The purpose of this article is to determine whether the Book of Revelation presents Jesus as God Almighty.
There is no exact equivalent for the modern word “God” in the original Hebrew or Greek of the Bible. The Greek word that is translated “God” is theos. But this word is equivalent to the modern word “god.” The ancient Greeks used theos for their pantheon. Their deities were very different from the God of the Bible. They were essentially just immortal, glorified humans with supernatural powers. The word theos, therefore, was used for any real or fictitious being that is exalted above others. For his reason, the New Testament sometimes translates theos with “god:”
Satan is “the god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4).
“For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Cor. 8:5-6)
In contrast to theos, the modern word “God,” in a Christian context, refers exclusively to the Almighty; the One who exists without cause and who is the Cause of everything that exists. The trinity doctrine claims that God is one Being or substance consisting of three Persons—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit—and that these three Persons are equal in all respects. In other words, all three of them are “Almighty” and all three are the uncaused Cause of all creation. The purpose of this article, therefore, is to determine whether Revelation describes Jesus as the Almighty Creator of all things.
Revelation uses the title “God” only for the Father. It never refers to Jesus as God. On the contrary, by contrasting God and Jesus, it indicates that Christ is a different Person from God and therefore NOT GOD. It contrasts God and Jesus:
- By referring to God AND Christ, for example, “the word of God AND to the testimony of Jesus Christ,” and
- By describing actions in which God and Christ are two different Actors, for example, the woman’s “son … was caught up to God and to His throne.”
Of the 10 times that the New Testament uses the title “the Almighty,” 9 are in Revelation. Revelation always links the title “Almighty” to the title “God” and, therefore, uses it only for the Father; never for Jesus. Furthermore, Revelation explicitly indicates that Jesus is not “the Almighty” by making a distinction between “the Almighty” and Christ, for example:
- “The Word of God. … treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”
- “The Lord God the Almighty AND the Lamb are its temple.”
HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE
Revelation also refers to the Father as “Him who sits on the throne.” Revelation indicates that Christ is a different Person from the One on the throne by contrasting “Him who sits on the throne” and Christ. For example:
- “To Him who sits on the throne, AND to the Lamb.”
- Jesus “took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.”
Since the Father sits on the throne, He is the Supreme Ruler of all creation. Jesus said, “I … sat down with My Father on His throne” (3:21). Even human beings may sit on the Father’s throne, for Jesus promised, “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne” (3:21). Christ and the overcomers, therefore, will rule with God, but the Father will always remain the Supreme Ruler.
Other titles which Revelation reserves for the Father alone are:
- “Him who is and who was and who is to come” and
- “Him who lives forever and ever”
“Him who is” may be related to the title “I AM” (Ex. 3:14).
The worshipers in the heavenly throne room acknowledge the Father as Creator (4:10-11). Elsewhere, the New Testament indicates that God created all things “THROUGH” His Son, but it was God who created. In all things, God works with the creation through His Son. Through the Son, God creates and maintains all things and also saves sinners. Through the Son, the universe learns about and worship God.
In Revelation, “God”—also identified as the “Lord God, the Almighty”—and the Creator is worshiped. Since the titles “God” and “Almighty” are used for the Father alone, and since Revelation identifies the Father as the Creator, this means that the Father must be worshiped.
However, Jesus is also worshiped. Jesus said: “All will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23). As this quote also implies, Jesus is not worshiped independently or co-equal with God. He is worshiped “to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11). We worship the Son, but that does not mean that He is the Almighty Creator; equal with the Father.
SUBORDINATE TO THE FATHER
Revelation presents Jesus as subordinate to the Father by referring to the Father exclusively as:
- The Almighty,
- Him who sits on the throne,
- The Creator and
- The One whom we must worship.
Further indications that Jesus is subordinate to the Father are that:
- God gave Jesus the prophecy which we refer to as “the Revelation of Jesus Christ.”
- Jesus referred to the Father as “My God” (e.g. 3:12).
EQUALITY WITH GOD
Revelation shows that Christ is distinct from and subordinate to God, but Revelation also puts God and Christ together – over against the created universe, for example:
- The 144000 belong to God AND to the Lamb.
- The overcomers will be priests of God AND of Christ.
- God AND Christ will illuminate the New Jerusalem.
- Together, they will be the temple of the New Jerusalem
- Their throne will be in it.
- Christ is worshiped with God.
- Jesus is the first and the last.
In other words, Christ is infinitely above created beings.
An ancient metaphor that was used to explain the nature of Christ is that God is like the sun and the Son is like the rays of the sun. This metaphor maintains the Father as the Source of all things while it describes the Son as the link between God and the created universe.
All things came into being through Him (John 1:2). Through him, God created everything in heaven and on earth (Col. 1:16). We exist through Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 8:6).
God sent the Son into the world that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17). God sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9).
We shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him (Rom. 5:9). Jesus is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him (Heb. 7:24-25).
Through Him, we have access to the Father (Eph. 2:18). It was the Father’s good pleasure to reconcile all things to Himself through Him (Col. 1:19-20).
He disarmed the rulers and authorities through Him (Col. 2:15). Through death, Jesus rendered powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil (Heb. 2:14).
We give thanks through Him to God the Father. (Col. 3:17). Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God (Heb. 13:15).
– END OF SUMMARY –
THE FATHER’S TITLES
Revelation 4 takes us into God’s throne room. In this chapter, Jesus is absent. He enters the throne room only in Revelation 5. Revelation 4, therefore, describes the Father alone. He is described as:
- “Lord God” (4:8; cf. 4:11),
- “Who Was and Who Is and Who Is to Come” (4:8),
- “The Almighty” (4:8),
- “Him who sits on the throne” (4:9),
- “Him who lives forever and ever;” (4:9, 10), and
- Creator (4:11).
These descriptions will now be discussed one-by-one to determine whether Christ is described in the same way.
GOD – THEOS
The word theos is used about 100 times in Revelation. Most instances do not indicate whether this refers to the Father or to the Son or to both, for instance:
“The great wine press of the wrath of God” (14:19), or
“The seal of the living God” (7:2).
However, based on the instances where Revelation does indicate to whom “God” refers, Revelation never refers to Jesus as theos (god or God). On the contrary, by referring to God AND Christ, Revelation implies that Christ is a different Person from God:
- “The word of God AND to the testimony of Jesus Christ” (1:2; similar phrases in 1:1, 9 and 20:4).
- “The commandments of God AND … the testimony of Jesus” (12:17; similar phrase in 14:12);
- “Now … the kingdom of our God AND the authority of His Christ have come” (12:10). For other examples, see 14:4; 20:6; 21:22-23 and 22:1, 3.
Furthermore, Revelation describes actions in which God and Christ are two of the Actors:
“They sang a new song, saying … You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe” (5:9-10).
The woman’s “son … was caught up to God and to His throne” (12:5). (To see that this Child is Jesus, compare this verse with 19:15.)
“The Word of God … treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God” (19:13-15).
These examples show that Revelation consistently makes a distinction between “God” and Jesus. Revelation never refers to Jesus as theos but uses that title only for the Father only. (For a further discussion, see Jesus is not God.)
DOES THE SAME APPLY IN THE ENTIRE NEW TESTAMENT?
Theos is used about 1300 times in the New Testament. The article Jesus is not God shows many clear examples from the other books that theos is used as a name for the Father only. Therefore, when we read of “God” in the New Testament, we must assume it refers to the Father exclusively.
However, in about 7 instances, the New Testament refers to Jesus as God, of which John 1:1c is the best known. These 7 instances are discussed in several articles on this website (For a further discussion, see Is Jesus called God?). When reading these verses, we must remember that the underlying Greek word is simply equivalent to “god.” To translate theos as “God” is an application of the Trinity doctrine; not proof there-of.
WHO IS AND WHO WAS AND IS TO COME
The context of this title in Revelation 4 implies that it refers to the Father alone, as opposed to Jesus. The following is further proof of this:
Firstly, in Revelation’s introduction, John brings grace and peace to the seven churches from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (1:4-5). In those verses, John refers to the Father as, “Him who is and who was and who is to come.”
Secondly, Him “who is and who was and who is to come” is also called “Lord God” (1:8; 11:17). Since it was already shown above that Revelation applies theos (God) only to the Father, the phrase “Lord God” means that “who is and who was and who is to come” is the Father.
Revelation 11:17 omits the “to come” part because the kingdom of the world has already become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. Therefore, the Father is only called, “who are and who were.”
This title may be related to Exodus 3:14, where YHVH (Yahweh or Jehovah) identified Himself:
“I AM WHO I AM … Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.”
Both these titles may be understood to mean the One who exists without cause. It always scares me to think about why things exist. Why is there not nothing? The answer is that things exist because God exists. In fact, He is that which exists. Everything that exists came from within Him. Our entire existence came forth from Hom and depends on Him. But then I thank Him for the revelation which He gave of Himself through Jesus Christ.
The title “the Almighty” is used about 27 times in the Bible. In the New Testament, this title appears only once outside Revelation (2 Cor. 6:18) but 9 times within Revelation. This, therefore, is another important term in Revelation.
The title “Almighty” is always linked to the title “God” and often linked to the title “who is and who was and who is to come,” for example:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (1:8)
“The war of the great day of God, the Almighty” (16:14).
“Holy, Holy, Holy is The Lord God, The Almighty, Who Was and Who Is and Who Is To Come” (4:8; cf. 1:8).
“And the twenty-four elders … worshiped God, saying, “We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were” (11:16-17; cf. 15:2-3; 16:7, 14; 19:6, 13-15; 21:22).
Since both the titles “God” and “who is and who was and who is to come” only refer to the Father, and since these titles are associated with “the Almighty,” only the Father is “Almighty.”
In Revelation, this title is never used for Jesus. On the contrary, the following verses make an explicit distinction between Christ and “the Almighty:”
“His name is called The Word of God. … and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty” (19:13-15).
“I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22).
Conclusion: Jesus is not almighty; only the Father is. This is a crucial conclusion for this article, for if only the Father is “Almighty,” then Jesus is subordinate to the Father.
HIM WHO SITS ON THE THRONE
The word “throne” is found about 100 times in the Bible. Fifty of those are in Revelation. The throne, therefore, is an important concept in Revelation. Much happen “around the throne” (4:3, 6; 5:11; 7:11, etc.), “before the throne” (4:5, 6, 10; 7:9, 11, etc.) and comes “from the throne” (4:5; 16:17; 22:1; etc.).
ONE SITTING ON THE THRONE
Revelation chapter 4 may be called the throne room chapter for the word “throne” appears at least 10 times in that one chapter alone:
“A throne was standing in heaven, and One sitting on the throne. And He who was sitting was like a jasper stone and a sardius in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald in appearance” (4:2-3)
This is not a very exact description, but then we must remember that John also wrote that “No one has seen God at any time” (John 1:18). God certainly manifests Himself in different forms at different times (theophanies), for instance in this vision, but God Himself cannot be seen for He exists beyond the physical realm.
THE FATHER SITS ON THE THRONE.
After the introduction of “One sitting on the throne” (4:2), He is often referred to as “Him who sits on the throne” (4:9, 10; 5:1, 7, 13; 6:16). Since Jesus is absent from Revelation chapter 4, the “One sitting on the throne” is the Father. The following are further proof of this:
Firstly, the “One sitting on the throne” is called “God” (4:8, 11; 19:4), and Revelation uses the title “God” only for the Father. For example:
“The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne” (19:4).
Secondly, the action in the following verses makes a distinction between “Him who sits on the throne” and Christ:
In Revelation 5, Jesus appears as a Lamb. “He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne” (5:7).
The son of the woman of Revelation 12 “was caught up to God and to His throne” (12:5).
Thirdly, the “AND” connectors in the following verses make a distinction between Christ and “Him who sits on the throne:”
“Every created thing … I heard saying, To Him who sits on the throne, AND to the Lamb” (5:13).
At Christ’s return, the lost masses cry, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, AND from the wrath of the Lamb” (6:16).
The “great multitude” stands “before the throne AND before the Lamb.” They “cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, AND to the Lamb.’” (7:9-10; cf. 7:15). (Jesus is “the Lamb.”)
Since the Father sits on the throne, He is the Supreme Being; ruling over the creation.
THE LAMB ON THE THRONE
However, in the following verses the Lamb also sits on the throne:
John saw “a river of the water of life … coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (22:1).
“The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it (the New Jerusalem)” (22:3).
But it remains the Father’s throne, for Jesus said, “I … sat down with My Father on His throne” (3:21). This is consistent with the frequent message in the New Testament that Jesus sat down “at the right hand of God” (e.g. 1 Peter 1:22).
Even human beings may sit on the Father’s throne, for Jesus promised, “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne” (3:21). Christ and the overcomers, therefore, will rule with God, but the Father will always remain the ultimate Ruler.
HIM WHO LIVES FOREVER AND EVER
This title appears four times in Revelation. Firstly, twice in chapter 4, where Jesus is not present and which, therefore, describe the Father:
“The living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever” (4:9; cf. 4:10).
The next reference identifies this Person as the Creator, which is, according to 4:11, the Father:
“Swore by Him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven … and the earth … and the sea“ (10:6).
The last reference identifies this Person as “God” and, as discussed above, Revelation uses this title only for the Father.
“God, who lives forever and ever” (15:7)
All four instances, therefore, describe the Father.
While the Father “lives forever and ever,” which implies that He never was dead and never will be dead, Jesus was dead (1:18). This makes a vast distinction between God and Jesus.
The beings in the heavenly throne room worship the “One sitting on the throne” “for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created” (4:11). This describes the Father alone as the uncaused Cause of all things. Later we, similarly, hear:
“The angel … swore by Him who lives forever and ever, Who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it” (10:5-6)
God created all things “THROUGH” His Son (Col. 1:16; John 1:2; 1 Cor. 8:6; Heb. 1:2), but it was God who created:
“There is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Cor. 8:6).
In all things, God works with the creation through His Son:
“There is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tit. 2:5).
This is understood in the broadest possible way: Through the Son, God creates and maintains all things and also saves sinners. For instance, God so loved the world that He sent His only-begotten Son (John 3:16). Through the Son, the universe learns about God (John 1:18) and worship God (Phil. 2:11).
In Revelation, “God” (4:10-11; 7:11; 11:16; 14:7; 19:4), who is also identified as the “Lord God, the Almighty” (15:3-4), is worshiped. Twice John fell down to worship the angel and twice the angel prevented him from doing so, saying:
“Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God” (19:10; cf. 22:9).
Since Revelation uses the titles “God” and “Almighty” for the Father alone, this means that the Father must be worshiped.
The Creator is also worshiped, and since Revelation identifies the Father as the Creator, this confirms that the Father is worshiped:
While “all who dwell on the earth will worship” the beast (13:8; 14:9), a strong, worldwide message goes out: “Fear God, and give Him glory … worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters” (14:7; cf. 4:10-11).
JESUS IS WORSHIPED.
However, Jesus is also worshiped:
“When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (5:8).
“Every created thing” worships “Him who sits on the throne, AND … the Lamb” (5:13-14).
“A great multitude … cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, AND to the Lamb’” (7:9-10).
“All will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23).
The article – Jesus is worshiped – argues that Jesus is not worshiped independent or co-equal with God, but that He is worshiped:
- Because God instructed the angels to worship Him (Heb. 1:6);
- Because God gave Him “the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9);
- “To the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11).
In other words, the whole universe worships the Son, for “in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9), but “it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him” (Col. 1:19). This means that He received the fullness from God, the Father. We worship the Son, but that does not mean that He is the Almighty Creator; equal with the Father. For a further discussion, see Jesus is worshiped. Does that mean that He is God?)
Jehovah’s Witnesses point out that Jesus is called “the Beginning of the creation of God” (3:14) and propose that this means that He is a created being. But the same John, who wrote Revelation, also wrote that Jesus is “the only begotten from the Father” (e.g. John 1:14). If He was begotten from the Father, then He was not created but came forth from the being of the Father. (For a further discussion, see Only Begotten Son of God.) John is also clear that:
“All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being” (John 1:3).
If He created all things, then He Himself is not created. Perhaps “the Beginning of the creation of God” means that God ‘begat’ His Son to create all things THROUGH Him. In other words, the Son is intimately connected with the “all things.”
SUBORDINATE TO THE FATHER
Revelation presents Jesus as subordinate to the Father by referring to the Father as:
- “The Almighty,” and
- “Him who sits on the throne.”
In other words, Jesus is not “God” nor ” the Almighty.” Furthermore, the Father is identified as the Creator and we are urged to “worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters” (14:7). (For a further discussion, see God is the Head of Christ.)
WHICH GOD GAVE HIM
We see this also in the following:
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him …” (1:1).
In other words, the Father is the Source of the Book of Revelation. When He was on earth, Jesus similarly said:
“I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak” (John 12:49).
People defend the trinity doctrine by saying that Jesus had to receive His words because He became a human being. However, Revelation indicates that, about 60 years after His death, Jesus still received from God the words of this prophecy.
After His resurrection, Jesus said, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God” (John 20: 17). The Father, therefore, was Jesus’ God AFTER His resurrection. Sixty years later the Father was still Jesus God:
Revelation opens with the words: “He (Jesus) has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father” (1:6).
Jesus similarly refers to the Father as “My God.” He said, for instance, “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God” (3:12, 13; cf. 3:2).
EQUAL WITH GOD
Revelation shows that Christ is distinct from and subordinate to God, but Revelation also has a very high Christology, for example:
The 144000 “have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (14:4).
Those who have “a part in the first resurrection … will be priests of God and of Christ” (20:6).
John was given a vision of the New Jerusalem. He “saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (21:22).
Similarly, “the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb” (21:23). “The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it (the New Jerusalem)” (22:3). Together they will rule over the New Jerusalem (22:1, 3). (The throne is a symbol of their right to rule.)
As already discussed, Christ is worshiped with God.
While Jesus said, “I am the first and the last” (1:17; 2:8), “He who sits on the throne said” (21:5) “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” (21:6). This is understood to mean that there was no time when the Son did not exist; that both the Father and the Son always existed. (For a further discussion, see Jesus existed prior to His birth in the form of God.)
These verses put God and Christ together – in contrast to the created universe. In other words, Christ is infinitely above created beings. Nevertheless, He is distinct from and subordinate to God. For a further discussion, see Jesus has equality with God.
WHO IS THE SON?
Christians find it difficult to conceptualize who Christ is. The essence of His being is hidden behind the curtain of the infinity. One of the ancient church fathers said that God is like the sun and the Son is like the rays of the sun. I like that metaphor, for it maintains the concept that the Father is the Source of all things while it describes the Son as the link between God and the created universe. God exists outside the realm of time, space and matter. Perhaps we can think of Christ as the manifestation of God within the realm of time, space and matter. In a sense, the trinity doctrine is correct when it says that God and Christ are equal, for, from the perspective of the created universe; they are equal. However, we need to maintain the distinction between God and His Son and “worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters” (14:7). We must conform to the language of the Bible which refers to the Father alone as God.
I know that I am now speculation about the nature of Christ, but the trinity doctrine is not only speculation; it is also false, for it presents the Son as equal to the Father. Furthermore, any effort to go beyond how the Bible defines God and His Son, as in the Nicene Creed did, is sin in my view, for these are things that humans are unable to understand.
The ancient Greek word theos is equivalent to the modern word “god.”
The modern word “God” refers exclusively to the Almighty.
The trinity doctrine claims that Jesus is the “Almighty;” the uncaused Cause of all creation.
Revelation uses the titles “God” and “the Almighty” only for the Father.
In Revelation, the Father is the Creator, the Supreme Ruler of all creation and the One we must worship.
Revelation presents Jesus as subordinate to the Father but infinitely above the created universe.
AVAILABLE ARTICLES ON REVELATION
Why is the title of this website Revelation BY Jesus Christ?
Are events described in chronological sequence?
Is a consistent literal interpretation valid?
Does Revelation present Jesus as God? CURRENT ARTICLE
God’s throne – the center of the universe.
Babylon; the mother of harlots
Babylon’s merchants are her false prophets.
Babylon is not the reconstructed ancient city of Babylon.
How does Babylon relate to the beast?
The Seven-Headed Beasts of Revelation
The three beasts are three of the seven heads.
The Seven Heads Identified
13:1-2 – The Beast relates to Daniel 7.
13:3-4 – The fatal wound
The identity of the beast
Introduction to the Seven Seals – What book is this?
Seven seals explained
Does the seventh seal include the seven trumpets?
The Plagues of Revelation – 16 articles
For further reading, Jon Paulien’s commentary is recommended.