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The Connection in-between the Gospel of John and Revelation

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

Overview of John

John gospel begins way earlier in history than the other gospels begin, John goes back to the creation of the world and humanity. What is the significance of the beginning of the gospel is that in ancient biography the beginning of the biography doesn’t start with the start of life but the start of their public relevance. Therefore, John sees Jesus working all throughout human history Jesus has been at work much longer than His thirty-three year incarnate life, He’s been at work since the very beginning.

As the face of the eagle that we see in John’s Gospel starting from creation fits very well because the eagle in the middle eastern culture outside of Israel many time was a creature of the gods. How this fits the entire Gospel is because John shows us that Jesus is the Son of God who came restore the cosmos and save all humanity from the powers of Sin and Death.

“John’s story of Jesus is nothing less than a Life of the cosmos.While the word cosmos appears a few times in the other gospels, John uses it nearly eighty times. His portrait of Jesus is painted on a cosmic scale.”

First John establishes that Jesus has power from God, then the second half of the book Jesus openly proclaims that He is the Son of God. The entire book hinges on the raising of the dead of Lazarus. Where the book turns and Jesus greatest miracle not including the resurrection is this. What the resurrection of Lazarus tells us is that Jesus is going to lay down his life for his people and that Jesus will raise from the dead in order for His followers to experience the same resurrection.

Symbolism of Revelation

Reading Revelation with symbolism in mind is vital because many readers of Revelation think of this book different than the rest of Scripture. The rest of Scripture is timeless truth while Revelation is all about the future and has no real affect today. When reading Revelation we must connect it to the rest of Scripture. Revelation is apocalyptic literature which draws from the images first used by the prophetic writings in the Hebrew Scriptures. Revelation is bringing the themes of those prophetic books to the forefront once again and connecting them to the kingdom in which Jesus has brought to us. Just like any good book the confusion bring all the themes and events in the book to a close answering all the important questions. One of the symbols in Revelation is the mark of the beast and the mark of the priest. Many people are searching for the mark of the beast today when they read that literally but forget about the mark of the priest which is even more important. Therefore the main con to reading this symbolism with a literal translation is the stress it brings people about everything being the mark of the beast and forgetting the hope of the mark of the priest. Metaphorical translation of this always must be associated with reality and not just metaphorical but we are to live out the call on our lives as followers of Jesus as royal priest who rule in His authority until He returns to claim His throne.

Message for Today

The message of all Johnnine literature that is most needed in the church today is found in John 3 and 4 is speaking the same message to the Jew and Gentile. Jesus is speaking to both Nicodemus and the woman at the well that people of the Messiah are not going to follow certain rules and just have an improved version of the covenant but followers of the Messiah are going to be reborn and made new through the Spirit. Jesus says in John 4:23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth…” This is important to both narratives because this shows that this isn’t a new idea Jesus had but that Jesus is fulfilling the promise to restore Humanity. That word truth in the greek is alēthia which primary definition is, “Truth, verity, reality, conformity to the nature and reality of things.” Why this is important is because what Jesus is saying is that people of the Kingdom are going to worship God like they were originally designed because that is truth, the reality in which God designed. Humans in choosing their own definitions of good and evil have distorted the truth and Jesus is coming to restore by causing us to that by filling humanity with the Spirit which will cause people to experience a rebirth, a re-creation, be made brand new. John 3:5 Trulfy, truly I say to you, unless one is from of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The interpretation of John 3:5 that I have heard the most is the water is salvation and then after salvation the Holy Spirit fills you but in the greek we see that this is not the case. Water and Spirit are not separate but rather they are one of the same. “The expression ‘of water and the Spirit is best paraphrased as ‘of water which is the Spirit.” The Spirit is always connected to liquid illustrations and water is one of the most common illustrations of the Spirit in Biblical literature. Separating water and Spirit in this Scripture would not measure up to the rest of the Biblical language about the Spirit.

Going into chapter four of John Jesus continues to use this water illustration with the woman at the well. Again we see a person who is thinking in an earthly perspective while Jesus shifts the focus to the kingdom of heaven and again talks about entering this kingdom by means of water, contrasting the physical water in the well to the water Jesus is offering which is the Spirit. Now there are disagreements on where exactly the dialogue between where the dialogue between Nicodemus and Jesus end. Talbert says that it ends in verse 12 but the New American Standard Bible has all the way until verse 21 in red meaning the dialogue ends in verse 21 according to The New American Standard Bible. No where in the English or Greek does there seem to be a break therefore there is no reason to think verse 12 is the end of the dialogue. With the interpretation that the dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus ends in verse 21, the dialogues between the woman at the well and Nicodemus end in the same way Jesus death and resurrection being the answer. That humanity must be reborn of the Spirit but this all happens in light of the death, resurrection and ascension of the Son of God. Once we believe what John is communicating about Jesus through both these stories that “Jesus is more than a rabbi, a teacher, a man sent from God, or a prophet. He is the Messiah to all peoples, the Savior in what John terms the ‘world’.” The Spirit baptizes at the moment of salvation and begins the new creation work, and we are reborn into the kingdom.

Sources used:

Burridge, Richard A. Four Gospels, One Jesus: a Symbolic Reading. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014.

Spiros Zodhiates, Warren Baker , and Joel Kletzing, eds., Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible: Key Insights into God's Word: NASB, New American Standard Bible (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2008).

Talbert, Charles H. Reading John: a Literary and Theological Commentary on the Fourth Gospel and the Johannine Epistles 103. Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys Pub., 2005.

Selvidge, Marla J. “Nicodemus and the Woman with Five Husbands.” Proceedings 2 (1982): 63–75.

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