Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Depicting Jesus

This post is part of an ongoing series examining the Christology of the Apocalypse of John.

Jesus IconThe images employed in the Apocalypse of John reveal four key depictions of Jesus. First, Jesus is pastoral Lord of the Church. These pastoral images connect the Lord of the Church to the Lord of the Temple and Tabernacle, who is Lord and authority of all creation. Second, Jesus is the Divine Warrior who will bring about God’s final judgment against the wicked. These characterizations are strongly connected to the third image of Jesus as the victorious Lamb who has defeated death and will come in eschatological judgment. Not only does Jesus serve as leader of Christian communities—Lord of the Church—but he also makes war against his enemies—Divine Warrior. John’s emphasis on victory–through–suffering would have been especially comforting for his original audience, who appear to have suffered from persecution at the hands of both the Jewish people and the Roman Empire.

Finally, Jesus is worthy of the same devotion and worship as is due to God Almighty. The worship hymns especially convey the idea that Jesus is Lord of the Cosmos, with whom God shares divine honors. All of these images are intricately connected for John, for “He who is encountered here in theophanic glory is the same one whose bloody death was the crucial act that liberates and constitutes the redeemed as a royal priesthood acceptable to God.”[1] Therefore, like Revelation’s names for Jesus, the images used here further reinforce the fact that “Jesus is Lord” and worthy of worship.

[1] Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ, 591.


Published by Jacob J. Prahlow

Husband of Hayley. Dad of Bree and Judah. Lead pastor at Arise Church. MATS from Saint Louis University, MA from Wake Forest University, BA from Valparaiso University. Theologian and writer here and at Conciliar Post. Find me on social at @pastorjakestl

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