Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Jesus Devotion in Revelation

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

Jesus - History and TheologyTo this point, this study has examined Revelation’s names, images, and actions pertaining to Jesus, arguing that these characterizations conveyed the message that “Jesus is Lord.” This section examines the monotheistic context of Second Temple Judaism, considers Revelation’s portrayal of devotion to Jesus, and offers an assessment of Jesus’ identity in the Apocalypse. This examination suggests that Revelation considers Jesus on the level of Yahweh due to the advocation of Jesus devotion. Continue reading

Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Sacrifice

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

Sacred ScriptureRevelation 5:12 is particularly indicative of the importance of Jesus’ actions as sacrifice. The slain Lamb is worthy, not just because of who he is, but also because of what he has done—redeemed the world through his blood. As Revelation 5:9–10 says, “for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Jesus’ sacrifice not only guarantees the redemption of humanity, but also points toward his victory over death as the “living one” (1:17).[1] Of course, Christ’s defeat of death, both on the cross and in the eschaton (20:14), highlights his status as “firstborn of dead” (1:5) and directs Christians toward the coming resurrection (20:5f). For John, Jesus’ sacrifice serves as precursor to his redemption of humanity and ultimate victory over death. Continue reading

Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Actions

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

Icon of the Holy Trinity (Rubilev)

Icon of the Holy Trinity (Rubilev)

As already touched on through the examination of names and images, Jesus performs a number of actions in the Apocalypse. This section notes three of the most important active roles fulfilled by Jesus: Seer, Sacrifice, and Conqueror, each of which ultimately reveal Jesus to be the Agent of God. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: The Lamb

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

lambThe image of the Lamb appears some twenty–nine times in Revelation, making it John’s favorite way to visually portray Jesus.[1] A number of competing conceptions of what this Lamb–image indicated to the original audience of Revelation have been offered. David Aune argues that the Lamb functions as the narrative guide to the “mythical narrative” of Revelation, similar to Virgil in Dante’s Comedia.[2] Yves Congar suggested that the Lamb should first be understood as the Passover sacrifice and the suffering servant of Isaiah.[3] Most convincing are conceptions of the Lamb which combine these motifs of guide and sacrifice, interpreting Lamb as the central Christological focus of Revelation, the slain and resurrected Lamb now leading his people to God.[4] Revelation’s portrayal of the Lamb clearly highlights its eschatological and judicial roles, as the Lamb leads the Christian communities (7:9–17; 14:1–5; 21:9–22:5) and makes war against the enemies of God on earth (12:10–12).[5] Continue reading

Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Images

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

Jesus with BibleThe images applied to Jesus in Revelation are of supreme importance, for “the theology of John is visual theology.”[1] While there are a riotous profusion of images used presenting Jesus, this section examines three of the most important: Jesus as Lord of the Churches, the Divine Warrior, and the Lamb. Continue reading