Praising Christ the King

Royal Discourse and Ideology in Revelation 5

In: Novum Testamentum
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  • 1 Wartburg College, Waverly, ia, USA
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Royal connotations are recognized throughout the book of Revelation, including chapter 5 where the Lamb is depicted upon the heavenly throne (5:6) receiving acts of obeisance and hymnic acclamations from the heavenly retinue (5:8-14). However, the extent to which the hymns themselves manifest royal ideology and discourse has been neglected. In what follows, the author explores various elements of the hymns in light of widespread patterns of kingship discourse in the ancient Mediterranean world, including especially the fact that the Lamb is praised alongside God and in terms otherwise used for God. The author then demonstrates that the hymnic claim that the Lamb has assumed the power to rule on account of his bloody death on the cross (5:9) constitutes an inversion of a popular motif that kings assumed power through violent military conquest.

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