I’ve had some crazy dreams in my lifetime. The strangest ones are when things or people morph into others. In some dreams, I’m carrying on a conversation with one person in a certain location only to be transposed to another location where I am speaking to a different person. I tell my wife about these dreams to her great amusement.
One thing we can say about John in the book of Revelation is that he was not dreaming. In the visions that John sees, Jesus is not morphing. Though John sees Jesus being pictured in different ways, Jesus is not changing from one person to another. Jesus is everything he is said to be, all in one person, and at the same time.
Revelation 4-7 gives us two visions of heaven. In one vision, Jesus is both a Lion and a Lamb (Revelation 5:6-7). In the other vision, he is the Lamb and the Shepherd (Revelation 7:17). The visions show us that Jesus gets us all the way home to heaven by being our Lion, Lamb, and Shepherd.
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah is a reference to Jesus as the Messiah. He is the conqueror and the one who has authority. Jesus puts down enemies and defends his people. He has power. This Lion is on our side; he has fought our battle against sin, evil, and death. He gives us hope.
As the Lamb who was slain, Jesus cleanses us. He died our death in our place as the sacrificial lamb. Before the Lamb we acknowledge our sin, turn to him in repentance and faith, trust in his forgiveness, and receive his righteousness. His blood is not a stain to be removed; it is a sin-removing power.
As the Shepherd, Jesus leads and guides us to the throne of God. He brings us into the temple of God and to the shelter of God’s presence, where there is no more hunger or thirst (because we are forever being satisfied by the living water), and no more tears or sorrow (because we are forever experiencing the joy of the Lord). He leads us home.
Jesus didn’t morph from one person to another in a dream that was only in the mind of John. Jesus was revealed, from heaven to John, by various pictures that each tell us of his glory and grace. Put your hope in the Lion, be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, and follow the Shepherd home. To do this, you need only to come to One; he is Jesus.
This weekend, read Revelation 6-7 to prepare yourself for Sunday worship at Grace.