In Revelation 4-5, John sees a vision of both the Almighty (ch. 4) and then the Lamb (ch. 5). There are many parallels between the two.
- God is sitting on His throne (4:2), while the Lamb hangs by His right side (5:1).
- Twenty-four elders chill around God’s throne (4:4), and there’s the Lamb among them (5:6), being worshiped by them (5:8).
- Before the Creator are the seven spirits of God (4:5), which happen also to be the Lamb’s seven eyes (5:6).
- Four crazy creatures also surround God’s throne (4:6) and bow before the Lamb (5:8).
- Honor and glory is rightfully paid to the Almighty (4:9, 11), but then also to the Lamb (5:12).
Finally, praise is given both to God on the throne and to the Lamb as chapter 5 concludes:
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, singing, “To the one seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the elders fell down and worshiped. (vv.13-14)
As you know, I’ve been reading through Michael J. Gorman‘s Reading Revelation Responsibly the last couple weeks. In chapter 6 of the book, in discussing the above vision, Gorman uses these parallels as a springboard to pronounce Christ’s identity as God. He speaks for himself:
As redeemer [Jesus, the Lamb] is both worthy of the kind of praise due to God and worthy to inaugurate God’s powerful eschatological judgment and salvation. Why? Because in his death he has already manifested the true meaning of power, judgment, and salvation. The work of Christ is the work of God, and vice versa, for Christ, Revelation proclaims, shares in the very identity of God (110).
This has me wondering, though: Does this passage from Revelation (or other christological passages, like Rev 1) so clearly identify Jesus as God, one and the same?
Don’t get me wrong, I think Gorman is dead on to suggest that “the work of Christ is the work of God.” Jesus said as much in John 14:9. “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” Jesus was so in tune with the Lord, that his actions and words could be said to have been God’s very actions and words.
But there’s a difference between being one-and-the-same and being an accurate representative. And I’m wondering if there are enough differences in Revelation 4-5 to point to two unique characters who are so totally on the same page, rather than two sides to the same face (an expression I think I just made up). These days, I’m leaning towards the Christ as representative option.
What do you think? Should I be burned at the stake? Or just run out on a rail?