Imagery in the Apocalypse: Rev 2.1

18 10 2007

I promise – thoughts on McLaren’s new book are coming, I’ve just got a really busy week with class.

Now to the actual post….

You can’t tell me that the Apocalypse of the prophet John is literal. From the beginning of the work, John uses vivid, spectacular language. I’m working on an exegesis of Rev 2.1-7 for preaching 1 class right now, and simply from the first verse in this passage we can see John’s fantastic portrayal of the Son of Man:

These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands….

Check it out – the Christ is “holding” in his “right hand” the “seven stars.” First of all, we have to note that the previous verse tells us that the seven stars and the seven lampstands are the seven spirits of the churches and the seven churches respectively.  Clearly – this is poetic, imaginative imagery.  The Greek word for “holds” has the connotation of having power, further illustrated by the use of “right hand.”  Anytime you see a reference to the right hand in the Bible, it is a declaration of strength.  So, we see that Christ has power.  We see that Christ is in control.  And in the oral culture culture in which it was written, the imagery of holding stars and walking among golden lampstands offers a notion of grandeur.

And not only are we given a sense of Christ’s other-ness (that is, his holiness), but the text reveals that he walks “among” or “in the midst of” the churches.  He is with the church.  We know that he is in control, and we know that he is with us!

The imagery used in this seemingly simple verse offers a picture of a holy Christ who is deeply concerned for his people, who walks among his people.

And as we see later on in the text, the Christ who holds us and who is with us scolds us and beckons us and encourages us.  He calls us to follow….

more to come

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