Some of us were on a roll quoting lines from the comedy movie, “The Quest for the Holy Grail.” In one scene, Tim the Enchanter leads King Arthur and his knights to the cave of a terrible and vile monster. Tim had terrified them by warning, “Death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth!” The men arrived to find the area in front of the cave littered with bones and broken armor. “There he is!” Tim announced. “Where? Behind the Rabbit?” Arthur asked. “It IS the rabbit!” answered Tim. At this point, a sense of relief and ridicule came from Arthur and his men. Even though Tim pointed out, “Look at the bones!” they were no longer convinced. When Arthur ordered one of his men to get the rabbit, it suddenly lunged and killed him along with two more of Arthur’s men before they ran away.
The scene brings to mind another scene that is neither comedic nor ridiculous. In Revelation chapter 5, John saw God on his throne holding a scroll that no one was worthy to open except the Lion of the Tribe of Judah who had conquered. John looked at the Lion, but “saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain…” (Rev 5:6). There are several words in Greek that can for “lamb.” The one in this verse is interesting. “Arnion,” is a diminutive form of “aren.” The “ion” at the end of a Greek word makes it diminutive. An example of an English diminutive is “let,” as used in words like piglet, eyelet, droplet, booklet, starlet, or kitchenette. Other examples are duckling, gosling, cigarette, diskette, doggie, kitty, and so forth. The Greek word “arnion” could be rendered as “lambling,” “lambette,” or “lambie.”
I have been reflecting on what “lambie” communicates. This is not just a lamb that John sees, but a little lamb. It seems mild and harmless on the surface. However, the text refers to the “lambie” as the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” which communicates agility, power, and strength. This lambie was slain, but is now standing, never to taste of death again. At one point, when the commanders and kings of the earth were trying to hide from judgment, they cried out to the rocks and mountains to fall on them and hide them “from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the lambie, for the great day of their wrath has come” (Rev 6:16-17). In Revelation 19, the lambie appears as the fiery eyed warrior riding on a white horse as King of Kings and Lord of Lords wearing a robe with blood, wielding a sword from his mouth to strike the nations and has the armies of Heaven following him!
This “lambie” reminds me of the nature of God’s power. It is often perceived as weakness, especially by those who do not have eyes to see and ears to hear. With hearts that see, we know that “he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God” (2 Cor 13:4). We understand that “power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9). We recognize that “the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but are divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses” (2 Cor 10:4). God has demonstrated this through people like Gideon (Jud 7:1-22), Young David (1 Sam 17:44-51), Jehoshaphat (2 Chr 20:20-25), and others. I am reminded of something Jimmy Allen, one of my instructors, used to say. “One man with God always makes a majority.”
The power of God is not behind the lambie, it IS the lambie!