Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Implications for Early Christianity (Part III)

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

Chester Beatty Papyrus (Romans)While early Christian literature remains maddeningly obscure in its identification of source texts, theological influences, and employment of traditional materials—thereby rendering futile many attempts at identifying a single source as the genesis for any given idea or practice—Revelation’s general conception of the boundaries of Jesus devotion nonetheless seems to have coordinated with other now–New Testament writings in the formation of limits concerning what constituted acceptable Christian confession and practice. Continue reading

Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Implications for Early Christianity (Part II)

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

New TestamentOf course, the profusion of Jesus devotion in Revelation is not unique to the Apocalypse alone, but rather stands in continuity with other now–New Testament literature. John’s Christology—especially the implicit recognition of the divinity of Jesus, his identification with Yahweh, and worthiness of devotion—unsurprisingly parallels most closely the Christology of the Fourth Gospel, although Hurtado’s consideration of high Pauline Christology contains numerous similarities to the Christology of the Apocalypse as well.[1] Continue reading

Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Implications for Early Christianity (Part I)

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

Shepherd Early ChristianityIt is now the place to examine the implications for early Christianity derived from this study of Revelation. Before proceeding, this project would be remiss to extract the Christology of Revelation from its larger rhetorical and theological aims, which convey to readers that God—through the Messiah Jesus—will fulfill his promises and defeat the forces of evil and wickedness in the world, vindicating with heavenly salvation those who follow the example of the Lamb and do not compromise the good news of Jesus.[1] This larger message stands in the background of all that Revelation reveals about early Christian understandings of the Apocalyptic Lord. This section examines four realms of Christological insight for the earliest hearers and readers of Revelation: devotional practice, coordination with other New Testament Christologies, a binitarian godhead, and the definition of “heresy” and “orthodoxy.” Continue reading

Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Christological Findings

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

Jesus with BibleRevelation’s Christological portrait paints Jesus as Lord through a variety of descriptors—names, images, and actions—but also through devotional identification of Jesus with Yahweh. 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. Continue reading

Jesus in the Apocalypse of John: Hymnic Devotion

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

RevelationConsideration of additional hymnic evidence in Revelation confirms the appropriateness of Jesus’ worship alongside God. While Revelation’s hymns are sometimes less directly Christological than Paul’s adaptations and sometimes are argued to be literary transformation of Ephesian liturgical hymns,[1] the hymns of Revelation 4:8, 11; 5:9–13; 7:9–17; 11:15–18; and 19:1–8 each contribute to John’s recording eschatological songs of praise and the contrast between Jesus and the Imperial Cult.[2] Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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