‘The Word of God’ in the Christmas story and Jesus’ Second Coming from John the Apostles point of View is Grounded in History.

Have we been deceived by the commerce of the Christmas tree and the use of tinsel and bling that makes us like magpies running to and thro building our castles on snow? The real meaning of Christmas is very deep, if we could only see beyond the lights of our Christmas fairy tale.  The Christmas story is no Cinderella theme.  Christmas is about God becoming a person like you and me.  The question is why would God give up his heaven and be willing to be born in a barn?  If you were God, would you do that? Anyhow let us get started and look at John the Apostles World which was full of death and destruction.

I believe that John the Apostle wrote the Gospel, letters, and the Apocalypse.  During his life, he lived through the time of:

  • some cruel Roman rulers,
  • earthquakes such as Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Heracleum (AD 62)
  • and the destruction of the Second Temple (AD 70) where Jesus preached, and the Second Temple was at the heart of Jewish life.

John also saw many of his brothers and sisters in the faith murdered by the State of Rome. Two of those people that were murdered were Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna (Izmir).  There was an unbroken line of succession of believers in the Faith from Our Lord Jesus:

  • John the Apostle
  • Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch
  • Irenaeus

Irenaeus was a student of Polycarp.  These basic historical facts obviously influenced John in his writings.  There were some serious political, economic, theological and geological events taking place around John including the deaths of many Christian Martyrs.  He was also the disciple who took care of Mary the mother of Jesus our Lord.  In the letters of Ignatius there is evidence of this.  So, then we begin looking at Jesus as the Word of God.

Jesus was not ‘a god’, he is God, fully Divine and fully human at the same time.  It is a mystery that the universal Church of Christ accepts these as fact and indeed John names Jesus as the Word of God in the book of Revelations.  I have two key texts found in the writings of John so let us read them:

The first coming (Incarnation)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:1-5

The Second Coming

“He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.” Revelation 19:13

Look at how superior to the angels Jesus is.  The angel’s functionality was working as emissaries and Mediators between Heaven and earth.  They never had the power of creation from nothing.  Angels are creatures just like humans, they had a beginning.  For John Our lord from his Divine side was instrumental with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the Creation of the world.  It is no accident that John started with ‘in the beginning’:

ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν” (from LXX Genesis 1 verse 1)

“ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος” (from John 1)

Even if you do not know Greek one can see that both sentences start the same: ‘ἐν ἀρχῇ’= in the beginning.  The Hebrew Masoretic text also begins with in the beginning:

“1 בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃” Genesis 1:1

My transliteration:

Berosheyth ||bara ELOHIM ||eth ha-shamayim va he-aretz

In the beginning =Berosheyth ||God created = bara ELOHIM ||the heavens and the earth = eth ha-shamayim va he-aretz

So then our Lord had a functionality of Creator at the creation of the world this means that on his divine side, Jesus was the ‘Eternal Son’.   

Reflection on the Christmas meaning of John 1.1

When we dig a little bit deeper on the meaning of Jesus as the Word of God, what it is actually saying is that God became a human being and lived among us. Jesus was no angelic being as an angelic being did not create the world.  God Himself in the economic Trinity created the world.  The Trinitarian God the Father by the two hands of God created the world and all life on it.  There is only One God but as Karl Barth would say there are ‘three modes of being’ in the Godhead.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit were involved in the creation.  The Trinitarian God was also involved in the incarnation of Christ.  The incarnation ‘God becoming a human being’ was the work of the Trinitarian God.  The incarnation was not just the birth story but includes the whole life of Christ up to his death and resurrection. Professor Thomas. F. Torrance goes into detail about this in his book the Incarnation.

Christ is named The Word of God in Revelations

So, we have looked and seen that Jesus as the Word of God was involved with the creation, so it is no surprise that John calls Jesus the ‘Alpha’.  My interpretation of Jesus as the Alpha is do with the Christmas story and his life on earth. 

The last time John speaks of Jesus as the ‘Word of God’ is in the Book of Revelation.   In the Book of revelations:

  • the Harlot Babylon (Rome) had been judged.  (Not the Catholic Church but rulers who professed to be divine)
  • We then have the fourfold Hallelujahs as we see God as the Judge.
  • We see the Lamb of God Jesus marrying his Church.

After this the Second coming of Christ is mentioned and he is called ‘The Word of God’:

“The Coming of Christ

And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16 And on His robe and on His thigh, He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”

19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth, and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.” Revelation 19:11-19

This is a different depiction of Jesus.  In Johns Gospel Jesus was the ‘sacrifice’.  This picture is Jesus as the glorified ‘Word of God’.  This really encourages me in my personal walk with God.  I can look back at the cross at Jesus as the Word of God who died in my place but then with this text as a believer we can look forward to the future with boldness to the same ‘Word of God’ but this time he rides as Judge. Our Lords function was both as sacrifice and as king (Messiah).  My focus however is on Revelations9:13, Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says:

“13. vesture dipped in blood—Isa 63:2 is alluded to here, and in Re 19:15, end. There the blood is not His own, but that of His foes. So here the blood on His “vesture,” reminding us of His own blood shed for even the ungodly who trample on it, is a premonition of the shedding of their blood in righteous retribution. He sheds the blood, not of the godly, as the harlot and beast did, but of the blood-stained ungodly, including them both.

The Word of God—who made the world, is He also who under the same character and attributes shall make it anew. His title, Son of God, is applicable in a lower sense, also to His people; but “the Word of God” indicates His incommunicable Godhead, joined to His manhood, which He shall then manifest in glory. “The Bride does not fear the Bridegroom; her love casteth out fear. She welcomes Him; she cannot be happy but at His side. The Lamb [Re 19:9, the aspect of Christ to His people at His coming] is the symbol of Christ in His gentleness. Who would be afraid of a lamb? Even a little child, instead of being scared, desires to caress it. There is nothing to make us afraid of God but sin, and Jesus is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. What a fearful contrast is the aspect which He will wear towards His enemies! Not as the Bridegroom and the Lamb, but as the [avenging] judge and warrior stained in the blood of His enemies.”” Taken from biblehub.com/commentaries/revelation/19-13.htm.

Let us remind ourselves of verse 13 again:

“He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.” Revelation 19:13

Reflection on Revelations 19:13

Jesus here is no Lamb to his enemies.  He is pictured as the Messiah who has just trodden over his enemies.  Babylon the Great Whore (Rome with its evil emperors) who were killing Christians at a whim has now met its fate.   Here Jesus is seen as the avenging Judge and the blood that soiled his robe is that of his enemies. 

Reflection on John 1:1 and Revelations 19:13

Jesus came as the Word of God.  In the first place God became a human and humbled himself to be born into a stable where animals were kept and then he humbled himself to death on a cross so that we could be saved from eternal death.

Jesus will come again into the world as the Word of God but this time his function will be as the Messiah to judge his enemies. His enemies were murderers who killed Christians. Jesus’ enemies have brought down their own doom through their own sins.

Final Reflection

I find John the Apostles Christology very interesting because his use of Alpha and Omega does really touch on the Word of God. Christ as the Son of God was involved with the Holy Spirit and the Father at the creation of our world, and it was good.  We then see the Christmas story when the Word of God became a human being and lived among us for a time as a servant and Sacrifice to fix our fallen world.  We then see Jesus, the Word of God at the End of time at the eschaton the final Omega the Judge of the living and the dead.

A call to repentance

In today’s society it is very fashionable to turn away from God and to worship ourselves through various forms of Atheisms and agnosticisms. Have you stopped and thought about who Jesus is?  There are three choices:

  1. Was Jesus mad?
  2. Was Jesus a liar?
  3. Was Jesus who he claimed to be?

For me the evidence is overwhelming that Jesus was who he claimed to be.  His disciples believed in him so much that most of them were killed or imprisoned for him.  He healed people and scholars such as Josephus wrote about Jesus.  The effects of Jesus’ teaching is still with us today throughout the whole world. Christmas time is a time of reflection on the birth and incarnation of Jesus Christ.  Christmas time is not only about Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt.  The Christmas story is much bigger, and this Weeks Advent blog is about looking behind the pretentious tinsel picture of Jesus.  This Week we followed the Apostle John’s picture of Jesus as the Word of God.  Jesus as the King, Jesus as the Judge, and as the Judge who was willing to take our judgement on himself.  There are not many judges in the world that would be willing to take the place of the convict.  This is what Jesus did. Let us not believe in a make-believe fairy tale in which the shops get rich on Christmas season by giving us a glossy page.  

Like magpies we fly to this pretentious image that the media gives us, and this is so disrespectful towards people of faith. I am not saying there is anything wrong with these trappings of Christmas time as it can be a time to teach our young ones about the birth of Jesus but let us move on to maturity and dig deeper into the mountain full of spiritual jewels that will help us get closer to God in a living relationship.

2 Responses to “‘The Word of God’ in the Christmas story and Jesus’ Second Coming from John the Apostles point of View is Grounded in History.”

  1. Elements of Christian Breakthrough Says:

    Every spirit, that acknowledges, that Jesus Christ being God himself, came in the flesh, that is in a human body like a man, is from God… if that spirit does not believe that, that is the spirit of Antichrist..

    • weaver1has Says:

      What does that verse mean to you and why did John say it?
      In John’s world Christians were being dragged to the law courts courts for their faith and were murdered. John had first hand experience of this and he knew the spirit of the age. There are similarities and differences between his age and our age. Let us focus on Jesus our Lord as our Lord. Thanks for sharing 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: