Stood a Lamb - Christ, so called because he was a sacrificial offering; αρνιον signifies a little or delicate lamb.
As it had been slain - As if now in the act of being offered. This is very remarkable; so important is the sacrificial offering of Christ in the sight of God that he is still represented as being in the very act of pouring out his blood for the offenses of man. This gives great advantage to faith: when any soul comes to the throne of grace, he finds a sacrifice there provided for him to offer to God. Thus all succeeding generations find they have the continual sacrifice ready, and the newly-shed blood to offer.
Seven horns - As horn is the emblem of power, and seven the number of perfection, the seven horns may denote the all-prevailing and infinite might of Jesus Christ. He can support all his friends; he can destroy all his enemies; and he can save to the uttermost all that come unto God through him.
Seven eyes - To denote his infinite knowledge and wisdom: but as these seven eyes are said to be the seven Spirits of God, they seem to denote rather his providence, in which he often employs the ministry of angels; therefore, these are said to be sent forth into all the earth. See on Revelation 1:4; (note).
And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne - We are not to suppose that he was in the center of the throne itself, but he was a conspicuous object when the throne and the elders and the living beings were seen. He was so placed as to seem to be in the midst of the group made up of the throne, the living beings, and the elders.
And of the four beasts - See the notes at Revelation 4:6.
Stood a Lamb - An appellation 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. Compare the notes on John 1:29.
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 office of breaking 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 appear: 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. Compare Deuteronomy 33:17; 1 Kings 22:11; Jeremiah 48:25; Zechariah 1:18; Daniel 7:24. 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. See the notes on Revelation 1:4. 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. John does not say anything as to the relative arrangement of the horns and eyes on the “Lamb,” and it is vain to attempt to conjecture how it was. The whole representation is symbolical, and we may understand the meaning of the symbol without being able to form an exact conception of the figure as it appeared to him.
Which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth - See the notes on Revelation 1:4. 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 Revelation 1:4; 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 a part of, the work of redemption. The expression “sent forth into all the earth,” refers to the fact that that Spirit prevades 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. Compare 1 Corinthians 12:6-11.
You have a serious, solemn work to do to prepare the way of the Lord. You need the heavenly unction, and you may have it. “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” Who can be trifling, who can engage in frivolous, common talk, while by faith he sees the Lamb that was slain pleading before the Father as the intercessor of the church upon earth? TM 157.1
By faith let us look upon the rainbow round about the throne, the cloud of sins confessed behind it. The rainbow of promise is an assurance to every humble, contrite, believing soul, that his life is one with Christ, and that Christ is one with God. The wrath of God will not fall upon one soul that seeks refuge in Him. God Himself has declared, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” “The bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant.” TM 157.2
It is Christ that loves the world with a love that is infinite. He gave His precious life. He was the Only Begotten of the Father. He is risen again from the dead, and is at the right hand of God, making intercession for us. That same Jesus, with His humanity glorified, with no cessation of His love, is our Saviour. He has enjoined upon us to love one another as He has loved us. Will we then cultivate this love? Shall we be like Jesus? TM 157.3Read in context »
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. TM 124.1
“And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” Christ brought human nature into a personal relation with His own divinity. Thus He has given a center for the faith of the universe to fasten upon. TM 124.2
God designs that His law shall be obeyed by all who believe on Jesus Christ. Satan knew that if the human family could be induced to believe that God abolished His moral standard of character, man would not have a moral looking glass into which he could look and see what manner of person he was. TM 124.3Read in context »
The heavenly Guest is standing at your door, while you are piling up obstructions to bar His entrance. Jesus is knocking through the prosperity He gives you. He loads you with blessings to test your fidelity, that they may flow out from you to others. Will you permit your selfishness to triumph? Will you squander God's talents, and lose your soul through idolatrous love of the blessings He has given (The Review and Herald, November 2, 1886)? 7BC 967.1
No Discouraging Message for the Church—We have no discouraging message for the church. Although reproofs and cautions and corrections have been made, yet the church has stood as God's instrumentality to diffuse light. The commandment-keeping people of God have sounded forth a warning to the world, to all languages, tongues, and kindreds. The church of God is a living witness, a continual testimony, to convince men if accepted, to condemn them if resisted and rejected (Manuscript 96, 1893). 7BC 967.2Read in context »
We see in the midst of the throne One bearing in hands, and feet, and side the marks of suffering endured to reconcile man to God, and God to man. Matchless mercy reveals to us a Father, infinite, dwelling in light unapproachable, yet receiving us to Himself through the merits of His Son. The cloud of vengeance which threatened only misery and despair, in the reflected light from the cross reveals the writing of God: “Live, sinner, live! ye penitent and believing souls, live! I have paid a ransom.” RC 284.6Read in context »