Friday, August 26, 2016

The Lamb Dies; The Lion Prevails

But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep.  Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”  (Rev 5:5)

We read in Genesis that this lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered, when the patriarch Jacob says, “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; you have lain down and slept, and have risen up again as a lion, and as a lion’s whelp.” [Gen 49:8-9].  For He is called a lion for the overcoming of death, but for the suffering for men He was led as a lamb to the slaughter.  But because He overcame death, and anticipated the duty of the executioner, He was called as it were slain.  He therefore opens and seals again the testament, which He Himself had sealed.  The lawgiver Moses intimating this, that it behooved Him to be sealed and concealed, even to the advent of His passion, veiled his face, and so spoke to the people, showing that the words of his announcement were veiled even to the advent of His time.  For he himself, when he had read to the people, having taken the wool purpled with the blood of the calf, with water sprinkled the whole people, saying, “This is the blood of His testament who has purified you” [Ex 24:7-8].  It should therefore be observed that the Man is accurately announced, and that all things combine into one.  For it is not sufficient that that law is spoken of, but it is named as a testament.  For no law is called a testament, nor is anything else called a testament except what people make who are about to die.  And whatever is within the testament is sealed, even to the day of the testator’s death.  Therefore it is with reason that it is only sealed by the Lamb slain, who, as it were a lion, has broken death in pieces, and has fulfilled what had been foretold.  And He has delivered man, that is, the flesh, from death, and has received as a possession the substance of the dying person, that is, of the human members that as by one body all men had fallen under the obligation of its death, also by one body all believers should be born again unto life, and rise again.  Reasonably, therefore, His face is opened and unveiled to Moses, and therefore He is called Apocalypse, Revelation.  For now His book is unsealed—now the offered victims are perceived—now the fabrication of the priestly anointing oil; moreover the testimonies are openly understood.

Victorinus of Petovium, Commentary on the Apocalypse

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