Visions Of The Glorious Christ -- By: John MacArthur

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 10:1 (Spring 1999)
Article: Visions Of The Glorious Christ
Author: John MacArthur

Visions Of The Glorious Christ

John F. MacArthur, Jr.

The Master’s Seminary

Arguably, the two greatest biblical portraits of the Lord Jesus Christ both appear in the apocalyptic gallery of John’s Revelation. They introduce a magnificent study in contrast. The first (1:9–20) casts the Savior as the comforting Lord of the church bringing encouragement to John and timely reminders to the churches during troubling times. The second masterpiece (19:11–16) pictures the King of kings as Lord of the earth coming to forcefully and permanently reclaim His kingdom from unbelieving rebels. These two scenes do not present an either/or approach to understanding the real Jesus; rather, they reveal the both/and person of Christ. The former still comforts the church today, while the latter terrifying moments still await fulfillment in the future.

* * * * *

One of Dr. Thomas’ noblest efforts to date has been to write a definitive and comprehensive two-volume commentary on Revelation.1 Reflecting years of exegetical labor, he painstakingly made his way through the text with apt consideration for all the issues of interpretation as concisely and thoroughly as any commentator on Revelation. This extensive work shows his love for the Apocalypse and the glory of Christ. Dr. Thomas also directed much of his effort toward pursuing the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ against liberal attacks on His deity. This essay is a tribute to his love for Revelation and for the truth regarding the Lord Jesus.

The Apocalypse of John presents the glory of Christ with the most dramatic and powerful imagery. Two visions of Christ dominate Revelation—one at the start and one near the end. Both are terrifying visions, yet in the first all fear is dispelled; while in the second, the fear is undiminished. They show the same glorious Christ in relation to His church and in relation to His enemies. One

is a vision of encouragement, the other a vision of sheer terror. Together, they present the undiminished glory of the divine Son of God.

By the close of the first century, Christianity had become a hated and despised religious sect in the Roman Empire. Writing to Emperor Trajan early in the second century, Pliny the Roman governor of Bithynia scorned Christianity as a “depraved and excessive superstition.”2 He went on to complain that “the contagion of this superstition [Christianity] has spread not only in the cities, but...

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