The name of "The Lamb", that is repeated some thirty times in the Revelation, designates Jesus Christ as the man who sacrificed Himself to redeem us:
“Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation…”(5:9).
For which reason St. John announces in his Revelation:
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (5:12).
Therein is all essence of Revelation: “One slained” is receiving power. The Apocalypse demonstrates the conflict between two worlds, two types of relations between personalities, two types of power and authority.
In the world of the Beast, the authority belongs to the butcher, in the world of God - to the victim. The Apocalypse thereby reveals to us the sense of the Gospel.
People with vestiges of pagan consciousness now and again consider the character of the gospel Jesus as too soft and weak, well-nigh feminine. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus is the possessor of the utmost courage of which man is capable, yet at the same time is the bearer of genuine power. That is simply such courage and such power. Pagans will never comprehend that until directly affected by this force:
“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings” (17:14).
That authority was manifested on the Cross when Jesus Christ said of his butchers:
"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke. 23:34).
And this word does not remain in vain, because He speaks as one that had authority: to denounce or forgive.
The forgiveness or curse that the victim utters upon his butchers, is of absolute power, for thus it is ordained by God. Only once in the New Testament, and precisely in the Revelation, there comes from the lips of the martyrs the verdict of condemnation. This occurs after the breaking of the Fifth Seal, when the souls of those "slaughtered for God's words" cry out to God:
“How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (6:10).
Indeed, something very strange and extraordinary must happen in the world for the usual entreaty victims make to forgive their butchers to yield to a cry for vengeance... It is told to them, that their requirement will be executed:
“And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they [were], should be fulfilled” (6:11).
By now we wonder what relationship may exist between the One who sits on the throne and the Lamb.
These two Persons often appear side by side. Thus the Lamb came to the One who sits on the throne (5:7) in absolutely the same manner as the Prophet Daniel saw in his vision when "one like the Son of man" (Dan. 7:13) comes to the Ancient of Days. Now if the One who sits on the throne is Jesus in His Divine nature, while the Lamb is Jesus in His human nature, we must perforce come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is approaching... to Himself. How can that be possible?
At this point we can not dispense with a brief excursus into the holy fathers theology.
The Church creed as to the relationship between the divine and human natures of Jesus Christ was formed and evolved in the strenuous and long struggle against the so-called "christological heresies" that shook and rocked the Christian world in the 5th-7th centuries. The first such heresy was Monophysite, asserted that Jesus Christ nature is only one: divine or “divine-human”, and that everything human in Him was absorbed by that of Divine. The ecumenical council of Chalcedon defined Jesus Christ to be one Person or Hypostasis (now would tell - Personality) in the two natures, one wholly divine and the other wholly human.
is the perfect God and the perfect Man. The two natures are not merged one with another and each of natures by joining remain without alternation, keep the fullness of it's properties.
However a large proportion of the believers embraced Monophysite, most of them would have later accepted Islam. But the Churches of Armenia and Ethiopia profess that creed to this day. It was too hard to imagine how the God, while remaining God, also had became the man. That is not only hard, but indeed impossible to comprehend! Here we confronted the one and only, yet absolute, boundary to human intelligence: to wit, the unattainability of the Divine nature. All else is within the bounds of human intelligence, except that, because to comprehend the Divine essence - would mean to become equal with God. Only given to God is the knowledge of how He could become man. Only given to God is the knowledge of how to create the world from nothingness. Only given to God is the knowledge of foreseeing the action of freely human will. Only given to God is the knowledge in fullness of what fate holds in store for every human being. All these things are the manifestations of the Divine nature, the absolute prerogative of the Creator. Hence every attempt to penetrate the unfathomable always resulted for the human being in false fantasy of loss of faith.
After the ecumenical council of Chalcedon was emerged a new heresy, Monothelitism, which claimed:
"Let Christ have two natures but only one, divine or divine-human, will".
Again the Church retorted:
”There are not one, but two distinct wills in Christ, divine and human, in such a way that the human will freely and docile follows His divine will”.
However the deal had not ended upon that. Yet another heresy had born: Monoenergism, which asserted:
"Let in Christ are two natures and two wills but is only one action (energy), divine-human."
And again the Church replied in the spirit of the Chalcedon: There is not one, but there are two distinct actions in Christ - divine and human.
Does the great controversy already completed?
Apparently, it does not.
As before the significance of this controversy is immensely great.
Many of the believers have today a confused, incoherent pagan notion of the gospel's Jesus as some kind of half man - half god. Thus one may hear it alleged, even written, that
"as man He was thirsting and hungering, but as God working wonders”.
Nothing could be more alien to the spirit of the Chalcedon dogma than such allegation. It is the belittling of Christ as the man and, at the same time, mixing up of the Divine and the human.
As the God, Jesus Christ is eternally resided оn the throne of Divine Glory, while in the events described in the Gospel “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5) operates, i.e. Jesus Christ in His human nature.
Jesus Christ the man not only performed miracles, but resurrected and ascended to heaven. He, of course, is not merely a man, but God who has become also a man and, hence, may speak of Himself as of God:
"Before Abraham was born, I am" (John. 8:58),
however these words coming from human lips.
In the Revelation of St. John, Jesus Christ the man is presented not only in the meek appearance of Lamb. We see Him there also in regal glory and all conquering might. Thus He appeared to St. John who saw:
"One like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and [his] hairs [were] white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes [were] as a flame of fire. And His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and His countenance [was] as the sun shineth in his strength” (1:13-16).
Where as Daniel saw "The Son of Man” in a prophetic vision, the One now manifested to St. John was Jesus Christ as a very real man, who had became indeed such by the moment of this vision.
The Revelation of St. John moves us to admit that Jesus Christ, in full accordance with His two natures, likewise possesses two, divine and human, bodies. To say that One Person (Personality) has two bodies is no more and no less wondrous than to say that One Person has two natures, two wills, two actions.
If we shall accept, that the One Who sits on the throne and the Lamb - is accordingly Jesus Christ as God and as man, we shall hence be cognizant of the religious meaning of the apocalyptic epoch.
Biblical history from Adam to Jesus, was the time when Jesus Christ revealed himself as God, as Creator,
as Only Who Is (in) Being (Yahweh).
Over the period from the Nativity to the beginning of the apocalyptic events Jesus is revealed as a man Who preaches, is crucified, resurrects, ascends of heavens and is always increasing in the rays of Divine glory.
As the man, or Lamb, He is leading His Church, feeding Her on His Body and Blood, revealing Her the Divine mysteries, which He gradually is comprehending Himself.
Meanwhile the gist of the coming apocalyptic epoch - is the revelation of Jesus Christ simultaneously as God and as man, in the joint action of His two natures. What it will mean, we just should get to know.