The book of Revelation opens by recognizing Jesus Christ as prophet. He is the one who declared this message from the Father to John (Rev. 1:1; this takes Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ is a subjective genitive; see Osborne, 52).
The sacrificial imagery of Revelation is apparent. Jesus is “a Lamb, standing as thought it had been slain” (Rev. 5:6). Throughout the book he is referred to as a Lamb. But he is a royal Lamb (he is “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David,” Rev. 5:5).
God’s throne is another major theme of Revelation. θρόνος occurs 47 times in Revelation [This figure includes three times where the plural “thrones” is used of the elders thrones (Rev. 4:4; 11:16; 20:4) and twice where the reference is to the throne of Satan (Rev. 2:13; 13:2)] and is found in all but five of the book’s chapters. This pervasive motif highlights the theme of kingship.
Based on the reference to Jesus sitting “with my Father on his throne” after his resurrection (Rev. 3:21), some dispensationalists wish to distinguish the Father’s throne (on which Jesus currently sits) and David’s throne (on which he will sit in the future) (Thomas, 325f.). Bock responds to this line of argumentation by noting the Old Testament in places equates Yahweh’s throne and the Davidic throne (1 Chron. 28:5; 29:23) because Yahweh is the Father to the Davidic king who is his son (1 Chron. 28:6). In addition to this, Revelation in its earliest chapters describes Jesus acting with the prerogatives of the Davidic king (Rev. 1:5; 2:18; 2:26-27; 3:12). Most significantly, Revelation 5:5 links his Davidic claims to his conquering, which is precisely Jesus’ claim in Revelation 3:21: “I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Bock, 111).
Jesus is introduced in the opening greeting as “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5). The book climaxes with the declaration: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). This is the goal of the entire history of the world.
John recorded the fulfillment of this declaration terms that highlight all three of the Messianic offices. The King will ride down from heaven with his robe dipped in his sacrificial blood (Rev. 19:13) to defeat his enemies with the Word of his mouth (Rev. 19:15). “On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16). Revelation 20 records the thousand year reign that is the precursor of Jesus’ eternal reign. At the end of that reign Jesus will exercise his kingly judgment over mankind.
Following the judgment, heaven and earth will be remade and the New Jerusalem—the new City of David—will descend from heaven. There is no temple there, “for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Rev. 21:22). There is a throne in the middle of the city (Rev. 22:3), and under the Lamb mankind will exercise the dominion intended for them “forever and ever” (Rev. 21:5).
Bock, Darrell L. “Hermeneutics of Progressive Dispensationalism.” In Three Central Issues in Contemporary Dispensationalism. Edited by Herbert W. Bateman IV. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1999.
Osborne, Grant R. Revelation. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Edited by Moisés Silva. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002.
Thomas, Robert L. Revelation 1-7: An Exegetical Commentary. Chicago: Moody, 1992.