Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Conclusions

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

RevelationThis study has undertaken an investigation of the Christology of the Apocalypse of John, seeking to fill a lacunae that has only been rarely and partially addressed in contemporary scholarship. This project has not sought to exhaustively address any of the issues mentioned above, only to draw together piecemeal existing studies and offer a unified argument for Revelation’s portrayal of “Jesus as Lord.” Much work remains to be done on this topic, especially the expansion of this project into a more detailed and comprehensive examination of the names, images, and actions of Jesus in Revelation.[1]

This study has employed a partial preterist framework and argued that Revelation portrays “Jesus as Lord,” thereby identifying Jesus as Yahweh come to earth and coordinating Revelation’s theological perspective with other New Testament High Christologies. Three realms of evidence in Revelation support this claim, namely the names, images, and actions ascribed to Jesus. Especially important is Revelation’s utilization of the title κύριος, which not only designates Jesus as possessing greater power and authority than other lords, but also begins to identify Jesus’ person and work with Yahweh himself. Through an examination of the images used of Jesus, this project demonstrated that John viewed Jesus as pastoral Lord of the Church, eschatological Divine Warrior, victorious Lamb, and worthy of divine devotion. Finally, this paper investigated Jesus’ actions as Seer, Sacrifice, and Conqueror, by which he functions as an agent of God, sharing in the work, authority, and devotion of God. All three of these characterizations of Jesus aptly demonstrate that for John, Jesus was rightly understood as “Lord”, as identifiable with Yahweh.

Byzantine JesusNext this study examined Jesus devotion in the Apocalypse, wherein Jesus functions as the visible form of Yahweh, the eternal God of Israel, whose redemptive work on earth and eschatological judgment deem him worthy of worship. This binitarian worship conceived of God and Jesus as two distinguishable figures in unified relation to one another, eschewing di-theism and seeking to remain within the boundaries of Jewish monotheistic belief. Finally, this paper turned to a consideration of implications from this study, suggesting that Revelation a) commended to early Christians that Jesus could be acceptably worshiped along with God; b) stands in coordination with other now-New Testament writings in its monotheistic high Christology; c) exists as functionally binitarian in its understanding of God-Jesus; and d) offers the godhead of God-Jesus (and its attendant devotional practices) as the marker of acceptable orthodox Christian faith and practice. These facets of Revelation’s theology are recommended to contemporary expressions of Trinitarian Christian faith, along with the Apocalypse’s theological insights into prophecy, biblical theology, doxology, eschatology, and the ongoing work of God in today’s world. It remains the hope—indeed, the prayer—of this writer that Christians everywhere take seriously the Christology of Revelation and its implications, even as we await his return and pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!”

[1] Another realm of future study involves further investigation of the contours of the Apocalypse’s Christology, namely the centrality of the incarnation of Jesus. On incarnational theology in the New Testament more broadly, see I. Howard Marshall, “Incarnational Christology in the New Testament,” in Christ the Lord: Studies in Christology presented to Donald Guthrie, ed. H.H. Rowdon (Downers Grove, I.L.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1982), 13.


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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