‘as it had been slain’ while here there is no ‘as’. The fact of the slaying is allowed to stand out. The angels use seven expressions (the perfect number is probably significant) to indicate the wonder of the Lamb.  The first four qualities He possesses, the last three express the attitude of men to Him. Though there is no quotation there are resemblances to the praise of God in 1 Chronicles xxix.10-­‐12. Almost all the qualities here mentioned are ascribed to Christ elsewhere in the New Testament: Power (1 Cor. 1:24), riches (2 Cor. 8:9, Eph. iii.8), wisdom (1 Cor. i.24), strength (Eph. vi.10, 2 Thes. 1.9), honour (Heb. ii.9, cf. Phil. ii.11), glory (Jn. i.14, Heb. ii.9). Blessing is not specifically used of Him, but the corresponding verb is (Mk. xi.9f.). (Morris, Rev., p. 100.


Rist.—The myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands of angels surrounding the heavenly throne respond with a song of praise to the Lamb, quite liturgical in character, in which he is said to be wholly worthy.  (Rist, p. 409).

Revelation 5:13


And every creature which is in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

Barnes.—There is a slight change here from ver. 12, but it is the same thing substantially. It is an ascription of all glory to God and to the Lamb. (Barnes, p. 178.)


Charles.—(text quoted). Again the circle of worshippers is extended, and on the doxologies and thanksgivings of the Cherubim and Elders, and the innumerable hosts of angels, follows the great finale pronounced by all creation.


Here the writer, who in 3 had given the usual threefold division of creation, now gives a fourfold one. Since the inhabitants of heaven have already been fully (?) enumerated, we should expect the mention of those in the air . . . , on the earth, and in the sea (cf. Ps. viii.7-­‐8); and this is actually the text of 2/2, some cursives, and two versions, which omit hupokatō tās gās.

But the textual evidence strongly supports this clause, which is, therefore, to be interpreted of the inhabitants of Hades, as it cannot well admit of any other meaning. That the inhabitants of Hades join in the doxology, shows the vast progress that theology has made from O.T. Times, when no praise of God was conceived of as possible in Theol: . . . This being the meaning of this clause, what meaning are we to attach to ha en tō oupanō? (a) If we follow the interpretation suggested above, we have the birds of the air, the men and the animals on the earth, the souls in Hades, and the fish of the sea.  This is a very unsatisfactory list.  Other explanations of ho en tō ouranō have accordingly been offered.  (b) Thus corn. A Lap. has suggested that it refers to the sun, moon, and stars. This is quite possible, since we know that the Jews attributed the conscious existence to these luminaries, 1 Enoch. xviii.13 sqq., and according to 2 Enoch xi. they belong to the fourth heaven. (c) Or the clause may be taken as referring to all the inhabitants of heaven except the Cherubim and the Elders, who pronounce the amen on this doxology. (d) Or, finally, the clause is to be taken resumptively as including all that went before. In favour of this view it may be observed that at the close of the enumeration in 13 we have another resumptive clause embracing exhaustively all the creation of God (kai en autois panta). Thus the universe of created things, the inhabitants of heaven, earth, sea, and Hades, join in the grand finale of praise that rose to the throne of God. Yet 14 might seem, but not necessarily, to exclude from these the Cherubim and the Elders.


For a parallel resumptive expression cf. Mark xv.1, . . . The phrase ta en autois panta is already found in Ex. Xx.11; Ps. cxlv. (cxlvi.)6.

en tā thalassā. So a various versions.  epi, cum gen.  impossible here. . .   .


tō thronō kai tō arviō. This conjunction of God and the Lamb, which recurs in vii.10, attests the advanced Christology of our author. The throne of Both is one and the same, xxii.1, 3, iii.21, and the worship offered to Each is also one and the same:  cf. vii.12.

In this verse we find the climax of chaps. iv. and v. Chap. iv. relates to God, and v. 1-­‐12 to the Lamb; v. 13-­‐14 to the conjoined glory of God and the Lamb.  The two doxologies offered


respectively  by  the  Cherubim  (iv.9)  and  the  Elders  (iv.11)  dwell  on  the  holiness,  almightiness, and everlastingness of God, and the manifestation of His glory in creation. The first two doxologies in v. which are offered by the Cherubim or Living Creatures and the Elders (v.9-­‐10), and by the innumerable hosts of angels (v. 12), dwell on the redemption of the world by the      Lamb, and pronounce Him as worthy to rule it and to receive the sevenfold attributes of God (cf. vii.12). And now the climax of the world’s adoration has come, and the worship offered to God in iv., and that to the Lamb in v.1-­‐12, are united in one great closing doxology, in which all  created things throughout the entire universe acclaim together God and the Lamb, with praise      and honour and glory and power for ever and ever.   The doxology has four members, consisting      of the last three attributes in the doxology in 12 together with one which is elsewhere found only in the doxology in i.6.  (Charles, I,  150-­‐151.)


Ladd.—Now all creation joins with the angelic hosts in praise and worship: every creature in. . . . This is poetic language describing the universality of the redemption wrought by Christ and should not be taken to mean that all men and all spiritual beings, including the demonic hosts of evil, will be brought within the blessings of Christ’s salvation. It is an expression of the fact that the lordship of Christ is to be universal, . . . (Ladd, C.R., p. 93.)

Morris.—(re all praising). In the last resort there is no creature, wherever found, which does not recognize the superior worth of the Lamb.


The qualities selected for mention in this song are not the same as those mentioned in the preceding, and those retained are in a different order. The word for power is different (kratos here, but ischus there). In the former the whole seven are grouped under a single article in the Greek, whereas here each of the four has its own article to give separate emphasis. Here there is no mention of ‘worthy,’ for it is not the achievement of redemption that is being hymned but the Persons themselves. But we should not unduly stress the niceties of what one song inserts and another omits. There is a certain exuberance about the songs which recks not of exact calculation. They simple represent the fervent outpouring of hearts full of adoration and love and praise for all that God has done through the Lamb. This song ends by linking him that sitteth upon the throne with the Lamb. The two are joined in a way which is characteristic of this book (vi.16, vii.9, 10, 17, xiv.1, 4, xxi.22, 23, xxii.1, 3). There cannot be the slightest doubt that the Lamb is to be reckoned with God and as God.


Nichol.—That is, every Created being. The chorus swells, and in response to the cries of praise from the hosts of heaven, all creation joins in adoration of the Father and the Son. Christ is victor, and the character of God is vindicated before the whole universe (see v.11).

To what point in the great controversy do the symbolic scenes portrayed in chs. 4 and 5 refer? According to DA 834 the song was sung by the angels when Christ was installed at the right hand of God after His ascension. Also according to AA 601, 602; GC 671, this song will be sung by the saints at the establishment of the new earth and by the redeemed and angels in eternity (8T 44; cf. PP 541, BC 545, 678). This varied setting suggests that the vision of chs. 4 and 5 is not to be thought of as representing anyone specific occurrence in heaven, but as a timeless, highly symbolic portrayal of victory of Christ and the resulting vindication of God.  When so understood, this vision may be seen as representing the attitude that rises to a crescendo as the great controversy comes to its victorious climax. . . . The fact that the Lamb is adored here on the same basis as the Father implies their equality (see Phil. 2:9-­‐11).   (Nichol, B.C., VII,  774.)

Rist.—When the response of the angelic host was ended, every creature in the universe—in  heaven, on earth and sea, and under the earth—joined in a doxology to God and the Lamb. The four living creatures concluded with the Amen and the twenty-­‐four elders prostrated themselves in worship.  (Rist, pp.  409-­‐410.)


Revelation 6:1


And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.


Ladd.—Intro to 6:1-­‐17. The book of destiny explains the bitter hatred and the violent hostility of the forces of evil against God’s people and the sufferings the latter are to endure just before the   end  comes.   However,  God  will  judge  these  evil  powers  and  finally  destroy  them.   Before  the final judgment falls, God  will pour out a  series of woes upon  those  who  are  seduced  by these  evil powers.   These judgments will not only manifest the wrath of God against all evil and     rebellion but will also have the merciful purpose of driving the wicked to their knees in      repentance before final judgment falls and it is too late.


The breaking of the seven seals is preliminary to the actual opening of the book and the events of the end time. It pictures the forces that will be operative throughout history by which the


redemptive and judicial purposes of God will be forwarded. They are not a part of the great tribulation itself, but are preparatory and preliminary to the great tribulation. This conclusion is reinforced by the fact that the breaking of the sixth seal clearly brings us to the threshold of the end; the five seals must precede it.  (Ladd, C.R., pp.  95-­‐96.)

Morris.—. . . We begin to wonder why wept at the prospect of such well-­‐known contents remaining undisclosed (v. 4).   But there is something new here, and that is the place of the   church. The martyrs are singled out in verses 9ff., and chapter vii is given over to the great multitude of the redeemed.   John sees God in control of the whole process and God is     concerned for His people.   So, though apocalyptic judgments be loosed against all mankind,    God’s people need never be dismayed.  They will be preserved no matter what the tribulation.  That is the precious new revelation. . . .(Note: the apac judgments are only loosed to cause those of 6:15-­‐17 to get ready. God loves the unrepentant enough to allow His faithful to suffer as part of His call to the   unfaithful.)

The Lamb Himself opened one of the seals to introduce the first judgment. It may well be that we are to understand Christ’s saving work for men as including an element of judgment: “From the Death on the cross flow whelming tides of divine wrath. The mystery of Redemption is, we say, as yet only partially disclosed” (Kiddle). Christ’s death was not only salvation from sin, but condemnation from Sin.  (Morris, Rev., pp.  102-­‐103.)


Rist.—Because he is worthy, and in compliance with the urgent requests and prayers, the Lamb opens the first seal, which releases the first of seven plagues from the book of doom upon the people of earth, who are to be punished for their wickedness and their oppression of the righteous.  (Rist, p. 410.)


Seiss.—Christ appears as the Lamb, which is not the character of a Revelator, but it is the character of the predicted “Ruler of the land” about to take possession of the inheritance (Is. 16:1).  (Seiss, I, 295.)

Revelation 6:16


And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:


Barnes.—And from the wrath of the Lamb. The Lamb of God; the Lord Jesus. . . . There seems to be an incongruity between the words wrath and Lamb; but the word Lamb here is so far a proper name as to be used only to designate the Redeemer. He comes forth to execute wrath, not as a Lamb, but as the Son of God, who bore that name. It would seem from this that they who thus dreaded the impending terrors were aware of their source, or had knowledge enough to understand by whom they were to be inflicted.  (Barnes, p. 222.)

Morris. –And said is really a vivid present. John hears them speaking to the hills and rocks. The plea to the mountains to fall on them shows that the calamity which they are confronted is so great that anything is preferable to facing it (cf. Ho. x.8). The wrath of the Lamb is an expressive phrase, found only here. ‘Who ever heard of the lamb being angry? What a terrible thought— the gentlest of all God’s creatures angry? It is the wrath of love, the wrath of sacrificial love which, having done the absolute utmost for us and our salvation, tells us as nothing else could the certainty with which evil awaits its doom at the hand of God’ (Torrance). This book has a great deal to say about wrath. Orgē is used here and in vi.17, xi.18, xiv.10, xvi.19, xix.15, and thumos is found ten times. John is in no doubt but that the divine wrath is a grim reality. Men must reckon with it in the end.  (Morris, Rev., p. 111.)

Rist.—These terrible signs on earth and in heaven cause all people on earth, from the highest to the lowest, both free and slave, to be filled with great fear. In their fright they vainly seek safety by fleeing to the caves and rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains to fall on them so as to hide them from the face of God and the wrath of the Lamb. They realize that the great day of their wrath, which no one can withstand or escape, has arrived. (Rist, p. 417.)

White.—The sufferings of every man are the sufferings of God’s child, and those who reach out no helping hand to their perishing fellow beings provoke His righteous anger. This is the wrath of the Lamb.  (White, D.A., p. 825.)


The death of Christ brings to the rejecter of His mercy the wrath and judgments of God, unmixed with mercy. This is the wrath of the Lamb. (White, letter 31, 1898, quoted in Nichol, B.C., V, 1107.)

Revelation 7:9


After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

Ladd.—The setting of this vision is not explicitly stated, but the language of vss. 15-­‐17 suggests that it is in the consummated Kingdom of God after the throne of God has descended from    heaven to dwell with men (22:3). Here we find the first proleptic vision in the Revelation when  John looks forward to picture some situation that will not come actually into being until some time later.  White robes and palm branches are symbols of victory.  (Ladd, C.R., pp.   118-­‐119.)


Morris.—The vast throng stands before the throne, and before the Lamb. Once again Christ is accorded a place with the Father.  (Morris, Rev., p. 116.)

Rist.—The scene shifts rapidly from the sealing of the martyrs to become a proleptic tableau of the entire company of the glorified and victorious martyrs in heaven, where they await the consummation soon to occur. . . . They are no longer under the altar, praying for vengeance, but are in the blessed presence of God who sits upon the throne and of the Lamb. They have their white robes of immortality which has been promised them (cf. 3:5); they carry palm branches, the symbol of victory and thanksgiving . . . and they sing a victorious song of praise. . . . The song sung by the martyrs in Revelation is one of praise to God and the Lamb for the salvation and glorious victory which they are to enjoy soon.  (Rist, p. 420.)

Revelation 7:10


And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

Barnes.—God the Father, and He who is the Lamb of God, alike claim the honour of salvation. It is observable here, that the redeemed ascribe their salvation to the Lamb as well as to Him who is on the throne. Could they do this if he who is referred to as the “Lamb” were a mere man?

Could they if he were an angel? Could they if he were not equal with the Father? Do those who are in heaven worship a creature? Will they unite a created being with the Anointed One in acts of solemn adoration and praise?  (Barnes, p. 247.)


Ladd.—Their song is not primarily one of gratitude for their own deliverance but one of praise to God for the greatness of the salvation he has wrought. (Ladd., C.R., p. 119.)


Morris.—With a loud voice the multitude ascribes (cried is really a vivid present) salvation to God and the Lamb.  . . . Both are in mind, not one.  And as God is He who sitteth upon the throne it is God as sovereign of whom John is thinking. Salvation then comes from the sovereign act of God in Christ.  (Morris, Rev., p. 116.)

Nichol.—The ascription to both God and the Lamb is significant evidence of their equality. (Nichol, B.C., VII, 784.)


Revelation 7:14


And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.


Barnes.—Under the ancient ritual, various things about the sanctuary were cleansed from ceremonial defilement by the sprinkling of blood on them—the blood of sacrifice. In accordance with that usage the blood of the Lamb—of the Lord Jesus—is said to cleanse and purify. John sees a great company with white robes.  The means by which it is said they became white or pure is the blood of the Lamb. . . . It is not by their own sufferings and trials, their persecutions and sorrows, that they are made holy, but by the blood of the Lamb that had been shed for sinners. This reference to the blood of the Lamb is one of the incidental proofs that occur so frequently in the Scriptures of the reality of the atonement. (Barnes, p. 249).


Charles.—en tō haimati tou arniou.  This phrase has been taken as (a) “in the blood of the Lamb.” In this case the text refers to the forgiveness of sins through faith in the sacrifice of Christ. Cf. 1 John 1:7; Rom iii.25, v.9; Heb ix.14; 1 Pet. i.2. The expression eleukanan . . . en tō haimati is then strongly paradoxical. “The O.T. is familiar with the idea of soiled garments (Isa. lxiv.6; Zech. iii.3) as well as of the symbolism of the washing of the garments (Ex xix.10, 14), and the leukainein recalls especially Isa. i.18. As here also for the judgment of the saving worth of Christ’s death the Pauline category of sacrifice is adopted, so it lies specially at the foundation of 1 Cor. vi.11, apelousasthe, as well as of 1 Cor. vi.20”  (Holtzmann).  By such interpreters the great multitude is taken to include all the faithful and not merely martyrs, after the final judgment and before.  (b) en tō hairmati is to be rendered “through the blood.”  So Bousset, who holds that the parallel expression, xii.11, kai autoi enikasan autou dia to haima tou arniou, demands this rendering. The great multitude is composed only of martyrs, who through the sacrifice of Christ have become endowed with power to become martyrs. Ewald and J. Weiss


from different standpoints uphold the reference of the text (in its present form) to the martyrs. But, even if “through the blood” is the only right expression necessarily implies that the faithful here referred to the martyrs. . . . (Charles, I, 214.)

Elliott.—It said in the past tense, “they washed their garments and made them white,” and etc. So that the white was their colour while in this world, as well as after it. (Elliott, I, 277, n.1.)


Morris.—The complete efficacy of Christ’s atoning death is being strongly asserted. It is on the grounds of His death for men that they are able to stand before the throne properly clothed. This is a further indication that the throng comprises all the saved and not simply the martyrs or some other group.  For all are saved in this way and no other.  (Morris, Rev., p.   117-­‐118.)

Nichol.—Washed their robes. The reason for the purity of the robes is given. The saints are triumphant, not on their own account, but because of the victory won by Christ on Calvary (cf. on ch. 6:11). The close connection between righteousness and victory—both symbolized by white garments (cf. on ch. 3:4; cf. ch. 1:5)—is demonstrated here. The battle is against sin; righteousness is the victory; Christ’s righteousness has won the victory; and upon accepting His righteousness sinners become both righteous and victorious. (Nichol, B.C., VII, 785.)


Rist.— . . . Here in an anticipatory presentation is the total group of martyrs whose predestined number is to be completed in the last and greatest persecution. John envisaged this final tribulation as occurring in the immediate future during the reign of Antichrist.


These glorified saints are the faithful who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. This statement is a reiteration of the theme that the salvation and victory of the martyrs are made possible because Christ, the first martyr, has been victorious through his death (cf. 1:5). It should also be remembered that the martyrs are saved to some degree by the shedding of their own blood –a baptism by blood, as it were. (Rist, p. 422.)

White.—All who remain pure and uncorrupted from the spirit and influence prevailing at this time, will have stern conflicts. They will come through great tribution, they will wash their robes of character, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.  These will sing the song of triumph in the kingdom of glory. Those who suffer with Christ will be partakers of His glory. (Ellen G. White, Life sketches of Ellen G. White (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1915), p. 271. (Hereinafter referred to as L.S.))


Those only who have partaken of the sufferings of the Son of God, and have come up through great tribulation, have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, can enjoy the indescribable glory and unsurpassed beauty of heaven. (Ellen G. White, Spiritual Gifts (Battle Creek, Michigan: Published by James White, 1860), II, 253. (Hereinafter referred to as S.G.)

The provision has been made for us to wash. The fountain has been prepared at infinite expense, and the burden of washing rests upon us, who are imperfect before God. The Lord does not propose to remove these spots or defilement without our doing anything on our part. We must wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb. We may lay hold of the merits of the blood of Christ by faith, and through His grace and power we may have strength to overcome our errors, our sins, our imperfections of character, and come off victorious, having washed our robes in the blood of the Lamb.  (White, 3T, p. 183.)

All of God’s people should come nearer to Him and wash their robes of character in the blood of the Lamb. Then they will see sin in the true light and will realize how offensive it is in the sigh of God.  (Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 324.)


The whole purpose in giving His Son for the sins of the world is that man may be saved, not in transgression and unrighteousness, but in forsaking sin, washing his robes of character, and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. He proposes to remove from man the offensive thing that He hates, but man must co-­‐operate with God in the work. Sin must be given up, hated, and the righteousness of Christ must be accepted by faith. Thus will the divine co-­‐ operate with the human.  (Ibid.,  Vol. 5, p. 632.)


Much time must be spent in prayer, that our garments of character may be washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb.  (Ibid., p. 717.)


Revelation 7:17


For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.


Morris.—The reason? The Lamb. He is in the midst of the throne (i.e., closely related to God in royal state), and He will lead them unto living fountains of waters. The verb poimanei (‘lead’) is normally associated with a shepherd, and is a striking word to use of a Lamb. It marks a


complete reversal of roles. So does John make his point that Christ in His sacrifice of Himself makes provision for the needs of His people. . . . His tender concern makes complete provision for their every need.  (Morris, Rev., pp. 118, 119.)

Rist.—The last two stanzas are largely an obvious adaptation of a prediction made in Isa. 49:10. .

. . with an allusion made, perhaps, to Ps. 23. . . . By a curious shift in symbolism, the Lamb . . . will be their shepherd, . . . (Rist, p. 423.)


Revelation 12:11


And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.


Barnes.—The Lord Jesus—the Lamb of God. . . . The blood of Christ was that by which they were redeemed, and it was in virtue of the efficacy of the atonement that they were enabled to achieve the victory. . . . Christ himself achieved a victory over Satan by his death, . . . and it is in virtue of the victory which he thus achieved that we are now able to triumph over our great foe.

And by the word of their testimony. The faithful testimony which they bore to the truth.  That is, they adhered to the truth in their sufferings; they declared their belief in it, even in the pains of martyrdom, and it was by this that they overcame the great enemy; that is, by this that the belief of the gospel was established and maintained in the world. The reference here is to the effects of persecution and to the efforts of Satan to drive religion from the world by persecution. John says that the result, as he saw it in vision, was that the persecuted church bore a faithful testimony to the truth, and that the great enemy was overcome. (Barnes, p.



Charles.—Dia to Haima. The dia here has been taken by Ewald, DeWette, Bousset to denote the means and not the grounds; iv.11, xiii.14 are quoted as other instances of this use. Certainly in xii.11, xiii.14 this meaning seems more natural. But it is best to take dia, as denoting the cause. Then the death of the Lamb is the primary and the testimony of the martyrs the secondary ground of their victory.


ton logon ktl. Since ton logon is here parallel to to haima it maybe give a second objective ground for their victory, and so mean the divine word of revelation, for which they offer their testimony. But the next clause shows that we should take the words to mean their personal


testimony to Jesus. Thus the two sides of man’s redemption are here brought forward together. (Charles, I, 329.)


Ladd.—This shows clearly that the victory over Satan which John has described . . . was accomplished in history at the cross. The shed blood of Christ is the real means of victory over Satan. The secondary means of victory is the word of their testimony; i.e., their witness to the saving power of the blood of Christ. The background of martyrdom stands behind these words. (Ladd, C.R., p. 172.)


Morris.—What the Lamb has done avails for the Lamb’s followers. With this is linked the word of their testimony, for the redeemed bear their witness to their Redeemer. To give way to the face of persecution is to fall away from Christ and to loose everything. But to stand firm means final victory over Satan. That John has the martyrs in mind is clear from the words, they loved not their lives unto the death. But the same quality of devotion is required from all the followers of the Lamb (cf. Lbe. xiv.26, Jn. xii.)


Nichol.—By the blood. Literally, “because of the blood,” or “on the basis of the blood.” The saints overcame because of the victory of Calvary. (Nichol, B.C., VII, 811.)


Rist.—Satan is to be conquered not only by the blood of the Lamb (cf. 1:5), but also by reason of the testimony of the martyrs, who preferred death to disloyalty to God and Christ. Thus the theme that the martyrs through their deaths are to be conquerors is repeated. (Rist, p. 458.)


Seiss.—The record says they overcame him by means of the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and their not having loved their lives to save them from death. Sinners indeed were all those who belong to the company of this mystic child, and forever contrary is it to the nature and government of God to connive at sin, or to look with allowance upon iniquity; but these people are not therefore without a maintainable cause. An ample atonement has been made.  A Lamb has bled, whose noritorious blood, weighed in all the strictness of eternal right, by which the carping malignity of hell itself is silenced, covered the whole amplitude of their deficiencies, and cleanses away all account of their sins. . . . This is the everlasting fortress of the saints; and this stands foremost of all the means by which the accuser and his hosts are driven back.  But, sheltered under this faith in who died for them, there is also some claim and show for works. Justified and forgiven men, who have no hope but in their Saviour’s merit, may still have title to some consideration and reward for their fidelities. Having given their word of


testimony for the Lord that loved them, and stood firm to it against an adverse world living martyr lives, or dying martyr deaths, cheerfully resigning all that man counts dear for the sake of the truth they confessed, God is not unjust to forget the work and labor of love they have showed towards His name in ministering to His people and His cause. And thus Michael and his angels, standing up for the Lord’s saints, conquer and accuser and his host by reason of the blood of the Lamb, and the worthiness that appears in what they have done and sacrificed for Him.  The means of the victory disclose the nature of the conflict.  (Seiss, II,   358-­‐360.)

Williamson.—When Jesus died on the cross, it was the hope of Satan and evil angels that He should not emerge from the portals of the tomb. When He did emerge Satan knew that his end was near. No longer was Satan the god of this world.  Jesus had not only vindicated the character of God the Father, but He had also provided salvation for every man who would accept, and moreover He had redeemed the world. (Williamson, p. 102.)

White.—The remnant are to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Some expect to overcome alone by the blood of the Lamb, without making any special effort of their own. (Ellen G. White, Early Writings (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Company, 1882), p. 114. (Hereinafter referred to as E.W.)


And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony. They that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. (Ellen G. White, Messages to Young People (Nashville, Tenn.: Southern Publishing Association, 1930), p. 347. (Hereinafter referred to as M.Y.P.)


Revelation 13:8


And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb stain from the foundation of the world.

Barnes.,-­‐-­‐That is, of the Lord Jesus—the Lamb of God. . . . The representation here is, that the Lord Jesus keeps a book or register, in which are recorded the names of all who shall obtain everlasting life.  (Barnes, pp.  427-­‐428.)


Charles..—The future proskunāsousin. . . . In any case we pass here from the present to the future. All do not yet worship the beast. See 15. The phrase tou arniou tou esphagmenou   is


generally regarded by critics as a scribal gloss, but it appears to be from the hand of our author; for, in the first place, in xxi.27 we find en tō Biblio tās zōās tou arniou, and in the next, the phrase in our text forms a contrast to that in xiii.3. The subjects of the Neronic Antichrist who was hōs esphagmenos eis thanaton are set over against those of tou arniou tou esphagmenou: (cf. v.6, 12).

The phrase apo katabolās kosmou is by almost all scholars connected with gegraptai, as in xvii.8. In favour of this connection the following passages are quoted: Eph. 1:4, . . . and Matt. xxv.34, . .

. Thus the election is from the beginning, and the presupposition is that only the elect can withstand the claims of the imperial cult backed by the night of the empire itself. To acknowledge the supremacy of Satan. The faithful are thus secured by their election from the foundation of the world. In vii. 3 sqq., having already exhibited their steadfastness in actual temptation, they have been marked on their brows as God’s own possession, and have thus been secured against the spiritual assaults of Satan but not against Martyrdom. The above interpretation is right in the case of xvii.8 but possibly wrong in the present passage, and Bede, Eichhorn, and Alford may be right in connecting the above phrase with esphagmenou. This connection is suggested by I Pet. i.19, 20, . . . What has been foreordained in the counsels of God is in the certain sense a fact already. The principle of sacrifice and redemption is older than the world: It belongs to the essence of the God head. In favor of this view I would  adduce

further evidence. In the 2nd cent. B. C. Michael was regarded as the mediator between God and

man, Test. Dan. vi.2 . . . , and about the beginning of the Christian era this mediatorship was assigned to Moses in Ass. Mos. i.14. . . . If Judaism claimed that Moses was ordained to be mediator of God’s covenant from the foundation of the world, Christianity claimed that Christ was ordained as the Redeemer of mankind from that period. This, I think, is the meaning of the words in their present context, though it was not the meaning in the older form of the passage, which has been preserved in xvii.8.

The phrase apo katabolās kosmou is found eight times in the N.T. outside the Apocalypse, but does not occur in the LXX. The word katabolā is only once found in the LXX, i.e. in 2 Macc, ii.29, where it is used of the foundation of the house. The idea, however, is found in Job xxxviii.4, . . . and the phrase itself recurs three times in the Ass. Mos. i.13, 14, . . . Here as in our text the idea of predestination is forcibly expressed.  (Charles,  353-­‐355.)


Ladd.—Here and in 21:27, it is called the Lamb’s book of life. It is the register of those who have been saved by faith in the crucified Lamb of God. That their names were written before the foundation of the world carries the assurance that even though they seem to be powerless before the attacks of the beast, they are really in the keeping providence of God and have been since the foundation of the world. . . . That the Lamb was slain refers both to the fact that he has wrought salvation for those who follow him, and that in this death he has led the way for those who would follow him. Jesus himself insisted that every disciple must be willing to take up his cross (Mark 8:34), i.e., follow Jesus to death.  (Ladd, C.R., pp.  181-­‐182.)


Morris.—This last point is important. It is true that these men have set themselves in opposition to God. It is true that they are willing worshipers of the beast. But the significant thing is that their names are not written in the book of life. John wants his little handful of persecuted Christians to see that the thing that matters is the sovereignty of God, not the power of evil.

When a man’s name is written in the book of life he will not be forgotten. His place is secure.


The book of life is connected with the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It is in the capacity of the slain Lamb that Christ brings salvation. There are the two thoughts that it is the atoning death of Christ that is significant and that the salvation he brings is no afterthought. . . .


. . . God’s eternal purpose is in view and contrasted with the fleeting might of the powers of evil. (Morris, Rev., pp.  169-­‐170.)

Rist.— . . . This view expressed here is highly deterministic (cf. also 6:11 and 7:4). Only those whose names are in “the Lamb’s book of life” are to be permitted to enter the New Jerusalem (21:27).  (Rist, p. 463.)


Revelation 14:1


And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written on their foreheads.


Barnes.—Stood on Mount Zion . . . and the representation is made for the same purpose—to sustain the church in trial, with the certainty of its future glory. (Barnes, p. 446.)

Charles.—The entire chapter is proleptic in character.


The Lamb is here set over against the Beast in xiii, and the followers of the Lamb with His name and that of His Father over against the followers of the Beast with his mark on their forehead.


From O.T. times Mount Zion was associated in the minds of the faithful with divine deliverance. Thus Joel ii.32 (iii.5) writes: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and Jerusalem shall be those that escape, as the Lord hath said.” In the 8th cent. B.C. there existed for a time the belief that Jerusalem could not be destroyed. In latter times it was held that a special blessing attached to residence in

Palestine. It alone was to escape the woes that would befall the rest of the earth: cf. 2  Bar.

xxix.2 . . . x1.2, lxxi.1; 4 Ezra xiii.48, 49, vi.25. This idea was revived in Talmudic literature.


This appearance of the Messiah with a mighty multitude on Mount Zion was a Jewish expectation, as we see in 4 Ezra xiii.35, 39, 40, . . . In 4 Ezra ii.42 (Christian or Christian recast of Jewish material) we have a close parallel to our text.


The answer to the question as the identity of the 144,000 that accompany the Lamb has in part  been given in the Introduction to Chap. vii, where we have found them to be the same as the 144,000 in vii.4-­‐8 and the great multitude in vii.9-­‐17. But, though the constituents of the multitude are the same, the circumstances are different.   In the vision before us the scene is     upon earth (cf. ver.2). The blessed faithful follow the Lamb on Mount Zion. And yet they have already passed through the gates of death, and have been presented as an offering (aparchā) to  God (xiv.4). Hence we have here a momentary vision of the saints, who have returned to earth to share in the Millennial reign.   (Cf.xx.4-­‐6).

But the above identification of the 144,000 in vii.4-­‐8 and xiv.1-­‐5 is apparently rejected by every modern scholar, save Alford, who has clung fast to it, although unable to surmount the chief difficulty that stands in its way.   A minor difficulty i.e. the absence of the defining article to   identify these 144,000 with those spoken of in vii.4, he treats as negligible on the ground that      the reader was meant to identify the two hosts, seeing that they consist of the same number       and are both marked on the forehead as God’s own possession.

Alford may be right in ignoring the absence of the article (cf. xv.2, where the expected article is missing, . . . but the present writer is of the opinion that the real explanation is that it was excised by the interpolator of the introductory sentences in xiv.4-­‐5, who sought by his manipulation of the text to destroy the identity of the 144,000 in vii.4-­‐8 and the 144,000 in  the


present passage, and  to  transform  them  into  a  body  of monkish  celebates.   Having  thus explained the absence of the article, there is another and great difficulty, which stands in the way of this identification, and this is that the 144,000 are described as “first-­‐fruits” to God and   to the Lamb. If these 144,000, as the present writer holds, are identical with the entire body of Christians living in the last days, who have been sealed with a view to their protection against the denomic woes, how is it that they are designated as “first-­‐fruits”? It is the interpretation set on this word aparchā by all scholars in the past that has misled them into differentiating the 144,000 in vii.4-­‐8  and xiv.1-­‐5.   This word has hitherto been taken universally to mean “first  fruits” in this passage. That in the Pauline Epistles and in St. James it bears this meaning is indubitable. But this is by no means the case in the LXX, although Grimms’ Lexicon and Thayer’s enlarged edition of Grimm state that aparchā is generally the equivalent of r’shyth. So far is this  from being the case that it is generally not the equivalent of this word.  Thus whereas aparchā  occurs about 66 times in the LXX, it is a rendering of r’shyth only 19 times. In the remaining 47  times, it is once a rendering for the Hebrew word for “tithe,” 4 times of chlb, (=”fat,” in which      case it means “of best of”, and 40 times a rendering of thrwmh (=”offering” or “oblation”), and   once of thnwphh (= “offering”). Thus we see that in the LXX oftener than twice out of the three  times it means “an offering.”   In Sirach it occurs four times, but only once with the meaning of    “first  fruits,”  while  in  the  other  three  passages  it  signifies  either  an  “offering”  or  “gift.” Hesychius also notes that one of its Greek meanings is prosphora.   It is clear, then, that in the   Greek Bible of Judaism aparchā meant “offering,” “sacrifice,” or “gift” nearly 3 times out of 4.

Now it is just this meaning that our text requires.   The faithful, whether as martyrs or       confessors, are sacrifices to God. As such they are offered on the heavenly alter, vi.9. A further sacrificial reference is discovered in the epithet in xiv.5, where they are said to be amōmoi, that is, “unblemished,” sacrificially perfect.  (Charles, II, 1,  4-­‐7.)


Elliott.—And, as regards the primary symbol depicted in vision, its direct and evidently intended contrast to that previously depicted in Apoc. xiii will doubtless at once strike the reader:-­‐-­‐the one that of Antichrist as a wild Beast, the Dragon’s creature and substitute; with a lamb-­‐ personating Priesthood in attendance, to assist him in playing off his part as a God on earth, and a usurper of Christ’s functions, titles, offices, prerogatives, and dignity; with Babylon, the seven-­‐ hilled Babylon for his capitol and throne; and all the world wondering after him, worshipping his image, and receiving the impress of his mark and name:-­‐-­‐the other that of Christ, the true Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, the citadel of the city which was Davids’ royal seat in the olden times,


and type, under a better dispensation, of Christ’s own royalty and the polity of the saints; with       the little company of the 144,000, marked with his own name and his Father’s on their foreheads, gathering around him as their King:-­‐-­‐while, at the same time, the sad and desolated appearance of the lower slope of the holy city adjacent, and the treading of the adjacent outer and even inner temple-­‐court by the Gentile adherents of the Beast, testified further probably, at the opening of this vision, to the success thus far of the Beast’s Antichrist’s usurpation. (Elliott, III,  307-­‐308.)

Ladd.—20 (i) The first vision is again proleptic (see 10:7; 11:15) and pictures the destiny of the people of God who have been preserved through the great tribulation but who have fallen prey      to the wrath of the beast. They are seen in the messianic Kingdom. This vision is not actually realized until chapters 20-­‐22, but as he often does, John gives his readers anticipatory visions of what is yet to be to steady them for the hard experiences that lie immediately ahead.

The last time we saw the Lamb, he was standing before the throne in heaven (7:9); here he is standing in the holy city, Zion or Jerusalem. It is possible that Mount Zion is to be understood symbolically as the place of deliverance and victory. The second Psalm promises the establishment of God’s anointed upon “Zion, my holy hill” (Ps. 2:6), and continues the promise of victory with the words, “I will tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to me, ‘You are my son, today I have begotten you’” (Ps. 2:7). In the New Testament, this promise is seen as fulfilled in the resurrection of Messiah from the dead (Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5). It is possible, therefore, that Mount Zion is intended to be understood spiritually of the victory of the saints.

However it is more likely that Mount Zion stands for the eschatological victory which, according to the Revelation, is in the New Jerusalem which comes down from heaven from God (21:2).

The earthly Zion or Jerusalem is constantly pictured in the Old Testament as the seat of God’s       rule on earth and the center of his final victory.  “And it shall come to pass that all who call upon   the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those   who escape”   (Joel 2:32).   However, in the New Testament, Zion has become “the city of the     living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22), no longer an earthly city but a city above (Gal.4:26).  Jerusalem-­‐Zion is the heavenly dwelling place of God himself; it is no longer an  earthly city where he is thought to dwell. On earth he dwells in the living temples of the hearts of his people (Eph. 2:21-­‐22).   However, in the eschatological consummation, men will not  leave


the earth and take flight to the heavenly Jerusalem; rather, the heavenly Jerusalem will descend to earth and God will dwell among men.  (Ladd, C.R., pp.  188-­‐190.)


Morris.—Mount Zion is sometimes associated with the thought of deliverance (Joel ii.32) and this is in mind here. God’s people are triumphant. (Morris, Rev., p.  175.)


Rist.—Continuing with his dramatic use of contrasts, John now  turns from  a depiction of the     beast and his worshippers to a portrayal of the Lamb and his followers. This is somewhat anticipatory—a preview  of the near future, after the three and a half years of persecution, when   the martyrs will receive their reward. The scene is on Mount Zion, which is in accordance with a common  Jewish  expectation.  Micah, for one, prophesied  that following  the  judgment of his day of wrath, God would summon the faithful remnant to Mount Zion, where he would reign over them forever (Mic. 4:6-­‐8). Others prophesied in a similar vein (cf. Joel 2:32; Isa. 11:9-­‐12; 40:1-­‐ 46:13). . . .


But where is Mount Zion located in this scene? Is it in heaven or on earth? Probably in both places. While in a sense the hundred and forty-­‐four thousand are in heaven, as in ch. 7, John is also envisaging the time when Messiah will establish his kingdom on the earthly Zion. In view of the fluid nature of his symbolism, which flows without difficulty along the channels of his changing thoughts, it is easy to understand how for him this gathering occurred both in heaven and on earth at the same time.   (Rist, p. 468.)

Seiss.—They stand with the Lamb on Mount Zion. To be with the Lamb, as over against being with the Beast, is a perfection of blessing which no language can describe. It is redemption. It is victory. It is eternal security and glory. (Seiss, III,  26.)


White.—(Rev. 14:1 quoted.) In this world their minds were consecrated to God; they served Him with the intellect and with the heart; and now He can place His name “in their foreheads.” (White, A.A., pp.  590-­‐591.)


Revelation 14:4


These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.


Barnes.—These are they which follow the Lamb. This is another characteristic of those who are redeemed—that they are followers of the Lamb of God. That is, they are his disciples; they imitate his example; they obey his instructions; they yield to his laws; they receive him as their counselor and guide.

And to the Lamb. They stood their as redeemed by him, thus honoring him as their Redeemer, and showing forth his glory.  (Barnes, p. 449.)


Charles.—In vii.17 it is said that the Lamb will be the shepherd of the blessed described in vii.14-­‐

  1. This means according to oriental conceptions that the blessed follow Him. Thus to follow Christ is characteristic of the faithful, whether on earth, on which they were called to follow Him even until death. . . , or in the Millennial kingdom, or in heaven. But it would be possible to take akalouthountes as referring to the past, and the subsequent words as implying that in such following of the Lamb they underwent martyrdom. Cf. vii.14, xii.11. But the context does not favour this interpretation. (Charles, II, 10.)


Ladd.—Theirs is a perfect, uncomplaining discipleship. As the path of perfect devotion to the will of the Father led the Lamb to the sacrificial death on the cross, so discipleship to him may well lead to sharing in his cross (Matt. 10:38; Mark 8:34). They follow the Lamb because they are not their own but have been redeemed—purchased for God at the cost of the blood of the Lamb (5:9).  (Ladd, C.R., p. 192.)

Morris.—. . . They follow the Lamb whethersoever He goeth. They do not and cannot lay down the place where their service will take them. He leads. It is theirs to follow. (Morris, Rev.,  p.



Rist.—. . . More probably, the statement is to be considered metaphorically as a symbol of the “spotless” character of the martyrs who had not participated in idolatry, which is frequently compared with immorality and fornication. They are those who follow the Lamb wherever he goes, even unto death. Like their brother martyrs under the altar in 6:9, they are first fruits for God and the Lamb.  (Rist, p. 469.)


Revelation 14:10


The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

Barnes.—And in the presence of the Lamb. The Lamb of God—the final Judge. This also may mean either that the condemnation will occur in his presence, or that the punishment will be under his eye. Both of these things will be true in regard to him; and it will be no small aggravation of the punishment of the wicked that it will occur in the very presence of their slighted and rejected Savior.  (Barnes, p. 455.)


Charles.—Kai enōpion tou arniou. Many critics remove this phrase as the gloss owing to the position after tōn aggelōn. If it is original it is best to render the phrase:  “even before the  Lamb.” Bousset suggests that the phrase “before the angels” is a late Jewish periphrasis for “before God.” Cf. Luke xv.10, xii.8, 9; and Bousset’s Rel. des Judentums, 308, but the present context this is unlikely.  (Charles, II,  17-­‐18.)


Ladd.—We cannot understand all that is meant in the statement that the wicked will be punished “in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.” Jesus himself had said that those who deny him would be denied before the presence of God and the angels (Mark 8:38; Luke 12:9). . . . The central point here seems to be . . . that the sight of the Lamb, now triumphant and victorious, would be the most poignant factor in the pain of the wicked because, as worshipers of the beast, they had joined him in warfare against the Lamb. (Ladd, C.R., p. 197.)

Rist.—The first part of this warning to worshippers of the beast is apparently a loose quotation from Jer. 25:16, . . . As adapted by John, it is probably a prediction of the plagues of . . . (16:1) which are to be poured out upon the earth in the very near future. . . . The holy angels and the Lamb will witness their torture, the thought apparently being that the faithless will thus be eternally shamed before the face of him whom they have denied. (Rist, p. 472.)

Revelation 15:3


And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty: just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.


Barnes.—The hymn which is sung in honour of the Lamb, as their great deliverer. (Barnes, p. 465.)


Charles.—Now that the martyr host is completed, and there already standing before God, they sing a song of the praise to God, but not one of triumph over their enemies—a fact which differentiates this song from that in Ex. xv. The first words, “the song of Moses the servant of God,” recall Ex. xiv.31, xv.1, where Moses and the children of Israel sang a song of thanksgiving to God, but still more a paen of triumph over the Egyptians and of joy at their destruction (Ex. xv.2-­‐19).


As that song was sung on earth, on the shore of the Red Sea by Israel after the flesh, so this song is sung in heaven by the Sea of Glass before God by the spiritual Israel.

The expression tān ōdān Mōuseōs . . . Kai to ōdān tou arniou creates insuperable difficulties. To excise (as most editors have done) Kai to ōdān tou arniou as an interpolation would only aggravate the difficulty in the present context. For, since it was through the Lamb that Christian martyrs triumphed, if the song that followed was associated with any name, that name must have been that of the Lamb. Hence the difficulty does not originate in connection with this phrase, but rather with tān ōdān Mōuseōs. How then are we to explain the collocation of the two phrases? Bousset is of opinion that the repetition of the phrase suggests that the victors sang first the old Song of Moses (Ex. xv.2-­‐19) and then a new song—that of the Lamb, which is then given. This apparently is the view of Swete. “St. John does not write tān ōdān Mōuseōs kai tou arvilou, for the notes are distinct though they form a harmony.” This view can hardly be regarded as satisfactory. That the old dispensation is superseded is the essential belief of our author, and it can no less have been his conviction that in heaven the faithful members of the old dispensation would accept the teaching of the new. Moreover, if our author deliberately omits all reference to the Law throughout the Apocalypse, it would be surprising if he referred here to its author Moses, and placed him before the Lamb. This being so, we can hardly suppose that our author implies that the song of Moses, given in Ex. xv.2-­‐19, was actually sung   by a body of Christian martyrs before the throne. We, therefore, expect that, if the text is original, the song given in our text, which makes no definite mention of either Moses or of the Lamb, was sung alike by the martyred faithful of Judaism and Christianity, and that too led by the Lamb, as the song in Ex. xv. was led by Moses. But the form of the text is against this conclusion, and implies that the song or songs are led by Moses and the Lamb.


Thus there seems to be no way out of the difficulty save by assuming that the words to ōdān Mōuseōs tou doulon tou theou originated in a marginal gloss, which was subsequently incorporated in the Text. Moreover the nature of the song supports this assumption, since it is not a song of triumph, but simply a paean of thanksgiving, which the martyrs sing, when in the first perfect unclouded vision of God they wholly forget themselves and burst forth into praise of the Lord God of Hosts, who alone is holy, whose works are great and marvelous, whose ways are righteousness and truth, and to whom all the nations shall do homage, because of the coming manifestation of God’s righteous judgments.


Not until this stage does the seer behold the complete spiritual transformation of the faithful in heaven. At the same time by its mention of divine judgments to come, it prepares the way for the advent of the seven Angels with their plagues. This song, therefore, though sung by the victorious Christian host of martyrs, could not be more fittingly conceived. Its sole theme is God; for, in the perfect vision of God, self is wholly forgotten, and so far as there is a reference to the earth from which they have been delivered, it is one of hopefulness: “The nations shall come and worship before thee.”

The gloss t. ōdān Mōuseōs ktl. in this context is probably due to the fact that the triumph of the actual Israel over the Egyptians at the Red Sea was certainly regarded by the Christians of the first century as prefiguring the triumphs of the spiritual Israel, as we see from the Pauling Epistles.


This song of Moses in Ex. xv. had already been incorporated in the Temple Services. Thus it was sung at the evening sacrifice on the Sabbath (Edersheim, The Temple, p. 188), and in the benediction that followed the Shema there is a reference to it: . . . According to Philo (De Vita Contempl. xi) this song was sung by the Therapeutae, the men forming one chorus and the women the other, while in the De Agricultura, xvii., he writes: “The chorus of men will have Moses for their leader and that of the women will be under the guidance of Miriam. . . .

Accordingly all the men sing the song on the seashore. . . . Moses being the leader of their song; and the women sing—Miriam being their leader.”


The Martyr’s Song is formed almost wholly of O.T. expressions.  (Charles, II, 34-­‐36.)


Morris.—They sing . . . the song of Moses and the Lamb. This indicates the harmony between different phases of the revelation. Moses is not in opposition to Christ, nor the law of the


gospel. . . . Moses is described as the servant of God. While this usage is found in the Old Testament it may not be fanciful to recall that the ‘servant of the Lord’ is a theme of prophecy, more particularly in Isaiah. Perhaps John means us to think that the prophets as well as the law are caught up in this song. Certainly the Exodus imagery will be in mind, as often in this book. The great deliverance wrought under Moses forms the pattern for the great deliverance wrought by the Lamb. . . . God’s universal sovereignty is in mind (cf. Je. x.6f.). John keeps on bringing out this point, which must have been exceedingly important for his troubled readers. (Morris, Rev., pp.  188-­‐189.)


Nichol.—The deliverance of the saints was wrought by Christ, the Lamb of God (see on ch. 17:14), and it is but natural that He should be adored and exalted in the song of deliverance. (Nichol, B.C., VII, 836.)

Rist.—. . . For in the scene before us the number of the martyrs is complete; all have crossed the symbolic Red Sea to a place of safety in heaven, and their enemies are about to be overwhelmed by God in his wrath. Consequently, instead of praying for divine vengeance as before, they now sing a song of praise to God for their liberation. . . . It is also called the song of the Lamb, for it was through him that they have been saved. (Rist, p. 478.)


Revelation 17:14


These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.


Barnes.—. . . that is, they would combine with the Papacy in opposing evangelical religion. It is not meant that they would openly and avowedly proclaim war against the Son of God, but that they would practically do this in sustaining a persecuting power. . . .

And the Lamb shall overcome them. Shall ultimately gain the victory over them. The meaning is that they would not be able to extinguish true religion.  In spite of all opposition and persecution, that would still live in the world, until it would be said that a complete triumph was gained.  (Barnes, p. 516.)


Ladd.—This illustrates in particular their unanimous support of the beast; they join him in his hostility to the Lamb, but in vain. This final conflict between the Antichrist and Messiah does not occur at this point; it is pictured in 19:17-­‐21 at the return of   Christ.


. . . The supreme lordship of the Lamb assures his victory. This is the title inscribed upon the robe and upon the thigh of the victorious Christ (19:16). He does not conquer alone; in his retinue are those who have been called and chosen by God and who have remained faithful to the Lamb in the face of the final persecution.  (Ladd, C.R., p. 232.)

Morris.—John looks ahead to the end of time and sees them making war with the Lamb, but to no avail, for the Lamb shall overcome them. . . . Against such a Being the minions of the beast are in a hopeless situation. With the Lamb are those who are called, and chosen, and faithful. These are His retinue, not His resources. They represent no independent source of aid, for He needs none. Indeed, the very qualities named show that they depend on Him. (Morris, Rev., p. 212.)


Rist.—Evidently they are among the kings from the East whom the Antichrist is to assemble against the Lamb and his saints at the battle of Armageddon (cf. 16:12-­‐16). The Lamb is now given the honorific title of Lord of lords and King of kings, . . . Similar titles were assigned to Babylonian, Persian, and Roman rulers, reflecting not only their conquering might but their divine character. . . Now this title is most fittingly given to the Lamb, who with his army is to vanquish the Antichrist (who considers himself both god and being) and his cohorts under the ten kings from the East. The Lamb’s army is not composed of angels, but in conformity with the promise of 2:27 and 12:11 it consists of martyrs, whose who are called and chosen and faithful. The word chosen is used nowhere else in Revelation. (Rist, p. 496.)


Revelation 19:7


Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.


Barnes.—For the marriage of the Lamb is come. . . . The relation of God, and especially of the Messiah, to the church, is often in the Scriptures represented under the image of marriage. . . . The idea is also said to be common in Arabic and Persian poetry. It is to be remembered also, that Papal Rome has just been represented as a gay and meretricious woman; and there is a propriety, therefore, in representing the true church as a pure bride, the Lamb’s wife, and the final triumph of that church as a joyous marriage. The meaning is, that the church is now to triumph and rejoice as if in permanent union with her glorious head and Lord. (Barnes, p. 537.)


Charles.—ālthen ho gamos tou arniou . Ālthen is used proleptically in xi.18, but not to the same extent here; for Rom is already overthrown: in the impenitent nations, the Beast and the False Prophet are on the eve of being cast into the lake of fire, the Millennial Kingdom on the eve of being set up, and the heavenly Jerusalem—the bride—of coming down from heaven. In fact, ālthen refers here to the time just preceding the advent of the Millennial Kingdom, whereas in

xi.18 to the period that follows on its close. Cf. xix.7, 15, where it also occurs.


ho gamos tou arniou.  As God in the O.T. is the Bridegroom of Israel (cf. Hos. ii.16; Isa. Liv.6; Ezek. xvi.7 sq.), in the N.T. This symbolism is transferred to Christ and the church, which in our author is symbolized by the heavenly and the New Jerusalem: cf. xxi.9-­‐10; xxii.17, xxi.2. This figure of marriage denotes the intimate and indissoluble communion of Christ with the community, which He has purchased with His own blood (b.6, 9, vii.17, xiv.1).  This communion is reached first in its fullness by the martyrs, who reign with Christ for 1000 years in the Holy City, which comes down from heaven, and are yet in a mysterious way identified with the Holy City xxi.9, xxii.17, i.e. the Church, the Bride of Christ. The Gentiles converted during these 100 years belong also to the Church. When the new (kainā) Jerusalem descends in xxi.2 after the final judgment and the creation of the new heaven and a new earth, it has become a symbol for the church universal.


It is worth observing that the heavenly (or New?) Jerusalem is symbolized by a woman in 4 Ezra

ix.38 sqq., x.25-­‐50.


But to return to the term gamos, we meet with the above symbolism in other parts of the N.T. Thus the marriage feast (gamoi) is made by the king for His Son in Matt. xxii.2 sqq.; the bride chamber is mentioned Matt. xxii.10 (numphōn), and the wedding garment. . . . xxii.11; the sons of the bridechamber, Mark ii.19; the bridegroom . . . Mark ii.19, Matt. xxv.1; and his friends (John iii.29) and the bride . . . in Matt. xxv.1 (d). In 2 Cor. Xi.2 the same symbolism occurs, . . . Eph. v.25, 32. . . . (Charles, II,  126-­‐127.)


Nichol.—Marriage.   “The  bride,  the  Lamb’s  wife”  is  “that  great  city,  the  holy  Jerusalem”  (ch. 21:2, 9, 10).  The New Jerusalem is to be the capital of the new earth, and as such is     representative of “the kingdoms of this world,” which are to “become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ” (chs. 11:15; 21:1-­‐5; G.C. 426.) The New Jerusalem will contain the Garden of Eden, in which the tree of life has been preserved (see ch. 22:1; cf. PP 62; G.C. 299,   646-­‐648).


The wedding here referred to consists of the reception by Christ of His kingdom, as represented by the New Jerusalem, and His coronation as King of kings and Lord of lords, in heaven at the close of His priestly ministry before the plagues are poured out (EW 55, 251, 280, 281; G.C. 427, 428; . . . ). As in the parable of the Ten Virgins, the waiting saints are represented as guests invited to the wedding (ch. 19:9; G.C. 426, 427; cf. Matt. 25:1-­‐10).   (Nichol, B.C., VII,  872.)


Rist.—Rejoicing and exaltation and the glorification of God are now  in order for the marriage of   the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready. This symbolic concept of the divine marriage is found in a number of places in the O.T., where Israel is the bride of the Lord (cf. Isa. 54:5-­‐6;  62:5; Eze. 16:6-­‐14;  Hos. 2:19-­‐20).  . . .


Using the marital figure in an eschatological sense, as Paul did in II Cor. 11:2, John now speaks of the joyous time, at the Second Advent, when the marriage of Christ, the Lamb, with his bride is to be celebrated. The symbolism of the bride is somewhat mixed. She is, no doubt, the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven as described in 21:9-­‐10. She is also the church, the congregation of the faithful. Furthermore, she may be in some special sense closely related to the martyrs, as we shall see. . . . Further, the apparel of the bride, fine linen, bright and pure, is probably designedly differently from the purpose and scarlet garb of the harlot who is also bedecked with jewels (cf. 17:4; 18:16; but see 21:19-­‐21). Thus the eternal city, the church of Christ, is placed over against the temporal city, Rome, mistakenly considered as Roma aeterna.


The brides linen costume is described as the righteous deeds of the saints. . . . The white garments are like those the martyrs themselves are to wear (3:4, 18; 6:11; 7:9, 14). Moreover their good works, which had accompanied the martyrs to heaven (cf.14:13; 20:12; 22:12), could quite appropriately be symbolized by the brides pure white garb. It may be that by this symbolism John intended to show a special relationship between the martyrs and the bride, and trough her to her husband, the Lamb, so that they in particular are considered to be his bride. (Rist,  pp. 508-­‐509.)


Revelation 19:9


And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.  And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.


Barnes.—The idea of a festival, or a marriage-­‐supper, was a familiar one to the Jew to represent the happiness of heaven, and is frequently found in the New Testament. . . . The image in the passage before us is that of many guests invited to the great festival.


And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.  Confirming all by a solemn declaration.  The importance of what is here said; the desirableness of having it fixed in the mind amidst the trials of life and the scenes of persecution through which the church is to pass, makes this solemn declaration proper. The idea is, that in all times of persecution; in every dark hour of despondency, the church, as such, and every individual member of the church, should receive it as a solemn truth never to be doubted, that the religion of Christ would finally prevail, and that all persecution and sorrow here would be followed by joy and triumph in heaven. (Barnes, p. 538.)


Charles.—. . . But keklāmenoi has not this technical meaning here, but simply that of “invited.” Here as in Matt. xxii.2 sq., the guests and the Bride are one and the same.  But, though the guests or the faithful might (as Israel in the O.T. in relation to Yahweh) be rightly designated the Bride, as, for example, in xxi.9 (cf. Eph. v.27), at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom, since the words Bridegroom and Bride symbolize the close relation between Christ and the Church at all times, yet the realization of the things so symbolized is always partial and imperfect till the number of the saints is complete. Hence not till then has the time come for the Wedding Feast and for the Bride to become the Wife of the Lamb. It is to this feast, therefore, that the faithful are “invited”; and all such as are then invited naturally accept, for they are all saints. (Charles, II, 129.)


Morris.—The speaker adds that these are the true sayings of God, . . . Some have wondered that these particular words should be singled out, for they do not appear to be more than usually noteworthy.  But they had great point for the church in the conditions in which she found herself. In the troubled days of the persecutions it did need emphasis that it was the persecuted saints who were blessed, not their persecutors.  (Morris, Rev., pp.  227-­‐228.)


Rist.—John, then, is referring to an eschatological feast, similar to those in I Enoch and the apocalypse of Elijah. It is to occur only when the forces of evil are overcome and the Messiah has established his rule, and is to be a fulfillment of the promise made to prospective martyrs in 3:20b, “I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” (cf. also the “hidden manna” in


2:17). If, as seem probable, the martyrs are peculiarly the bride of Christ, there invitation to the wedding feast as guests in something of an anomaly, until we recall the fluidity of apocalyptic imagery whereby Christ can be both Lamb and shepherd in a single verse (7:17). As in 14:13, where the Spirit affirms the validity of the beatitude spoken by a voice from heaven, so now the angel pledges that these words of blessing are the true worlds of God (cf. 21:5; 22:6). (Rist, pp. 509-­‐510.)


Revelation 21:9


And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.


Barnes.—I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. I will show you what represents the redeemed church now to be received into permanent union with its Lord—as a bride about to be united to her husband.  (Barnes, p. 584.)


Morris.—The Lamb is very prominent in the New Jerusalem, and is mentioned in these last two chapters seven times.  (Morris, Rev., p. 248.)


Revelation 21:14


And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.


Barnes.—The names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Of the Lamb of God; the Messiah. (Barnes, p. 586.)


Morris.—The Lamb (rather than the personal name) pointes to the character in which man’s salvation is accomplished.  (Morris, Rev., p. 250.)


Rist.—This is the only specific reference to the twelve apostles in Revelation, . . . (Rist, p. 535.) Revelation 21:22

And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.


Barnes.—‘For the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.’ They are present in all parts of it in their glory; they fill it with light; and the splendour of their presence may be said to be the temple. The idea here is that it would be a holy world—all holy. No particular portion would be set apart for purposes of public worship, but in all places God would be adored, and every portion of it devoted to the purposes of religion. (Barnes, p. 590.)


Charles.—In the Holy City there would be no temple . . . for that the Lord God would be the Temple thereof and the Lamb the Ark of the Covenant thereof. (Charles, II, 170.)


Morris.—It is characteristic that John adds and the Lamb. The Lamb is at the centre of things throughout this book.  (Morris, Rev., p. 254.)


Rist.— . . . Consequently, by a characteristic straining of the imagery God and the Lamb become a spiritual temple.


(Compare authors attitude: “. . . but these suggestions do not seem necessary, since lack of precise and logical statement is characteristic of the writer.”) (Rist, pp. 538, 527.)


White.—(text quoted). The people of God are privileged to hold open communion with the Father and the Son. . . . We shall stand in His presence and behold the glory of His countenance. (White, G.C., pp.  676-­‐677.)


Revelation 21:23


And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.


Barnes. And the Lamb is the light thereof. The Son of God; the Messiah. (Barnes, p.   590.)


Morris.—The glory of God lit it up and the Lamb is its light. This latter probably does not mean anything greatly different from the preceding statement, but it is in harmony with the general picture that the Lamb is put on a level with God as the source of light for the heavenly city. (Morris, Rev., p. 254.)


Rist.—It may be that John has in mind there the contemporary astral theology and is affirming that the solar and lunar deities are now displaced by God and Christ. In any event, the city has


divine significance; likewise, it has cosmic meaning as well, as did the heavenly cities in astro-­‐ religious thought, for part from the lake of fire it embraces the entire cosmos; it is indeed the divine, perfect, eternal universe, combing both the new heaven and the new earth.  (Rist, p.  539.)


Revelation 21:27


And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.


Morris.—By contrast, those who do enter are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Again there is the thought that salvation depends on what Christ has done. (Morris, Rev., p. 255.)


Rist.—Still carrying out the contrast with harlot Babylon, whose cup was filled with “abominations and the impurities of her fornication” (17:4), nothing unclean can enter the New Jerusalem, nor can anyone who practices abomination or falsehood. . . . Those who practiced these sins, of course, are by now in the lake of fire (cf.21:8).  As stated in the judgment scene and elsewhere only those whose names are in the Lamb’s book of life will be permitted to go into the city to enjoy its glory and its blessings (cf.3:5; 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15).  (Rist, pp.   540-­‐541.)


Revelation 22:1


And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.


Barnes.-­‐-­‐. . . and the essential thought in its flowing from the throne is, that all the happiness of heaven proceeds from God.   (Barnes, p.   592.)


Charles.—(lists phrase under 22:2) tou thronou tou theou kai tou arniou. There is no difficulty in this conception more is there any ground for regarding kai tou arniou with the most recent German critics on an addition.  This ideas with regard to the Messiah is pre-­‐Christian:   cf. 1   Enoch li.3, . . . Likewise the Elect One is described as sitting on “the throne of glory, xlv.4, lv.4, and as sitting on the throne of His (i.e. God’s) glory,” lxii. 3, 5 (cf. li.3). Similarly the lord of Spirits places the Elect One “on the throne of glory” (lxi.8), “on the throne of His glory,” lxii.2. This


throne is called the Son of Man’s throne, lxix.27, 29. Finally it is to be observed that though the Lord of Spirits places the Elect One on the throne of glory in lxi.8, and he judges all men, yet in lxi.9, the praises of all are directed to the Lord of Spirits. On the other hand, in xxii.3 of our text the phrase kai tou arniou may be an addition, though there is no conclusive evidence for so regarding it.  (Charles, II,  175-­‐176.)


Ladd.—The face that the river flows from the throne of God and of the Lamb means simply that God is the source of all life. Here, as in 3:21, there is only one throne on which are seated both the Father and the Son. This fact makes it difficult to distinguish between different thrones and different judgments, as some interpreters do. The judgment seat of Christ before which believers must appear (II Cor. 5:10) is also the judgment seat of God (Rom. 14:10). (Ladd, C.R. pp.285-­‐287.)


Morris.—Life takes its origin from God for the river flowed from the throne of God. For the third time in this section John adds and of the Lamb  to his reference to God.  He will not let us miss the supreme significance of the Lamb in the final state of things. But a reference to the Lamb as on the throne is unusual and Swete finds this ‘a startling expression’. Usually the Lamb is ‘in the midst of the throne’ (v.6, vii.17), but He sits with the Father on the throne also in iii.21. (Morris, Rev., p. 255.)


Revelation 22:3


And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.


Barnes.—But the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it. God will reign there forever; the principles of purity and love which the Lamb of God came to establish will pervade that blessed abode to all eternity.  (Barnes, p. 594.)


Ladd.—This repeats the central motif of the new age (21:3). The chief joy of the redeemed— God’s servants—will be the service of worship they render him. (Ladd, C.R., p. 288.)






Robert H. Mounce has written that “. . . a study of the names of Jesus has always been central to      an understanding of the person and work of Christ.” (Robert A. Mounce, “The Christology of the Apocalypse,” Foundations, XI (1968), 42-­‐51.) P.-­‐A. Harle speaks even more directly to our study when he writes of the Lamb title: “Cette designation vis a englober sous en terme unique la totalite de la personne et de l’oeuvre salutaire du Christ; c’est un titre soteriologique.” (P.-­‐A. Harle, “L’Agneau de l’Apocalypse et le Nouveau Testament,” Etudes Theologiques et Religieuses, XXX-­‐XXXI (1956, No. 2), 26-­‐ 35.)   There are those, however, who would have us to believe that the well accepted hermeneutic    principles set forth above, are of no value when we are confronted with the Book of Revelation.  C. K.   Barrett, for example, has written that “In the numerous references in Revelation to the Lamb there is no  unity or coherent scheme (other than the conviction that Jesus fulfills all the hopes of Judaism).” (C. K. Barrett, “The Lamb of God,” New Testament Studies, I (1954-­‐1955),   216.)


Whereas the book was written for the enlightenment of God’s people (Rev. 1:1), and carries a blessing from God on those that read it, or hear it, and keep the things that are written in it (Rev. 1:2), we believe rather that “In the visions given to . . . John we see how closely heaven is connected with the events taking place upon the earth and how great is the care of God for those who are loyal to Him.” (White, 5T., 753.) We also feel that Ulrich E. Simon, though not writing about the Revelation, has set forth a principle of that Book when he wrote “’The evils that men do live after them;’ unless they are understood they may recur.” (Ulrich E. Simon, A Theology of Auschwitz (London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1967), p. 9.)


A study of the Lamb of God is a study of God’s response to sin and its issues. Therefore we must understand the significance of calling Jesus the Lamb, that we might be part of those among whom sin will never arise again.

In this chapter we hope to arrive at an understanding of the Lamb title in the Revelation, based in our earlier study, that will make clear the evilness of Satan’s plans and work, in order that evil may appear more clearly evil, and the proclaimed love and goodness of God be seen to be truly love and goodness.


In our study of amnos we learned that this title for the Savior has as its essential element the connotation of suffering; all the suffering necessitated by sin if we were to be redeemed. It is the only title applied to Christ, by which suffering is so strongly the essential message portrayed. It is also significant that the amnos title is only applied to Christ in regard to His work up to the time of His death. In His resurrection and His subsequent work He is never referred to as the amnos of God. When the amnos title occurs it refers to the One who is to be slain.

When the bible designates Christ as ‘the Lamb’ after His resurrection is uses the word arnion.

We have seen that this world has a symbolic value, taking its exact meaning from the context in which it appears, though it of course also carries the general meaning of Lamb; its characteristics and life experiences.


That the two words, amnos and arnion, are by nature emphasizing two aspects of one concept, tells us that what Jesus does as the resurrected Redeemer finds its basis in His earlier work as the Sacrificed One.


This does not mean that Jesus’ work on the cross was incomplete, but rather that there is more than one phase to repairing the breach made by sin.


When man became Satan’s captive, the dominion which he held passed to the conquerer. Thus Satan became ‘the god of this world.’  2 Corinthians 4:4.  He had usurped that dominion over the earth which had been originally given to Adam. But Christ, by His sacrifice paying the penalty of sin, would not only redeem man, but recover the dominion which he had forfeited. (White, P.P., p. 67.  G.A.G., p. 41, ¶2,3)


As we now turn to a study of the Lamb-­‐texts in the Revelation we will be seeking to understand the significance of the work of Christ on the cross, and His role as recoverer of the forfeited dominion.

The Message of the Lamb in the Revelation


The Message of Chapter Five


The facts of the source of the message of the Revelation, and its purpose, having been set forth in chapters one through three of the Book, God gives John a vision of His glory (chp.4), to encourage him as the revelation unfolds. This vision of the glory of God closes with the Lord being praised because He has created all things (4:9-­‐11).   When the Lamb takes the Book from the hand of God in chapter  five,


praises is offered to Him because He has redeemed “us” to God by His blood and has made “us” kings and priests to our God (5:8-­‐10).


The fact that the ascription of praise is based in the Lord’s creatorship in the last verse of chapter four, while it is based in the face of redemption, though not yet realized, in the verses that immediately follow the account of the Lamb’s taking the Book in chapter five, establishes the nature of the Lamb’s work in connection with the Book—to make effectual that which has been accomplished at the cross.


Chapter five sets forth the issue around which the messages of the Book center. The vision opens with the focus on the sealed book in God’s hand. George Ladd has written:

. . . the Book rests in the hand of God. This we must never forget. Sometimes evil seems so monstrous that even Christians become discouraged and lose their perspective. But God still holds the Book. He has not abdicated. He has not abandoned history. . . . God has not withdrawn from the scene of human experience. He is still the Lord and Master of history and human experience. . . . (George Eldon Ladd, “The Lion is the Lamb,” Eternity, XVI (April 1965),

  1. (Hereinafter referred to as L.L.)


The fact that the book is in God’s hand, and that the Christ, Who is equal with God, is the only One who can open it, also means that God is Himself involved in the issue being presented; that He only is worthy to do this work (5:2-­‐4). John is then directed to the fact that the Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed  to open the book, and that He has qualified for this work by becoming a Lamb that was subsequently slain, and lives again (5:5-­‐6a).   He is also shown that the Lamb did not work apart from Him who is  seated on the throne; the Lamb has “the seven Spirits of God” (6:6b). Ladd has written in regard to this verse, “Here is a wonderful thing: the Lion is the Lamb. The conquering King is the slain Lamb of God.


“This wonderfully ties together the two aspects of the redeeming work of our Lord, for it is because of His cross that Christ can achieve His final triumph as King.” (Ladd, L.L., p. 22.) Mrs. White has expressed it this way:


The Savior is presented before John under the symbols of ‘the Lion of the tribe of Judah’ and of ‘a Lamb as it has been slain.’ . . . These symbols represent the union of omnipotent power and self-­‐sacrificing  love.


Verse six also tells us the Lamb was in the midst of the throne. The fact that He is represented as in the midst of the throne means that


He is the great ordinance by which man and God are united and commune together. Thus men are represented as sitting in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. This is the appointed place of meeting between God and humanity.  (White, T.M., p. 124.)


This representation of the Lamb signifies to use that


The uplifted Savior is to appear in His efficacious work as the Lamb slain, sitting upon the throne, to dispense the priceless covenant blessings, the benefits He died to purchase for every soul who should believe on Him. . . . Christ is pleading for the church in the heavenly courts above, pleading for those for whom He paid the redemption price of His own lifeblood.

Centuries, ages, can never diminish the efficacy of this atoning sacrifice. (Ibid., p. 92.)


The message being portrayed is that the world is not without a ruler. That God not abandoned the fallen world. “The program of coming events is in the hands of the Lord. The Majesty of heaven has the destiny of nations, as well as the concerns of His church, in His own charge.” (White, 5T., 753.) “The world has not been given into the hands of men, . . . “ (Ellen G. White, Evangelism (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1946), p. 622. (Herein after referred to as Ev.)

This control by God is made forensically possible, in spite of Satan’s usurpation of the dominion entrusted Adam (D.A. 115) of this world, by virtue of the victory-­‐death of God’s Son, the Lamb   slain.

This victory is represented in Rev. 5 as being based in the power, authority, and might of the Lion, combined with the vicarious suffering of the Lion that became a Lamb and was sacrificially slain. (Ellen White, in P.P., p. 236, writes: “The Lion, king of the forest, is a fitting symbol of . . . Shiloh, the true “Lion of the tribe of Judah,” to whom all powers shall finally bow and all nations render homage.”

The Message of Chapter Six


Chapter six portrays the first of God’s activity to fulfill His purposes, in harmony with the vision of chapter five. When in 6:1 we read that the lamb opened one of the seals we are seeing in action the principle of chapter five; that the Lamb is central to the conflict, and that his activities center around his ‘nature’ as the arnion in relation to the needs inherent in the issue represented by the sealed book of chapter five. This means that the significant message of 6:1, to our study, is that it is the Lamb who opens the book.  When we come to 6:16 we are dealing with a verse in a paragraph (6:15-­‐17).    The


response to the acts of God portrayed there by the men who experience the opening of the seals by the lamb, tells us, first, that those who felt themselves condemned recognized the meaning of the events taking place under the seals, or at the least the sixth seal. They realized that God was coming to earth in judgment and that they were not ready. They also recognized that death and burial beneath the mountains was to be preferred, by those who had failed to prepare for the coming day of judgment, to facing the Lamb. Second, these men’s response reveals to use the purpose of the seals; to cause men to recognize their great need to prepare now to meet the Lamb—whose coming is sure—because the Lab (arnion) of God can have great wrath. A wrath which will be poured out on all who don’t “stand” in the day of judgment.


The apparent incongruity of combining ‘wrath’ and ‘Lamb’ emphasizes that this wrath is the wrath of the arnion, which, as we have seen, is a compound symbol that designates both the Lamblike love that goes to such lengths as self-­‐sacrifice that others might live (amnos), with the strong character traits which are proper to the lion. As such the phrase ‘wrath of the Lamb,’ being drawn from the Lion half of the symbol, is predictive of the surety of the destruction of the object of His wrath; the rejector of His love. The arnion title here signifies that the death of the Lamb resulted not only in making a way of salvation from sin, but that it also guaranteed the condemnation of those who refuse the salvation offered. Mrs. White has written it this way: “The death of Christ brings to the rejector of His mercy the wrath and judgments of God, unmixed with mercy. This is the wrath of the Lamb.” (White, Letter 31, 1898, quoted Nichol, B.C., V, 1107.)


The reason for such a strong response toward a rejector of His love, by One Who is characterized as a lamb, becomes clear when we read, “The sufferings of every man are the sufferings of God’s child, and those who reach out no helping hand to their perishing fellow beings provoke His righteous anger. This is the wrath of the Lamb.”  (White, D.A., p. 825. 2T 286 ¶2, line  10.)

This chapter is telling us that the Lamb Himself controls events (6:1-­‐14) in such a way that fallen man is led to recognized his unlikeness of God (6:15-­‐16), the surety of the future judgment when he will be measured by the Lamb Who can have great wrath (6:17a), and that the result of the judgment is in       the  hand  of God—man  can’t see  himself through  it (6:17b).


This means the chapter contains a three-­‐fold message. It tells us the Lamb is mightier than men; that God’s “. . . purposes in regard to His rebellious subjects will be fulfilled;” (White, Ev., p. 622.) while the fact that the revelation of wrath to come is given by the Lamb Himself, in opening the seals, means


that the mercy of the Lamb—revealed by the opening of the seals which warn of the danger to come— precedes the wrath of the Lamb, thereby showing that the lamb has no desire to destroy.


Thus we see that here in chapter six arnion again has a dual meaning; it represents the mercy of   the One Who not only gave Himself up to die for fallen man, but Who, in addition, continually warns of judgment to come, while combining with that revelation of mercy a warning that all hope of mercy will     one day end, when the merciful Lamb will reveal the wrath of the lion against those who fail to respond       to such a great kindness and love. (Alfred Loisy has understood this for he writes, “’de celui qui est assis sur le trone, et a la colere de l’agneau’,-­‐-­‐Ne pas oublier que cet agneau est le lion de Juda; . . .” L’Apocalypse  de  Jean  (Frankfurt:   Graphischer Betrieb Heinz Saamer, 1972), p. 154.)   “Now  is probationary time, before the angel shall fold her wings, the angel of mercy, and shall step down from       the throne, and mercy, mercy is gone forever.”  (White (MS 49, 1894), quoted Nichol, B.C., VII, 989.)

The Message of Chapter Seven


In chapter seven, verses nine and ten, we read:


After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.


The last verses of chapter six left us with the picture of men seeking separation from the Lamb because they were unready to meet Him in judgment. Now we see an innumerable host standing accepted before God and the Lamb. The means of this great change is made clear in chapter seven, verses one through three where God sends a message to the angels who have been commissioned “to hurt the earth and the sea” (7:2), telling them to refrain from doing their work until the servants of God can be sealed.  Whereas to be sealed “. . . is a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so that they can’t be moved,” (Ellen G. White, MS 173, 1902, quoted in Nichol, B.C., IV, 1161.) it is clear that the predicted judgment has been withheld, in mercy, (cf M.L.T. 308, EW 38) for a time, that those men who recognized their unreadiness might get ready for the coming of the Lamb. (White, M.L.T., p. 308, Ev., 1. E.W., p. 38 (37).) This merciful response of God to the lack of preparation by the inhabitants of the earth for the coming judgment revealed by the seals—which mercy is exemplified by the waiting by the Lamb to come in judgment—is seen as a basis of the victory ultimately realized by man; hence the song of praise to the Lamb, and to God. The praise to the God, too, because of the close work


between God and the Lamb, in man’s behalf, which is exemplified by the fact that the men who couldn’t stand before the Lamb in chapter six, are accepted by Him, in chapter seven, when they have received the seal of God.  Conversely, those who are “. . . before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: . . .“ (7:15), are those who “. . . have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (7:14). This cooperation between God and the Lamb in caring for fallen man is most clearly seen (White, T. II, 364.) in chapter seven, verse seventeen, where we read, “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”


Chapter seven, by telling us that those men who will “stand” in the future judgment which occurs at the coming of the Lamb, will “. . . have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,” is also revealing to use how those who stood in the judgment got ready; they worked in cooperation with the Lamb. The need for getting ready was revealed in chapter six, but the method of preparing was not revealed until now.

The provision has been made for us to wash. The fountain has been prepared at infinite expense, and the burden of washing rests upon us, who are imperfect before God. The Lord does not propose to remove these spots or defilement without our doing anything on our part. (White, T., p. 183.)


Again, the chapter is possibly showing us that those who are pictured as standing “before the throne and before the Lamb” are sons and daughters of God who have learned to trust Him and cling to His promises. This element is developed by Seiss when he writes that

All Jewish names are significant, and the meaning of those which are here given is not hard to trace. Juda means confession or praise of God; Reuben, viewing the Son; God, a company; Aser, blessed; Nepthalim, a wrestler or striving with; Manasses, forgetfulness; Simeon, hearing and obeying; Levi, joining or cleaving to; Issachar, reward, or what is given by way of reward; Zabulon, a home or dwelling, Joseph, added, or an addition; Benjamin, a son of the right hand, a son of old age. Now put these several things together in their order, and we have described to us: Confessors or praisers of God, looking upon the Son, a band of blessed ones, wrestling with forgetfulness, hearing and obeying the word, cleaving unto the reward of a shelter and home, an addition, son’s of the day of God’s right hand, begotten in the extremity of the age. (Seiss, I, 410.)


Finally, this chapter reveals God and Jesus (cf. 1:1) encouraging fallen men to grasp the opportunity of salvation which is being offered, before the prophesied end of the mercy now made available by the Lamb, for when the mercy of the Lamb end’s the wrath of the Lion will prevail against    the rejecters of His grace. This encouragement is presented in the form of a proleptic picture of the faithful (7:9-­‐10, 15-­‐17), that reveals the blessedness of those who wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb—personal togetherness with God and the     Lamb.

The message of this chapter, which emphasizes the cooperation of God and the Lamb in meeting the needs of fallen man, is that God’s “. . . whole purpose in giving His Son for the sins of the world is that man may be saved, not in transgression and unrighteousness, but in forsaking sin, washing his robes of character, and making them white in the blood of the Lamb. (White, 5T., p. 632. Note: “The death of Christ with its resulting salvation for man – which in turn vindicates the character of God – is the basis for the worthiness of Christ.” 7SDA B.C. 773, re: “thou wast slain.” (Editorial comment).)

The arnion in this passage is One Who:


  1. is in the midst of the throne
  2. works with God as an equal
  3. sheds His blood to provide the way for fallen man to be washed clean
  4. is merciful in delaying the judgment (M.L.T. 308)
  5. receives praise from the redeemed for their salvation
  6. leads and provides, along with God, for the redeemed in



These elements taken together portray to us the nature of the Lamb (arnion) in this chapter.

Perhaps the most significant point is that there are no lion characteristics revealed; only the characteristics associated with the amnos aspect of the arnion are seen here. Therefore the message of the Lamb (arnion) symbol in these verses can now be seen to be that Christ reveals only His lamb characteristics in dealing with His followers. “The Lion of Judah, so terrible to the rejectors of His grace, will be the Lamb of Go to the obedient and faithful. (White, A.A., p. 589.)  This tends to establish what we have proposed as the meaning of arnion in our discussion of the Lamb in chapters five and six of the Revelation; that the arnion-­‐Lamb is a compound symbol composed of the Lion of Judah and the Lamb  that was slain (amnos). We also noted that our study suggests that the wrath of the Lamb (arnion) is drawn  from  the amnos-­‐Lamb.


The Message of Chapter Twelve, verse Eleven


According to our analysis of the structure of the book of Revelation this verse appears in a section (11:14-­‐12:17) that has as its subject the result o the work God has done thus far in redeeming man and reclaiming the forfeited inheritance. This work results in the vindication of God (11:15-­‐17), and predicts judgment to come, while it also reveals the standard by which men are to be judged—the law of God (11:18-­‐19).   This portrayal is followed by a review of the issues necessitating a judgment (12:1-­‐   17), which closes this   section.


The text we are here particularly concerned with (12:11) appears within this ‘review’. Beginning at verse seven and continuing through verse twelve, we read:

And there was warn in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world; he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.


And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.


Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you; having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.


As can be seen by reading these verses together, verse eleven appears in the context of a



  1. Satan and his angels are cast out of heaven when they war with Michael and his angels (vs. 7-­‐8).


  1. The great dragon and his angels are cast out into the earth—the old serpent called the Devil and Satan who deceives the whole world (v. 9).


  1. This casting out into the earth of the serpent means that “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: . . .” (v.10).


  1. The serpent was overcome:


  1. by the blood of the Lamb


  1. by the word of their testimony


  1. and their lack of love for their own lives (v. 11)


  1. Therefore the heavens and their inhabitants may


  1. Severe trouble is recognized as coming to the earth because of the presence of the devil who knows he has “but a short ”

In this series (Biblical passage) two historical events are discussed and slightly intertwined.

Verses seven through eight present a conflict occurring in heaven between Michael and His angels and the dragon and his angels, with the result (12:9) the dragon and his angels were cast out of heaven. This verse quite obviously refers to the original confrontation of Good and evil which occurred in heaven before the fall of man. Verses nine and ten tell us of a casting out of the dragon—the One who deceives the whole world; which casting out is linked to the proclamation, “Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: . . .” The linking of this proclamation and the casting down of the Devil means this ‘casting’ is to be understood as separate from the casting out of heaven recorded in verses seven and eight.  The casting out referred to here in verse night is the result of the effects of Jesus’ death on Calvary (D.A., 761 “Christ bowed his head and died, but He held fast His faith and submission to God. ‘And I heard a loud voice saying in Heaven, Now is come salvation . . . for the accuser of our brethren is cast down. . . .“ “Henceforth his work was restricted.”) (and occurs simultaneously with it?) (“Satan fell like lightening at the time of Jesus death.” Y.I. June 21, 1900 quoted

  1. on Doct. p. 674.) Verse twelve adds that as a result of the casting down of verse ten the Devil has great wrath because he knows he has but a short amount of time left. This too points to Calvary as the time of the casting down spoken of in verse nine. “Not until the death of Christ was the character of Satan clearly revealed to the angels or to the unfallen worlds.” (White, D.A., p. 758.) “The great controversy which had been so long in progress was then decided, and the final eradication of evil was made certain.” (White, G.C., p. 508.)


In verse eleven we read of another result of Christ’s death; the deceived ones overcame the dragon by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and their lack of love for their own lives. By the word of their testimony means that we cannot “. . . overcome alone by the blood of the Lamb,


without making any special effort . . .” (White, E.W., p.114.) of our own. The effort we are to make becomes clear when we read, “They that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name.” (White, M.Y.P., p. 347.) This witnessing by speaking to one another of our ‘fear for the Lord’ is important in the conflict with evil because “We become overcomers by helping others to overcome.” (White, Letter 236, 1908, quoted Nichol, B.C., VII, 974.)  The significance of saying that “they loved not their lives unto the death,’ is quite obviously another way of remarking that these people were willing to die for their faith in Jesus as the messiah of God, if it was necessary.


The message of this chapter is that the Devil had his original habitation in heaven among the angels, but that he was put out when he warred with Michael. The passage proceeds by telling us that it is this same devil who deceives the whole world; that at the death of Jesus he was banned from (cf D.A., 761 ¶ 2) heaven, along with his angels (“cast out into the earth”). We are also told Jesus’ death meant that “. . . Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ:

. . .” and resulted in the Devil’s having great wrath, “. . . because he knoweth that he hath but a short time,” (“Satan’s existence must be continued. Man as well as angels must see the contrast between the prince of light and the prince of darkness. He must choose whom he will serve.” D.A. 761.) and because victory was guaranteed to the deceived.


Not withstanding Satan’s persistent opposition, the plan of redemption was being carried out. Man was esteemed of sufficient value for Christ to sacrifice His life for him. Satan, knowing that the empire he had usurped would in the end be wrested from him, determined to spare no pains to destroy as many as possible of the creatures whom God had created in His image. He hated man because Christ had manifested for him such forgiving love and pity, and now he prepared to practice upon him every species of deception by which he might be lost; he pursued his course with more energy because of his own hopeless condition. ((White, 3S.P., 194, 195), quoted Nichol, B.C., VII,  973-­‐974.)


For, “In carrying out his enmity to Christ until He hung upon the cross of Calvary, . . . Satan completely uprooted himself from the affections of the universe.” (White, MS 50, 1900, quoted Ibid., p. 974.)


These verses also tell us that the angels in heaven were benefited, as well as fallen man, by the death of Jesus as a lamb. This becomes clear when we look for the antecedent to “they”, the ones who


overcame by the blood of the Lamb in verse eleven. It could be the brethren whom he accused in the sense of fallen men, that overcame him, but this could only be seen as an indirect implication of the statement. In the context of the passage the conflict is between Michael and His angels and Satan and his angels. The only victory explicitly recorded in this passage is that of Christ’s angels over Satan’s; thus the passage connects that victory directly to the cross, while, by implication it also notes that fallen man overcomes by virtue of Jesus’ death. The fact that the angels benefitted from the death of Jesus is also implied for the first half of verse twelve where we read, “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them.”  Mrs. White writes,


Christ did not yield up His life till He had accomplished the work which He came to do, and with    His parting breath He exclaimed, ‘It is finished.’ John 19:30. The battle had been won. . . . Was  there not joy among the angels?   All heaven triumphed in the Saviour’s victory. . . . It was for    them as well as for us that the great work of redemption had been accomplished. They with us share the fruits of Christ’s victory. (White, D.A., p. 758. Cf. D.A., p. 131 Heaven triumphed with Him even before the cross-­‐ in the wilderness temptations. For more information cf. 7BC 915 re 3:13 last ¶).

We have noted that arnion (Lamb) in this passage is directly linked with “the blood.” It is also easy to see that there is no trace of a reference to any of the characteristics associated with the Lion aspect of that symbol. Therefore when we read that “they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,” we know that this text is telling us that all who will overcome the great adversary must do so by partaking of the amnos nature of the Lamb. That though the opponent acts as a dragon who seeks to devour people (12:4), he is to be overcome by our patterning after the amnos—Lamb. The absence of any lion characteristics in this portrayal of the arnion means that we are not to overcome as a lion; by might, power, wrath, etc. This may imply the Lord reserves to Himself the work characterized by a lion. This all means that the victory of the Lord over the dragon at the cross as the amnos-­‐Lamb of God is assurance to us that His amnos-­‐Lamb power working in us can make us victors over the   dragon.


The Message of Chapter Thirteen, Verse Eight


In chapter thirteen are recorded the activities of the Devil which he takes up as a continuation of his conflicts with the Lord and His people, reviewed in chapter twelve. This chapter is the last presentation in the Revelation of the activities of the Devil against the plan of redemption.


Our text simply reads, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”


This text reminds us again that salvation is by way of the suffering of the Lamb of God; that those who will be saved must be so allied with the Lamb that He will write their names in the book of life. This message by being in this chapter, predicts that that allegiance will be greatly tested, but that also informs us that to worship the Beast, and receive his mark, is death, because the Lamb, against Whom the Beast and his agents fight, has the book of life. Morris writes, “The book of life is connected with the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. It is in the capacity of the slain Lamb that Christ brings salvation. There are the two thoughts that it is the atoning death of Christ that is significant and that the salvation He brings is no afterthought. . . .” (Morris, Rev., p. 169.)


We have earlier seen that those who are victorious over the Devil are those who wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb (7:14). This tells us that those who overcome the Devil in chapter thirteen, and whose names are written in the book of life, have obtained a victory that is more than a refusal to worship the Beast.


When we become children of God, our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, and they remain there until the time of the investigative judgment.  Then the name of every individual will be called, and his record examined, by Him who declares, ‘I know they works.’ If in that day it shall appear that all our wicked deeds have not been fully repented of, our names will be blotted from the book of life, and our sins will stand against us. (White, (ST, Aug. 6, 1885), quoted Nichol, B.C., VII, 987.)

We believe arnion in this verse is the reference to the amnos portion of the Lion-­‐Lamb symbol,  as is seen by the reference to the death of the Lamb, while there is no reference to the mighty lion; unless quite indirectly.  That the suffering of the arnion-­‐Lamb is a reference to the amnos-­‐Lamb is a     basic hypothesis of this thesis. This hypothesis is quite strongly supported by a text of Scripture that is partially parallel to our text here in the Revelation. 1 Peter 1:19-­‐20 reads:  “But with the precious blood  of Christ, as of a lamb (amnos) without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before       the foundation of the world, . . .”   This text directly connects the amnos lamb with the Lamb slain from      the foundation of the world; which association principle gives the color of our arnion reference in  Revelation  13:8.


The significance of arnion here is, first, that our ultimate victory over the evil one is based in the death of the Lamb, and our being part of the book of life of the slain One. Secondly, it may imply that the ones who wish to have their names written in the book must expect some suffering because the book belongs to the Lamb stain that others might live – which Lamb is our example. (1 Pet 2:2, 21) (This would make the genitive a genitive of source. Note: We are not entering into a discussion of the significance of the genitives in this verse because there is not sufficient information in the text to allow us to arrive at the solid conclusion.); which suffering would then be seen in the context of the Lord Who suffers throughout the long history of sin—“slain from the foundation of the world.” And, last, the fact the book of life—the book of the Lamb slain—records the names of those who overcome the enemy by His blood (cf. 7:14), implies He has a voice as to whose names are written there.  If this is indeed a part of the message of this verse, it is the first time the arnion symbol has borne as part of its meaning the element of judgment. The Lamb in this passage is the One Who shows the way; the way; the amnos is the Pattern.


The Lamb and Chapter Fourteen, Verses One and Four


This chapter forms a pivotal point in the Book of Revelation. The earlier chapters have predicted a coming judgment.  This chapter announces the time of that judgment has arrived, while the subsequent chapters describe the various aspects of the judgment, concluding with a picture of the earth when the work of judgment has been finished.


To interpret this chapter as having this function is to see verses one through five as properly belonging to chapter thirteen. They would then serve as an encouragement to those who are faced with the great difficulties recorded in that chapter. Barnes has written in regard to chapter fourteen, verse one, “. . . the representation is made . . . to sustain the church in trial, with the certainty of its future glory.”  (Barnes, p. 446.  Note:  I believe this is a characteristic feature of the Revelation.  For example, the seals of chapter six are followed by the proleptic picture of chapter seven, while the announcement of the plagues of God’s wrath in chapter fifteen, verse one, is followed by the vision of the sea of glass in fifteen two. It seems the Lord is concluding each description of severe conflict between His church and the forces of evil with a picture of the redeemed faithful as an assurance the conflict will end, and the overcomers will realize the personal presence of the Lamb and the Father.)


Of these five verses two refer to the Lamb; verses one and four. They read,


And I looked and, lo, a Lamb stood on Mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (v.4) These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.  (To discuss the identity and function of the 144,000 is beyond the scope of this paper.)

That the Lamb stood on Mount Sion with His people shows total victory over the sin issue, for Mount Sion is often associated with the ultimate realization of oneness between God and His people in the Old Testament (cf. Isa. 4:5; 24:23; Micah 4:6-­‐8, etc.).  It is also associated with redemption in the  New Testament by Paul in Hebrews 12:22, and, of course, in our text (14:1). (Mount Sion should not be understood as a synonym for the New Jerusalem.  See, i.e., White, E.W., pp.  18-­‐19.)

The fact that the one hundred and forty-­‐four thousand are with the Lamb on Mount Sion  signifies that through His death and subsequent work, salvation was realized by many. That the Father’s name was written in their Foreheads means that “In this world their minds were consecrated to God; they served Him with the intellect and with the heart; and now He can place His name in their foreheads.” (White, A.A., pp. 590-­‐591.) The following of the Lamb wherever He goes means that He is their leader, while they, in a special sense, are entering into all that He does. Barnes expresses it this way:


This is another characteristic of those who are redeemed—that they are followers of the Lamb of God. This is, they are His disciples; they imitate his example; they obey his instructions; they yield to his laws; they receive him as their counsellor and guide. (Barnes, p. 449.)


The significance of calling them the firstfruits is perhaps not clear. R. H. Charles suggests the word may mean they are an offering go God. (See Charles, II, 6-­‐7, for a discussion of this word.) One thing is clear from the text; whatever they are to God they are to the Lamb, and vice versa. This shows again the co-­‐operation between the Father and the Son in the redemption of   men.

These verses are telling us that victory over the Devil is sure to those who associate themselves with the Lamb. They also tell us that the Father and the Son cooperate in the work of redeeming man and share equally in the results of his redemption.


The obvious function of the arnion in these verses is that of leader of His people, which means that He associates Himself with redeemed men even after the great controversy is ended. While these are the only characteristics of the Lamb revealed in these verses, it is perhaps safe to say that the arnion symbol has taken on a particular meaning in its occurrences prior to this verse which adds to our understanding of arnion in this text, that the redemption here portrayed is the result of the ‘combined’ work of the Savior as Sacrifice the Ruler; Lamb and Lion.

The Message of Chapter Fourteen, Verse Ten


As we come to the Lamb in chapter fourteen verse ten we are dealing with the portion of the Revelation that began in verse six of chapter fourteen and continues through chapter twenty.  The theme of this section is the method of God’s judgment on evil.  The first revealed phase of that method is brought to light in our text. It tells us in regard to the men who receive the mark of the beast, “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.”


To drink of the wine of the wrath of God in this passage is the result of affiliating oneself with the Dragon—the enemy of God. Whereas we are all born into a broken relationship with God in which none of us are righteous, or can be of ourselves, (cf. Gal. 3:22; Rom. 3:10-­‐19; 1 John 5:18, 4) it is obvious that those who are punished by God have had an opportunity to live in a manner pleasing to God and have refused it. As we noted earlier, Mrs. White writes, “The death of Christ brings to the rejector of His mercy the wrath and judgments of God, unmixed with mercy.” (White, Letter 31, 1898, quoted Nichol, B.C., v, 1107.)  This wrath of God is poured out on these rejectors of His love, not because of God’s selfish anger at being rejected, but because of all the suffering these rejectors cause others by refusing to become like him. “The sufferings of every man are the sufferings of God’s child, and those who reach out no helping hand to their perishing fellow beings provoke his righteous anger.” (White, D.A., p. 825.) Whereas at the time of His death Jesus “bore the wrath of God for a sinful world,” (White, MS 35, 1895, quoted Nichol, B.C., V, 1103.) and because “God suffered His wrath against transgression to fall on His beloved Son,” (White, D.A., p, 743.) it seems that the wrath of God referred to above is the wrath of Christ—the wrath of the Lamb.


Christ, in union with His people, judged the wicked dead, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Word of God, and deciding every case according to their works; and it was written


against their names in the book of death. Satan also and his angels were judged by Jesus and the saints.  (White, E.W., 291.)


Satan “must suffer for all the evil that he has done and be punished for all the sins that he has caused to be committed.”  (Ibid., p. 290.)


Two of the passages we quoted above we only quoted in part. We now quote them again: “The death of Christ brings to the rejecter of His mercy the wrath and judgments of God, unmixed with mercy. This is the wrath of the Lamb. But the death of Christ is hope and eternal life to all who receive Him and believe in Him.” (White, Letter 31, 1898, quote Nichol, B.C., V, 1107.)

The sufferings of every man are the sufferings of God’s child, and those who reach out not helping hand to their perishing fellow beings provoke His righteous anger. This is the wrath of The Lamb. To those who claim fellowship with Christ, yet have been indifferent to the needs of their fellow men, He will declare in the great judgment day, “I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity.’ Luke 13:27. (White, D.A., p. 825.) (Emphasis  ours.)


That the wrath if poured out without mixture means that the sinner receives according to all his guilt. In the past the pleading blood of Christ has shielded the sinner from receiving the full measure of his guilt; but in the final judgment, wrath is poured out unmixed with mercy. (White¸G.C., 629.)


John next writes that the sufferings of the wicked take place in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. This means that when the wicked are punished for their sins by God’s wrath, all heaven is present. The scene at the cross is being reinacted; only the sufferers here suffer for their own sins. “God has His holy angels were beside the cross. The Father was with the Son.” (White, D.A., pp. 753-­‐754.) “God suffered with His Son, as the divine Being alone could suffer, in order that the world might becoming reconciled to Him.” (White, R.H., Oct 22, 1895, quoted in White, God’s Amazing Grace (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Assn., 1973), p. 161.)  “God Himself was crucified with Christ; for Christ was one with the Father.” “The angels suffered with Christ.” (Ibid., p.

189 (5 SDA B.C. 1108) The purpose of all heaven being present at the destruction of the wicked may be revealed in an interesting statement regarding the experience of the Good Samaritan.


To leave the suffering neighbor unrelieved is a breach of the Law of God. God brought the priest along that way in order that with his own eyes he might see a case that needed mercy and help;


but the priest, though holding a holy office, whose work it was to bestow mercy and to do good, passed by on the other side. His character was exhibited in its true nature before the angels of God. For a pretense he could make long prayers, but he could not keep the principles of the law in loving God with all his heart and his neighbor as himself. (Ellen G. White, Welfare Ministry (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Assn., p. 47. Hereinafter referred to as W.M.)) (Emphasis ours.)

This verse is telling us that all who reject God’s proffered salvation, thereby withholding service to Him in the form of telling others of salvation, and thus causing others to perish, will be sufferers of His wrath. This means that God’s method of dealing with evil, as revealed in this chapter, is to guide by His providence, and allow sufficient time for a man’s character to be developed; that when it should be determined a man is irrevocably devoted to evil, God devotes him to retribution and destruction. It also tells us that all heaven, including the merciful, suffering Savior, will concur in the wrath meted out.

The significance of arnion in this passage is seen in regard to His changed role. Earlier He has been the Suffering One Who brings victory to would-­‐be overcomers, by His blood; but here He is approving, if not meting out, the punishment of the wicked.   This means that the arnion in this verse is    the Lion, so terrible to the rejectors of His grace, while in verses one and four, of this chapter, He was     with the redeemed as Friend and Leader. This message of arnion again emphasizes the dual role of the Lamb;  Savior  or destroyer.


John saw the mercy, the tenderness, and the love of God blending with His holiness, justice, and power. He saw sinners finding a Father in Him of whom their sins had made them afraid. (If this is a reference to 6:15-­‐17 it supports our interpretation of the function of the seals and their relationship to the trumpets.  This would mean that God responds to man’s awareness of his  inability to meet the Lamb in judgment, by mercifully holding the winds, sealing the ready (for definition see pp. 13-­‐14), and pouring out the trumpets to cause the rest of mankind to get   ready for the judgment. The final result of these acts by God, “the culmination of the great conflict” would be portrayed in 14:1-­‐5, the end of this section—the saints glorified, and in the judgment of evil—the next section (14:6-­‐20:15).) And looking beyond the culmination of the  great conflict, he beheld upon Zion ‘them that had gotten the victory . . . stand on the sea of       glass, having the harps of God,’ and singing ‘the song of Moses’ and the Lamb.   (White, A.A., p.   589.)   (Emphasis ours).


The Message of Chapter Fifteen, Verse 2, Three


“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying Great and marvelous are they works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are they ways, thou King of Saints.”

That the saints sing the song of Moses and the Lamb is due to their experience for “it is a song of their experience,” a song of their deliverance.  (White, G.C., p. 649.)  This deliverance is twofold.  First, it is the deliverance the saints experience when they are miraculously preserved during the time of the outpouring of the seven last plagues.

If the blood of Christ’s faithful witnesses were shed at this time, it would not, like the blood of the martyrs, be as a seed sown to yield a harvest for God.  Their fidelity would not be a testimony to convince others of the truth, for the obdurant heart has beaten back the waves of mercy until they return no more. If the righteous were now left to fill a prey to their enemies, it would be a triumph for the prince of darkness.  Says the psalmist:  “In the time of trouble He shall hide me.’ Psalm 27:5. Christ has spoken: ‘Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee:  hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.  For, behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.’ Isaiah 26:20, 21. Glorious will be the deliverance of those who have patiently waited for His coming and whose names are written in the book of life. (White, G.C., p. 634.)

The people of God will not be free from suffering; but while persecuted and distressed, while they endure privation and suffer for want of food they will not be left to perish. . . . While the wicked are dying from hunger the pestilence, angels, will shield the righteous and supply their wants.  (Ibid., p. 629.)


Mrs. White also quotes the promises of Psalm 121: 5-­‐7 and 91:3-­‐10 in this context.  (Ibid., pp. 629-­‐630.)


The ‘second deliverance’ portrayed in these verses is that which is more generally understood; it is the deliverance from sin in the ultimate sense.  This scene would thus be a picture of the ultimate glory of the redeemed—personal togetherness with God around His throne, standing on the sea of glass (Compare 4:6 and 15:2 for the location of the sea of glass.) which is so resplendent with God’s glory as to appear as the sea of glass mingled with fire. (White, G.C., p. 648.)


“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are they works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are they ways, thou King of saints.” Morris has written of this song that

This vindicates the harmony between the different phases of the revelation. Moses is not in opposition to Christ, nor the law to the gospel. . . . Moses is described as the servant of God. While this usage is found in the Old Testament it may not be fanciful to recall that the ‘servant of the Lord’ is a theme of prophecy, more particularly in Isaiah. Perhaps John means us to think that the prophets as well as the law are caught up on this song. Certainly the Exodus imagery will be in mind, as often in this book. The great deliverance wrought under Moses forms the pattern for the great deliverance wrought by the Lamb. . . . God’s universal sovereignty is in mind. . . . (Morris, Rev., 188-­‐189.   Note:  This song includes God’s vindication from the charges  of Satan, but we will withhold discussion of that theme until the last half of this chapter.) Mrs. White writes, “When the earthly warfare is accomplished. . . . (to end of paragraph)“ (White, T.M., p. 433.)

The message of this verse is threefold. The first deliverance tells us that though the wicked and God’s judgments on the wicked surround the righteous as though they were in the midst of a flaming sea, God will not allow His people to be destroyed at this time of the great controversy; He will miraculously preserve them, enabling them to stand on the sea of fire. The reality of such a deliverance, though symbolically portrayed, is seen in the miracle of Peter’s walking on the sea.


The second message is one of encouragement to God’s suffering people. This encouragement is given in the form of a proleptic picture of the ultimate end of fidelity to God.


The third message is the victory is assured; some will overcome and


What a song that will be when the ransomed of the Lord meet at the gate of the Holy City, which is thrown back on its glittering hinges, and the nations that have kept His word—His commandments—enter into the city, the crown of the overcomer is placed upon their heads, and the golden harps are placed in their hands! All heaven is filled with rich music, and with songs of praise to the Lamb. Saved, everlastingly saved, in the kingdom of glory! To have a life that measures with the life of God—that is the reward. (White, MS 92, 1908, quoted Nichol, B.C., VII, 982.)


That the songs of praise are here offered to the Lamb means that the arnion is seen as the source of their great blessing, while the fact they sing to music played on the harps of God, shows the cooperation of God and the Lamb in salvation that we have noted before—the work of the amnos plus the work of the Lion. The totally new element in the meaning of the arnion in this verse is seen in the message of the song the saints sing to the Lamb; “Great and marvellous are they works, Lord God Almighty!” The Lion that became a Lamb and was subsequently slain is not only the Redeemer of His people but is worthy of the title, “Lord God Almighty.”

This means that at the salvation of the faithful the arnion (amnos plus lion) is recognized for what He truly is. No longer is there any question of controversy regarding the role of the son of God or of His place in Heaven, for “just and true are thy ways, thou king of saints.” Arnion here means God Himself is the preserver and Redeemer of fallen man.

The Message of Chapter Seventeen, Verse Fourteen


Chapter seventeen is the announcement of the judgment of the great whore. In verses two through six and thirteen through fourteen, the reason for the judgment is announced, while verses seven through twelve and fifteen through eighteen identify the whore. Our text appears in the section which deals with the reasons for the impending judgments. Verse fourteen reads, “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”

The ones who here “make war with the Lamb” are probably not meant to be understood as openly and avowedly proclaiming war against the Son of God, but are rather to be understood as being in a position of supporting a persecuting religious power; one that is hostile to the Lamb’s people on earth. “These have one mind and shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (17:13). But the Lamb shall ultimately be the One who realizes victory in the conflict between the evil and the good.


The assurance of the Lamb’s ultimate victory is said to be in the fact He is Lord of lords and King of kings. This means that it is the qualities of His person that are represented by these titles, and which bring about the eventual overthrow of evil.


In regard to the statement that the “called, and chosen and faithful” are with the Lamb, Ladd



He does not conquer alone; in his retinue are those who have been called and chosen by God and who have remained faithful to the Lamb in the face of final persecution. (Ladd, C.R., p. 232.


Morris adds that “these are His retinue, not His resources.  They represent no independent source of aid, for He needs none. Indeed the very qualities named show that they depend on Him.” (Morris, Rev., p. 212.


The message of this verse in its context is that the persecutors of the followers of the Lamb present themselves as followers of the Lamb. We are also told that those who war against the Lamb’s followers are adjudged to war against the Lamb, Who Himself will deal with those who persecute His faithful ones. This ‘offensive’ by the Lamb will result in establishing the true character of His professed followers—they will be identified as persecutors and not followers of the Lamb. And last we learn from the text that the Lamb’s followers will be partakers in His victory, by virtue of His work on their behalf (”called and chosen”), and by virtue of their perseverance (“faithful”).


The message of arnion is thus seen to be that the Lamb is Lord and the King of all—including the false professors. To the faithful, He is their victory; to the false, He is their destruction. Therefore the arnion is here both amnos and Lion; kingly friend and kingly foe—Lord of all.


The Message of Chapter Nineteen, Verses Seven and Nine


In chapter seventeen we are studying the judgment God is bringing on the opposers of His people, while chapter eighteen repeats the warning announcement that Babylon is fallen, which serves as the last appeal to men to separate themselves from the evil thing. Chapter nineteen introduces God’s final judgment on evil before the Great Judgment.

In verses one through ten is recorded the result, and reactions of created beings, to God’s work.

He is praised for His dealings with evil, which results in the marriage of the Lamb, and the subsequent marriage supper. In verses eleven through twenty-­‐one evil is temporarily slain by God, that it might be judged. The decisions of this judgment are meted out in chapter twenty.


This is a brief analysis of the context in which our verses appear. They read:


Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. . . . And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are


called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.


That verse seven begins, “let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come,” means that the judgments described earlier in the Book, and called “true and righteous” in verse two, are here seen as being the means by which the marriage of the Lamb is made possible. Whereas the faithful are not invited to the wedding of the Lamb, but rather in the marriage supper, it seems obvious that the wedding takes place prior to the literal union of Christ with His people. This is supported by the fact that on the evening of the actual marriage the bride was led from her own home to the home of her husband to be; a vow was spoken, a formal legal instrument signed, and “Then, after the prescribed washing of hands and benediction, the marriage supper began. . . .” (Edersheim, I, 355.) While this was a social occasion, it also served a practical purpose, whereas “the pious fasted before it, and confessed their sins. (Ibid., p. 352.) That the marriage precedes the marriage supper is also true here in the Revelation. Mrs. White notes in regard to our text:

I saw that while Jesus was in the most holy place He would be married to the New Jerusalem, and after His work should be accomplished in the holiest, He would descend to the earth in kingly power and take to Himself the precious ones who had patiently waited His return.” (White, E.W., p. 251.)


Again we read: “The church is the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” (White, Letter 123-­‐1/2, 1898, quoted Nichol, VII, 986.) This means that in this context the New Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom, is the church ‘visible,’ and represents the divine glory, purity, and workmanship unsoiled, that makes all of God’s people, the ‘invisible’ church, representative of Him and His ability to recreate. This transfer of symbolism is accomplished by a series of steps: first, Christ is married—which symbolically represents the reception by Him of His kingdom. (White, G.C., p. 426.) This marriage unites Him to the New Jerusalem (White, E.W., p. 251.) which represents His kingdom and is its capital city. (White, G.C., p.

426.) The Bridegroom then goes to get the guests, and takes them to the marriage supper. Once we have seen these steps we are not surprised to read:


Clearly, then, the bride represents the Holy City, and the virgins that go out to meet the bridegroom are a symbol of the church. In the Revelation the people of God are said to be guests at the marriage supper. Revelation 19:9. If guests, they can’t be represented also as the bride. Christ, as stated by the prophet Daniel, will receive from the Ancient of Days in heaven,


dominion, and glory, and a kingdom;’ (Mrs. White, in D.A., page 426, whites, “The coming of Christ as our high priest to the holy place, for the cleansing of the sanctuary, brought to view in Daniel 8:14; the coming of the Son of man to the Ancient of Days, as presented in Daniel 7:13, and the coming of the Lord to His temple, foretold by Malachi, are descriptions of the same event; and this is also represented by the coming of the bridegroom to the marriage, described by Christ in the parable of the ten virgins, of Matthew 25.”) He will receive the New Jerusalem, the capital of His kingdom, ‘prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.’ Daniel 7:14; Revelation 21:2. Having received the kingdom, He will come in His glory, as King of kings, and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people, who are to ‘sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,’ at His table in His kingdom (Matthew 8:11; Luke 22:30), to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb.  (White, G.C., p. 427.)


The Bible Commentary is not clear on this passage. It says, in part:


The wedding here referred to consists of the reception by Christ of His kingdom, as represented by the New Jerusalem, and His coronation as King of kings and Lord of lords, in heaven at the close of His priestly ministry before the plagues are poured out (EW 55, 251, 280, 281; GC 427, 428 . . . ). As in the parable of the Ten Virgins, the waiting saints are represented as guests invited to the wedding (ch. 19:9; GC 426, 427, cf. Matt. 25:1-­‐10).   (Nichol, B.C., VII,  872.)


The last sentence is confused for the guests are not represented as invited to the wedding in the text referred to by the Commentary, which reads: “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” (19:9; emphasis ours.). Mrs. White in G.C., p. 427, also quoted by the Commentary, makes the significance between the invitation to the wedding and the invitation to the marriage supper clear:


The proclamation, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh,’ in the summer of 1844, led thousands to expect the immediate advent of the Lord. At the appointed time the Bridegroom came, not to the earth, as the people expected, but to the Ancient of Days in heaven, to the marriage, the reception of His kingdom. “They that were ready went in to Him to the marriage: and the door was shut.’ They were not to be present in person at the marriage; for it takes place in heaven, while they are upon the earth. The followers of Christ are to ‘wait for their Lord, when He will return from the wedding.” Luke 12:36. But they are to understand His work, and to follow  Him


by faith as He goes in before God. It is in this sense that they are said to go in to the marriage. . .



Having received the Kingdom, He will come in His glory, as King of kings and Lord of lords, for the redemption of His people, who are to ‘sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob,’ at His table in His kingdom (Matthew 8:11; Luke 22:30), to partake of the marriage supper of the Lamb.  (White, G.C., p. 427.)


The message of these verses is that the One Who has been seen working in heaven and on earth, the One Who is accepted in heaven, entrusted with the kingdom, and followed by faith on earth; the One who is glorified in all the universe, has done all this for fallen man; that we might be at one with God, and have an eternal home in peace.

The Lamb (arnion) in these verses is the sum total of all the attributes we have discovered Him to be, in our study thus far. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Lamb (amnos) of God, the Lord God Almighty, drawn into one—because He has accepted the responsibilities of being a husband to the redeemed; the Provider of her home. The fulfillment of this responsibility is that which necessitates all the work He has done before. The figure of marriage here shows the intimate and indissoluble nature of His work. The significance of arnion in this passage is that the influence and work of Christ as the Lamb is  never-­‐ending.

The Message of Chapter Twenty-­‐One Regarding the Lamb


The judgment is over, sin is no more, and John says: “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea (21:1).” Verses nine and ten continue: “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, and I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to the great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, . . .” (For a discussion of the New Jerusalem as the Lamb’s bride see above on 19:7, 9.) Verse fourteen tells us, “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” The Bible Commentary notes: “The N.T. Church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets (Eph.

2:20).” (Nichol, B.C., VII, 892.) Whereas we have seen that the New Jerusalem represents Christ’s kingdom rather than the church, it would perhaps be better to see in this verse that the establishment of Christ’s kingdom, its foundations, find its’ beginnings, its foundations, in the work of the apostles,


who are capable of doing this work by virtue of being “the twelve apostles of the Lamb,” the arnion. The verse also points indirectly to the greatness of the Lamb, and His work in redemption, when it names redeemed fallen men as the fulfillers of such an important function in the eternal kingdom of the

Lamb. That the Father gives His full approval to the work of the Lamb in His kingdom, and by implication to the work of the Lamb’s followers in that Kingdom, is seen in the Father and Son sharing the throne in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:3; 7:15-­‐17.)—the capital of the Lamb’s kingdom—while it is founded in the twelve apostles.

Verse twenty-­‐two and twenty-­‐three read:


And I saw no temple, (the temple was the visible representation of their invisible God – of the soul in which God lived) therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.”


When John writes that he saw no temple in the New Jerusalem, we should not conclude that there is no temple in the New Earth. (See White, E.W., pp. 18-­‐19; Revelation 21:3.) The fact there is no temple in the New Jerusalem, but that God and the Lamb are the temple of it, may mean, as Barnes      notes, that

They are present in all parts of it in their glory; they fill it with light; and the splendour of their presence may be said to be the temple. The idea here is, that it would be a holy world—all holy. No particular portion would be set apart for purposes of public worship, but in all places God would be adored, and every portion of it devoted to the purposes of religion. (Barnes, p. 590.)


Charles has added that in this understanding the Lamb would be “the Ark of the Covenant thereof.” (Charles, II, 170.) Mrs. White explains this verse most simply when she writes,

The people of God are privileged to hold open communion with the Father and the Son.  ‘Now we see through a glass, darkly.’  1 Corinthians 13:12.  We behold the image of God reflected, as in a mirror, in the works of nature and in His dealings with men; but then we shall see Him face to face, without a dimming veil between. We shall stand in His presence and behold the glory of His countenance.  (White, G.C., pp.  676-­‐677.)


How this personal relationship results in the absence of the temple from the Holy Coty is seen in the following quotation:


Through Christ was to be fulfilled the purpose of which the tabernacle was a symbol—that glorious building, its walls of glistening gold reflecting in rainbow hues the curtains inwrought with cherubim, the fragrance of ever-­‐burning incense pervading all, the priests robed in spotless white, and in the deep mystery of the inner place, above the mercy seat, between the figures of the bowed, worshipping angels, the glory of the Holiest. In all, God desired His people to read His purpose for the human soul.  It was the same purpose long afterward set forth by the apostle Paul, speaking by the Holy Spirit: ‘Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.’ 1 Corinthians 3:15, 17. (Ellen G. White, Education (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1903), p. 36. (Hereinafter refereed to as Ed.))  (Emphasis ours.)


When verse twenty-­‐three tells us in regard to the holy city, New Jerusalem, that “the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof,” it reveals to us again the close unity between the Father and the Son, and the continuing work of the Lamb on behalf of His ransomed people.

There is a very interesting statement in regard to the function of the light that surrounded Adam and Eve before the fall, that may give a clue to the significance of the fact the light of the Holy City comes from God and the Lamb.  It reads:


The clear and perfect light that had hitherto surrounded them had lightened everything they approached; but deprived of that heavenly light, the posterity of Adam could no longer trace the character of God in His created works. (White, R.H., March 17, 1904, quoted Nichol, B.C., I, 1084.)


The last verse of this chapter reads: “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” This presents the challenge of God to the people of earth; overcome these characteristics, and have your name written in the Lamb’s book of life, so that you might enter the kingdom. (For a discussion regarding the Lamb’s book of life see above on 12:11.)

The message of these verses is multi-­‐faceted. They tell us that the angels who pour out the vials of wrath on the wicked are the messengers of God who work to reveal Him (21:9). It also tells us that while the redemption of mankind is made possible only by the work of the Lamb, the realization of that possibility is based in the love and obedience of men to the expressed will of God (21:27); that we will


have open communion with the Father and the Son, while we will ever grow in understanding, walking in the light of the Lamb. And finally, it tells us that the Holy Spirit dwells fully in every man there, when it tells us there is no temple there.


The arnion in these verses is, first, the husband of the bride, the possessor of the kingdom, admitting to it only those who are written in His book of life. Second, He is the One Who not only enables men to become part of that kingdom, but Who continually enlightens them throughout eternity. As such He is neither the sufferer (amnos) or the Lion. The arnion here is the Eternal Teacher. That He holds this office by virtue of His work as the amnos of God and the Lion of the tribe of Judah is seen in His still being called the Lamb (arnion).


And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and Christ. . . . As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise.  (White, G.C., p. 678.)


The Message of Chapter twenty-­‐two, Verses One and Three


These verses read:


And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. . . . And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.


That the water of life comes from the throne of God and of the Lamb in the world made new emphasizes that God and the Lamb are the source of all blessing not only in this world but in the heavenly one. It is significant too that in the new earth the Lamb is no longer in the midst of the throne, but shares it equally with the Father. (For the significance of the Lamb being in the midst of the throne, see above on 5:6.)


The great falseness of the charges of Satan in regard to His self-­‐seeking and lack of forgiveness is made apparent when the throne of God and the Lamb is placed in the city which is the capital of the kingdom of redeemed men.


The message these verses is that throughout eternity, life, blessing, and unity exist between the holy God, the Lamb, and the citizens of the kingdom, though the conflict with evil leaves a permanent change in the heavenly administration.


The Lamb in these verses is the sharer of God’s prerogatives; the One continually being served by those He serves (cf. 22:1, 3; 21:23).




The Significance of the Lamb Message to Salvation and to Theodicy


The Nature of the Lamb


We have seen that arnion is a composite symbol portraying two aspects of Christ’s redeeming activity: His work as the Lamb (amnos) and His work as the Lion. Amnos, we have seen, refers to the suffering and sacrificial death of Jesus, as our Redeemer, while the Lion element of the symbol portrays those characteristics of Jesus, revealed in His saving work, which are properly associated with the lion as the King of beasts. As has been noted, the exact significance of the arnion symbol must be determined from the context in which it appears.  Our study of the Lamb (arnion) in the New Testament has revealed the following emphases:

  1. The reclaiming of the forfeited inheritance, the preaching of salvation, is only possible because of the vicarious death of the


  1. Christ is the Lamb to His followers and the Lion to those who reject His work for


  1. The Lamb is merciful as long as probation


  1. For us to realize victory over the Devil we must partake of the lamb-­‐like nature of Jesus.


  1. The amnos is the Pattern for


  1. The Lamb is the Eternal Leader of the


  1. The Lamb becomes the Lion when He deals finally with


  1. The Lamb, the Preserver and Redeemer of fallen man, is God


  1. The Lamb is Lord and King of all—including the evil


  1. The Lamb never ceases to be the


  1. The Lamb is the Eternal


  1. The Lamb is the sharer of God’s


We can now see that apart from the Lamb’s work as the amnos of God there would be no possibility of salvation, and that apart from His work as the Lion, there would be no victory. He is the Beginning and the End to all people. All that we are or have, all we will ever be or do, is realized as the result of Jesus work as the Lamb (arnion) of God.

In connection with His work of saving man, that the Lamb brings about vindication of God from    the charges made against Him by Lucifer, is seen in the songs of praise that are part of the Revelation. (Rev. 4:11; 5:13; 11:17-­‐18;   15:3-­‐4.)


The issues stemming from those charges we found were divisible into five groups: the nature of Satan as a being created by God, the revealing of the nature of sin, God’s justice, His law, and the revealing of God as He is, that He might be seen to be worthy of the love and trust of His created creatures, which love and trust would result in salvation.


The Nature of Satan


Jesus as the Lamb revealed the nature of Satan by His dealing with sin from its inception, but particularly by His life on earth.  While here He lived in submission to His Father’s will, even while the   Father allowed Him to suffer repeatedly at the hands of Satan. Jesus also revealed Satan’s character by planting the principles of the Kingdom of God in the hearts of His followers, that its principles might be   seen in daily living and be compared with the principles of Satan’s kingdom, as seen in the lives of its subjects. Finally, when Jesus’ loving, sinless-­‐gentleness, that led to His many works of mercy for sin-­‐ burdened  man, resulted  in  His being  nailed  to  the  cross, at Satan’s instigation, Satan’s character was fully revealed.   In addition to revealing Satan’s character, Jesus revealed Satan’s essential inferiority to      the Savior by His triumphant resurrection in the face of Satanic opposition. These victories were possible because Jesus was willing to bend-­‐down and take fallen humanity and unite it with His divinity, thereby showing the result of a union of the Divine with the human, as compared to a union of the      satanic with the human. Although as far as I know Scripture does not speak to this next point, it seems reasonable that the universe also compared Satan’s work and character before his rebellion with his


work afterward, thereby seeing clearly that Lucifer was created good, while Satan was the result of Lucifer’s self-­‐serving.


The Nature of Sin


The nature of sin, transgression of God’s law, was revealed by the Lamb, when He, as a fully human man, lived a life that was so useful to others by following the guidelines-­‐for-­‐living set up by God—His law. His life of obedience and its results were an obvious contrast to the life of Lucifer who practiced and advocated disregard for God’s expressed will. While Jesus was following God’s will for Him—expressed in the Law, and through revelation—He met all the needs of those around Him—even those needs which are arisen as a result of living outside of God’s law; thereby showing the all-­‐ sufficiency of the life of obedience.   This ability to meet all the needs of all men while following God’s     law  revealed  the  inexcusable  nature  of sin—transgression of that law.

Jesus also revealed the nature of sin, to be self-­‐seeking, when, while He remained submissive to the Father, even to the point of receiving the wrath of the Father against sin, which was poured out on     Him as man’s sinbearer, He brought salvation for all. The resultant separation between the Father and the Son showed the pervasiveness of sin, and the inability of Holiness and sin to  co-­‐exist.


The Nature of God’s Justice


God’s justice was revealed when it was seen that all that Jesus did as the Son of God and as the Savior—from the inception of sin to the last day before His death—was incomplete apart from the cross. The long time lapse showed that while God is merciful, justice means that ultimately the penalty of transgression, death, must be met. It was also seen in the love expressed to Jesus by the Father during His life as the Sin Bearer for man, here on earth, that in spite of the inability of God’s justice to excuse sin, He has no hatred for the sinner—that which provokes His wrath is sin. It was also seen that when Jesus died, God paying the penalty for sinful man Himself, that God’s love had united with His justice to make mercy for all who seek it; which mercy is expressed to the sinner in forgiveness, when it is sought. This love and justice which produces mercy was also seen to be the basis of the Father’s allowing Christ to die as our substitute—the Father and the Son suffering through the cross, that all might be redeemed, while they knew many would refuse redemption. Thus it was established that God is an abundantly merciful God – which mercy reveals the nature of God’s justice—it is based in love.


The Nature of God’s Law


The existence of nature of the law of God was vindicated by Jesus’ work as the Lamb when He followed the law of God perfectly, as a man. This obedience by Jesus as the Lamb, enabled those who were observing the great controversy, as it progressed, to see the result of such a life of obedience. He also showed that the law of God is essential to the happiness of God’s created beings when he freed them from their former slavery to Satan—the result of disobeying the law—and enabled them to stay free as long as they chose to follow God’s guidelines. By this demonstration Christ brought into close harmony the justice of God, the law of God, and His mercy, which showed the law, which enabled men to stay free if they followed it, was the expression of God’s love for His creatures; His desire for their freedom and happiness. When the law is recognized as the expression of an eternal, omniscient love, it is also recognized as being unchangeable. Therefore the law is holy, just, and good.  The revelation of the law being the outflowing of omniscient love seeking the good of its subjects establishes that disagreement with the law is rejection of the goodness of its Framer. Therefore any dispute with the law is rebellion against the Great Love which gave it, and necessarily flows from   self-­‐seeking.


White Jesus’ life as the benefactor of all men, while living in harmony with God’s law by being a humble supplicant to the Father thus establishes the nature of the Father’s law, the fact of His death reveals the law has its limits—it can’t forgive or cleanse a transgressor. It also shows that because He died to meet the demands of the law for our sins, and not His—that we might have another opportunity to fellowship with God—that God’s motive in establishing the law was His pure desire to have His creatures free and happy—rejoicing in the wisdom and love of Him Who cared so much. The law is thus seen to be honorable.


To Reveal God as He is.


Jesus’ work as the Lamb of God reveals the Father perfectly and wins His creatures love and trust.  That revelation is the result of the Lamb being very God, as we saw in our earlier study.  The fact He came in fulfillment of prophecy and promise shows the truthfulness of God’s word; even though four thousand years may elapse. This faithfulness to His word establishes His creature’s trust in Him. Jesus further established God’s loving nature during His life as a sufferer on behalf of fallen man, when He never lifted up His voice or struck down a reviler from among those He was attempting to show the Good life, and redeem.  This patient gentleness shows clearly that His interest was not selfish, for His own glory, but rather that God wants our love so much that He will sacrifice even Himself in order to win some! The suffering of Jesus, under the wrath of God, in addition to the cruelty of man, shows how far He would go to provide a way of salvation. The wrath of God, poured out at Calvary, on His sinless Son,


also shows God’s great love is only matched by His abhorrence of evil, which is so pervasive as to be able to even bring separation between God and His Son. This unity of action—Christ’s willingness to die on our behalf, and God’s willingness to check His own love for His Son long enough to allow Him to suffer as man’s Substitute—reveals the unity of purpose that exists among the Godhead for man’s salvation, and demonstrates the self-­‐denying nature of the love of its members. The result is that the allegiance of the whole universe is given to them, which insures that ultimately evil can be destroyed and only closer unity among God’s creatures, and more love to Him will be the result. This great demonstration of Love will also have established the infinite worth of God’s created beings to Him, by His having become one with them—uniting humanity to His divinity—rather than choosing to let one person perish.


All this will be the result of Christ’s work as the Lamb (arnion) of God. “And they sing . . . saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Revelation 15:3; 5:13).






The Correct text of John 1:29.


“Critical research reveals not a single important variant for the Greek original of John 1:29. The text reads: tē epaurion blepei ton lēsoun erchomenon pros auton, kai legei: ide ho amnos tou theou ho airōn tē hamartian tou kosmou. One variation of little consequence adds ho lōannēs after blepei.

Witnesses to this variant are: Titian’s Diatessaron, the Vulgate and Latin MSS. except a&q, a number of representative MSS. Of the text established by Pamphiluis in Caeseresa around 300, codices E & F (8th,9th cent.), the Peshitta and Georgic versions. The fifth-­‐century Washington MS. (__, 104) is unique among codices for its reading erōn tas hamartias; similarily Hippolytus is the only Greek Father with the plural

Greek reading tas hamartias.


When it comes to translations of John 1:29, differences multiply.  The Vulgate has:  Ecce agnus  Dei, ecce qui tollit peccatum mund.   The second ecce, lacking in the Greet, most probably was an     attempt to render the definiteness of the article in ho airōn. Among the Old Latin MSS., a (Verc., 4th cent.), b (Veron., 4th-­‐5th cent.), c (Colb., 11th-­‐12th cent.), f2 (Brix2., 6th cent.), sirc  (Syr. Curet.), together with  citations in  Fathers like  Cyprian, Jerome, Ambrose, and  Augustine, all reduplicate  the ecce. . .   .

Manuscripts e (palat., 4th-­‐5th  cent.), f (Brix., 6th  cent.) and Irenaeus agree with the Greek in having only

one ecce.   The plural peccata is often found for tēn hamartian, . . . for airōn a variety of renditions      appear. Ful., Ireneaus, Tat11, and the best codices of Cyprian have auferet.  The best codices of Irenaeus  (A,V, Ma, Ha, St.), have aufert.  A Gothic version of St. John’s Gospel by Ulfilas favors the equivalent of  sumit. But by and large airōn is translated tollit as in the Vulgate and Itala, a, b, c, f, Cyprian (once) and other MSS.”  (May, pp. 2-­‐3.)


“Discounting the minor discrepancies in manuscripts and versions on the basis of their comparative lack of authority, we may consider John the Baptist’s great testimony as critically established in the following words: ide ho amnos tou theou ho airōn tēn hamartian tou kosmou – Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (Ibid., p. 4.)
















































































































































II Chron.









4                 “              “

8                 “              “

10              “              “

13              “              “

15              “              “

17              “              “

18              “              “

20              “              “

21              “              “

23              “              “

24              “              “

26              “              “

27              “              “

29              “              “

30              “              “

35:7                     for sacrifice

8                        “            “

Job                31:20                refers to clothes Hosea      4:16     symb. for people Zach.        10:3                           “       “       “

Isa.               53:7                        “       “       “

Eze.              27:21         lit.   animals

46:4                 “           sac.

5                 “              “

6                 “              “

7                 “              “

11              “              “

13              “              “

15              “              “

Num.        29:36                  “              “



Deut.            14:4



II Chron.  29:21






“The evangelists and the apostles, on numerous occasions, point out the same connection. They view Christ’s coming into the flesh as a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. They perceived the deep and wonderful unity in virtue of which the Old Testament, far from being merely a Jewish book, is full of Jesus Christ.  They do not provide systematic elucidations of this unity but in their thinking and preaching and acting they proceed from it. Any number of historical events are illuminated by reference to the prophets. The unbelief of the Jews toward Christ is viewed in connection with Isaiah, ‘because he saw his glory; and he spake of him’.  In Peter’s speech on Pentecost these same connections are indicated when he introduces the quotation of Psalm 16 with the words: ‘For David says concerning him

. . .’ (Acts 2:25). He points out too that David, as prophet, forsaw the resurrection of Christ, and says. ‘that neither was he left unto Hades not did his flesh see corruption’ (v.31).  Seeing these connections, the apostles never worked them out into a systematic whole but they referred to them in concrete and lively fashion. Here and there, however, we note a more general characterization. In discussing the relationship between the Old and New Testament and the transition from the Old to the New Covenant, Paul declares that the Jews who read the Old Testament have a covering over their hearts which will disappear only in Christ (2 Cor. 3:14ff). Hence there can hardly be a difference of opinion about the proposition that the New Testament never assumes a breach between itself and the Old Testament. It is rather the meaningfully fulfilling continuation of the Old; in fact to which the church’s acceptance of the whole canon—Old and New—corresponds. When the church or theology spoke of promise and fulfillment it was this undeniable interconnection they were referring to; one can also say: they were referring to the Christian character of the Old Testament. One can boil down the churches credo regarding the scriptures into the statement that it is no anachronism to say that the Old Testament is Christian.


The more one studies the New Testament the more he discovers the varied connections. We hear of a connection between the birth of Christ and the Immanuel prophecy (Matt. 1:23; Isaiah 7:14) between the flight to Egypt and the prophecy of Hosea 11:1; between Christ’s being left alone by his disciples on the night of his passion and the prophecy of the smitten shepherd (Matt. 26:31; Zech. 13:7); between the Man of Sorrow, Jesus Christ, and the prophecy of Isaiah 53 (compare Acts 8:32ff. with 1


Peter 2:23-­‐24; also Isaiah 53:9 with Matt. 27:56-­‐60; Isaiah 53:12 with Mark 15:27).  Christ is viewed as    the fulfillment of the entire Old Testament. When John points out a connection between Christ and the sacrificial lamb (John 1:29), and manna (John 6:22ff), and the serpent in the wilderness (John 3:14), then      by that token he views the Old Testament as the great, historical, preparatory illumination of the coming redemption.   It is evident from all the data that we face, not a few incidental and arbitrary illustrations,      but a comprehensive testimony pointing to and converging on the coming Redeemer Jesus Christ. Even personages surrounding Jesus Christ share in these prophetic unities, as is evident when a relation is    pointed out between the prophecy of Malachi and John the Baptist (Mal. 3:1 and matt. 11:10), and even     for Judas betrayal and death we are referred to the Psalms (Compare John 13:18, . . . with 41:9; see also    Acts 1:20; Ps. 69:25, and Ps. 109:8). Sometimes the relationships pointed out are strikingly concrete; as, for instance, the prophecy of the birth of Christ at Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matt. 2:5-­‐6),  and the    reference to the Old Testament in connection with the crucifixion:   ‘For these things came to pass, that      the scripture might be fulfilled, a bone of him shall not be broken’ (John 19:36; Ps. 34:20; Ex. 12:46).


These few examples, picked from the many which could be added, are sufficient to make plain how the church came to point out, with such great emphasis, the indissoluble connection between the Old Testament and the New. . . .”  (G.C. Berkouwer, The Person of Christ (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm.

  1. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1954), p. 118.)





“In the Hellenistic period there were two productive diminutive categories, namely those in

–ion/-­‐idion and those ending in –arion.  They should be sharply distinguished for the categories that are likewise characterized by –ion/-­‐idion and –arion, but which have no diminutive value. . . .”

“Although the distinction between these categories is carried through by several grammars . . .   there  is  occasionally  some  inconsistency  in  the  instances  adduced,  because  original  diminutives  like arnion (by the side of arnē, arnos) which have now lost their diminutive value are still listed. Whenever such words have completely superceded the older no-­‐diminutives, they should not be mentioned all,  since the former proportionality of nēsos: nēsion = arnē: arnion does not hold any more, arnion have grown into a non-­‐diminutive word into its turn; it occurs 30 times in the N.T., of which 29 [sic] in the    apc., whereas arnā is used only once, in Luke x 3, which is an adapted quotation from Isaiah lxv 25, that         is from the older LXX version; in the remaining N.T. writings only the word probaton is found.” (Mussies, pp.  108-­‐109 (par.






Arnion in the Old Testament


Ps.            114:4       Hills said to act like lambs


Jer. Isa.





“         “

Prophets People













Lit. “

animal “








Lit.              animal “                      “




Lev. Deut. 1 Sam.
























“                      “

“                      “


Lit.              Animal Metaphor

2 Sam.

1 Kings






II Kings



I Chron. Prov.










Grotius, Annotationes in Apocalypsin Joannis, 1644.—According to Grotius the Apocalypse consisted of ten visions experienced at different times and in different places. The first three visions (i.-­‐ xi.) belong to the reign of Claudius, visions four and five (xii.-­‐xiv.) before the fall of Jerusalem (?), visions six and seven (xv.-­‐xviii.) to the reign of Vespasian, visions eight to ten (xix-­‐xxii,) to that of   Domitian.

Volter.—Volter’s first work appeared in 1882, but since he has seriously modified the views in that work in his three subsequent studies, only his last views are here given in Die Offenbarung Johannis, 1904.



Apoc. of John Mark. 1  60 A.D.

Apoc of Cerinthus. 70 A.D.

Editor of Trajan’s Time.   114-­‐115 A.D.

Revises in Hadrian’s T.




x. 1-­‐11

i. 7-­‐8

i. 1-­‐3 9-­‐ii. 22.

iv. 1-­‐v. 10

xvii. 1-­‐18.

v. 6b, 9-­‐10*.

xiv. 13.

vi. 1-­‐vii. 8.

xi. 1-­‐13.

v. 11-­‐14.

xvi. 15.


sii. 1-­‐16.

vii. 9-­‐17.

xix. 10b.

xi. 14-­‐19

xv. 5-­‐6, 8.

xi. 8*, 11*, 15*, 18*

xxii. 7, 10-­‐20.

xiv. 1-­‐3, 6-­‐7


xii. 11, 18-­‐xii. 18.


xviii. 1-­‐xix. 4.

xix. 11-­‐xxi. 8.

xiv. 4-­‐5, 9-­‐12.


xix. 14-­‐20.

xxi. 10-­‐xxii. 6

xv. 1-­‐4, 7.


xix. 5-­‐10a.


xvi. 2b (13), 19b.




xvii. 6*, 14, 16, 17.




Phrases in xix. 20,


  1. 10

xxi. 14, 22-­‐27.

xxii. 1-­‐2, 8-­‐9.


1 See Offenbarung Johannis, pp. 51, 59, 61, 62, 70, 71, 98, 104-­‐7, 145-­‐7. Interpolations in individual verses of the Apoc. of John, Volter detects in iv. 1, v.9,10, vi.16, xi.8-­‐11,15,18, xiv.1, xviii.20; in the Apoc. of Cerinthus x.6b,7b, xi.,8, xvi.2,3, xvii.1, xix.20, xx.4,10, xxi.9, xxii.3.



Vischer, Die Offenbarung Johannis, 1886.—According to Vischer the groundwork of the Apocalypse is a Jewish work. This was revised by a Christian to whom the following additions are due:



i. ii.

xi. 15*

xvii. 14.


xii. 11, 17, (a word)

xvii. 20*.

v. 8. (a word)

xiii. 8*

xix. 7*.

v. 9-­‐14.

xiii. 9-­‐10.

xix. 9-­‐10.

vi. 1*.

xiv. 1-­‐5.

xix. 11*.

vi. 16.

xiv. 10*.

xix. 13b.

vii. 9-­‐17.

xiv. 12-­‐13.

xx. 4-­‐5*, 6.

ix. 11*.

xv. 3*.

xxi. 5b-­‐8, 9*, 14b, 22*, 23*,

xi. 8b, c.

xvi. 15, 16*.



xvii. 6*.

xxi. 3*, 6-­‐21.


Schoen, L’Origine de l’Apocalypse de Saint Jean, 1887.—According to this writer the main elements of the Apocalypse are Christian.


Christian Apocalypse written

under Domitian.                                                    Christian Editor.                                                     Jewish Sources.



  1. –ix.
  2. 14, 15.

xiv. 1-­‐8, 13-­‐20.



  • 1-­‐
  • 6-­‐


xii. 10-­‐12, 18.

xiii. 8-­‐10.

xiv. 9-­‐12.

xvi. 13-­‐16 xvii.

xviii. 20. xix.

  1. xx. 1-­‐6, 7-­‐

xxi. 9-­‐xxii.5.

  1. 1-­‐13. xii.

xiii. xviii.




Weyland, Omwerkings-­‐en Compilatie-­‐Hypothesen toegepast op de Apocalypse van Johannes, 1888.— Weyland discovers two Jewish sources in the Apocalypse A and B. These two sources were edited by a Christian, who added the first three chapters and a series of interpolations.




(Written Under Titus.)


(Written Under Nero.)                                         Christian Editor.1.



i. 10, 12-­‐17, 19.

xiv. 14-­‐20.

x. 1-­‐xi, 13.



xii. 1-­‐10, 11-­‐xiii.

vii. 1-­‐8, 9-­‐17.


xiv. 6-­‐7, 9-­‐11.



xv. 2-­‐4.

xi. 14-­‐18.


xvi. 13, 14.

xiv. 2-­‐3.


xix. 11-­‐21.


  1. i.-­‐
  2. 5c.
  3. v. 6-­‐14 (recast).
  4. 16c. xii.14c. ix.18.
  5. 7.





  1. 5.

xvi. 17b-­‐20. xvii.-­‐xix. 6. xxi.9-­‐27.

xxii. 1-­‐11, 14-­‐15.

  • 1-­‐


  • 11,

xiv. 1, 4-­‐5, 12-­‐13. xv. 1, 6-­‐8.

xvi. 1-­‐17a, 21.

xvii. 14.

xix. 7-­‐10, 13b.

xxi. 9a, 14b.

xxii. 7a, 12-­‐13, 16-­‐21.


1 Also words and phrases in vi. 1, vii. 9, 10, 17, ix. 1, 11, xiii. 8, xv. 3, xvii. 6, xviii. 20, xx. 4, xxi. 27, xxii. 1, 3.



Spitta, Dia Offenbarung des Johannes, 1889,-­‐-­‐According to Spitta there was a primitive Christian Apocalypse, U, written soon after 60 A.D.   This was revised by a Christian editor R in the time of Trajan,    who incorporated two Jewish Apocalypses, J1  belonging to the time of Caligula, and J2  to that of Pompey.

  1. J1 J2                                                            R.


i. 4-­‐6, 9-­‐19.

ii. 1-­‐6,8-­‐10, 12-­‐16, 18-­‐25.

iii. 1-­‐4, 7-­‐11, 14-­‐20.

vii. 1-­‐8.

viii, 2-­‐ix.14, 15b.

viii. 16-­‐21, 15a. x. 1a, 2b, 3, 5-­‐7.

x. 1b, 2a, 8a, 9b, 10-­‐ 11.

xi. 1-­‐13, 15, 17, 18.

xiv. 14-­‐20.

i. 1-­‐3.

i. 5*

i. 7-­‐8, 20.

ii. 7, 11, 17, 26-­‐29.


xi. 15, 19.

xv. 2-­‐6, 8.

iii. 5-­‐6, 12-­‐13, 21-­‐ 22.

vii. 9-­‐17.

xii.-­‐xiii. 8.

xvi. 1-­‐12, 17a, 21.

iv. 1*.

viii. 1.

xiii. 11-­‐18.

xvii. 1-­‐6a.

v.5*, 6*, 8*, 10*.

xix. 9b, 10.

xiv. 1-­‐2a, 4b-­‐7, 9, 10b,

xviii. 1-­‐23.

vi. 16*.

xxii. 8, 10-­‐13, 16a,


xix. 1-­‐8.

vii. 9c.

17, 18a, 20b-­‐21.

xvi. 13, 14, 17b, 20.

xxi.9-­‐xxii. 3a, 15.

ix.12, 14*, 15*.


xix. 11-­‐21. xx. 1-­‐3, 8-­‐15.


x.4, 4*, 7a. xi.14.


xxi. 1, 5a, 6a.


xii.6, 9*, 11, 13*, 17*.


xiii.3a, 4b, 5b, 7*, 8, 9-­‐10,

14*, 17c-­‐18abc.

xiv. 2b-­‐4a, 4b*, 6*, 8, 10a,

11a, 11c-­‐13, 17.

xv.1, 2*, 3*, 5b, 7. xvi. 1*, 2*, 10*, 15.

xvii. 3*, 6a, 7-­‐18.


xix. 4, 6*, 7*, 8b-­‐9a, 10*, 11d-­‐

12a, 13b, 15, 21*.

xx. 2*, 4-­‐7, 12*.

xxi. 2-­‐4, 5b, 6b-­‐8, 9*, 14*, 22*,  23*, 27b.

xxii.1*, 3b-­‐7, 14, 16b, 18b-­‐



Erbes, Die Offenbarung Johannis, 1891.—Erbes’ theory is that of the Redaction Hypothesis. The ground work consists of a Christian Apocalypse written in the year 62 A.D. With this Apocalypse another of the time of Caligula was incorporated, and finally about the year 80 it was finally  revised  and enlarged.




Caligula Apoc. 40 A.D.

Christian Apoc. 62 A.D.

Final Redaction. 80 A.D.




xii. 1-­‐xiii.18. xiv.9b-­‐12.

  1. 4-­‐19.
  2. 1-­‐6, 8-­‐10, 12-­‐16, 18-­‐25.

iii.1-­‐4, 7-­‐11, 14-­‐22. iv. 1-­‐5, 10.

  1. v. 1-­‐10 (11-­‐14).


vii. 1-­‐3, 9-­‐12

viii. 1-­‐11, 19. xiv. 1-­‐7, 13-­‐20.

  1. xv. 2*-­‐4 (v.11-­‐14).

xix. 5-­‐9a. xx. 11-­‐15.

  • 1-­‐
  • 3-­‐
  1. 1-­‐3, 20.
  2. 7, 11, 17, 26-­‐29.

iii. 5-­‐6, 12-­‐13.

vii. 4-­‐8, 13-­‐17.

  1. 12.
  2. 14.

xiii. 3*, 12*, 14*.

xiv. 4*, 8, 9a.

  1. xv. 1, 2*, 5-­‐xix. 4.

xix. 9b-­‐xx. 10, 14*.

xxi. 5-­‐xxii. 2. (xxii. 18, 19?)




  1. Weiss, Die Offenbarung des Johannes, 1908.—According to Weiss there was an original Johannine Apocalypse written probably before 70 A.D. This Apocalypse was re-­‐edited in 95 A.D. by a writer who at the same time incoporated an anonymous Apocalypse written before 70 A.D.

Apocalypse of John.                                             Anonymous Apoc. Q.                                          Editor, 95. A.D.



  1. 4-­‐5, 9-­‐15, 17.
  2. 1-­‐5, 8-­‐10, 12-­‐16. ii. 18-­‐25.

Iii. 1-­‐4, 7-­‐11, 14-­‐20.

  1. 1-­‐8 (with the exception of some phrases).
  2. v. 1-­‐6a, 7-­‐8, 11-­‐ vi. 1-­‐8, 12-­‐17.
  3. v 1-­‐8 (H).

viii. 1, 3-­‐5a, 13-­‐ix. 21.

  1. 14.

xii. 7-­‐12.

xiv.1-­‐7, 14-­‐20.

xx.1-­‐4a, 6-­‐11.

xxi. 1-­‐4*.

xxi. 3-­‐5 (8-­‐9). x. 1-­‐9

  1. xi. 1-­‐

xii. 1-­‐6, 13-­‐17.

Xiii, 1-­‐2a, 3-­‐6.

  1. xv. 5, 8,-­‐1.

xvii. 1-­‐8, 9b-­‐13, 15-­‐18.




  1. 1-­‐3, 7-­‐8, 16 (?), 19 (?)-­‐20.
  2. 6 (?), 7, 10e-­‐11, 17, 26-­‐29.

iii. 5-­‐6, 12-­‐13, 21-­‐22.

  1. 5b, 9-­‐11. v. 6*, 8*.
  2. v 9-­‐11.

vii. 9-­‐11. vii.9-­‐17 (J).

viii. 2, 5b-­‐12. x. 7*, 1-­‐11. xi. 8*, 15.

xii. 3*, 15.

xiii. 2b, 7-­‐10, 11-­‐18 (J).

xiv. 8-­‐12. xv. 1-­‐4, 6, 7.

  • 9a,


xix. 1-­‐10.

  1. xx. 4b-­‐5, 12b-­‐

xxi. 4*-­‐8, 14.

xxii. 6-­‐7, 10-­‐21.






Scheme of Apocalypse Introductory Words, 1, 1-­‐3. Blessing an Amen, 1, 4-­‐8.

Light.                                                             Candlestick-­‐Vision, 1,9-­‐20.                                                        Dedication

SEVEN MESSAGES                                                                                         (Man)

107, To the Asian Churches, II-­‐III

Firmament.                                                 Book-­‐vision, IV-­‐V.                                                                             Passover SEVEN SEALS

1-­‐4. Horsemen, VI, 1-­‐8.

  1. 5. Martyr-­‐souls, VI, 9-­‐11. Pentecost                 Bull

Earth                                                                                6.  Portents of judgment, VI, 12-­‐19 Sea, Trees.                                                                        Sealing of Saints, VII, 1-­‐8

Countless Multitude, VII, 9-­‐12.

  1. 7. Silence and incense, V 1-­‐6.

SEVEN TRUMPTETS                                                  Midsummer 1-­‐4.    Plagues on four elements, VIII,  7-­‐12.

Flying eagle, VIII, 13.

5-­‐6.  First and second woes, IX.                                                                 Lion

Luminaries.                                                 Oath, Book and Reed, X-­‐XI, 14.

  1. Great trumpet and vision of ark, XI, 15-­‐19                      New Year BEAST VISIONS

Birds and

1-­‐4.  Animal figures, XII-­‐XIV, 5.



5.  Herald Angels, XIV, 6-­‐13


Creatures.                                                             6.  Son of Man and Angels, XIV, 14-­‐20.



7.  Sea of Glass and glory-­‐cloud, XV.






1-­‐5.  Plagues on elements, XVI, 1-­‐11.



6.  Armageddon, XVI, 12-­‐16.



7.  Voice and earthquake, XVI, 17-­‐21.




Angel shew Babylon, XVII.




Herald Angels, XVIII.




Alleluia-­‐liturgy, XIX, 1-­‐10








1-­‐4.  Great Battle, XIX, 11-­‐XX, 3.




5.  Millennial thrones, XX, 4-­‐10.




6.  Great white throne, XX, 11-­‐15.

New Year


Sabbath and

7.  New heaven and earth, XXI, 1-­‐8.




Angel shews Jerusalem, XXI, 9-­‐XXII, 17.




Concluding words, XXII, 18-­‐21.






















The “Title” and John’s Commission (1:1-­‐3) John’s Salutations to the “Seven Churches” (1:4-­‐6; with 22:21)

Prologue: The Two Voices—Herald and God Almighty (1:7, 8) Theme:  A Seven-­‐Fold Vision of the Church in Trial and   Triumph

Act I.  Vision of the Church on Earth—The Son of Man in her Midst (1:9-­‐3:11) Setting:  The Seven Golden Lampstands (1:9-­‐20)

The Letters to the Seven Churches (2:1-­‐3:22)


Scene 1:  Letter to the Passionless Church:  Ephesus (2:1-­‐7) Scene 2:  Letter to the Persecuted Church:  Smyrna (2:8-­‐11) Scene 3:  Letter to the Tolerant Church:  Pergamum (2:12-­‐17) Scene 4:  Letter to the Compromising Church:  Thyatira (2:18-­‐29) Scene 5:  Letter to the Dead Church:  Sardis (3:1-­‐6)

Scene 6:  Letter to the Missionary Church:  Philadelphia (3:7-­‐13) Scene 7:  Letter to the Arrogant Church:  Laodicea (3:14-­‐22)

Act II.  Vision of God in Heaven—God’s Purpose in History (4:1-­‐8:1) Setting:  The Throne of God (4:1-­‐11); The Sealed Book (5:1-­‐5);

The Slain Lamb (5:6, 7); The Three Hymns (5:8-­‐14)


The Opening of the Seven Seals (6:1-­‐8:1)


Scene 1: The Rider on the White Horse—Conquest (6:1, 2) Scene 2: The Rider on the Red Horse—Civil War (6:3, 4) Scene 3: The Rider on the Black Horse—Famine (6:5, 6) Scene 4:  The Rider on the Yellow Horse—Death (6:7, 8)


Scene 5:  Prayer of the Martyrs Beneath the Alter (6:9-­‐11)

************* Scene 6:  The Eschatological Events  (6:12-­‐7:17)

  1. Cosmic Catastrophes (6:12-­‐17)
  2. Sealing of the Martyrs (7:1-­‐8)


  1. The Martyrs in Heaven 7:9-­‐17)

Scene 7:  Silence in Heaven (8:1)

Act III.  Vision of the Seven Angel of the Presence—The Church in Tribulation (8:2-­‐11:18) The Sounding of the Seven Trumpets (8:7-­‐11:18)

Scene 1: Hail and Fire Fall on the Earth (8:7) Scene 2:  A Mountain Cast into the Sea (8:8, 9)

Scene 3: A Great Star Falls on Rivers and Springs (8:10, 11) Scene 4:  Heavenly Bodies Darkened (8:12)

An Eagle Announces Three Woes (8:13)

Scene 5:  (Woe 1)  The Pit of the Abyss Opened—Locusts (9:1-­‐12)

Scene 6:  (Woe 2)  Release of the four Angels on the Euphrates (9:13-­‐15)

The Two Hundred Million Horsemen (9:16-­‐21; The Strong Angel of the Little Book (10:1-­‐11); The “Times of the Gentiles,” The Two Prophets, The Evil City— Sodom, Egypt (11:1-­‐14)

Scene 7:  (Woe 3)  Worship in Heaven (11: 15-­‐18)


Act IV. Vision of the Church Triumphant—The Drama of Salvation (11:19-­‐14:20; with 15:2-­‐4) Setting:   The Ark of the Covenant   (11:19)

The Showing of the Seven Pageants (12:1-­‐14:20; 15:2-­‐4)


Scene 1:  The Woman Clothed with the Sun and the Dragon (12:1-­‐18) Scene 2:  The Beast Arising from the Sea (13:1-­‐10)

Scene 3:  The Beast Arising from the Lamb (13:11-­‐18)

Scene 4:  The Lamb with the 144,000 Martyrs on Mount Zion (14:1-­‐5)

Scene 5: The Angel with an Eternal Gospel and His Two Associates, Announcement of the Doom of Babylon  (14:6-­‐13)

Scene 6: The Son of Man on a White Cloud and the Three Angels of Judgment, The Winepress of God’s Wrath  (14:14-­‐20)

Scene 7:  The Hymn of the Lamb Chanted by the Saved (15:2-­‐4)


Act V. Vision of the Seven Angels of God’s Wrath—The World in Agony (15:1, 5016:21) Setting:  The Sanctuary of the “Tabernacles of the Testimony:  15:1, 5-­‐8;   16:1)

The Pouring Out of the Seven Bowls (16:2-­‐21)


Scene 1: The Plague to the Earth—Boils on Men (16:2) Scene 2:  The Plague to the Sea—Blood (16:3)

Scene 3: The Plague to Rivers and Springs—Blood (16:4-­‐7) Scene 4:  The Plague to the Sun—Burning Heat (16:8, 9)


Scene 5: The Plague to the Throne of the Beast—Darkness (16:10, 11)

Scene 6:  The Plague to the Euphrates—Gathering at Armageddon (16:12-­‐16)

Scene 7: The Plague to the Air—Announcement of the Destruction of Babylon (16:17-­‐ 21)

Act VI.  Vision of Babylon’s Overthrow—The Drama of Judgment (17:1-­‐20:3, 7-­‐10)   Setting:        One of the Angels of the Seven Plagues issuing from the Sanctuary (17:1, 2)

The Unfolding of the Seven-­‐fold Wrath of God (17:3-­‐20:3, 7-­‐10)


Scene 1:  The Woman on the Scarlet Beast (17:3-­‐5) Scene 2:  The Beast at War with the Woman (17:6-­‐18) Scene 3:  The Final Cosmic Oratorio (18:1-­‐19:10)

Scene 4:  The Word of God on the White Horse and His Retinue (19:11-­‐16) Scene 5:  The Angel Standing in the Sun (19:17-­‐21)

Scene 6:  The Battle of Armageddon (19:19-­‐21)

Scene 7: Satan Cast Into the Abyss (20:1-­‐2); Parenthesis on His Limited Authority (20:7-­‐ 10)

Act VII.  Vision of Church in the Millenium—Consummation of God’s Purpose (20:4-­‐6 and 20:11-­‐22:5) Setting:  The Church Enthroned with Christ (20:4-­‐6)

The Fulfilling of God’s Seven-­‐Fold Plan (20:11-­‐22:5)


Scene 1: Disappearance of the Old Heaven and Old Earth (20:11) Scene 2:  The Last Judgment  (20:12-­‐15)

Scene 3: The New Heaven and the New Earth (21:1) Scene 4:  The New Jerusalem  (21:2-­‐8)

Scene 5:  Contemplation and Measuring of the New Jerusalem (21:9-­‐21)

Scene 6:  The City’s Illumination—The Splendor of God and the Lamb (21:22-­‐27) Scene 7: The City’s Source of Life—The River and Tree of Life (22:1-­‐5)


Epilogue (22:6-­‐20)






An outline of the Literary Form of Revelation


  1. The Title of the Apocalypse (1:1-­‐3)
    1. The infallible succession of the gift of prophecy (1:1-­‐2)
    2. The first (of seven) covenant seal (1:3)


  1. Salutation to the Seven Churches (1:4-­‐6)
    1. Opening Benediction: invocation to the Trinity (1:4-­‐5a)
    2. Doxology (1-­‐5b-­‐6)


  • Prologue (1:7-­‐8) Two voices
    1. First voice (herald): announcement of the Star and theme of the Drama (1:7)
    2. Second Voice (Lord God): the imprimatur of the living God Given as “Sponsor” of the action throughout (1:8)
  1. Act I: THE CHURCH ON EARTH (1:9-­‐3:22)
    1. The Sanctuary Setting: The Church’s High Priest in the midst of the seven golden lampstands (1:9-­‐20)
    2. The letters to the seven churches (2:1-­‐3:22)

SCENE 1:  1)  The Passionless Church (Ephesus), 2:1-­‐7 SCENE 2:  2)  The Persecuted Church (Smyrna), 2:8-­‐11 SCENE 3:  3)  The Tolerant Church (Pergamum), 2:2-­‐17 SCENE 4:           The Compromising Church (Thyatira), 2:18-­‐29

  • You tolerated Jezebel (2:20)
  • Jezebel is given “time”—chronos—to repent (2:21)
  • Jezebel will be thrown on a sickbed (2:22)
  • Finally Jezebel’s Daughters will be smitten dead (2:23) SCENE 5: The Dead Church (Sardis),  3:1-­‐5

SCENE 6:            The Missionary Church (Philadelphia), 3:7-­‐13

  1. The view of the wicked: They bow down at your feet (3:9)
  2. The view of the righteous: Kept from the hour of trial (3:10) SCENE 7: The Arrogant Church (Laodicea),  3:14-­‐22


    1. The Sanctuary Setting: A view through the “open door” into the Most Holy Place. The throne of God, 4:1-­‐8a; a song of praise from the witnesses of both heaven and earth, 4:8b-­‐ 11; the sealed book and the Lion/Lamb, 5:1-­‐7; hymns,  5:8-­‐14.


The eschatological Covenant Lawsuit

Call to the witnesses to give ear to the proceedings

The witnesses from earth:  The twenty-­‐four priests (4:4)

The witnesses from heaven:  the four cherubim-­‐seraphim  4:6b-­‐8). Introduction of the case at issue by the Divine Judge and Prosecutor (5:1-­‐7) A recital of the benevolent acts of the Suzerain (5:8-­‐14).



  1. The opening of the seven seals (6:1-­‐8:1)

The judgment indictment:  The appearance of four horses (6:1-­‐8)

SCENE 1: 1) The rider on the white horse—who inflicts the white judgment of victorious conquest, 6:1-­‐2

SCENE 2:  2)  The rider on the red horse—who inflicts the red judgment of slaughter, 6:3-­‐4 SCENE 3:  3)  The rider on the black horse—who inflicts the black judgment of famine, 6:5-­‐6 SCENE 4:  4)  The rider on the pale horse—who inflicts the judgment of death, 6:7-­‐8

  • The rider also brings the judgment of slaughter
  • The rider also brings the judgment of famine
  • The rider also brings his companion the Grave (6:8)

SCENE 5:            The cry of the martyrs: “how long must we wait for the final retribution?” (6:9-­‐11)

The judgment sentence (limited to the living): The release of four judgment-­‐horses (6:12-­‐ 7:17)

SCENE 6:            The final eschatological events, 6:12-­‐7:17

  1. The view of the wicked: cosmic catastrophes accompany the wrath of the Lamb (6:12-­‐16)
  2. The view of the righteous: a sealing of the living saints (7:1-­‐8). The release of the judgment verdict brings to view an innumerable multitude who are clothed in white robes of victory (7:9-­‐17)

After the judgment is finished (8:1) A new creation SCENE7:       Silence in heaven, 8:1


    1. The Sanctuary Setting: The seven sanctuary trumpets, 8:2;
  • the first view of the mediating alter of incense, 8:3-­‐4;
  • the second view when the mediating work of the alter has ceased, 8:5-­‐6
    1. The sounding of the seven trumpets (8:7-­‐11:18)

Plagues of mercy and warning upon the “great city” Babylon to prepare the Way for the Exodus-­‐movement   (8:7-­‐9:21)

SCENE 1:  1)  A scourge upon the earth—of hail and fire, 8:7

SCENE 2:  2)  A scourge upon the sea—a burning mountain sinks, 8:8-­‐9

SCENE 3: 3) A scourge upon the rivers and fountains of water—a star falls from heaven to earth as a polluting agent,  8:10-­‐11

SCENE 4: 4) A Scourge upon the sun—heavenly bodies are partially darkened,  8:12

  • A woe to follow in the fifth trumpet
  • A woe to follow in the sixth trumpet
  • A woe to follow in the seventh trumpet (8:13) The “ninth plague” of darkness (9:1-­‐12)

SCENE 5: (woe 1): A scourge of darkness—the falling star descends to the pit of the abyss; a plague of locust results. The locust have tails like scorpions. The saints place the sealing mark over their Goshen homes,  9:1-­‐12

The “tenth plague” of death or deliverance (9:16-­‐11:14)

SCENE 6: (woe 2): A scourge upon the great river Euphrates—the four angels appear, 9:16-­‐ 11:14


  1. A view of the wicked: The unbinding of the four angels.  An Underworld army of  two hundred million horsemen come forth. They are girded with the weapons of the Lake of Fire and they bring death in their wake   (9:13-­‐21)
  2. A view of the righteous: They are in an exodus-­‐movement.   They are led by the  pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. The archangel gives the little book at the end of prophetic time. The period of bondage in the “great city” Babylon had been three and a half times (times of the Gentiles). God’s two witnesses, in the spirit of Elijah and Moses, lead Israel out from Egypt—which forms the first tenth part of the city Babylon   (10:1-­‐11:14)

SCENE 7: (woe 3): The mystery of God is finished (10:7); Christ goes forth to claim His everlasting  Kingdom (11:15-­‐18)


  • Act IV: THE SALVATION OF JERUSALEM (11:19-­‐15:4)
    1. The Sanctuary Setting: The Ark of God’s Covenant becomes visible, 11:19.
    2. The showing of seven pageants (12:1-­‐15:4)

SCENE 1:  The wilderness experience of the pure woman, chap. 12

  • A celestial woman pregnant with a male childe, 12:1-­‐2
  • A celestial, seven-­‐headed dragon, descends to earth, 12:2-­‐3
  • Christ ascends to heaven; the woman flees to the wilderness, 12:5-­‐6
  • The dragon turns his anger against the woman in the wilderness, 12:7-­‐17 SCENE 2: The wounded beast with seven heads—arising from the sea, 13:1-­‐10
  • Babylon arises from the sea, 13:1-­‐10

SCENE 3:  Support is given to Babylon—by the beast arising from the earth, 13:11-­‐18

  • The false Elijah makes an image to the beast who has been wounded, 13:11-­‐18 SCENE 4: The fate of the saved:  the Lamb with the 144,000 upon Mt. Zion, 14:1-­‐5
  • The judgment sentence upon the true Elijah, 14:1-­‐5 SCENE 5:  The challenging cry preparatory for conflict, 14:6-­‐13
    1. The challenge for the wicked. Announcement of doom to Babylon. The angel sounding with the gospel message is joined by a second and then a third angel who swell the sounding cry; the latter two proclaim an ever deepening punishment for a Babylon who rejects the gospel proclamation (14:6-­‐11)
    2. The challenge for the righteous. The second covenant weal (a special resurrection for the saints who die during the sounding-­‐cry of the three  angels), 14:12-­‐13

SCENE 6:  The harvest of the saved, 14:14-­‐20

  1. The view of the righteous: The grain-­‐field, ripened by the former and latter rain, is harvested by the Son of Man on a white cloud (14:14-­‐16)
  2. The view of the wicked: The ripe vintage harvest is thrown into the win-­‐press of the fury of the wrath of God.  The wine-­‐press is treaded outside the great city Jerusalem; the blood fills the length of the Holy Land (14:17-­‐20)

SCENE 7: The saved upon the sea of glass; they sing the victory song of Moses and the Lamb, 15:1-­‐4


    1. The Sanctuary Setting: The Shekinah fills the Sanctuary with glory; no one can enter the temple; the censer-­‐bowl is removed from off the alter of incense;  14:5-­‐16:1
    2. The pouring out of the seven censer-­‐bowls (16:2-­‐21)

Judgment-­‐plagues upon a fallen Babylon; the saints move through the wilderness toward the Red Sea  (16:2-­‐11)


SCENE 1: 1) A Scourge upon the earth—boils on men, 16:2 SCENE 2:  2)  A scourge upon the sea—blood, 16:3

SCENE 3:  3)  A scourge upon rivers and fountains of waters—blood, 16:4-­‐7

  • The angel of water cries approval (16:5-­‐6)
  • The alter cries approval (16:7)

SCENE 4:  6)  A scourge upon the sun—burning heat, 16:8-­‐9

7)  The wicked cry a curse against God (16:9)

Darkness intervenes to save Israel from Pharaoh’s hosts  (16:10-­‐11)

SCENE 5:            A scourge of darkness—upon the throne of the beast, 16:10-­‐11 The Red Sea delivers Israel but destroys her enemies  (16:12-­‐16)

SCENE 6:            A scourge upon the great river Euphrates—the parting of the waters, 16:12-­‐16

  1. The view of the wicked: Babylon is breached; demoniac spirits take control (16:12-­‐ 14)
  2. The view of the righteous:   The third covenant weal (the announced second advent   of Christ). The saints assemble at Megiddo for the final battle of the Holy Land (16:15-­‐16).

SCENE 7:           “It  is  done”—the  atmosphere  is  consumed;  Babylon   falls  to     the  conquering kings from the east,  16:17-­‐21


  1. ACT VI: THE DOOM OF BABYLON (17:1-­‐20:3)
    1. The Sanctuary Setting: An angel issuing from the Sanctuary which no man can enter, 17:1-­‐2
    2. The unfolding of the seven plagues, 17:3-­‐20:3

SCENE 1:  The wilderness experience of the harlot, 17:3-­‐5

  • An Underworld harlot pregnant with the blood of the saints, 17:3-­‐6 SCENE 2: The wounded beast with seven heads, 17:6-­‐18
  • An Underworld, seven-­‐headed dragon, ascends to earth, 17:7-­‐18 SCENE 3: Support is taken away from Babylon, 18:1-­‐19:10
  • Christ descends to earth; the harlot flees to the wilderness, 18:1-­‐3
  • God turns His anger against the harlot-­‐queen Jezebel who rules over the earth, 18:4-­‐8
  • Babylon sinks into the sea, 18:9-­‐24
  • The true Elijah makes an image to the Lamb who has been wounded; the fourth covenant weal (invitation to the marriage supper), 10:1-­‐10

SCENE 4:  The fate of the wicked:  smitten by the “rod of iron”, 19:11-­‐16

  • The judgment-­‐sentence against the false Elijah (by the Living Word of God on a white horse), 19:11-­‐16

SCENE 5: The challenging cry preparatory for conflict; the battle taunt by the angel standing in the sun  19:17-­‐18

SCENE 6:  The destruction of the lost, 19:19-­‐21

  1. The view of the wicked: The armies of the beast gather to fight the battle of Megiddo— against the Word of God on the white horse (19:19)
  2. The view of the righteous: Victory over the beast and the false Elijah—who are cast into the Lake of Fire (10:20-­‐21)

SCENE  7:  The defeated foe thrown bound back into the abyss, 20:1-­‐3


    1. The Sanctuary Setting: The church enthroned with Christ, 20:4-­‐6. The church, now reigning with Christ, is privileged to observe—from the stage itself—the seven Scenes of this Act.        It


is the fifth covenant weal (the first resurrection) that gathers all Israel upon the stage (20:4). Following a millennium of rule, Satan and his hosts are loosed from the abyss and the battle of Megiddo is continued until all the wicked are cast into the Lake of Fire  (20:7-­‐10)

  1. The fulfilling of God’s sevenfold plan (20:11-­‐22:5)

SCENE 1: 1) The old heaven and the old earth—pass away,  20:11

SCENE 2: 2) The last Judgment—the sentence is meted out upon the resurrected dead, 20:12-­‐ 15

SCENE 3: 3) The new heaven and new earth—no more sea, 21:1 SCENE 4:  4)  The New Jerusalem—adorned as a Bride,  21:2-­‐8

  • A great voice from the throne accepts the Bride (21:3-­‐4)
  • The voice again speaks, announcing a new creation (21:5a)
  • The command to write: the stipulations on who will be welcomed as guests to the eschatological wedding (21:5b-­‐8)

SCENE 5:            Measuring the great city Jerusalem, 21:9-­‐21 SCENE 6:                              The city’s illumination, 21:22-­‐27

  1. The view of the righteous: In God’s presence there is no night (21:22-­‐26)
  2. The view of the wicked: Forever excluded from Jerusalem (21:27) SCENE7: The city’s source of life,  22:1-­‐5


  1. EPILOGUE: Imprimaturs on the book, 22:6-­‐20
    1. The infallible succession of the gift of prophecy (22:6)
    2. The sixth covenant weal (22:7)
    3. The imprimatur is that of the living God (22:8-­‐9)
    4. Closing instruction by Gabriel (22:10-­‐15) Christ is quoted
  2. The distinction drawn, 22:10-­‐11
  3. The Star and theme of the Drama, 22:12-­‐13
  4. Reward for the righteous: the seventh covenant weal, 22:14
  5. Reward for the wicked: excluded from the Kingdom, 22:15
    1. The invitation given by Michael (22:15-­‐20















The search completed: Communion  Heb.9-­‐10








Recognition of the allness of God







Symbol of purified thought




Worshipper willing to give up, “shut the door” on lesser interests






Gate of the Court



The Only Entrance John 10:9 Matt 7:14

Step 1

Seeker desiring communion


Compare the whole with Matt.  6:6-­‐13










“Writers have dealt very variously with this chapter. Vischer, 54 sqq., Schmidt, 35, are obliged from their standpoint of the original Jewish Apocalypse to reject v. 9-­‐14, since glorification of the Lamb and His redemption of the Gentiles cannot appear in such an Apocalypse. The former rejects also the  words arnion . . . hōs esphagmenon in v. 6 and arnion in v. 8. Weyland, 148 sqq., from the same standpoint goes farther and assigns v. 6-­‐14 to the Christian redactor. Rauch, 70 sq., 121sq., is content with excising v. 9b, 10, the explanatory relative sentences in v. 6, 8, and the phrase kai tō arniō in v. 13.


Even critics who start from the basis of a Christian Apocalypse remove v. 11-­‐14.  So Volter, i.156,

ii.27 sq., iii.84-­‐86, iv.13 sq., 27, mainly on the grounds that the chronology is expressed only in general terms and takes no account of the Lamb taking the Book and opening the seals, and that He is set on  equality with God.   This addition he variously assigns to a reviser of the year 129 or 114.   In iv.145 he     finds additions made by a redactor of Trajans time, in v.6b because of the exalted view of the Lamb, and in v.9b because of the contradiction existing among the universalistic conception and vii.1-­‐8, and in v.10b where the final clause is added on the basis of xx.4, xxi.5. Erbes, 50, 102, regards v.11-­‐14 as an intrusion in their present context, and thinks that it stood originally after xv.2-­‐4. Spitta, 280-­‐287, maintains the integrity of the chapter on the whole, but excises as additions of a redactor the relative  clauses in v. 6, 8, the final clause of v.10, and idou . . . autou in v.5, and epeson . . . apviou in v.8.

But no valid grounds exist for any such mutilations of the text of this chapter or the preceding one, seeing that the ideas are so closely wrought together and elaborated in a growing crescendo . . .    and that the diction and idiom are so distinctively characteristic of our author. To the intrusion of certain glosses in iv.-­‐v.  we have already drawn attention.”  (Charles, I,  152-­‐153)






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                  Sin.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971.


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                  . The New Testament Development of Old Testament Themes. Grand  Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1968.


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Heppenstahl, Edward. Our High Priest. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Association,  1972.


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Hoyt, Edith Armstrong. Studies in the Apocalypse of John of Patmos. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Edward’s Brothers, Inc., 1959.


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Micklem, Nathaniel.  Behold the Man.  London:  Geoffrey Bles, 1969.


Morris, Leon. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971.


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                  . Studies in the Fourth Gospel. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William   B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969.


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Murray, John. Redemption Accomplished and Applied. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1961.


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Mussies, G. The Morphology of Koine Greek as Used in the Apocalypse of St. John. Vol. XXVII: Supplements to N.T.  Leiden:  E. J. Brill, 1971.


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                  God’s Amazing Grace. G.A.G


                  . Gospel Workers. Washington DC: Review   and Herald Publishing Association, 1948.


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                  . Life Sketches of Ellen G. White. Mountain View, California: Pacific   Press Publishing Association, 1915.


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                  . Patriarchs and Prophets. Mountain View, California: Pacific Press   Publishing Association, 1958.


                  . Selected Messages. Washington DC: Review   and Herald Publishing Association, 1958.


                  Spiritual Gifts.  Battle Creek, Michigan: Published by James White, 1860.


                  . Story of Redemption, The. Washington DC: Review   and Herald Publishing Association, 1947.


                  Testimonies for the Church.  Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1948.


                  . Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing. Mountain View, California: Pacific   Press Publishing Association, 1956.


                  . Welfare Ministry. Washington DC: Review   and Herald Publishing Association, 1952.


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Grand Rapids, Michigan:  Baker Book House, 1960.