Revelation

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revelation







Contents







Contents...................................................................................................................................1


Introduction..............................................................................................................................2


The Risen
Christ.......................................................................................................................2


Christ Directs the
Churches.......................................................................................................4


Christ the
Lamb........................................................................................................................5


The Wrath of
Christ..................................................................................................................7


The Return and Reign of
Christ.................................................................................................8


Conclusion...............................................................................................................................9


Bibliography...........................................................................................................................10




























Introduction


The Book of Revelation is the perennial culmination of the New Testament canon. It is a
work of profound theology, but overall, it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ (Revelation
1:1) and any commentary cannot neglect this fact; it fills all understanding of the book.
Christ is present in visual representations, in titles used of Him, and functions ascribed
to Him (Guthrie, 1987, p. 39).


The risen Christ

The portrayal of Jesus in the Book of Revelation is dramatically different to that of the
gospels. No longer is the second person of the Trinity restricted, having surrendered
temporarily the voluntary use of His divine attributes (Philippians 2:5-8). Rather than
being one who thirsted (John 19:28), hungered (Matthew 4:2) and sweat drops like blood
(Luke 22:44), the Christ of Revelation is unparalleled (Guthrie, 1987, p. 41) and stands
in the midst of the seven Churches:


"Dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around his
chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes
were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and His
voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In His right hand He held seven
stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was
like the sun shining in all its brilliance (Revelation 1:13-16)."


Jesus' mission on earth has been accomplished. Just before finally dying on the cross He
declared, "It is finished" (Revelation 19:30). At this time He cancelled the code that was
against us (Colossians 2:14) and disarmed the powers and authorities, making a public
spectacle of them (Colossians 2:15). Having done this, in Revelation, He is revealed as
having wrested the keys of death and Hades (Revelation 1:18). As Jesus explains to John,
He is the First and the Last. He is the Living One. He was dead, but behold, He is alive
for ever and ever (Revelation 1:17-18). As Wilson (n.d., p. 74) comments, "Christ's was
not the resuscitation of the body - it was complete victory over death."

Jesus humbled Himself and took upon Himself the nature of a servant (Philippians 2:7). He
clothed Himself in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3), being found in appearance as
a man (Philippians 2:8). But now, just as Christ prayed that the Father would glorify Him
with the glory He had with the Father before the world began (John 17:5), God has exalted
Him to the highest place and given Him the name that is above every name (Philippians
2:9).

Not only is Jesus the First and the Last, He is the faithful witness, the first-born from
the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5). He is the Bright
Morning Star (Revelation 22:16). He is the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and
who is to come, the Almighty (Revelation 1:8), the Beginning and the End (Revelation
22:13). Since alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, it is
not difficult to imagine that these last titles are equivalent in meaning with "the First
and the Last". What is interesting, is the fact these are also the sole designations of
God which appear in Revelation (1:8; 21:6). Christ possesses the fullness of deity
(Colossians 2:9), but these designations express more than this mere fact. Bauckham (1993,
p. 27) explains:

"In the form, 'the first and the last', the designation derives from Isaiah, where it
occurs, as in Revelation, as a divine self-designation: 'I am the first and the last;
besides me there is no god' (44:6); 'I am he; I am the first, and I am the last'
(48:12; cf. also 41:4). . . . the designation encapsulates the understanding of
the God of Israel as the sole Creator of all things and sovereign Lord of history,
which. . . . [Isaiah] so magnificently expounds and asserts polemically against
the idols of Babylon. Unlike human-made gods, this God is the utterly
incomparable One, to whom all nations are subject, whose purpose none can
frustrate (cf. Isa. 40:12-26). It is precisely this exclusive monotheistic faith that
determines the prophetic outlook of Revelation. Hence the unique importance
of the designation: 'the Alpha and the Omega'. God precedes all things, as their
Creator, and he will bring all things to eschatological fulfilment. He is the origin
and goal of all history."

This is the risen Christ in the Book of Revelation; this is the risen Christ for the rest of time.


Christ directs the Churches


Jesus directed John to write to the angels of each of seven prominent Churches in the Asia
Minor of the time (Revelation 2-3). Possibly the "angels" refer to supernatural beings,
potentially protecting the Churches, but it is more likely that aggeloj here means human
messengers (such as the leaders of the Churches), just as it does in James 2:25 and Luke
9:52. At any rate, both the angels and the Churches belong to Christ; He holds the angels
in His hand (Revelation 1:16, 20; 2:1) and He walks amongst the Churches (Revelation 1:13;
2:1). According to Rienecker and Rogers (1976, p. 815) peripateo (walks among) implies
that the Lord patrols the ground and

is ever on the spot when He is needed; His presence is not localized but is coextensive
within the Church. Goswiller (n.d., p. 14) draws a comparison with the location of the
tabernacle in the midst of the camp in the Old Testament.

Jesus loves His Church; indeed, it was for its members that He died (John 3:16; Romans
5:8-9). For each of the seven Churches, apart from Laodicea, Jesus had a word of
encouragement. He is attentive - He knows their deeds (Revelation 2:2; 2:19; 3:1; 3:7;
3;15), their afflictions and their poverty (Revelation 2:9), where they live (Revelation
2:12), and their love, faith, service and perseverance (Revelation 2:19). For these
things, Christ commends the Churches.

Yet, He who commends also searches hearts and minds, and will repay each according to
their deeds (Revelation 2:23). For each Church, apart from Smyrna and Philadelphia, comes
a rebuke. Yet, Christ quickly follows each of these with an exhortation and then a
promise. The smallest and most insignificant Church is assured of Christ's presence
(Wilson, n.d., p. 77).

Elsewhere in Revelation, an angel declares, "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of
prophecy" (Revelation 19:10). Just as is evident from the letters to the Churches, the
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