Thursday, May 16, 2013
Revelation 1:16-20 What Jesus Looks Like
Revelation 1:12-13 "Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash."
Review: Where we see the Almighty Christ
Yesterday we considered where The Almighty Christ is seen as He is revealed in Revelation 1. John's vision about the Almighty Christ matches very closely with Daniel's vision of the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13-14. King Jesus is ruling and reigning, as already expressed by John in Revelation 1:5, presumably upon His throne. Again, as it was then, so it is now, the Almighty Christ is seen in the Word, Amidst His church by the Word and the Spirit, ruling upon His Throne.
Having observed where the Almighty Christ is seen in Revelation 1, we aim today to understand the details of the vision of the Almighty Christ shown to John. Below I will first reproduce the text of Revelation 1:12-16, with a follow-up description of the seven characteristics of Jesus Christ revealed in this incredible vision.
What Jesus looks like: the seven-fold vision of the Almighty Christ in Revelation 1:12-16
Revelation 1:12-16 reads: "Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength."
The vision is quite profound, since no other clearer physical description is given of the Ascended Christ in all of God's Word than in Revelation 1:12-16. The passage breaks down into two parts: 1:12-13 states Whom John sees: The Almighty Christ, with 1:13-16 describing what John sees concerning the Almighty Christ.
The Almighty Christ Whom John sees is the believer's eternal High Priest
The Almighty Christ Whom John sees in Revelation 1:12-13 manifests Himself as the Eternal High Priest between the Christian and God the Father. (1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 2:1-2) The imagery of seven-branched lampstands and the vestements of the priesthood takes the reader back to the days of the Tabernacle in Exodus. The Lampstand in all its revealed detail (Exodus 25:31-40) was meant to signify the very presence of God Himself amidst His people. He was to be their light. In fact the scriptures are often described as a light and a lamp, demonstrating their unique place in transmitting the voice of God. (Psalm 119:11) Whenever you come into the New Testament, Jesus describes Himself as the "Light of the World" (John 9:5) He is the source of the light by which the church operates, equating Him with the same description as Jehovah in the Old Testament. This is the Almighty Christ Whom John sees.
Beholding the Almighty Christ that John does see
But now what is it exactly about the Almighty Christ that John sees? Note the seven-fold description:
1. "His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow." This is the Glory of the Wisdom Possessed by Christ. He is Omni-Sapient or All Wise.
2. "and His eyes were like a flame of fire." Christ is secondly described as being Omni-Scient or all knowing. The eyes of God in scripture are often associated with His knowledge of all things. (2 Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 139)
3. "His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace". Jesus Christ is depicted in this third description as the Judge of the earth who is Omni-Potent or all powerful. Bronze in the Bible was often associated with God's Justice and Judgment. Only an Omnipotent Being can exercise the Right to Judge all things. (Matthew 28:18) Daniel 10:8 records a vision of what is most-likely an Old Testament appearance of Christ (Christophany): "His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult."
4. "and His voice was like the sound of many waters." Whose voice is the only voice that can create all time, space and matter at Will? Christ is shown to be equal in power and glory as the Creator "through Whom all things were made". (1 Corinthians 8:6; Colossians 1:16-17) In fact Ezekiel 43:2 describes the Lord appearing at the end of time: "and behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the way of the east. And His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory." Here we see the fourth attribute of Christ: namely His Glory.
5. "In His right hand He held seven stars". The first four descriptions appear to highlight Christ's relationship over and above the creation, with the final descriptions featuring His relationship over and amidst His church. Revelation 1:20 actually interprets this particular trait:
"As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches." It is in this fifth description we see Christ's Lordship over His church.
6. "and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword". What is the double edged sword that proceeds out of Christ's Mouth? His Word.(Hebrews 4:12) Christ demonstrates His Sufficiency by virtue of His rule and reign through the sufficiency of His Word. As Martin Luther, the 16 century Preacher and Reformer once said: "The scriptures are the throne from whence Christ exercises His reign over His church". It is in this trait we see the Sufficiency of Christ through His Word.
7. "and His face was like the sun shining in its strength." In the sight of Mount Sinai and the giving of the Law, no one could expect to look upon the face of God and live. (Deuteronomy 5:25) However those who are shielded by the grace of Christ by faith can look upon His face with unveiled faces and rejoice in the One Whom they see. (2 Corinthians 4:1-6) It is in this last attribute we see the Grace of Christ.
In summary, we can say that John saw the Ascended and exalted Christ as Omni-Sapient (All-Wise); Omni-scient (All-Knowing); Omnipotent (All-Powerful); All-Glorious; Lord, Sufficient and Graceful.