By: Pete Garcia
As I continue to read and reread the last book in the Bible, the Holy Spirit continues to open my understanding to certain passages in a way that keeps making the reading of it, refreshing and illuminating. If you really want to irk a Pre-Trib Dispensationalist, call the book of Revelation, Revelations. So I understand the title, which in the Greek is where we get the word ‘Apocalupsis’ or Apocalypse, which means to unveil or reveal. Yet, when reading through the book of Revelation itself, there are three separate occasions when Christ is unveiled…each bearing a divinely distinct and unique role and title.
In the Old Testament, Jews who would be king, first had to come from the tribe of Judah. (Isaiah 11; 2 Samuel 7:12-16) We also know, that in order for one to be a priest, one would have to come through the tribe of Levi. (Numbers 17-18) A prophet could be either a king (such as David) or a priest (such as Ezekiel), but a king could never be a priest, nor a priest a king simply due to the separation in the tribes. And that is what makes Christ unique, in that He could fulfill all three roles, without violating His own Law.
A Christophany is what biblical scholars have come to term, an OT appearing of the Pre-Incarnate Christ. Christ appears in the OT on numerous occasions as the Angel of the LORD to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Joshua, etc. These highlight the deity of Christ (who rightfully claimed “Before Abraham was, I AM”), but also foreshadowed certain events that would be played out in the life of Christ (the Ark, or the attempted sacrifice of Isaac). But Christ has many roles and titles, but for the sake of today’s article, we will focus only one three…
Christ the Prophet
When Christ came to earth, He initially came preaching ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand’. (Matt. 4:17). He came as a prophet, not only with signs and wonders, (water into wine, feeding five thousand, walking on water, resurrecting Lazarus, etc.) but He also came declaring the truth of God, and doing so in perfect submission to the Father, so that Israel might turn back to God and be a people, whose hearts’ were right for the Kingdom. They didn’t repent, and He already knew they wouldn’t, but the offer still had to be presented in order that scripture might be fulfilled.
But nonetheless, in Deut. 18:15-18, Moses was pointing toward the Christ who would one day come to Israel. “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of the Lord your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’ “And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. Thus, in the book of Revelation, we see the first unveiling of the glorified Christ to John.
Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. Revelation 1:12-19
He tells John to write the things that he saw, the things which are (the churches), and the things that come after the churches…and thus we have the single most complete, perfect, and final prophetic message given anywhere in the world, the book of Revelation. Even this fulfills Hebrews 1:1-4: God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Christ the High Priest
We know that Jesus came from the tribe of Judah, because the Gospels show Christ’s lineage from both his step-father Joseph (Matthew 1) and his mother, Mary (Luke 3) respectively. But Jesus is also a Priest after the Order of Melchizedek, which preceded the Aaronic and Levitical Priesthood by several hundred years. (Hebrews 7:20-25) We know that upon walking toward John the Baptist to be baptized, John called His cousin ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world’. (John 1:29-30) The typology represented both then, and later, is that He is the spotless, unblemished, innocent lamb that would be sacrificed to God on our behalf. We see him in Revelation chapter 1, walking amongst the candle-stands which represent the churches. We hear in His message to the churches, “I know your works, I know your works, I know your works, which is repeated for all seven churches. (This is how we know that the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches, is for all the churches of the last two thousand years). And in chapter 5, we see Him revealed again…
And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. Revelation 5:6-7
It is Christ who daily goes before the Father on our behalf, and not only defends us from the accusations of Satan (Rev. 12:10), but is our Mediator when we fall and stumble. It is He who not only makes our salvation possible, but also our sanctification by which we grow in Him. (Hebrews 10:10-14) For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time 1 Tim. 2:5-6
Christ the King
It was no mistake that Jesus came from the Tribe of Judah. Only those who came from the tribe of Judah could ever claim to be the rightful heirs to the throne of Israel. So because Christ came thru the tribe of Judah, and because Israel was according to God’s ultimate plan, to be the head of all nations, would of course mean that Christ was at the head of Israel, which was the head of all nations. (Gen. 12:3; Deut. 28:13; Isaiah 2, 11, 60:1-3; Zech. 14:1-8)
When Christ was taken before the Sanhedrin to be unjustly tried and executed, He remained silent before His accusers until they adjured Him by the living God, to declare whether He was the Christ, the Son of God…Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Matt. 26:64
Many attempt to teach that Christ is currently ruling this world and has been since the cross. Yes, victory was wrought at the cross over hell and death, but this world is currently still under managerial control by Satan. (Luke 4:5-6; 1 John 5:19) Christ is currently sitting at the right hand of the Father, awaiting His inheritance. (Psalm 2)
So it is only fitting that we see in Revelation 19, Christ coming in all His power and glory, in His proper role as conquering King, coming to claim what is legally and rightfully His. Although the first Adam lost dominion of this earth, the last Adam, who is Christ (1 Cor. 15:45-49) redeems it; first through the sacrifice of Himself, and then by crushing the enemies of God in battle. Granted, the battle is over before it ever began, but when Christ speaks the word, His enemies are obliterated, and the Antichrist and False Prophet are cast alive into the lake of fire. He then touches down on the Mt. of Olives, splitting it in two (2 Thess. 2:8; Zech. 14:3-4) and His bride, the Church, dressed in fine white linen (Rev. 19:7-8), comes with Him as the ‘armies of heaven’.
Revelation 19:11-16: Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.
Even So, Maranatha!