Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Jewish Monotheistic Devotion

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

apostle-johnIt is within the limits of acceptable monotheistic worship that the constellation of Revelation 19:10, 22:8–9, and 5:8–12 seems particularly insightful. In both Revelation 19:10 and 22:8–9 John attempts to worship the angel speaking to him.[1] In both instances, the angel forcefully redirects John to “worship God” as the truly transcendent source of the visions. The message here—for John, his original audience, and contemporary readers—is that the revelations of the Apocalypse confirm the Jewish belief that Yahweh alone is worthy of worship.

In other words, John purposefully employs worship as a pedagogical tool to inform his readers about the proper limits of devotion. What makes this deliberate treatment of worship even more fascinating are the statements about Jesus in Revelation 5:8–12, where the parallels to the worship of God Almighty in 4:9–11 and 5:13–14 leave no doubt that John intends to show explicit divine worship paid to Jesus.[2] In Revelation 5 the Lamb receives heavenly worship alongside God, a claim so vivid and clear that John cannot be making it in forgetfulness of his stringent requirements of monotheism evidenced in 19:10 and 22:8–9.[3]


[1] See the Ascension of Isaiah 7.21f on an angel refusing worship. See Bauckham, Climax, 119f on the connections between the Ascension of Isaiah and Apocalypse of John. See also Bauckham’s comment on the reasons for the parallelisms between the passages as a juxtaposition of the harlot and bride. Bauckham, “Worship of Jesus”, 328.

[2] Bauckham, Climax, 137.

[3] Bauckham, Climax, 136. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ, 592.

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