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tament. In both there is the same passionate uncompromising temper, the same sense of the absolute distinction between that which is and that which is not Christian. In the Apocalypse it is manifested on the field of history and of conduct; there is war without truce and without quarter between the followers of the Lamb and those of the beast, and the supreme, we might almost say the sole, Christian virtue is fidelity unto death. In the gospel it sometimes seems to be put more abstractly; it is exhibited in the antitheses of light and darkness, life and death, love and hatred. These antitheses, however, are absolute, and they centre round Christ. He who has the Son has life; he who has not the Son has not the life. He who believes on the Son is not condemned; he who believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. In spite, however, of the fundamental affinity of these writings in temper, it will be convenient to examine them apart and to see in each in turn the significance of Christ for the writer's faith.
(a) The Apocalypse
There is a sense in which the Apocalypse might be called the most Christian book in the New Testament. Written at a time of persecution and conflict, every feeling in it is strained and intense; there is a passion in all it asserts of Christ, and in all its longings for Christ, which can hardly be paralleled elsewhere. If what we had to do was to reconstruct the Christology of the writer we might have a difficult task. His picture of Jesus has features which seem to come from the most various sources-Jewish Messianic expectations, resting on the book of Daniel or apocalyptic books of the same kind; the earthly life and the passion of Jesus; the epis
tles of Paul, and possibly even the Jewish speculation of Alexandria. Bousset refers only to one part of the book-the epistles to the seven churches-but his words hold good of the whole when he writes: 'What we have here is a layman's faith, undisturbed by any theological reflexion, a faith which, with untroubled naïveté, simply identifies Christ in His predicates and attributes with God, and on the other hand also calmly takes over quite archaic elements.' It is the writer's faith in Christ we wish to define, and the absence of theology should make our task the easier.
The book is described as the revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him. The subordination of Jesus Christ to God is assumed, but Jesus Christ is for the Church the source and in some sense also the subject of all that is revealed. This is part at least of what is meant in 1910: the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. The inspired voices which are heard in the Christian community are moved by Him and bear witness to Him. But passing from this point, we find at once the fullest revelation of the seer's faith in Christ in what may be called his covering letter, enclosing the epistles of cc. 2 and 3: 'John, to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from him which is and which was and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful Witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood; and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests unto his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they which pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth shall
'Die Offenbarung Johannis, 280.
mourn over Him. Even so, Amen.' What first strikes us here, as it has so often done already, is the co-ordination of Jesus Christ with God and His Spirit. We may say 'His Spirit' quite freely; for whatever may be the genealogy of the expression, 'the seven spirits which are before His throne'-and it can hardly be questioned that it is connected with the Persian Amshaspands-the seven spirits are never separated in the Apocalypse; they have not, as in the Persian mythology, proper names; they are treated as a unity in which the fulness of the divine power is gathered up. The eternal God, the Spirit in its plenitude, and Jesus Christ: this is the sum of the divine reality from which grace and peace come to the churches. No one has in his mind all that a Christian means when he says God unless he has in his mind all that is covered in these three names. For the writer of the Apocalypse, and for the faith by which he lives, Jesus Christ belongs to the sphere of the divine. After naming Jesus he proceeds to describe Him as 'the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth.' Possibly all these words describe Jesus in His exaltation: He is the faithful witness as bearing from heaven that true testimony to God (or to Himself) by which, as we have seen, the prophets of the Christian Church are inspired. But in the doxology which follows there is more than this. The writer turns from the exaltation of Jesus to His passion, and it is the passion, in its motive and its fruits, which inspires his praise. 'Unto Him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins in His blood . . . be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever.' Nothing could be conceived in worship more intense, more passionate and unreserved, than this: it gives to Jesus Christ, with irrepressible abandonment, the utmost that the soul can ever give to God. This is not theology, but worship, and it is here
the interest lies. It is not orthodoxy, it is living faith, and it shows us the place of Christ in the religion of John and of those to whom he wrote. And the Church not only owes to Jesus the wonderful emancipation and exaltation here described-the liberation from sin and the kingly and priestly dignity-it owes to Him also everything for which it still hopes. 'Behold, He cometh with the clouds.' What His coming means it takes the the whole book to tell, but it so includes every Christian hope that all Christian prayers can be briefly comprehended in the words, 'Come, Lord Jesus' (2220).
The vision of the Son of Man in ch. 1 12 ff. is remarkable as applying to Jesus several of the features which in Daniel 7, on which it is based, belong to the Ancient of Days; but what is most remarkable in it is the assumption of divine attributes by the Risen Lord Himself. 'I am the first and the last and the living one, and I became dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of Hades.' This is not the language of the first of the saints, but of one whose relation to believers is quite disparate from any relation they can ever bear to each other. What gives it impressiveness, too, is the fact that it is no mere theologoumenon, no piece of speculative doctrine which has been artificially produced and is without practical consequence; the divine significance of Jesus which is exhibited in it is applied with heart-searching power, in the seven epistles, to everything in the moral life of the Church. Addressed as they are to local communities, and dealing with local conditions, these epistles are almost as directly as the central chapters of the fourth gospel a testimony of Jesus to Himself. They are concerned throughout with Him, and with His relations to the churches, and His interest in them. It is worth while to read them thinking only of the Speaker, or noticing only what is said in
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the first person. 'I know thy works. Thou hast patience and didst endure for My name's sake. I have it against thee that thou hast left thy first love. I will remove thy candlestick out of its place unless thou repent. Thou hatest . . . what I also hate. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life. . . . These things saith the First and the Last . . . Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life. . . . These things saith He that hath the sharp two-edged sword. . . . Thou holdest fast My name and didst not deny My faith even in the days when Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, was slain among you. . . . To him that overcometh will I give of the hidden manna. These things saith the Son of God, who hath His eyes as a flame of fire. . . . I know thy works . . . but I have against thee. . . . All the churches shall know that I am He that searcheth reins and hearts and shall give you each according to your works. . . . What ye have hold fast until I come. And he that overcometh and keepeth My works unto the end, I will give him authority over the nations. . . . These things saith He that hath the seven spirits of God. . . . I know thy works. . . . I have found no works of thine fulfilled before My God. . . . Thou hast a few names in Sardis that have not defiled their garments, and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He that overcometh shall be clothed thus in white garments, and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. . . . These things saith He that is holy, He that is true. . . . Thou hast kept My word and hast not denied My name. I will make them know that I have loved thee. Thou hast kept the word of My patience, and I will keep thee from the hour of temptation. He that overcometh, I will make him a pillar in the Temple