The Perfection of the Lamb
This is the first of two sections on the topic of “The Perfection of the Lamb”, by Mr. John Bramhall of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Out from the numerous and glorious names given to Christ in the Word of God, the special one purposely designated for prominence in the book of Revelation is the Lamb! It is repeated twenty-eight times in all, being expressed in the diminutive, meaning literally—the little lamb. Why should this name be predominant in the book of judgment and glory? Two reasons may be profitably suggested:
(a) God’s beloved Son was led “as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7) and it is written, “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah 52:14). This to do the will of God for our redemption, descending into incomprehensible sufferings and humiliation for our sins (Isaiah 53:5-6). For this reason God declares that His holy servant “shall be exalted and lifted up and be high very much, or exceedingly” (Isaiah 52:13, lit. Heb. translation). An ancient Rabbinic Midrash says, “He shall be exalted above Abraham; He shall be lifted up above Moses, and be higher than the ministering angels.” Therefore, we should not wonder that God delights to take that name of deepest humiliation and crown it with the highest exaltation in the end book of the Bible.
(b) The name of the “Lamb” is also the most precious of all titles to His blood-bought Church, His Bride, for two reasons. First, it is to her His sacrificial name, telling the story of an eternal redemption that He paid to purchase her for Himself (Revelation 5:8-11). Second, it is also to her His bridal name, unfolding His eternal affection that ever will be her delight (Revelation 19:6-9). Surely no other body of saints in eternity will appreciate the name of the Lamb than those who compose the Bride of the Lamb. This is indicated in the description of her heavenly glory as John saw the city of New Jerusalem as recorded in Revelation 21:9 through 22:5, for this precious name of the Lamb is mentioned seven times, indicating Him to be the centre of all and describing the perfections of the Lamb with eternal pre-eminence and to the delight of her heart.
The Perfection of His Love
“I will show thee the bride, the LAMB’S WIFE” (Revelation 21:9). She is the fruit of His affection, His redemption, His ministration and His glorification (see Ephesians 5:25-27; the “one pearl of great price” for which He “went and sold ALL that He had, and bought it” (Matthew 13:46). Possessing “the glory of God” (Revelation 21:10) she will be the satisfying object for His eternal love, perfectly suitable for His great heart! The perfection of His love will thus be realized as the heavenly saints shall be for Him and to Him a perfect and eternal Bride! He Who has loved us with infinite perfection will then have for Himself a perfect Bride forever! He then will rejoice in the fruit of His perfect love and we shall sing through endless ages our song of perfect love: “Unto Him that loveth us and hath loosed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Revelation 1:5-6) The Perfection of His Work
“And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the LAMB” (Revelation 21:14). The detailed description of the glorious city of gold, with its great capacity, perfect symmetry, brilliant walls of jasper, twelve pearly gates, the street of gold and the garnished foundations studded with precious jewels, all reflect the infinite wisdom and perfect work of the Lamb as the architect and builder (Revelation 21:11-21). The devoted labours of the twelve apostles are graciously and eternally acknowledged by Him (Revelation 21:14; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:19-22), but it is the Lamb Himself who originated, inaugurated and will complete the infinite work of grace to possess His Bride (Matthew 16:16-18). The perfect workmanship of the city is likened unto “pure gold like to clear glass.” An object is presented, the splendour of which far outshines the sublimest creation of human dreams.
Yet, what is a city without inhabitants? The perfection of the New Jerusalem is not complete without the presence of His sanctified and glorified saints dwelling there. They also are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10) and necessary to complete what the angel calls “the Bride, the Lamb’s wife” as she appears in her final form and character. They have been begotten by His Spirit, formed and fashioned into living stones from the darkness of sin and the quarry of a fallen world (1 Peter 2:5), and transfigured, from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18) until they reach eternal perfection above. To briefly summarize the completeness of the Lamb’s work, we quote the concise words of another: “He who makes, prepares and places them; makes, prepares and places their sublime habitation” (J. A. Seiss).
The Perfection of His Holiness
“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the LAMB are the temple of it” (Revelation 21:22). Two words are used in the Greek New Testament for “temple”; one named hieron, meaning the whole temple area with all its buildings, and the word naos implying the inner sanctuary of the holy place and the holiest of all. This latter word is used in our text, indicating to the Apostle John in the vision that there was no material sanctuary to be seen in the city. God Himself and the Lamb will be the temple thereof, the Shekinah glory encompassing the saints and all the city alike, which will enable the glorious worshippers to hold direct communion with God and the Lamb. “As consecrated high priests, they will then have come into the holiest of all, into the very cloud of God’s over-shadowing glory, which is at once their covering, their temple, their God. And when the saints in immortal glory dwell within the enclosing light of the unveiled presence of God and the Lamb, as His Bride and Wife, what more need have they of temple, or outward ceremonial, to commune with Deity, or to have fellowship with the Father and the Son! Their worship is immediate and direct” (J.A. Seiss). Praise the Lord! We shall enjoy for ever the perfection of God’s holiness and presence!
The Perfection of His Illumination
“And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the LAMB is the light thereof” (Revelation 21:23). “The moon shall be ashamed and the sun confounded” writes the prophet (Isaiah 24:23), because of the out-shining glory that will be in the New Jerusalem, leaving them no more need to shine in it, since the glory of God lights it and the Lamb is the light thereof. The glory of God’s brightness will envelope, permeate and radiate through the city, causing its brilliant rays to shine over all the earth, through the reaches of outer space, making the heavenly planet seem to distant worlds a brilliant luminary whose brightness will never fail or wane! Greater still, to the hearts of the inhabitants of the city, will be the spiritual light that will illuminate the understanding of the soul with the eternal and spiritual glories of God and the Lamb through never ending ages. “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent,” stated God’s Son in John 17:3. The eternal ages for the inhabitants of that city will be spent going on, and on, learning more and more of the glories of God and His Beloved Son! What a blessed way to spend eternity!
The Perfection of His Protection
“And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the LAMB’S book of life” (Revelation 21:27). This incorruptible inheritance will never be defiled, for out of the myriads of human souls through all human history, no one can ever set foot upon its golden street who is not enrolled in the book of life of the Lamb. He is the perfect guardian of the city and its eternal purity. Sinners may come there, yes; for sinners it was made, but only for such as are cleansed in the precious blood of the Lamb. No place is found for them that believe not in Jesus and if any love their sins better than God’s salvation, the New Jerusalem is not for them. The lie of the devil, that was the primary cause of ruining the Adamic creation, will never enter there; praise His holy name!