Sunday, April 29, 2007

Is Jesus God? Part 7

Today we examine the way that John, the disciple who reclined on Jesus' breast (cf. John 13:23), described the person of Jesus in the book of Revelation. (If you have any questions about a particular text that addresses Jesus' identity feel free to ask it in the comments section.)

Revelation

The disciple who Jesus loved is also in accord with the other biblical writers regarding the deity of Christ. In addition to his masterful apologetic[37] regarding the life of Christ, John continued to bear witness to the fact that Jesus was God. This can be seen clearly in the book of Revelation[38]. In Revelation 1:8 we are told that God is “the Alpha and the Omega…who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” This is clearly in reference to God the Father. The statement “the Alpha and the Omega” is a literary device called a merism[39] which highlights the fact that God is in control of all of history.[40] What is intriguing about this description of God is that the exact same phrase is used by Jesus Christ to describe Himself in Revelation 22:13.
Revelation 1:8
Revelation 22:13
This is an extremely strong claim that Jesus makes which points to Him being of “equal deity with God the Father.”[41] Not only is Jesus Christ divine, but by implication He is “sovereign over all of history and all of creation, Jesus is the beginning and the end.”[42]
John also points to Christ’s deity throughout the book of Revelation by showing that Christ is worthy to receive worship. In Revelation 5:12 we are told that thousands and thousands of heavenly beings and angels are worshipping Jesus saying “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” John then says (v.13) that he “heard every creature in heaven and on earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” “Christ is…accorded the universal worship offered to God the Father, thus clearly demonstrating his equality in deity.”[43] What makes this scene all the more significant as an attestation of Christ’s deity is what happens to John later in the book. In Revelation 19:10, John is so awestruck by an angelic being that he “fell down at his [the angel’s] feet to worship him.” However, John is promptly rebuked and told to “Worship God.” The fact that Jesus Christ is so clearly portrayed as being worshipped throughout the book of Revelation shows that Christ is God. Thus we see that John is in consensus with Paul, Peter, the author of Hebrews, and James regarding the deity of Christ.

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