Revelation 7:9-17 – Yeshua the Shepherd

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POSTED 11 FEBRUARY, 2018

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume II

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, ‘Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’ Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, ‘These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘My lord, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.’”

Much discussion of the Book of Revelation involves various end-time debates over the identity of the multitude witnessed in Revelation 7:9, 13-15, and how they arrived before the throne. While this is important, what is arguably more important are the declarations made before the throne, and the activity which takes place. The multitude before the throne exclaims, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:10, RSV), which is obviously a statement about how important God the Father and Yeshua the Lamb are in the final victory that Revelation portrays. It is fairly deduced that this scene of veneration involves both humans and angels (Revelation 7:11a), and as it is narrated, kai pesan enōpion tou thronou epi ta prosōpa autōn kai prosekunēsan tō Theō, “and fell before the throne on the faces of them and they worshiped – God” (Revelation 7:11b, Brown and Comfort).[1] Textually, the worship of Revelation 7:11b is specified as being directed toward God the Father (Revelation 7:12), but it is also to be recognized how there is a close association of God the Father and Yeshua the Lamb. The Lamb here is supernatural to be sure, and is to be differentiated from all other supernatural beings or entities—precisely because of the salvation provided in the Lamb (Revelation 7:10)!

Revelation 7:16-17 says, of those standing before the throne, “Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (NIV). Of particular significance to this is Isaiah 49:10, “They will not hunger or thirst, nor will the scorching heat or sun strike them down; for He who has compassion on them will lead them and will guide them to springs of water.” It is unambiguous that the Shepherd here is the LORD or YHWH (Isaiah 49:8),[2] but in Revelation 7:17 the Shepherd is actually Yeshua the Lamb. Here, Yeshua has taken on the Divine Identity of the LORD or YHWH. In the estimation of Keener, this is to be taken as evidence that Yeshua is God:

“Revelation 7:16-17 especially recalls Isaiah 49:10. In that passage God had already promised that in the time of Israel’s restoration, his people would no longer hunger or thirst, nor would heat or the sun beat down on them (Isa. 49:10; cf. Rev. 21:23). Further, God as the One with compassion on his people (cf. Isa. 49:10-15) would ‘guide them and lead them beside springs of water’ ( 49:10; cf. Jer. 31:9). God himself also promised to wipe away the tears of his people (Isa. 25:8).

“‘The Lamb’ in 7:17 clearly fulfills a role Isaiah assigned to Yahweh; John is assuredly claiming Jesus’ deity…”[3]


NOTES

[1] Brown and Comfort, 869.

[2] “Thus says the LORD, ‘In a favorable time I have answered You, and in a day of salvation I have helped You; and I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, to restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages’” (Isaiah 49:8).

[3] Keener, Revelation, pp 245-246; also Fee, Revelation, pp 116-117.