Rev. Joe Sweet – The Lion IS the Lamb

This is from Shekinah Worship Center’s latest newsletter…
A startling revelation of Jesus is found in the book of Revelation as John describes a scene in heaven.
Revelation 5 “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.”

The scroll contained seven seals which, when opened, released seven judgments upon the earth (Rev. 6). Although it appeared that no one was found worthy to “open and read the scroll, or look at it” one of the elders said to John : “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” When John looked to see the Lion of Judah, he saw “a Lamb as though it had been slain”.  The Lion is The Lamb!

Fierce, powerful and victorious are words we use to describe a lion.  This is the fierce love of the Lord Jesus Who conquered satan, hell, and death at the cross as He redeemed us back to God.  The “Lion” describes the intensity and victorious power of His redeeming love.  However, when John looked to see the Lion, he only saw a “Lamb as though it had been slain”. The victory of the Lord Jesus over satan and his works was wrought through the nature of the Lamb Who laid down His life.

Love defined: a laid down life
1 John 3:16   By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

The book of Revelation begins with these words:  “The revelation of Jesus Christ”.  Only one time in the entire Bible  (Rev. 5:5) is Jesus referred to as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah”.  In the Book of Revelation Jesus is referred to as “the Lamb” twenty five (25) times.  Throughout the Scriptures the Lord Jesus is called many things:  The Prince of Peace, the Bread from heaven, The Good Shepherd, The Holy One, The Messiah, The Chief Apostle, etc.   The fact that Jesus is referred to as “the Lamb” 25 times in the book of Revelation is itself a revelation that God wants us to receive about Jesus. He did not overcome with force, but with love, by laying down His life “as the Lamb who was slain”.

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”

Jesus is worthy because He laid down His life
Revelation 5:9  “And they sang a new song, saying:
You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation”.

Judgment is committed to Him because He gave His life for all men to be saved. (If we have not been willing to lay down our life for someone then we may not be worthy to judge them.)

The Lamb is meek and obedient
Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.”

We are called to follow in the footsteps of the Lamb
1 Peter 2:20-23
For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 “Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously”

Just as Jesus overcame by laying down His life, we are called to follow Him and do the same.  “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Rev. 3:21) We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13) because Christ in us (Col. 1:27) is the hope of glory!

Revelation 5:6 describes “the Lamb” in the midst of the throne. The throne is the seat of authority and power.  The closer we come to abiding in the love/nature of the Lamb of God, the more we will walk in true kingdom authority.  Real authority in the kingdom only comes from being yoked with the King, and He is sacrificial love (1 John 4:16, 1 John 3:16).

Revelation 14:1Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion.”
Mount Zion was where David’s tent and the glory of God were.  This verse is telling us that sacrificial love is the glory of God!  The more we learn to abide in the love of Jesus (that lays down our life) the more we will be filled with His glory.  This is what is happening now as the Lord is awakening His bride to “arise and shine”  (Isaiah 60:1-2) with the nature of the Lamb in these last days.

The Bride of Christ will manifest “laid down” love of the Lamb
Rev. 19:7
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
This is not called the marriage of the Shepherd, or the marriage of the Bread of Life, but “the marriage of the Lamb”.  The bride will be a suitable partner for the Lamb of God.  She will share His nature.  The bride will make herself ready by intentionally growing in and abiding in His sacrificial love.  Just as He laid down His life to redeem us, the bride will, by the grace of God, lay down her life for the Lamb. This is her preparation.

The glory of the New Jerusalem
Revelation 21:22-23
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.”

The love/nature of the Lamb is the glory and the light of the New Jerusalem. The love of God is the light of God.
1 John 4:16 God is love.
1 John 1:5  God is light.
1 John 2:10  He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

The apostles of the Lamb and the New Jerusalem
Revelation 21:14 “Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”

The first apostles walked in the love/nature of the Lamb
Romans 8:35-37  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
   “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
    We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

The call of Jesus to every one of His disciples is: “Follow Me”.
Matthew 16:24Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”

As the apostles followed Jesus, embracing the cross and manifesting sacrificial love, the life of Jesus was released through them to those they were ministering to.

2 Cor. 4:7-12 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.

This is the principle:  As we allow death to work in us (laying down our lives) the life of Christ is released to others.

IN THE FINAL CONFLICT OF THE LAST DAYS the saints will overcome the devil by laying down their lives, even as Jesus laid down His life and overcame.

Rev. 12:11 And they overcame him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

These three things are vital to overcome the forces of darkness:  1) the blood of the Lamb, 2) the Word of our testimony and 3) loving not our lives even to the death.

Most believers have understood the importance of the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  It seems that a much smaller percentage of Christians have realized that victory over the evil one requires all three.  We must learn to know the Lamb of God and abide in HIs sacrificial love/nature.  By doing so, our own lives will be laid down, even unto death.  When this happens, victory is assured.

1 John 3:16  Love defined – By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

A Testimony
We have been pastoring a church in Southern California since 1991.  For about the last 20 years we have conducted a monthly evangelistic outreach in our city.  By the grace of God, we typically provide about 15,000 to 20,000 pounds of groceries each month to the elderly, unemployed, disabled, single mothers and anyone else in need.  Typically there will be a number of people on disability.  Some are on mental disability.  We see a lot of addicted, oppressed and demonized people.

We have many volunteers from our local congregation who work hard on our monthly outreach preparing bags of groceries and doing other necessary work.  Our worship team comes in early and prays, prepares and then fills the sanctuary with anointed praise and worship.  We have a group of prayer warriors who spend about 45 minutes in intercession for the people who are coming that day.  The people who come to receive groceries are invited to hear a Gospel message before they receive their groceries. Our trained prayer team is there to minister to people in need. Typically, we have between 200-400 people come on our monthly Saturday outreach.  On average, about 40 people each month will make a public profession of Christ (either a salvation or a re-dedication).  Typically, about 20-50 people will also come forward and ask for prayer ministry for specific needs.

Many of the lives of the people who come forward for prayer are devastated.  Their prayer requests reveal the horrific conditions of their lives.  It is not uncommon at all to hear requests like this each month:  “Please pray for me.  My husband left me for another woman.  My 15 year old daughter is pregnant and her boyfriend is a crack dealer.  My son is in jail.  I have an eviction notice and only 10 days before I have to move.  I have no money.”
Over and over, we hear prayer requests that are similar.  Sometimes, by the next month, people will come back to testify of answered prayer and of God’s merciful intervention.

Each month we do see the Lord definitely touch people.  We see salvation.  We have seen notable healings and deliverance. But we haven’t seen them on a scale that we would like to see.  We also see people that are very hard hearted and leave seemingly unchanged.  It is the minority of the people coming who seem to be significantly touched by the Lord.
Recently, while in prayer, with our prayer group before an outreach, I was thinking about this verse of Scripture:

“But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”  2 Cor. 4:3-4

I was reminding the Lord that people are blinded by satan and I was crying to Him: “Lord, please do more! So many of these people are addicted.  They are despondent.  Others are suicidal.  Many live in sexual perversion and seem to have no conscience.  Lord, they are blinded and bound by demonic powers.  Please do more for them today!”

As I was intensely pouring out my heart to the Lord, asking Him to do more, I heard the still small voice of the Holy Spirit speak to me through Revelation 12:11:

“And they overcame him (satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

“You are asking Me to do more for the people who are bound by dark forces.  However, My saints overcome the devil by laying down their lives, just as I overcame by laying down My life.  Are you willing to die more? If you will lay down your life more, a greater measure of My life will be released to them.  Are you willing to die to self to see them set free?”

“Yes, Lord, what should I do?”

“Call the entire congregation to come together on Thursday night and Friday night for intercessory prayer before your next Saturday outreach.  Call Thursday and Friday to be fasting days.”

I immediately thought to myself of those in our congregation who I know would do it without hesitation.  I thought of others who would not do it, and others who might do it.  As I was pondering this, wondering how many would respond to this call to lay down our lives more, the Holy Spirit spoke again.

“This is how My kingdom advances. Whenever you lay down your life for Me, My life is released. My life always overcomes the powers of darkness. There is much defeat in and around the church today because there are so few who will truly lay down their lives to do My will.”

Thankfully, the majority of our congregation turned out for the two nights of fasting prayer meetings.  Instead of relaxing at home in the evenings, or whatever people might do on a Thursday or Friday night, our sanctuary was nearly full with saints who fasted for two days and were on their knees crying out to God.

Needless to say, the following monthly outreach was astounding!  The entire church property, inside and out, was blanketed in the presence of God.  The powerful conviction of the Holy Spirit was evident. I saw one man break down, sobbing and shaking in repentance before the salvation message was even finished.  The altar was full.  The power of the Holy Spirit flowed.  People were saved and healed.  It was a victorious and glorious outreach.  Why?  Because some saints chose to “die” to what their flesh wanted, and allowed the love of the Lamb of God to work in them.  Their lives were laid down for His will, His people and His glory.

Every true advancement of the kingdom of God on this earth comes through people who lay down their lives.  To the degree our lives are laid down for the will of God, to that degree the devil is overcome.  This is how the Lion of Judah prevailed.  He laid down His life as a Lamb.  What are we waiting for?

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”
Revelation 12:11

 “Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.  For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1-2