Friday, 15 April 2016 21:42

9. Jesus from head to toe * Revelation 1:12-20 , Part 2

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14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.

15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.

16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

 

PART 2 - Revelation 1:14-16, 20


*** Hair on his head was white as wool and snow ***: in Daniel 7:9, we read the part of his vision where Daniel sees the "Ancient of Days" (God the Father) taking His seat at the throne. Daniel describes Him as wearing clothes "as white as snow" and "the hair of his head was white like wool". Later in the vision, in verses 13 and 14, Daniel says that the one "like the son of man" approached the Ancient of Days. And then we read how God gave Jesus "authority, glory and sovereign power". John, in Revelation 1:14 is describing Jesus as having the same characteristics and authority as the Father.

*** His eyes were like blazing fire ***: the original in Greek says His eyes were like "a flame of fire". Hebrews 4:13 says that nothing can hide from God's sight. He sees everything (Job 28:24; Proverbs 15:3). In Exodus 15:26 we read that if people were to do what is right in the "eyes of the Lord", obeying His commands, He would spare them from the plagues that afflicted the Egyptians, because He is the healing God. In Deuteronomy 4:23-24 we read that God is a "consuming fire" to those who do not keep His commands. Here in Revelation 1:14, we have blazing eyes that see everything. Eyes that can purify His faithful servants, and also consume (or judge) those who choose not to follow His teachings.

*** His feet were like bronze ***: the word for bronze used in this verse, is chalkolibanō, and means polished or burnished bronze, or fine brass. Bronze and brass are used interchangeably in different translations. The Hebrew word for chalkolibanō used in Daniel 10:6 is nə·ḥō·šeṯ. Bronze and brass are both metal alloys, meaning they are not made of a single pure metal. Bronze is a metal containing copper and tin, and brass is made of copper and zinc. Many of the furniture and utensils in the tabernacle were made of or covered in gold (Exodus 25 to 30). All other utensils, clasps, and pegs were made out of bronze (Exodus 27:19; 26:37; 27:17). Perhaps the most interesting things made of bronze were the Altar of Burnt Offerings (Exodus 27:1-8), and the Basin for washing (Exodus 30:17-21). Sacrifice was offered at the altar, where the offering was burned with fire. It reminds us of a furnace. The priests had to wash themselves at the basin before offering sacrifice and before entering the Tent Of Meeting so they wouldn't die upon entering it. Both the altar and the basin point to Christ. Jesus is the sacrificed Lamb, and through His sacrifice, our sins are washed away and therefore we can live (1 John 1:7, Romans 6:22). Another important bronze object symbolic of Christ is the bronze serpent God instructed Moses to build in order to save people from the deadly snake bites (Numbers 21:4-9). If someone who had been bitten looked at the bronze snake up on the pole, they would live. Jesus explained the meaning of the bronze snake in John 3:14-15: "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” We can now see that the shining bronze feet seen in Daniel 10:6 and Revelation 1:15 are likely a strong reference to all these bronze items, which are symbols of Jesus' sacrifice. Just as the metal alloy is made of two different elements, Jesus is both divine and human (Colossians 2:9). He was sinless, and yet He made himself sin (2 Corinthians 5:21), in order to nail sin on the cross, and offer us life with His death.

*** His voice was like the sound of rushing waters ***: Psalm 29 gives a detailed and powerful description of the majesty and strength of the voice of the Lord. "The voice of the Lord is over the waters", it thunders, it "strikes flashes of lightening", so much so, that "in His temple all cry, Glory!". This description of the voice of the Lord reminds us of the sounds that accompanied the cloud of the Lord in Exodus 19:16, with all the thundering and lightening. The original in Greek of Revelation 1:15 says that "His voice was like the sound of many waters". This description of the sound of Jesus' voice is identical to the description God's voice in Ezekiel 43:2. John describes the magnitude of Jesus's voice being just as strong as the voice of the Father. We can really understand this magnificent voice when we read Revelation 19:6 - the voice of God sounds like the voice of a great multitude.

*** In his right hand he held seven stars ***: verse 20 reveals "the mystery of the seven stars", they are "the seven angels of the seven churches". The word "angel" in Greek is angeloi, and the word in Hebrew is mal·’aḵ. The word angel means messenger, or representative. In the Old Testament, the word mal·’aḵ is most often than not translated as "angel", as we can see in Judges 2:4. But Malachi 2:7 gives us another dimension of the word by telling us that the church leader is "the messenger [mal·’aḵ] of the Lord". The "Testimony of Jesus" which is to be sent to the seven churches, is expected to be passed along to the members by "the one who reads" (Revelation 1:3). We can understand that "the one who reads" is one of the local leaders, referred here in verse 16 as one of the seven stars or angels in Jesus' hand. The fact that the stars are in His right hand is very comforting. God's hand is powerful and mighty and He will protect His faithful people (Joshua 4:24; 2 Chronicles 20:5-9).

*** Coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword ***: typically we would expect the sword to be in someone's hand. But Jesus's sword comes from His mouth. Hebrews 4:12 says: "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." The sword coming out of Jesus' mouth is His Word, His teachings, His testimony. And His sword executes judgement (see also Job 19:25-29, Isaiah 66:15-16). Jesus' sword protects His followers, and destroys those who choose evil over His love.

*** His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance ***: 2 Chronicles 7:14 says that when we humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, and turn away from evil, He will hear our prayers and forgive us. In Psalms 80, David is asking God to revive and restore his people, and to shine His face upon them, so they could be saved. In Psalms 119:134-135, David uses the same expression, asking God to shine on him. He wants God to teach him His decrees. The fact that David is asking God to shine His face in order for him to learn God's law is very interesting, because immediately before God gave Moses the second set of stones with the Ten Commandments, Moses asked to see God's glory (Exodus 33:18-23). God agrees to show Moses only His back. No one on Earth can See God's face and live. So God tells Moses He will protect him with His hand while He is passing by. We can understand that God's glory is fully expressed through His face. The shine or brilliance from His face brings salvation and desire to follow His commands. In Revelation 1:16, John is able to see the face of the one "like the Son of Man", and the glory of His face is so strong, that he compares it to the sun, just as John had seen during Jesus' Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2).

*** Overview ***: John starts to describe his vision of the glorified Christ. He sees the entirety of Jesus, literally from head to toe. The description of Jesus is similar to the Old Testament description of the Father. The Son and the Father share the same authority and glory. Jesus is able to see the innermost thoughts of men, and nothing is hidden from Him. He is able to judge because He is able to see everything. He sees the whole picture in the smallest of the details. Through His sacrifice at the cross He was able to wash humanity from their sins, prevent their eternal death, and allow them to enter Heaven. Jesus' powerful voice and righteous hand call and protect His church and give them the means to continue on: His word, the ultimate weapon to be used in the spiritual war being waged on this Earth. Every word that comes out of the mouth of Jesus is like a sharp sword that can at the same time protect His people and consume those who choose a life without Christ. Jesus is the only one who brings salvation, and the glory of His face is the inspiration to follow Him and His teachings.

   
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