The Song of the Lamb (Summary of Revelation)
Revelation tells one epic story from start to finish. It's a story of loss and sin and judgment. It's a story of renewal and salvation and glory. It's a story of dragons and beasts and lions and thrones. No summary is sufficient, but this is the song of the Lamb. This is no mere story, it is the story. It is our story.
This is my heart and prayer: May the Song of the Lamb never leave our hearts. May we remember who we are. May we remember where we come from. May we remember where we’re going.
Dedicated to the seven brothers and sisters we lost from 2020-2022: Zester, Richard, Lydia, Bill, Molly, Maggie, Rick.
THE SONG OF THE LAMB AND STORY OF THE REDEEMED
Listen. See. Behold. Hear these words and keep them.
Hear the one who was and who is to come. He the first word that spoke the stars, and the final word that ends worlds. He the living word breathed out.
Behold Him now. The carpenter from Galilee. The wretched on the tree.
In the midst of his churches he stands. But now unveiled. Now unfiltered. Now shining with the light of a thousand suns. Crowned above all. Glorious above all. His eyes are fire, his voice is thunder, his sword ready. The undead King.The keeper of Hades keys.
Listen to him.
To those suffering unseen, know that he walks with you.
To those persecuted, know that he sees and will avenge.
To those tempted, know that he’s better and offers better.
To those wandering, know that he’s shelter and his door is open to any who return.
To all he cries: “Endure. Look beyond. Rise and conquer.”
Behold now, the Throne at the center of the universe.
Below the world rages like a storming sea, tossing turning, destroying, defiling.
But here at the Throne the sea is all stillness and glass.
Every jewel shining in radiance, every sunset lighting the sky, every rainbow refracting through fresh rain, every star in every sky on every world in every galaxy, every glory in creation –they all shine out more perfectly and fully from the One Seated on the Throne. Wrapped in the radiance of creation as a garment. Glory that shines deeper and brighter than can be named.
All creation cries out: Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come. Glory, power, majesty, infinity collide in his presence.
Behold now, the purposes of God for blessing and judgment wrapped in a scroll.
The end must come. Justice must be done. Captives must be rescued. Evil must be avenged. Vulnerable must be protected.
But none in all heaven and earth were sufficient open the scrolls and execute the purposes of God. Who is sufficient for these things?
But behold the One approaching: See him now— the tree of David walking, the Lion of Judah growling. And yet he comes as a lamb. He bears the scars of his sacrifice. He the one glorious above all, made lowest of all. He the perfect lamb traded for the sins of his people. He the seed falling into the ground has sprung out in new life and new people. He takes the scrolls.
All Heaven roars in joy: Worthy is the Lamb who was slain. He has ransomed captives. He has gathered a people. He has built a kingdom. He shall reign forever.
Behold now, the scrolls unrolling for blessing and judgment.
The furious wrath of God is unleashed — death and destruction riding out into the world. The earth yawning open in fire, the sky rolled up and stars falling, the mountains unmade.
Yet the torrent has a target. Injustice and evil cry out for judgment. Children beaten in their homes cry out for it. Knives in the dark cry out for it. Wedding rings quickly hidden in a bar cry out for it. Racist epithets flung at children on schoolyards cry out for it. Bullets fired tearing into the innocent cry out for it. Across the world the sin the sickness of injustice and evil, a cancer spreading into every corner of the world, cries out for it.
And so justice resounds.
But amidst the roaring seas and raging wrath, behold now: a people preserved.
They are pressed on every side, yet do not break. They are thrown in jail, yet free. They are crushed, yet rise again. They are robbed, yet give freely. They are killed, yet cannot die.
Because amidst this people of the cross, the King walks among them. Holding them up. Breathing into their words. Fanning courage into flame in their hearts.
And the King’s people triumph. They follow the King to the cross. They follow him also to new life and resurrection. They are ground into the dirt only to rise with the sun.
And more are gathered. And more. And still more.
Behold now, the multitude. Every language whispered among them. Every shade of melanin in glorious design. Every flag they flew in life traded for a better one. Every garment one of glorious and impossible white. Every one who having washed their robes in the blood of the lamb. Every one calling for the King to finally and fully triumph.
How long, O Lord?
Behold now, the war beneath all wars.
A serpent slinking in the grass through the first garden. A servant of the heavenly court turned rebel. A whispered word to Adam and Eve, turning them against the King. Slink through the world since then. Devouring. Deceiving. Destroying.
A serpent turned hulking dragon now. Jaws snapping and tail whipping. Waiting for a woman to give birth. Waiting to take the throne the child should sit on.
The people of God who have groaned long now awaiting the Son of David and King of Israel born like a woman waiting for her groaning to cease and a child to be born.
And then the Son is born. The dragon lunges. The child is now a man. The man is a King. The now King ascends.
The dragon’s jaws snap at nothing, so the dragon rages. He turns to the woman and lunges again. But the woman escapes. God’s people preserved. God’s King now enthroned. God’s enemy angered and breathing out in fury and revenge.
Behold now, the dragon raises an army.
The Dragon forms a beast great and terrible. The beast carries the power and authority of every sword and palace, every throne and command chair. And he brings sword and law to bear against the people of God. Every ruler and official believing they sit on the throne, while behind them flies the flag of the dragon.
The Dragon forms a false prophet slick and smiling. The prophet sways crowds and countries. The words are different, the religions are multitude, the spiritualities tailor-made. But the result is the same: the people carry the mark of the beast and the dragon. And they rejoice.
The Dragon allies with the woman of the world. She is the story and the screen, the newspaper and the slick magazine, the high culture of galleries and the low culture of back alleys. She offers pleasure and ease, hidden delights and notoriety, acceptance and celebration. Each offering a promise for their own personal throne.
But underneath each palace of the beast is a pile of slaves bones. Just behind the altar of the false prophet are piles of skulls. In every room of illicit pleasure the woman hides bodies under the bed.
How long? Until all the lamb’s people are gathered. How long? Until the purposes of God are fulfilled.
But finally, the answer comes:
Behold now, the Rider on the white horse has come to judge and make war.
He with eyes of fire. He crowned with every crown. He with the blood of his enemies on his robe. His army of every tribe and tongue following. His people the conquerors of death clothed in white.
He is the KING OF KINGS. The true King of David’s throne. The walker of waves and silencer of demons. The humble and mounted on a donkey and the warrior on a war horse. The King has come to reclaim every square inch of creation.
He is the LORD OF LORDS. The ruler of ocean depths and galaxy edges. The master of death and the dead. The Lord above every angel and power in all the heavens. The Lord has come to destroy and save and save through destruction.
So the armies of the dragon gather from every corner of earth. But the people of the lamb gather to meet it.
The flag of the dragon unfurls across an army of snarling vicious foes that are numerous of the sands of the sea. But the emblem of the lion of Judah shines on every sword and shield of the King as numerous as the stars in Abraham’s sky.
The dragon roars. But the Lion of Judah roars back.
The clash of battle rings out into eternity for one long instant. Then the fire of heaven falls. Then lion speaks and slays. Then it is over before it began.
The powerful beast is laid powerless. The slick deceiver is exposed. The rich woman of the world is bankrupt. And the army of evil and injustice litters the battlefield as vultures circle overhead.
Behold now, the judgment throne of God.
The skies are rolled up. The ground is flattened. The stars fall. Every peasant and king gathers now. Every soldier and every coward. The Throne at the Center of the Universe now calls every soul before it.
And books are opened for each one. Every deed. Every word. Every thought. Every secret hope. Every hidden sin. Every private hurt. Every unpunished crime.
And each only receive what they deserve. Only the guilty are sentenced to judgment. Rebels to God’s kingdom are cut off from it. Haters of God are sent away. And all tremble as eternity stretches out before them as a lake of fire.
Then the Book of Life is opened. And while the books of deeds would leave it empty, the Book of Life is full. Next to each name is handwritten “Mine” and signed by the King. His deeds for theirs. His death for theirs. His life for theirs.
And the dividing line of eternity is the Lamb who unrolled the scroll of blessing and judgment.
The books close. Eternity is sealed.
And death, sickle in hand, its work done, stands before the King. And the Lion roars one final time and casts death itself into the lake of fire.
Behold now, the City of the Lamb.
It descends from the heavens in radiance. Its beauty is that of a bride walking the aisle to her husband. Its streets full of the redeemed shining with the joy of reunion. The lion who became a king who became a lamb who became a warrior is now a husband holding his arms open wide. And the tears of joy falling on the face of the bride wash away every tear of sorrow ever cried.
And around the city a voice cries: Behold I am making all things new!
The pure light of the first day shines out into the darkness, still and pure. The earth renewed rising into new mountains and canyons. The heavens renewed hung as new galaxies and wonders spin out above. The groaning of creation turns to joy as seeds and trees spring out into the fresh cool air.
And the City of the Lamb shines at the center of this renewed world. Every street and arch and tower crafted and designed in the sketchbook of the King himself. And the hundred languages rippling out on the street are one song together. Their bodies once feeble now strong, their frames once wounded now whole. And the presence of God once hidden behind thick curtains and walls now breathes out into the city.
Here there are no thorns or scars or death anymore. There is no blood crying up from the ground. There are no things skulking in the night. There are no funerals or gravestones. There are no doctors or broken bodies. There is no loneliness or anguish. The past is healed. The present is shalom. The future is brightness.
Behold now the center of the city. There is a river and a tree. The tree of life once withered is now renewed. The seas once raging are a cool and clear stream of life. And where the tree and river meet there stands God the Almighty himself.
And his people see his face.
Listen. See. Behold. Hear these words and keep them.
Right now counts forever. Will you enter the city of the Lamb or stand outside in judgment and loss? O church, hear the voice of the Lion who is the Lamb:
Stand strong when the beast rages against you. When you endure you conquer for eternity.
Watch carefully where the false prophet deceives you. What you hold fast to is true for eternity.
Reject firmly when the world seduces you. What you lose in this life is gain forever..
The judgment of the throne is for eternity.
Come to the lamb today. He offers living water to the thirsty. Won’t you come?
Listen. See. Behold. Hear these words and keep them.
These are the words of the One who was and is and is to come. The beginning and the end.
He is coming soon.
(Amen. Come Lord Jesus.)