The Center of the Stage

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Jesus the Lamb does more than occupy the center of the stage today in salvation, history and worship; in addition, he will have a central place when history ends and the curtain rises on eternity. On the day of judgment those who have rejected him will try to escape from him. They will call to the mountains and rocks to engulf them: “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” (Rev. 6:15–17). For those who have trusted and followed him, however, that day will be like a wedding day and a wedding feast. For the final union of Christ with his people is depicted in terms of the Lamb’s marriage to his bride. Changing the metaphor, the new Jerusalem will descend from heaven. It will have no temple in it, “because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple”; nor will it need either sun or moon, “for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp” (21:22–23).

One cannot fail to notice, or to be impressed by, the seer’s repeated and uninhibited coupling of “God and the Lamb.” The person he places on an equal level with God is the Savior who died for sinners. He depicts him as mediating God’s salvation, sharing God’s throne, receiving God’s worship (the worship due to him) and diffusing God’s light. And his worthiness, which qualifies him for these unique privileges, is due to the fact that he was slain and by his death procured our salvation. If (as may be) the book of life is said in Revelation 13:8 to belong to “the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world,” then John is telling us nothing less than that from an eternity of the past to an eternity of the future the center of the stage is occupied by the Lamb of God who was slain.

— John Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downer’s Grove, 2006), pages 44–45.

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