The Lamb Who is also The Shepherd

After the opening of the sixth seal there is an abrupt break in the unfolding of the revelation of the divine. Chapter 7 presents two visions the content of which offers hope and assurance that in spite of the cosmic calamities revealed in the opening of the seals, the divine has already sealed the faithful with salvation. John looks around the throne room, and gets a vision of four angels holding back the four winds from the earth. A fifth angel ascends from the rising of the sun, that is, from the horizon, the place where heaven and earth intersect, the place of union, the sacred center. The fifth angel has authority. It prevents the four angels from harming the earth. They were withholding something from the earth, the four winds. Wind is associated with spirit, and spirit is associated with renewal and cleansing. The four angels were preventing the renewal and cleansing of the earth, the sea and the tree. The fifth angel brings the seal of the divine, to mark the redeemed. In the first vision, 144,000 Israelites are sealed and protected. In the second vision, “great multitudes which no one can number” wearing white robes, have gathered before the throne of the living one, in worship. This great multitude that is sealed is the church assembled in worship. They sing a new song, in which they proclaim seven aspects of the living one: blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might. They are then identified by one of the elders as those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. In verse 17, he who is the Lamb will also be the Shepherd, and lead the redeemed to the new heaven. The living one as redeemer is the Lamb, and as ruler the Shepherd. After the massive destruction in chapter 6, these two visions are presented to assure the faithful that the divine is active on their behalf, and that their salvation is certain, for they have been sealed with the blood of the Lamb.

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