Summary: A brief overview of the Old Covenant emphasis in the Revelation
The Old Covenant Emphasis in the Revelation of Jesus Christ
Chapter one provides the introduction in (v.1-7) as the Lord Jesus Christ’s work of redemption and His Second Coming are emphasized in (v.5-7). He speaks and appears to John as the Lord of Glory in the remaining verses giving John his commission in (v.11, 19, 20).
In (v.10) the Lord’s voice is described:
‘I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet’.
This trumpet sound is similar to that great day at Mount Sinai in Exodus 19:16, 19 when the Lord utilized the trumpet sound to signal His presence.
The Lord of Glory, the Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ then communicates to His churches in chapter two and three ending with this statement to the overcomer:
‘To him that overcomes will I grant to sit in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne’ introducing the next sequence occurring in the Throne-room of heaven.
Once again, John hears the familiar sound
‘After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter.’
Here God the Father is introduced and described as the trumpet sound again signals the presence of the LORD Jehovah starting another section with the Church, now, continuing in the background as the LORD is described in all His glory in chapter four and the Lord Jesus Christ is then introduced in chapter five as the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David’ but more significantly He is called ‘the Lamb’ emphasizing His redemptive work once again picturing the Old Covenant sacrificial passover lamb of Exodus 12.
The Lord chooses to use this title twenty-eight times in the book of the Revelation clearly underlining the theme of Old Covenant redemption in the last book of Scripture with redemption being the theme of the entire Word of God, for John the Baptist, the last of the Old Covenant prophets and the first of the New, proclaimed: ‘Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29)
‘Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!’ (John 1:36) The ‘lamb’ with reference to Christ is used only two more times in the entire New Testament with one coming from an Old Testament quotation out of Isaiah 53 in Acts 8:32 and the other in I Peter 1:19.
This opening Throne-room scene rings with Old Covenant imagery as the four beasts description is similar to those seen in Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 1:5-10; Revelation 4:6-8). In addition the radiance surrounding the Lord is like a rainbow in both accounts (Ezekiel 1:28; Revelation 4:3).
While the Lord Jesus Christ is most certainly God’s New Covenant Lamb providing the sacrifice necessary to redeem mankind, the picture here in the book of the Revelation is derived from the pages of the Old Testament causing the focus to be placed squarely upon God’s plan of redemption during the days prior to the Cross of Calvary when redemption was rehearsed daily in the blood sacrifice of a substitutionary animal which often was a lamb without blemish and without spot.
So, in chapter one the sound of the trumpet precedes the entrance of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ in His glory as the Head of the Church followed by His instruction to the church in chapter two and three. Then, in chapter four the sound of the trumpet introduces God the Father in His glorious Throne-room in heaven with the Lord Jesus seen as the Old Covenant Lamb of God.
In chapter 1-3 the dispensation of the Church is focused upon, then in chapter 4-20 the end of the age known as the Seventieth Week of Daniel including the Day of the Lord and His judgmental wrath which brings the Old Covenant once again in to view with all of the accompanying Old Covenant imagery seen throughout the remaining pages of the Revelation.
This Throne-room scene in chapter four with the trumpet sounding, the thunder and lightning, the Father giving the book to the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, the Lamb portrays with a certain similarity the pattern of truths found in Exodus 19, 20 when God utilized the trumpet, thunder and lightning, then gave the book to Moses the Old Covenant mediator and lawgiver of that day.
In addition, the 144 Thousand of Revelation 7:1-9, 14:1-5 also bring into focus the ‘kingdom of priests and holy nation’ of Exodus 19:6 as they will be capable of fulfilling the conditional covenant of that day, as they too are ‘not defiled with women’ in like manner as those Israelites at Sinai (Exodus 19:15).