In my first post, I noted two theological emphases that come through very forcefully in the book of Revelation, regardless of the hermenuetical approach that one adopts in reading Revelation: (1) a high Christology and (2) a glorious vision of heaven. Stated negatively, this means that the book of Revelation is a strong corrective for two very serious and very common theological errors: (1) a wimpy Jesus and (2) a boring heaven. As I have continued reading, I would add at least two more emphases to this list: (3) a call for Christian perseverance amidst suffering; and (4) God’s sovereignty over history and nations. I have also been struck by how much the book of Revelation draws from the Old Testament. Revelation does not quote from the Old Testament as much as some other New Testament books, but there are constant allusions and echos: John’s whole thought world is informed by Old Testament imagery and pattern. He especially draws from Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Zechariah.
In this post I am going to focus on the first of these emphases: Revelation’s high Christology. In my next post on Revelation I will focus on the second emphasis I have noticed in the book, its glorious vision of heaven.
Here is a list of all the names that Jesus Christ is called in Revelation that I have compiled as I have been reading through:
The faithful witness (1:5). The firstborn of the dead (1:5). The ruler of the kings of the earth (1:5). The First and the Last (1:17). The living One (1:18). (He) who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands (2:1). The First and the Last, who died and came to life (2:8). (He) who has the sharp two-edged sword (2:12). The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze (2:18). He who searches mind and heart (2:23). (He) who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars (3:1). The holy One, the true One, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one will open (3:7). The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation (3:14). The Lion of the Tribe of Judah (5:5). The Root of David (5:5). The Lamb (5:6). The Lamb who was slain (5:12). One who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron (12:5). (One) seated on the cloud like a son of man, with a golden grown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand (14:14). Lord of Lords and King of Kings (17:14). The Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (22:13). The root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star (22:16).
Here are the two lengthiest physical descriptions of Jesus Christ in Revelation:
In the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
The one sitting on (the horse) is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
I am so glad for the study I have put into Revelation in the past few weeks. This book has greatly increased my love and reverence for Jesus Christ. During times of corporate worship, its helpful to remember that the Jesus we are singing to is not in a state of humiliation, but glory and power, like these passages describe. Revelation helps us recapture this glorious vision of Christ that we need so urgently.