What Does Revelation Say about Jesus Christ?

The person of Jesus frames the book of Revelation. In a previous post I argued that the major theme of Revelation is worship, so it is no surprise that the object of this worship is often Jesus as the Messiah, the Lamb of God.

The book begins with John’s vision describing Christ in terms of a Theophany (1:12-18). Chapter 19 Christ returns to this world as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (19:16). The most common description of Jesus in the book of Revelation is as a “Lamb,” appearing some 28 times in the book (Rev 5:6, 12-13). This is a natural extension of the theology of the Gospel of John, which clearly describes Jesus Christ as the perfect Sacrificial Lamb to save the world from its sins (John 1:29, 36).

Obviously the image of a Lamb was intended to evoke a sacrificed animal. When no one is found worthy to open the scroll in Revelation 5, John weeps bitterly. And angel tells him that the “Lion of Judah” has triumphed and his worthy to open the scroll. But when John looks to see the Lion of Judah, he sees the “Lamb that was slain.” This lamb is on the throne of God ready to receive the scroll.

The description of the Lamb is somewhat unexpected – seven horns and seven eyes. There is no “lamb” imagery associated with the Messiah in Judaism, but it is an important them for the gospel of John. The seven eyes may allude to the number of times Christ says that he “sees” in the letters to the seven churches (Rev 2:2, 9, 13, 19; 3:1, 8, 15). That the Lamb was slain may allude to imagery of the messiah as a lamb “lead to the slaughter” in Isa 53:7.

While this Lamb brings salvation to the world, he is also the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He returns as a judge over the nations that oppose God (Rev 5:5, 19:15). This is intentionally ironic since a lamb is not a good symbol for judgment. But the Christ is both a sacrifice and a judge. Taking the Johannine literature as a while, Jesus as the Lamb of God is the subject of the gospel of John, while the image of Jesus as a conquering king is the subject of Revelation. Both roles are important in John’s theology of Jesus as Messiah, Son of God.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus is equal to God and equally worthy of the praise of all creation. John intentionally equates the “one who sits on the throne” and the Lamb by using the same words applied to God in 4:11 to the Lamb in 5:12-13. In 7:10-12, the worshipers declare that salvation belongs to “Our God, who sits on the throne” and to the Lamb. Both God and the Lamb are “worthy of praise.

Bibliography. David Aune has an excursus on Christ as Lamb of God (Revelation 1:367ff ). See also C. K. Barrett, “The Lamb of God” NTS 1 (1954-55) 210-18; N. Hillyer, “‘The Lamb’ in the Apocalypse.” EvQ 39 (1967) 228-36.

27 thoughts on “What Does Revelation Say about Jesus Christ?

  1. Nice statement Phil! Christ the Lion and the Lamb, it seems theology today has lost Christ the ‘Lion of Judah’. Perhaps in fact it has been lost as far back as Augustine, and even our Reformers?

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  2. It is interesting that to see how John brings Christ into the book of Revelation. His constant use of metaphor brings out some interesting aspect of Jesus as Christ. If I am not mistaken ( which I probably am) Jesus is never referred to by name. John is obviously trying to communicate the importance of Christ as sacrifice and Christ as judge through the use of these metaphors. Christ the lamb brings redemption as shown in John’s gospel (1:29). But Christ the lion is a conqueror (Revelation 5:5). As pointed out, John turns to see the Lion in Revelation 5 and then sees a Lamb instead, the Lamb who was slain. This shows that both sacrifice and conqueror are both found in Christ.

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  3. I love the imagery here. I picture the sacrificial lamb an the “lion of Judah” being one and the same. John uses the lamb as describing Jesus. He is comparing Jesus to a sacrificial lamb. Jesus is the sacrifice. However, Jesus is also the “lion of Judah”. He will come and destroy all evil and judge the nations that oppose God. The lamb who was slain will return as a judge and a lion. I love how John brings out both the lamb and the lion imagery for Christ. John seeks to show that Jesus is the salvation for the world. He also seeks to show that Jesus is worthy of all of our praises. He is the mighty lion and the mighty king. It’s great to think of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb. I love thinking off Him in this way. I love picturing Him as my savior; the one who paid all of my debts, who sacrificed himself that I may live. It is also important, however, to not forget that Jesus is the Lion, the Judge and the King of kings.

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  4. These passages direct readers to the centrality of Christ. Jesus Christ should be the focus of every believer. They should lean and trust on Him. Christ is the victor. He will and has defeated Satan, sin, and death. He was crucified on the cross for our sins; hence, the imagery of Jesus as a slain lamb. We have hope and assurance of our eternity in heaven because of Christ. He is worthy of all our praise and thankfulness.

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  5. My kids are reading a book about Revelation right now and the first thing it stated was that if Jesus isn’t the central theme of your study of the book, you are wasting a lot of time! It’s easy to get lost in that book but you are correct, if Jesus remains at the center of it, there is so much to get out of it!

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  6. If you say, “could be” then I can agree. John the Baptist is not the only one who can use Lamb of God language. Have you read the introduction to J. Massyngberde Ford’s commentary on Revelation? She argues the core of Revelation is the preaching of John the Baptist.

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  7. I have always been apprehensive when approaching the book of Revelation. I am unsure if I just did not want to study it because I knew it would be confusing or if maybe I was just fearful of what would actually take place in the future. Revelation seemed to just be a judgmental book. A book where people would reap what they sowed. When I finally had the opportunity to take a class on Revelation I found that Jesus was truly the center of the book. Jesus is the Shepherd Messiah. Revelation contains a lot of persecution and one could wonder how a loving God could let His people go through something like that. Revelation, centered on Jesus, shows Jesus as shepherding and protecting. Through all of the suffering that people go through, Jesus is there because he cares for His people. This is shown throughout the book of Revelation.
    -McKenzie McCord-

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  8. This is a very interesting post of how Jesus is portrayed through the book of Revelation. Revelation 5 provides a fantastic detail of Jesus in the book, I find it really cool that the lamb is portrayed as a lion, because the two types of animals are totally different from each other. The lion is a big strong animal, and the lamb is a small little weak animal, but when Jesus died as the lamb he became the lion through his death. It is amazing that we are able to worship Jesus just as how we worship God, because in Revelation they are seen as equal, and both are equal of praise.

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  9. The imagery in here blows my mind. I always found it creepy that a sheep had seven eyes in this text. It makes sense that it is representing Jesus seeing. I also, love the reference to God being portrayed as a lion and lamb. God is a gentle father, but a protector as well. He is going to be defend us and love us fiercely. I love how the imagery can really expand on that.

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  10. Through out scripture, Jesus is described in many ways such as, the son of man, the son of God, the king of kings, the Lord of Lord, messiah, and many other ways but in revelation as stated in the above blog post Jesus is described as the sacrificial lamb and the Lion of Judah. This is so significant and important to know in order to understand the return of Christ. Why then we ask is Jesus described as the Lamb of God, well of course as explained above because he is the perfect sacrifice to cover all the sins of the world. since he is the perfect sacrifice this means that he is the one who can open the scroll. He is also described as the lion of the tribe of Judah because he is also able to overcome the grave and he is the judge of the world. Jesus being described in this way points to many of if not all of his attributes. It points to his righteousness, justice and grace overall.

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  11. The theme seen in the description of Jesus throughout Revelation is similar to its description of God. He is the one that receives all honor, glory, and praise. When John fins out that no one is worthy to break the seals and begins to weep (3:2-4), it is only when he finds out that the Lamb is worthy that he and the other characters in the vision begin to give praise to the Lamb. This is similar to how God is worshipped because He is the only thing in the universe that is worthy of worship. By making Jesus equivalent to God in these passages through the worship the receive and the power displayed, our understanding of the trinity and Jesus’ divinity is supported. This confirms our belief that Jesus is not only the Son of God, but one with God as well, making them equally powerful and worthy of praise. The imagery of the Lamb also supports the idea of Jesus as the sacrificial offering for our sins, a concept that would have been clear and carried some importance for the people of Israel. Not only is He the sacrificial Lamb, but He is also the Lion of Judah. He poured out his own blood for our sins, but through this he defeated death and conquered evil, making his strength and power align with the image of the Lion.

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  12. I thought it was good to see the book of Revelation as a frame of Jesus. It speaks about him being both the sacrificial and judge. The book of Revelation paints us a good picture of Jesus being the King and the Lord of all. I think Revelation is just a mild fraction of describing Jesus and his position as a conquered king. As a believer, we should see and accept Christ as both a lamb and lion of Judah. For this reason, is the fact that we should not take God’s grace granted and to have the reverence of God in our hearts. We should not come with a lukewarm approach to him, because if we were given an opportunity to meet with a royalty on earth, for example, Queen Elizabeth of England, do we enter her court with common manners (as in lacking recognition and respect) or do we come with the approach of honor and sincere? The point here is, to recognized Jesus positions not just the Lamb or the lion, but as in high honor and respect that we take the consideration of straighten our perceptions of who Jesus is and how the Bible speaks volume of him.

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  13. In Revelation, the image of Jesus is evoked as both a lamb and a lion. The symbol of the lamb symbolizes, as aforementioned, that Christ was the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the entire world. Christ is simultaneously described as the “lion of Judah” in reference that while he is a loving and caring God, he is also a warrior God, as well as a righteous and just judge, who will reckon judgment on those who did evil and chose to not believe in Him. Until that time, Jesus, who is in the midst of the throne of God, will guide those who do in fact choose to love and believe in Him, essentially acting as a shepherd does to a flock of sheep, watching over, protecting, and interceding for them. The somewhat unusual references to the Lamb of God as having “seven horns and seven eyes” (Revelation 5:6). This has different meanings. Seven is a number which is seen as symbolizing completeness. Horns in the ancient world, as well as the act that the lamb has seven of them, symbolize that God possesses great power (ESV, p. 2470, footnote 5:6-7), and the seven eyes references His all-knowing wisdom/knowledge (ESV, p. 2470, footnote 5:6-7). God will destroy and devour evil doers who reject and blasphemy Him with their words and lives. God will also however, show grace, love, gentleness and mercy to those who humble themselves and accept His free of salvation.

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  14. I honestly believe that it is very interesting to see how Jesus Christ is described. He is described as a Lamb. Not any Lamb, He is described as the perfect sacrificial Lamb to save the world from its sins. (John 1:29, 36). This verse alone shows how important Jesus Christ is. It is important for everybody to know that Christ’s sacrifice was and still is life-changing. I honestly believe that the book of Revelation focuses on Jesus Christ and this is very important because He is the one who brought salvation to the world. There is no one else like Him. As Christians, we often speak about the importance of Jesus Christ, however, it is important not to just talk about it, but to understand what it means to us. It is important to know that there is no one else who would have sacrificed for us if it wasn’t for Him. Jesus Christ is unique and He loves us. Sometimes I asked myself; What if He would have not died for us? What would the world look like today? When I ask myself these questions, I quickly realize that He died for our sins because He really loves us. It is crazy to know that even though we are sinners, He still died for our sins. With this in mind, we should honor Him and recognize His love towards us.

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  15. I have always viewed the book of Revelation as using a lot of imagery. I believe that John is writing this book or letter to help the suffering Christians during this time. Just like them, John was also suffering for being a faithful servant to God. The imagery used in Revelation is most in correlation with Jesus. The hardships in which the people are facing are consuming them. They needed to identify the imagery provided in Revelation so that they were able become less defeated by what was going on around them. For example, in Revelation 19:11 it states, I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.” Jesus would return. John encourages his readers to b hopeful and mindful that the second coming will happen, and that Jesus will punish the evil in the world. I think that Jesus was the common theme throughout this book because He is truly what the people needed to be reminded of. They needed to understand that this time of suffering was temporary, and that God’s promise of eternal goodness still existed. Jesus is made equal to God, like you pointed out. I think this is so that the people of the time understand that Jesus will be their savior again one day and rescue them from the evil in which they are enduring.

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  16. Jesus is in the beginning and in the end. He was there when the universe was created and he is there when the end times come. The book of Revelation talks about Jesus throughout the book. Jesus is the Lamb of God and the lamb comes into revelation a few times, including Revelation 5:6. The Lamb comes to save the people because in the imagery, the lamb is the Messiah and the Messiah is Jesus and he will be coming back. In the beginning of Revelation, there was a scroll that no one was worthy of opening, but God had a plan to place someone who is worthy to open the scroll. This reminds me about a song called Is he worthy by Chris Tomlin. Yes he is! Jesus is worthy of all our praise because he is the son of God and is God. They are one together. He is worthy of everything because he has freed us from the bondage of sin and is coming back to bring us to his home in heaven. Jesus is also the judge as well. He will judge the people of the nation as well as bring salvation to the people. Jesus is everywhere in the Bible from the beginning to end and he is always there. He is worthy of it all because he is the Lamb of God who was slain and is worthy to open the scroll that no one else could.

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  17. Just like you said in your other post, “Revelation as Worship,” it is fitting that if worship is the theme of Revelation then we need someone to be worshipped within the text. This is where Jesus, the son of God, comes in. He is depicted as the lamb throughout this chapter and is used in imagery to show He was the sacrificial lamb that took our burdens and our sins on the cross. The theme of Jesus seen in the book of Revelation also plays into our beliefs of the trinity. God and Jesus are one in the same person so both are worthy to be praised. Jesus is the lamb of God and the lion of Judah. He is humble and strong, He is quiet and loud. We can see both characteristics of this through who Jesus is. He took on our sins and died on the cross for us and was laid in the tomb as the sacrificial lamb, but three days later rose and declared He is lord like the roaring lion. Jesus is both the sacrificial lamb and the judge who will judge us at the end of time. Not only is Jesus equal to God in the book of Revelation, but He is equal to God for all time. The trinity tells us that all—Holy Spirit, Son of God, and God the Father are equal parts that all deserve our worship and praise.

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  18. It is an incredible description of Jesus when it is said that he looked and saw a lamb standing as if it were slain. It is so cool how John makes it a point to mention that the lamb was not laying on the ground, but he was standing! This in of itself is an awesome picture as Christ as a lamb that has been clearly slaughtered, a lamb that bears the marks of a sacrificed lamb yet is standing and walking! It is so cool how when John turned to look, expecting to see a mighty lion, saw the slaughtered lamb. It is through Jesus’s work as the Lamb that he is called worthy to open the scroll. The piece that makes himself worthy is because he was the perfect Lamb who was killed for the sins of many, it is not the Lion aspect of Jesus that makes him worthy. He is allowed to act as the Lion of Judah because he was first the sacrificial lamb!

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  19. The book of Revelation talks about so much and cover so many different topics that it is hard to decide which one is the main topic. But the truth is, it is just as much about end times and the coming days as it is about God and Jesus deserving worship for their power, majesty, righteousness, and sovereignty. You wouldn’t automatically think about this book of the Bible being about worship but all throughout the book there are scenes of singing, praying, and sacrificing. These scenes occur because Jesus is the lamb who gave himself on the cross to save us from our sins. They also praise Him because he is the lamb of Judah who will come and save them from their earthly state by opening up the scroll. There are so many reasons why Jesus would be worship and in this book, it gives some specific reasons why. We often think of God being more powerful and worthy of our worship because he created the world and those who live on it, but if we truly believe in the trinity then all three pieces should be considered equal and worthy of our upmost praise and honor.

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  20. What does Revelation say about Jesus Christ? This might not be a surprise, but Jesus is found throughout the entire Bible, so why would Revelation be any different? When I was in High school, my dad was my Sunday school teacher and he went through a study of finding Jesus in the Old Testament. It was really interesting to see the parallels that can be drawn from the Old Testament books and how the showed up again in the New Testament.
    Revelation is clear in its passages that talk about Jesus as the lion and lamb. The lord of lords and king of kings. I found it really interesting that the seven eyes might allude to the seven times Jesus says he sees. Not only that, but Jesus fulfills multiple roles. He is the ultimate sacrifice and ultimately, the only one who can judge everyone fairly.

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  21. I agree that worship, especially in regards to Jesus Christ, is the essential theme in the book of Revelation. I also think though, that there are two other important themes of the book. The first theme that I also find prevalent is the theme of divinity. I think that there is good evidence that John wrote about the divine nature of Jesus Christ. Revelation 22:13 says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” This passage gives a great example of the divine nature of Christ. I believe that this passage is also special because it is one the rare examples of Jesus being called God. This examples, with many others from various sections of the book, is why I think that Christ’s divinity is one of the major themes. I also believe that another theme of the book of Revelation is the theme of Jesus’ second coming. Chapter 22 gives us some great examples of this. “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” (Rev 22:12) This is basically a warning that Jesus will return. So along with worship, I believe that Christs’ divinity and the final warning of his return, are major themes of the book of Revelation.

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  22. Jesus in revelation.
    This was a great Blog post, i specifically enjoyed seeing all the places where Jesus may have come up in the book. This also puts into perspective that the whole book is about Jesus and was given to John by Jesus. This also raises another question in me. How could all of Judaism miss this about their messiah. No I am not totally sure on this, but I know that Judaism follows the torah, which is the first five books of the bible. Now did they ever read the rest of the old testament? Do they hold that text and God inspired? If they only read the Torah, I really can’t blame them, but people throughout our time had prophesied of the messiah coming, and Jesus was able to fulfill so many of those prophecies. Eh even claimed to be the messiah, then rose from the dead. Yet people still doubt him, it just blows my mind. But what are jews to do now? They are waiting for their messiah. Well, revelation explains all of that, and it was even inspired by Jesus.
    I know that I am ignorant to Judaism as a whole, but that’s why I have these questions. I will have to go and do my own research.

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