The Lamb in Glory
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all, the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that eat upon the throne.” — Revelation v. 6, 7.
THE apostle John had long known the Lord Jesus as the Lamb. That was his first view of him, when the Baptist, pointing to Jesus, said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” He had been very familiar with this blessed personage, having often laid his head upon his bosom, feeling that this tender goodness of the Saviour proved him to be in nature gentle as a lamb. He had beheld him when he was brought “as a lamb to the slaughter,” so that the idea was indelibly fixed upon his mind that Jesus, the Christ, was the Lamb of God. He knew that he was the appointed sacrifice, set forth in the morning and evening Lamb, and in the Paschal Lamb, by whose blood Israel was redeemed from death. In his last days the beloved disciple was to see this same Christ, under the same figure of a lamb, as the great revealer of secrets, the expounder of the mind of God, the taker of the sealed book, and the looser of the seals which bound up the mysterious purposes of God towards the children of men. I pray that we may have on this earth a clear and constant sight of the sin-bearing Lamb, and then, in yonder world of glory, we shall behold him in the midst of the throne and the living creatures and the elders.
The appearance of this Lamb at the particular moment described by John was exceedingly suitable. Our Lord usually appears when all other hope disappears. Concerning the winepress of wrath, it is ho who saith, “I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with me.” In the instance before us, the strong angel had proclaimed with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” And there was no response from heaven, or earth, or hell. No man was able to open the book, neither to look therein. The divine decrees must remain for ever sealed in mystery unless the once slain Mediator shall take them from the hand of God, and open them to the sons of men. When no one could do this, John wept much. At that grave moment the Lamb appeared. Old Master Trapp says, “Christ is good at a dead lift”; and it is so. When there is utter failure everywhere else, then in him is our help found. If there could have been found another bearer of sin, would the Father have given his Only-Begotten to die? Had any other been able to unfold the secret designs of God, would he not have appeared at the angel’s challenge? But he that came to take away the sin of the world now appears to take away the seals which bind up the eternal purposes. O Lamb of God, thou art able to do what none beside may venture to attempt! Thou comest forth when no one else is to be found. Remember, next time you are in trouble, that when no man can comfort and no man can save, you may expect the Lord, the ever-sympathetic Lamb of God, to appear on your behalf.
Before the Lamb appeared, while as yet no one was found worthy to look upon that book which was held in the hand of him that sitteth on the throne, John wept much. By weeping eyes the Lamb of God is best seen. Certain ministers of this age, who make so little of the doctrine of substitutionary sacrifice, would have been of another mind if they had known more contrition of heart and exercise of soul. Eyes washed by repentance are best able to see those blessed truths which shine forth from our incarnate God, the bearer of our sins. Free grace and dying love are most appreciated by the mourners in Zion. If tears are good for the eyes, the Lord send us to be weepers, and lead us round by Bochim to Bethel. I have heard the old proverb, “There is no going to heaven but by Weeping Cross”; and there seems no way of even seeing heaven, and the heavenly One, except by eyes that have wept. Weeping makes the eyes quick to see if there be any hope; and while it dims them to all false confidences, it makes them sensitive to the faintest beam of divine light. “They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.” Those who have laid eternal matters to heart so much as to weep over their own need, and that of their fellow-men, shall be the first to see in the Lamb of God the answer to their desires.
Yet observe, that even in this case human instrumentality was permitted; for it is written, “One of the elders saith unto me, Weep not.” John the apostle was greater than an elder. Among them that are born of women, in the Church of God we put none before John, who leaned his head upon his Master’s bosom; and yet a mere elder of the Church reproves and instructs the beloved apostle! He cheers him with the news that the Lion of the tribe of Juda had prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. The greatest man in the Church may be under obligations to the least: a preacher may be taught by a convert; an elder may be instructed by a child. Oh that we might be always willing to learn!— to learn of anyone, however lowly. Assuredly, we shall be teachable if we have the tenderness of heart which shows itself in weeping. This will make our souls like waxen tablets, whereon the finger of truth may readily inscribe its teaching. God grant us this preparation of heart!
May we come in a teachable spirit to the text, and may the Lord open our eyes to see and learn with John! It is no small favour that we have the record of the vision. Does not the Lord intend us to be partakers in it? The vision is that of a Lamb, a Lamb that is to open the book of God’s secret purposes, and loose the seals thereof. The teaching of the passage is that the Lord Jesus, in his sacrificial character, is the most prominent object in the heavenly world. So far from substitution being done with, and laid aside as a temporary expedient, it remains the object of universal wonder and adoration. He that became a Lamb that he might take away the sin of the world, is not ashamed of his humiliation, but still manifests it to adoring myriads, and is, for that very reason, the very object of their enthusiastic worship. They worship the Lamb even as they worship him that sits upon the throne; and they say, “Worthy is the Lamb,” because he was slain and redeemed his people by his blood. His atoning sacrifice is the great reason for their deepest reverence and their highest adoration. Some dare to say that the life of Jesus should alone be preached, and that no prominence should be given to his death. We are not of their religion. I am not ashamed of preaching Christ Jesus in his death as the sacrifice for sin; but, on the contrary, I can boldly say, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We do not so believe the doctrine of Atonement as to leave it in the dark as a second-rate article of faith but we hold it to be the first and foremost teaching of inspiration, the greatest well of the believer’s comfort, the highest hill of God’s glory. As our Lord’s sacrificial character is in heaven most prominent, so would we make it most conspicuous among men. Jesus is to be declared as the sin-bearer, and then men will believe and live. May God the Holy Spirit help us in our attempt this morning!
I. Jesus in heaven appears in his sacrificial character; and I would have you note that THIS CHARACTER IS ENHANCED BY OTHER CONSPICUOUS POINTS. Its glory is not diminished, but enhanced, by all the rest of our Lord’s character: the attributes, achievements, and offices of our Lord all concentrate their glory in his sacrificial character, and all unite in making it a theme for loving wonder.
We read that he is the Lion of the tribe of Juda; by which is signified the dignity of his office, as King, and the majesty of his person, as Lord. The lion is at home in fight, and “the Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.” Like a lion, he is courageous. Though ho be like a lamb for tenderness, yet not in timidity. He is terrible as a lion, “who shall rouse him up?” If any come into conflict with him, let them beware; for as ho is courageous, so is he full of force, and altogether irresistible in might. He hath the lion’s heart, and the lion’s strength; and he cometh forth conquering and to conquer. This it is that makes it the more wonderful that he should become a lamb—
“A lowly man before his foes,
A weary man, and full of woes.”
It is wonderful that he should yield himself up to the indignities of the cross, to be mocked with a thorn-crown by the soldiers, and to be spit upon by abjects. O wonder, wonder, wonder, that the Lion. of Juda, the offshoot of David’s royal house, should become as a lamb led forth to the slaughter!
Further, it is clear that lie is a champion: “The Lion of the tribe of Juda hath prevailed.” What was asked for was worthiness, not only in the sense of holiness, but in the sense of valour. One is reminded of a legend of the Crusades. A goodly castle and estate awaited the coming of the lawful heir: he and he only could sound the horn which hung at the castle gate; but he who could make it yield a blast would be one who had slain a heap of Paynim in the fight, and had come home victorious from many a bloody fray. So here, no man in earth or heaven had valour and renown enough to be worthy to take the mystic roll out of the hand of the Eternal. Our champion was worthy. What battles he had fought! What feats of prowess he had performed! He had overthrown sin; he had met face to face the Prince of darkness, and had overcome him in the wilderness; ay, he had conquered death, had bearded that lion in his den; had entered the dungeon of the sepulchre, and had torn its bars away. Thus he was worthy, in the sense of valour, on returning from the far country to be owned as the Father’s glorious Son, heaven’s hero, and so to take the book and loose the seals thereof. The brilliance of his victories does not diminish our delight in him as the Lamb. Far otherwise, for he won these triumphs as a Lamb, by gentleness, and suffering, and sacrifice. He won his battles by a meekness and patience before unknown. The more of a conqueror he is, the more astounding is it that he should win by humiliation and death. O beloved, never tolerate low thoughts of Christ! Think of him more and more, as did the blessed Virgin, when she sang, “My soul doth magnify the Lord.” Make your thoughts of him great. Be-greaten your Cod and Saviour, and then add to your reverent thoughts the reflection that still he looks like a lamb that has been slain. His prowess and his lion-like qualities do but set forth more vividly the tender, lowly, condescending relationship in which he stands to us as the Lamb of our redemption.
In this wonderful vision we see Jesus as the familiar of God. He it was who, without hesitation, advanced to the burning throne and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon it. He was at home there: he counted it not robbery to be equal with God. He is “very God of very God”; to be extolled with equal honour with that which is given unto the Lord God Almighty. He advances to the throne, he takes the book, he communes with Jehovah, he accepts the divine challenge of love, and unseals the mysterious purposes of his glorious Father. To him there is no danger in a close approach to the infinite glory, for that glory is his own. Now, it is he who thus stood on familiar terms with God who also stood in our place, and bore for us the penalty of sin. He who is greater than the greatest, and higher than the highest, became lower than the lowest, that he might save to the uttermost them that come to God by him. He who is Lord of all stooped under all the load and burden of sin. Fall down on your faces and worship the Lamb; for though he became obedient unto death, he is God over all, blessed for ever, the Beloved of the Father.
We observe, in addition to all this, that he is the prophet of God. He it was that had the seven eyes to see all things and discern all mysteries; he it is that opened the seven seals, and thus unfolded the parts of the Book one after another, not merely that they might be read, but might be actually fulfilled; and yet he had been our substitute. Jesus explains everything: the Lamb is the open sesame of every secret. Nothing was ever a secret to him. Ho foresaw his own sufferings; they came not upon him as a surprise.
“This was compassion like a God,
That when the Saviour knew
The price of pardon was his blood,
His pity ne’er withdrew.”
Since then he has not been ignorant of our unworthiness, or of the treachery of our hearts. lie knows all about us; he knows what wo cost him, and he knows how ill we have repaid him. With all that knowledge of God and of man, he is not ashamed to call us brethren; nor does he reject that truth, so simple, yet so full of hope to us, that he is our sacrifice and our substitute. “He who unveils the eternal will of the Highest is the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Our Lord always was, and is now, acknowledged to be Lord and God. All the church doth worship him; all the myriads of angels cry aloud in praises unto him; and to him every creature bows, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things that are under the earth. When you call him King of kings and Lord of lords, lofty as these titles are, they fall far below his glory and majesty. If we all stood up with all the millions of the human race, and with one voice lifted up a shout of praise to him, loud as the noise of many waters and as great thunders, yet would our highest honours scarcely reach the lowest step of his all-glorious throne. Yet, in the glory of his Deity, he disdains not to appear as the Lamb that has been slain. This still is his chosen character. I have heard of a great warrior, that on the anniversary of his most renowned victory he would always put on the coat in which he fought the fight, adorned, as it was, with marks of shot. I understand his choice. Our Lord to-day, and every day, wears still the human flesh in which he overthrew our enemies, and he appears as one that has but newly died, since by death he overcame the devil. Always, and for ever, he is the Lamb. Even as God’s prophet and revealer he remains the Lamb. When you shall see him at the last, 3rou shall say, as John did, “I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain.”
Write, then, the passion of your Lord upon the tablets of your hearts, and let none erase the treasured memory. Think of him mainly and chiefly as the sacrifice for sin. Set the atonement in the midst of your minds, and let it tinge and colour all your thoughts and beliefs. Jesus bleeding and dying in your room, and place, and stead, must be to you as the sun in your sky.
II. In the second place, let us note that, IN THIS CHARACTER, JESUS IS THE CENTRE OF ALL. “In the midst of the throne, and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain.” The Lamb is the centre of the wonderful circle which makes up the fellowship of heaven.
From him, as a standpoint, all things are seen in their places. Looking up at the planets from this earth, which is one of them, it is difficult to comprehend their motions— progressive, retrograde, or standing still; but the angel in the sun sees all the planets marching in due course, and circling about the centre of their system. Standing where you please upon this earth, and within human range of opinion, you cannot see all things aright, nor understand them till you come to Jesus, and then you see all things from the centre. The man who knows the incarnate God, slain for human sins, stands in the centre of truth. Now he sees God in his place, man in his place, angels in their place, lost souls in their place, and the saved ones in their place. Know him whom to know is life eternal, and you are in the position of vantage from which you may rightly judge of all things. The proper bearings and relationships of this to that, and that to the next, and so on, can only be ascertained by a firm and full belief in Jesus Christ as the atoning sacrifice.
“Till God in human flesh I see,
My thoughts no comfort find,
The Holy, Just, and sacred
Three, Are terrors to my mind.
“But if Immanuel’s face appears,
My hope, my joy begins:
His name forbids my slavish fears,
His grace removes my sins.”
In Christ you are in the right position to understand the past, the present, and the future. The deep mysteries of eternity, and even the secret of the Lord, are all with you when once you are with Jesus. Think of this, and make the Lamb your central thought— the soul of your soul, the heart of your heart’s best life.
The Lamb’s being in the midst, signifies, also, that in him they all meet in one. I would speak cautiously, but I venture to say that Christ is the summing up of all existence. Seek you Godhead? There it is. Seek you manhood? There it is. Wish you the spiritual? There it is in his human soul. Desire you the material? There it is in his human body. Our Lord hath, as it were, gathered up the ends of all things, and hath bound them into one. You cannot conceive what God is; but Christ is God. If you dive down with materialism, which by many is regarded as the drag and millstone of the soul, yet in Jesus you find materialism, refined and elevated, and brought into union with the divine nature. In Jesus all lines meet, and from him they radiate to all the points of being. Would you meet God? Go you to Christ. Would you be in fellowship with all believers? Go you to Christ. Would you feel tenderness towards all that God has made? Go you to Christ; for “of him, and through him, and to him are all things.” What a Lord is ours! What a glorious being is the Lamb; for it is only as the Lamb that this is true of him! View him only as God, and there is no such meeting with man. View him as being only man, and then he is far from the centre: but behold him as God and man, and the Lamb of God, and then you see in him the place of rest for all things.
Being in the centre, to him they all look. Can you think for a moment how the Lord God looks upon his Only-Begotten? When Jehovah looks on Jesus, it is with an altogether indescribable delight. He saith, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” When he thinks of the passion through which he passed, and the death which he accomplished at Jerusalem, all the infinite heart of God flows high and strong towards his Best-beloved. He hath rest in his Son as he hath nowhere else. His delight is in Jesus; indeed, he hath so much delight in him, that for his sake he takes delight in his people. As the Lather’s eyes are always on Jesus, so are the eyes of the living creatures and the four-and-twenty elders which represent the church in its divine life and the church in its human life. All who have been washed in his blood perpetually contemplate his beauties. What is there in heaven which can compare with the adorable person of him by whom they were redeemed from among men? All angels look that way, also, waiting his august commands. Are they not all ministering spirits, whom he sends forth to minister to his people? All the forces of nature are waiting at the call of Jesus; all the powers of providence look to him for direction. He is the focus of all attention, the centre of all observation throughout the plains of heaven. This, remember, is as “the Lamb.” Not as king or prophet chiefly, but pre-eminently as “the Lamb” is Jesus the centre of all reverence, and love, and thought, in the glory-land above.
Once more, let me say of the Lamb in the centre, that all seem to rally round him as a guard around a king. It is for the Lamb that the Father acts: he glorifies his Son. The Holy Spirit also glorifies Christ. All the divine purposes run that way. The chief work of God is to make Jesus the first-born among many brethren. This is the model to which the Creator works in fashioning the vessels of grace: he has made Jesus Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. All things ordained of the Father work towards Christ, as their centre; and so stand all the redeemed, and all the angels waiting about the Lord, as swelling his glory and manifesting his praise. If anything could enter the minds of heavenly beings that would contribute to lift Jesus higher, it would be their heaven to speed throughout space to carry it out. He dwelleth as a King in his central pavilion, and this is the joy of the host, that the King is in the midst of them.
Beloved, is it so? Is Jesus the centre of the whole heavenly family? Shall he not be the centre of our Church life? Will wo not think most of him — much more of him than of Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or any party-leaders that would divide us? Christ is the centre; not this form of doctrine nor that mode of ordinance, but the Lamb alone. Shall we not always delight in him, and watch to see how we can magnify his glorious name? Shall he not be also the centre of our ministry? What shall we preach about but Christ! Take that subject away from me, and I have done. These many years I have preached nothing else but that dear name, and if that is to be dishonoured, all my spiritual wealth is gone: I have no bread for the hungry, nor water for the faint. After all these years my speech has become like the harp of Anacreon, which would resound love alone. He wished to sing of Atreus and of Cadmon, but his harp resounded love alone. It is so with my ministry: with Christ, and Christ alone am I at home. Progressive theology! No string of my soul will vibrate to its touch. New divinity! Evolution! Modern thought! My harp is silent to these strange fingers; but to Christ, and Christ alone, it answers with all the music of which it is capable. Beloved, is it so with you? In teaching your children, in your life at home, in your dealing with the world, is Jesus the centre of your aim and labour? Does his love fill your heart? In the old Napoleon’s days, a soldier was wounded by a bullet, and the doctor probed deep to find it. The man cried out, “Doctor, mind what you are at! A little deeper, and you will touch the Emperor.” The Emperor was on that soldier’s heart. Truly, if they search deep into our life they will find Christ. Queen Mary said that when she died they would find the name of Calais cut upon her heart; for she grieved over the loss of the last British possession in France. We have not lost our Calais, but hold still our treasure; for Christ is ours. We have no other name engraven on our heart but that of Jesus. Truly can we say,
“Happy if with my latest breath
I may but gasp his name;
Preach him to all, and cry in death,
‘Behold, behold the Lamb!
III. Thirdly, our Lord is seen in heaven as the Lamb slain, and IN THIS CHARACTER HE EXHIBITS PECULIAR MARKS. None of those marks derogate from his glory as the sacrifice for sin; but they tend to instruct us therein.
Note well the words: “Stood a Lamb as it had been slain.” “Stood,” here is the posture of life; “as it had been slain,” here is the memorial of death. Our view of Jesus should be twofold; we should see his death and his life: we shall never receive a whole Christ in any other way. If you only see him on the cross, you behold the power of his death; but he is not now upon the-cross; he is risen, he for ever liveth to make intercession for us, and we need to know the power of his life. We see him as a lamb “as it had been slain”; but we worship him as one that “liveth for ever and ever.” Carry these two things with you as one: a slain Christ, a living Christ. I notice that feeling and teaching in the church oscillates between these two, whereas it should comprehend them both. The Romish church continually gives us a babe Christ, carried by his mother; or a dead Christ, on the cross. Go where we may, these images are thrust upon us. Apart from the sin of image-worship, the thing set forth is not the whole of our Lord. On the other hand, we have a school around us who endeavour to put the cross out of sight, and they give us only a living Christ, such as he is. To them Jesus is only an example and teacher. As a true and proper expiatory substitute they will not have him; BUT WE WILL. We adore the Crucified One upon the throne of God. We believe in him as bleeding and pleading: we see him slain, and behold him reign. Both of these are our joy; neither one more than the other, but each in its own place. Thus, as you look at the Lamb, you begin to sing, “Thou art he that liveth, and wast dead, and art alive for evermore.” The mark of our Saviour is life through death, and death slain by death.
Note, next, another singular combination in the Lamb. He is called “a little lamb”; for the diminutive is used in the Greek; but yet how great he is! In Jesus, as a Lamb, we see great tenderness and exceeding familiarity with his people. He is not the object of dread; there is about him nothing like “Stand off, for I am too holy to be approached.” A lamb is the most approachable of beings. Yet there is about the little Lamb an exceeding majesty. The elders no sooner saw him than they fell down before him. They adored him, and cried with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb.” Every creature worshipped him, saying, “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto the Lamb.” He is so great that the heaven of heavens cannot contain him; yet he becomes so little that he dwells in humble hearts. He is so glorious that the seraphim veiled their faces in his presence: he is so condescending as to become bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. What a wonderful combination of mercy and majesty, grace and glory! Never divide what God has joined together: do not speak of our Lord Jesus Christ as some do, with an irreverent, unctuous familiarity; but, at the same time, do not think of him as of some great Lord for whom we must feel a slavish dread. Jesus is your next-of-kin, a brother born for adversity, and yet he is your God and Lord. Let love and awe keep the watches of your soul!
Further, let us look at the peculiar marks of him, and we see that he hath seven horns and seven eyes. His power is equal to his vigilance; and these are equal to all the emergencies brought about by the opening of the seven seals of the Book of Providence. When plagues break forth, who is to defend us? Behold the seven horns. If the unexpected occurs, who is to forewarn us? Behold the seven eyes.
Every now and then some foolish person or other brings out a pamphlet stuffed with horrors which are going to happen in a year or two. The whole of it is about as valuable as the Norwood Gipsy’s Book of Fate, which you can buy for two-pence; but still, if it were all true that these prophecy-mongers tell us, we are not afraid; for the Lamb has seven horns, and will meet every difficulty by his own power, having already foreseen it by his own wisdom. The Lamb is the answer to the enigma of providence. Providence is a riddle, but Jesus explains it all. During the first centuries, the Church of God was given up to martyrdom: every possible torment and torture was exercised upon the followers of Christ: what could be God’s meaning in all this? What but the glory of the Lamb? And now today the Lord seems to leave his Church to wander into all kinds of errors: false doctrines are, in some quarters, fearfully paramount. What does this mean? I do not know; but the Lamb knows, for he sees with seven eyes. As a Lamb, as our Saviour, God and man, he understands all, and has the clues of all labyrinths in his hands. He has power to meet every difficulty, and wisdom to see through every embarrassment. We should cast out fear, and give ourselves wholly up to worship.
The Lamb also works to perfection in nature and in providence; for with him are “the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” This refers not merely to the saving power of the Spirit which is sent forth unto the elect; but to those powers and forces which operate upon all the earth. The power of gravitation, the energy of life, the mystic force of electricity, and the like, are all forms of the power of God. A law of nature is nothing but our observation of the usual way in which God operates in the world. A law in itself has no power: law is but the usual course of God’s action. All the Godhead’s omnipotence dwells in the Lamb: he is the Lord God Almighty. We cannot put the atonement into a secondary place; for our atoning sacrifice hath all the seven Spirits of God. He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him. Let us come to God by him. He has power to cope with the future, whatever it may be. Let us secure our souls against all threatening dangers, committing ourselves to his keeping.
How I wish I had power to set the Lord before you this morning evidently glorified! But I fail utterly. My talk is like holding a candle to the sun. I am grateful that my Lord docs not snuff me out; perhaps my candle may show some prisoner to the door, and when he has once passed it, he will behold the sun in its strength. Glory be to him who is so great, so glorious, and yet still the Lamb slain for sinners, whose wounds in effect continually bleed our life, whose finished work is the perpetual source of all our safety and our joy.
IV. I close with my fourth point, which is this: Jesus appears eternally as a Lamb, and IN THIS CHARACTER HE IS UNIVERSALLY ADORED.
Before he opened one of the seals this worship commenced. When he had taken the book, the four living creatures and the four-and-twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, and sung a new song, saying, “Thou art worthy to take the book.” While yet the book is closed, we worship him. We trust him where we cannot trace him. Before he begins his work as the revealing Mediator, the church adores him for his work as a sacrifice. Jesus our Lord is worshipped not so much for what benefits he will confer as for himself. As the Lamb slain he is the object of heavenly reverence. Many will reverence him, I do not doubt, when he comes in his second Advent, in the glory of the Father. Every knee will bow before him, even of apostates and infidels, when they shall see him take to himself his great power and reign; but that is not the worship which he accepts, nor that which proves the offerer to be saved. You must worship him as a sacrifice, and adore him in his lowly character, as the “despised and rejected of men.” You must reverence him while others ridicule him, trust his blood while others turn from it with disdain, and so be with him in his humiliation. Accept him as your substitute, trust in him as having made atonement for you: for in heaven they still worship him as the Lamb. That adoration begins with the church of God. The church of God, in all its phases, adores the Lamb. If you view the church of God as a divine creation, the embodiment of the Spirit of God, then the living creatures fall down before the Lamb. No God-begotten life is too high to refuse obeisance to the Lamb of God. Look at the church on its human side, and you see the four-and-twenty elders falling down and worshipping, having every one harps and vials. Well may the whole company of redeemed men worship the Mediator, since in him our manhood is greatly exalted! Was ever our nature so exalted as it is now that Christ is made Head over all things to his church? Now are we nearest to God, for between man and God no creature intervenes: Immanuel— God with us— has joined us in one. Man is next to the Deity, with Jesus only in between, not to divide, but to unite. The Lord in Christ Jesus hath made us to have dominion over all the works of his hands; he hath put all things under our feet: all sheep and oxen, yea, the fowl of the air, and fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea. O Lord our God, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!
The Lord is adored by the church in all forms of worship. They worship him in prayer; for the vials full of sweet odours are the prayers of saints. They worship him in praise with a new song, and with the postures of lowliest reverence.
But, beloved, the Lamb is not only worshipped by the church, he is worshipped by angels. What a wonderful gathering together of certain legions of the Lord’s hosts wo have before us in this chapter! “Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands.” Their company cannot be enumerated in human arithmetic. With perfect unanimity they unite in the hallowed worship, shouting together, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.”
Nay, it is not merely the church and angelhood; but all creation, east, west, north, south, highest, lowest, all adore him. All life, all space, all time, immensity, eternity: all these become one mouth for song, and all the song is, “Worthy is the Lamb.”
Now, then, dear friends, if this be so, shall we ever allow anybody in our presence to lower the dignity of Christ, our sacrifice? [No.”] A friend says, emphatically, No; and we all say, No. As with a voice of thunder, we say, No, to all attempts to lower the supreme glories of the Lamb. We cannot have it: our loyalty to him will not permit. Besides, no man will willingly lose his all. Take the Lamb away you take all away. “Who steals my purse, steals trash”: who steals my Christ, steals myself, and more than myself— my hopes that are to be my future joys. Life is gone, when his death is rejected, his blood despised. Our souls burn with indignation when this vital truth is assailed.
“Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
Ye soldiers of the cross!
Lift high his royal banner,
It must not suffer loss!”
Wherever you are, to whatever church you belong, do not associate with those who decry the atonement. Enter not into confederacy with those who, even by a breath, would disparage his precious blood. Do not bear that which assails the Lamb; grow indignant at the foul lie! The wrath of the Lamb may with safety be copied by yourself in this case: you will be angry, and sin not.
Once more, if this be so, if the glorious sacrifice of our Lord Jesus be so much thought of in heaven, cannot you trust it here below? O you that are burdened with sin, here is your deliverance: come to the sin-bearing Lamb. You that are perplexed with doubts, hero is your guide: the Lamb can open the sealed books for you. You that have lost your comfort, come back to the Lamb, who is slain for you, and put your trust in him anew. You that are hungering for heavenly food, come to the Lamb, for he shall feed you. The Lamb, the Lamb, the bleeding Lamb: be this the sign upon the standard of the Church of God. Set that ensign to the front, and march boldly on to victory, and then, O Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world, grant us thy peace! Amen.