"And every creature that is in heaven and on earth and underneath the earth and on the sea and all the things in them, I heard saying: "To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever." And the four living creatures went saying: "Amen!" and the elders fell down and worshipped."-Revelation 5.13, 14, New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures.
Trinitarians argue that if the
"Lamb," the Son, is distinguished from "every
creature" then he can not be a creature but God. Also, the
trinitarian might state, in v.14 we see that the "Lamb"
is also "worshipped" along with God, "the
One sitting on the throne," and so must also be "God"
They also point out that the same "blessing,"
"honor," "glory" and "might" are
given to "God" and to the "Lamb" and
hence, they argue, the "Lamb" must be "God"
However, there are serious flaws with this 'logic' so much so that their arguments can be seen to be not based upon a consideration of everything occurring in this chapter, or elsewhere in the book of Revelation, but on a selective exegesis driven by a belief that they look for evidence of.
First of all one should see that the "Lamb" is distinguished from God also. See where God, "the One seated upon the throne," is described(Revelation 4.1-11) and that it is this "One" who has "created all things."(v.11) The Lamb is not spoken of as being this "One" nor as having "created all things." Nor is the "Lamb" ever said to be on the "throne." Only one is and that is "the Lord God, the Almighty."
Note that the "One seated
upon the throne" is "the Lord God, the Almighty."-Revelation
4.8. The "Lamb" is distinquished from and
hence is not this "Lord God, the Amighty."
Hence, this is not just a distinction between "God the
Father" and the "Lamb," the Son, but between
"God," "the One seated upon the throne,"
"the Lord God, the Almighty" on one side and the "Lamb"
on the other. If the "Lamb" is not "the Lord God,
the Almighty" then what is he? The "Lamb" then must
be a creature, albeit the greatest creature in the
cosmos and God's unique Son, so is the Son.
We should note then that a line is drawn across the universe here in this place(Revelation chapter 4)and on one side of that line is "the Lord God, the Almighty" and "the Lord God, the Almighty" alone. The "Lamb" is not on this 'side' of the Universe here at this place and nor in any place of the book of Revelation does he cross that line however much the "Lamb" is exalted and praised!
(Of course, if some would want "all things" to always mean "all things" absolutely and we read that it was the "One seated upon the throne" that "created all things"(4.11) are those same going to accept that "all things" here includes the "Lamb" and so the "Lamb" is one of those that this "One seated upon the throne" created? If any one is going to say that the Son(or the "Lamb")is not a "thing" then why is it that "God" is? See 1 Corinthians 15.27, 28. Yes, even "God" is a "thing" and if trinitarians think that the "Son" is also "God" then it has to be accepted that the "Son" is "thing" also?)
Secondly, the "Lamb" is
distinguished from "every creature" but not necessarily
because he is not a creature himself but because he can not
recieve "blessing and honor and glory and dominion"
There are three subjects here, "God", the "Lamb" and "every creature." What distinguishes the former two from the last is that the former two recieve this "blessing and honor and glory....." from those that give it and it does not have to follow that the former two are therefore "God"! The point here is that both God and the Lamb recieve this "blessing and honor and glory" from "every creature." Not that both God and the Lamb are "God"! Those who argue that the "Lamb" is distinguished from "every creature" and hence can not be a creature is offering an extremely weak argument and it does not take into account the context nor that when bible writers wrote they did not always have to state the obvious.
Before we show this point it ought to be discerned that when John heard "every creature" give to both "God " and the "Lamb" the "blessing and honor and glory" did he hear "every" creature do this? If so does this mean that he heard Satan the Devil and the many un-faithful angels, who are of course creatures, also give this "blessing and honor and glory"? Of course not! So even the expression "every creature" is contextually limited and does not mean "every creature" absolutlely.
Now, one place where a Bible writer did, that is, state the 'obvious', what was 'common knowledge' of their readers, is at 1 Cor.15.27, 28. In v.27a we read "For (God) "subjected all things(panta) under his feet." Now would this mean that God Himself was "subjected" under the feet of the Son? No, for the next part of the v. says: "But when he says that 'all things'(panta) have been subjected' it is evident it is with the exception of the one who subjected all things(panta)to him." Note that God is one of those "all things" but when God put "all things" under subjection of the Son these "all things" does not include he! God is the exception, he is one "thing" that was not subjected to the Son. Its the same with "all things" in Col.1.16ff and "every creature" in Rev. 5.13. It should be "evident" that though the Son is not included in the groups "all things" or "every creature" it does not mean he is not a "thing" or a "creature" himself.
And why does the Lamb
recieve from "every creature" this "blessing...honor...glory.."?
Rev.5.13. Not because he is "God" but because he
is the "Lamb" and as the "Lamb" he was
"slaughtered" and with his "blood" he "bought
persons for God" and "made them to be a
kingdom and priests to our God.."-vv.9, 10.
The reasons why this "Lamb" recieves the honor and glory that it does is shown to be three-fold and none of these reasons make the "Lamb" to be "God." Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza righty comments: "The "new song" in Revelation 5.9-10 underlines three reasons why the Lamb is worthy to assume the eschatological reign over the world. First: The Lamb proves worthy because it has suffered a violent death....Second: The Lamb's worthiness derives from its activity as God's agent...Third: The final reason which the hymn gives for the Lamb's worthiness focuses on the positive goal of Christ's redemptive activity..."(Revelation: Vision of a Just World, T&T Clark, 1991, p.61.). So, it is contextually plain why the "Lamb" is distinguished from "every creature." Not because it is "God" and not itself a creature but because of the Lamb being "slaughtered" and with its "blood"(v.9) "persons" were "bought" and these gain their salvation and 'kingship' and 'priestly' status through the Lamb's agency and redemptive activity. The "Lamb" is distinct from "every creature" because it is the "agent" whom God uses to give deliverance and not a creature that needs deliverance itself and every creature acknowledges this.- v.13.
We also read at Revelation 5.7, 8 that the "Lamb" was the only one who could take the "scroll" out of the right hand of the "One on the throne." When the "Lamb" did this we read in vv.8 and 9 that "the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb." But this "falling down" is not 'worship' (and not the word proskyneo also) of One that is God but is the rightful acknowledgement of the worthiness of the Lamb to take the "scroll." Yes, it was because of what the "Lamb" did for God that he recieves these praises from the "four living creatures," the "twenty-four elders" and "every creature." This is emphasised again in v.12 where we can read "The Lamb that was slaughtered is worthy to recieve the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing." Yes, the "Lamb," Jesus Christ, is "worthy" to recieve these things, no, not because he is "God" but because he is "the Lamb that was slaughtered." Larry Hurtado correctly writes: "...the traditions with which this Jewish-Christian prophet was acquainted likely included the practices of Jewish-Christian groups, which suggests in such circles as well as in Gentile-Christian groups cultic reverence was offered to God and to Jesus and that reverence offered to Jesus was understood as an extension and and expression of reverence for God."-At The Origins of Christian Worship, p.92.
The "Lamb's" exaltation and praise(in 5.13, 14)is in contrast in why "God," "the One seated upon the throne," "the Lord God, the Almighty" recieves "the glory and the honor and the power."-Revelation 4.11. For here at this place we see it is because this "One" is "worthy" to "because you created all things." So, we see a contrast with why the "One seated upon the throne, " namely "God" recieves these things and why the "Lamb," the Son does. The "One," "God" because he is not only "God" but the creator and the other because of what he did "for God," and for being God's agent. Hence, although both "God" and the "Lamb" recieve the same praise it is for different reasons. One for being "God", the "Lord Almighty," the creator of "all things", and the "Lamb" for being God's agent who was "slaughtered"(how could God be "slaughtered[die]"? Only a creature could) and what this accomplished "for God"(not "for God and the Lamb" nor "for the Lamb" but "bought persons..out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation" and "made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God...-5.9,10). Only one is "God"(the "our God") and it is not the "Lamb." Clearly the "Lamb" is not "God" and is Himself a creature, albiet a creature not in need of redemption and one that will himself reign as a "king" and as a "priest."
Not only this but the last part of Revelation 4.11 states of the "One seated upon the throne" that "because of your will they("all things")existed and were created." Note that "all things" came into existence because of the "will" of one being, not the "will" of two or three and not the "will" of the "Lamb." Yes, there is only one God, one creator with one will and it is not the Son, not the "Lamb".
The "worship" then that the "elders" are said to give as we read in Revelation 5.14 must have been directed towards "God" only. The "Lamb" is not the recipient of this "worship." Please compare who recieves true "worship" only in the following: Rev.4.10; 7.11,12; 11.16,17; 14.7; 19.4,10; 22.9. It is always "God(the Father)" never the "Lamb" Jesus Christ. It is then no different here at 5.14 than with these others.
"Worship God" only the angel tells John.-Rev.22.9. In the book of Revelation only one is "God." For instance Revelation 7:10 "And they(the "great crowd"- v.9) keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: "Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne and to the Lamb." For this "great crowd" the Lamb is distinguished from their God. They recognise that they owe their "salvation" to both their "God" and to the "Lamb"....but they only recognise one as their "God" and it is not the "Lamb."
However much the "Lamb" is exalted, however much the "Lamb" is praised the "One God" in the book of Revelation is not the "Lamb," not the Son. We see then that the only one that should be worshipped is "God." Trinitarians change the rightful praise and high exaltation of the "Lamb" into worship of "God." Trinitarians then ascribe worship to one that is not "God." In this they seriously err.
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