Studying Revelation 5 with some pals at breakfast, I tried to illustrate my strongest impression of the chapter with some handy tabletop items. I think you had to be there… in this post I’ll try to recreate it. You’ll get none of the spontaneity and discussion, but all of the theological mediocrity (but hopefully not heresy.)
So the throne – the presence of God the Father – is the Tabasco. Salt and pepper each represent two “living creatures” (more on them at Ezekiel 1). The blue French Vanilla creamers each stand for twelve – I take the “twenty four elders” to represent the 12 Patriarchs of Israel and the 12 Apostles of Jesus (yes, others have different views). If my view is correct, then the elders (the blue creamers) represent all the people of God, across time and place.
So the white half & half is the Lamb. The killed, risen and ascended Christ.
The first big deal for me is that the Lamb stands among the elders. He stands with God’s people. He is greater than any of us but chooses to place himself with us. But then…
Throughout The Revelation’s throne room visions, the heavenly beings fall down in worship. You’ll note that the French Vanillas – the 24 elders – are upside down. But the Half & Half – Christ, the Lamb of God – remains upright. In fact, the heavenly
condiments host bow to the Lamb in Chapter 5 just as they fell before the Throne (Tabasco) in Chapter 4.
And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (5:13)
“Half & Half” is bad theology, but it can at least remind us that the Lamb – Jesus Christ – is fully human and fully divine. As the Athanasian Creed puts it, He is God, begotten before all worlds from the being of the Father, and he is man, born in the world from the being of his mother — existing fully as God, and fully as man with a rational soul and a human body; equal to the Father in divinity, subordinate to the Father in humanity. Although he is God and man, he is not divided, but is one Christ.
He need not bow before the throne, because although in the form of Half & Half, he shares the full nature of Tabasco. Besides, he already took the greatest bow of all time, humbling himself by living in our human flesh, shedding our human blood and resting in our mortal tomb.
Yet even in glory, he stands among the people of God. He identifies with us, having died for us on the cross and now representing us in the presence of God – he “stands for us” in the most sweeping and magnificent sense of that term.
One of the guys at breakfast, notoriously practical, asked what we might take away from this scene to apply in our daily lives.
“Worship” was the first thing to pop into my head and out of my mouth. It is to see, with the salt & pepper and the French Vanilla creamers, the magnificence of the One standing with us and for us, and to be caught up in the praises of every creature in heaven and on earth for the great love overflowing from the Half & Half… no, I’ll stop.
The Lamb stands. Worship the Lamb. And don’t play with your food.