Mud on the Wall: Brainstorming the Apocalypse (LXXXVIII)

August 27, 2010

When we consider the teaching about Christ in the Book of Revelation, the first thing that should be taken into account is the very name of the book given in 1:1: “The revelation (Gk. apokalupsis) of Jesus Christ.”  What does that mean?

It can mean two things: 1) “the revelation that comes from Jesus Christ,” meaning He is the author; or 2) “the revelation about Jesus Christ,” meaning He is its primary character.  Certainly the first sense it true, but, in many respects, so is the second.  Hence, the better understanding seems to be to conclude that both are in play.

The next angle in regard to the Christology of the Apocalypse worth noting is that the book is amazingly complete in regard to an overview of the life and ministry–including His ministry–of Christ.  The beginning of chapter 12 echoes all the way back to Genesis 3 and 37.  There is mention of Jesus being “the faithful witness (or martyr),” His death and resurrection–and 12:5 even speaks of His ascension to heaven.

Since He has been back in heaven, Christ appears as the Son of Man in John’s vision in chapter 1.  He is also seen in heaven in chapter 5, as the Lamb who is worthy to open the scroll.  Then, He is with the 144,00 on the heavenly Mt. Zion at the beginning of chapter 14, as well as on a cloud as the Son of Man in 14:14ff.

As we move into the latter chapters of the book, Christ is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, with His heavenly armies (see 17:14 and 19:11ff.).  However, He is also the bridegroom (ch. 19).  Further, He is the central figure reigning on earth during the 1,000 years in chapter 20, and He and the Father will be with their people for all eternity (chs. 21-22).

The breadth of the names and description attributed to Christ in the Apocalypse is little less than astounding.  Virtually every Messianic title used anywhere in the Bible is found here, as well as a huge proportion of the descriptors.

I could go on at great length about the Person and attributes of Christ seen in the Book of Revelation.  However, the angle that hits me hardest about everything that I see is the beautiful balance portrayed between the divinity and humanity of this completely unique Person.

As “the first and the last,” “the Alpha and the Omega,” etc., He always has been God and always will be.   Since God the Father and God the Holy Spirit are also mentioned a fair amount in the book, it is not as if Jesus Christ is maximized and They are minimized.  But, the attributes of His God-hood are there for any reader to pick up on, if he or she is paying attention at all.

On the other hand, His humanity is not undermined in any respect.  For example, the human birth of Jesus to Mary is beautifully portrayed at the beginning of chapter 12 and His human suffering and shed blood are mentioned frequently.  The fact that Christ is so often referred to as “the Lamb” is probably intended to enhance the loving, gentle humanity angle of His person.

In closing, though, I think the part of the entire portrait of Christ in the Apocalypse that stands out most to me is His concern for the churches voiced in the mini-letters to the seven churches in chapters 2-3.  Although His remarks are very direct, they are fair and loving and very much in keeping with what He would have said during His earthly ministry.  What that tells me is that, as Hebrews 13:8 tells us, Jesus Christ truly “is the same, yesterday, today, and forever.”  Hallelujah!

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