April 29, 2018

Adult Bible Study Online

A current connection to each week's session

Blessing, Glory, Honor Forever
Revelation 5:6-14

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In Revelation 4:1-6, 8-11, we hear the heavenly equivalent of the “Hallelujah Chorus” addressing “the Lord God the Almighty” (cf. Revelation 19:1-6). Obviously, praise could go no further, or so it seems.

In Revelation 5, the focus of the praise shifts from the enthroned God Almighty to the Lamb (also described as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” and the “Root of David”). Our Scripture passage concludes with “every creature in heaven and on earth” praising both “him who sits on the throne and … the Lamb” (v. 13).

This exaltation of the Lamb (cf. John 1:29, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”) has been a stumbling block throughout the ages. After all, why was God Almighty himself not able to save people from sin?

The equal worthiness of the Lamb has seemed to many as untidy. Philosophically speaking, it appears to violate Ockham’s razor, the axiom that “entities should not to be multiplied beyond necessity”[1] (in other words, the best explanation is the simplest one). Revelation 5 asserts nonetheless that no one else but the Lamb was worthy to open the scroll with seven seals. Worthiness is ascribed to the Lamb “because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation” (v. 9).

So, in summary, God Almighty’s worthiness is evident as Creator, whereas the Lamb is worthy as Savior. Incidentally, Revelation 5 is one of the most powerful trinitarian passages in the New Testament.

When we enter today into discussions with Unitarian, Islamic, Judaic, or sectarian faiths (e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses), it is possible that their first remarks may be to question the divinity of Jesus. For them, Christ may have been a prophet, a good man, or a promoted angel, but he was not God. Perhaps Christians need to become more familiar with Scriptures that emphasize the divinity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This is a feature of Christianity that clearly distinguishes it from the other Abrahamic religions.

  • Do you find it natural that the heavenly hosts should praise God Almighty and the Lamb equally?
  • Have you been challenged, or challenged others, on the divinity of Jesus? What scriptural passages come to mind regarding this topic?

—Kevin McCabe, Kmccabe57@hotmail.com

© 2018

1. New World Encyclopedia contributors, "Ockham's razor," New World Encyclopedia.

Kevin McCabe is a writer, teacher, and poet. He was formerly an instructor in Classics at several universities, and has also been the author and editor of two books on Lucy Maud Montgomery and a number of works on the history and literature of the Niagara Peninsula. Kevin is a member of Grace Mennonite Church in St. Catharines where he lives with his wife and two daughters.

This article supplements Adult Bible Study, a quarterly Bible curriculum for adults. Adult Bible Study provides in-depth, challenging Bible study from an Anabaptist-Mennonite perspective, written by an intercultural group of pastors, teachers, professors, and leaders across Canada and the United States. Sessions include daily Bible readings, resources for additional study, and free downloadable resources.

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