Revelation Upon Revelation
Message on The Lord in Revelation Chapter 1
All scripture is from NASB
Rev 1:13 “and in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle.”
The revelations to John just keep coming. First, the Position, then the Person, then the Priestly Office.
(a). The Position. John sees this One in the middle of the lampstands, and we know from the last verse of this chapter 1 that the lampstands are the churches, so we have the Lord revealed as He ministers in the middle of His churches; but I do want to say that the Lord is not in the middle of all churches. We will see that later on. The redeemed people are very precious to the Head of the Church, and the local churches ought to represent the character and function that the Lord would approve of. Chapters 2 and 3 give the state of the 7 Asia Minor churches of John’s time, but they represent the condition and prophetic history of church periods. That will be done in chapters 2 and 3.
(b). The Person. This is none other than the Son of Man. The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us – Son of God – Son of Man, the God-Man. Each Gospel portrays the Lord Jesus Christ in a separate capacity. Matthew – King; Mark – Servant; Luke – The Son of Man; John – The Son of God, God the Son. Of all the Gospels, Luke shows in more detail the Lord as perfectly human, feelings, emotions, identifying with lost human beings. John’s gospel does not neglect that but adds the great element of divinity throughout the gospel. The wonderful person is the One whose revelation is being given to us in this chapter.
(c). The Priestly Office. John sees the robes of ministry. The Lord Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest and serves us in the most important way. How did/does He fulfill His Priestly ministry? He was the One who entered with His own blood into the holy place – Heb 9:11-12 “When Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”
Having obtained salvation for us through the redemption of blood, He now serves us with all the strength and energy that He as God has. Heb 7:27 “who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.”
Heb 2:17-18 “Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”
Isn’t it so lovely to have a Great High Priest, One who draws near to comfort and to help? We may go to people for help, and some might help, but others are not very interested in you or in individuals; and some would like to help but don’t know how to. Jesus wants to help His needy children and to comfort and to embrace us in any trial or in any heartbreak or need. He has not only saved us, but serves us. He is both faithful and merciful. These two qualities are very hard to find in any human being in a balanced way. With all of us we may be too far one way or too far the other way. To illustrate that, here is a story.
There is a story I heard years ago from an Irish preacher. One farmer had two pigs to send to market and gave one son a pig each. The stipulation was that they had to get to the market on time. That was essential. One son belted his pig along the lane at a fast rate and got there on time for the sale. He was faithful to his father’s wish, but was not merciful. The other son let the pig take its time; and when he got to the market, it had closed. He was merciful but not faithful to his father’s wishes. Faithfulness and mercy, neither son had, and we struggle to combine the two seamlessly, but our Lord Jesus Christ is our Faithful and Merciful Great High Priest. He serves us with all His love, for us, members of His Body. He is fully qualified as the following verses show:
Heb 4:14-16 “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession, for we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.”
Rev 1:13 “and in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man [He is the Son of Man; the Lord who ministers in the middle of His churches], clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle.” [He is the Great High Priest ministering on behalf of His saints always.]
Rev 1:14 “His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow, and His eyes were like a flame of fire.”
(a). For this great revelation of this special One John saw standing in the middle of the churches, we need to go to the book of Daniel to this passage – Dan 7:9-10 “I kept looking until thrones were set up and the Ancient of Days took His seat. His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames. Its wheels were a burning fire. A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him. Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him. The court sat and the books were opened.”
This is none other than the Ancient of Days. The image speaks of eternity and of wisdom and of judgment. Judgment is what is coming in Revelation the book, and this is the hint of what is going to follow in the coming chapters. What John saw was a spectacular sight, even a fearful one. We associate The Ancient of Days with Jehovah in the Old Testament, but here in the New Testament this is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord in His full divinity. He is seen taking His seat on His throne, and the books were opened. There are a number of events in Revelation that match this event:
The first is the Lamb in the midst in Rev 4 and 5. The second is the opening of the scroll with the seven seals in Rev 6. The third is the King coming to His throne (start of the Millennium in Zech 14). The fourth is the throne at the great white throne when the books will be opened. “…the books were opened” – the Lord is Judge of the whole earth, and the final Judge of those who are not saved in Rev 20. Fire is always true to its types. It means judgment and cleansing. The vision Daniel had was of judgment by the Ancient of Days. (Then comes cleansing of the chosen people in their restoration.)
(b). “His eyes were like a flame of fire.” They pierce through into the very thoughts and deeds and intents of the person’s soul. Nothing is hidden from the scrutiny of the Lord. Gen 6:8 “But Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD.” 2Chr 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.” Prov 15:3 “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good.” The eyes of the Lord will be on the coming judgment in the earth, but they are on His saints always. What does He see in you? We are saved, but we must not take our salvation lightly or live carelessly. Yes, we may be caught out, but back to the Lord we must flee. Elijah is a prophet of judgment, and he called down fire. In Rev 11 the two prophets will also call down fire. Fire is judgment as is the symbol brass, and Revelation, after chapter 5, is all about judgment, the wrath of God.
Rev 1:14 “His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow [the Ancient of Days revealed in Daniel. This is the Son of God seated on a judgment throne], and His eyes were like a flame of fire.” [The Lord who searches the hearts of men. He is the Discerner and the Judge, the Dispenser of wrath.]
Rev 1:15 “His feet were like burnished bronze when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.”
Daniel also saw the Lord in judgment as recorded here – Dan 10:6 “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.” The vision had a profound effect on Daniel. No wonder it did for it was a fearsome sight. It is the figure of One in judgment. In the Old Testament, and carried on in the New, there were words that denoted wrath and judgment, such as lightning, flaming torches, bronze, and loud noise.
It is a dreadful revelation John saw, for it is the Lord, the Judge. Brass, and we can include bronze, is always one of the symbols of judgment in the Bible, hard and strong. That is why the Altar in the Tabernacle had to be made of brass, for it was on that altar that the sacrificial offerings for sin were always a judgment on sin. Armageddon is the great wrath of God on the armies of all nations that had gathered in Israel for the extermination of God’s chosen nation, and so the Lord in wrath is described using the language of judgment.
Rev 19:11-15 “I saw heaven opened and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and upon His head are many diadems, and He has a name written upon Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood and His name is called The Word of God. The armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword so that with it He may smite the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron, and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”
The verse also speaks of a voice sounding like many waters. Our nearest connection with that would be the raging of a flood, and more strongly, would be the rushing of mighty waterfalls in full flood. It speaks of power and authority. The Lord speaks with power and authority. Why, it was that voice that created the universe from nothing, the voice that thundered out to the distant galaxies. It is Jesus in creative power and in judgment.
Rev 1:15 “His feet were like burnished bronze when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, [He is the Judge of ALL the earth – image from Daniel – the all-conquering future King of Revelation chapter 19] and His voice was like the sound of many waters.” [The Lord who is powerful in creation and judgment.]
Rev 1:16 “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 seven stars are the messengers to the churches or the messengers in the churches, maybe the ones to receive the correspondence; in a loose way, the Secretary, or the communicating brother (see the last verse). I see this as the Lord Jesus who upholds all His faithful office bearers and His ministers (a wider sense than just a church pastor). Jesus is the Upholder of His brethren. He is the Lord of His churches. – Then there are two further revelations of the Lord –
(a). A sharp, two-edged sword coming from His mouth. We know the word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword and is meant for battle. When you combine this verse with the ones we had from Rev 19 quoted above, then you see the whole scene is of judgment. The word of God in the mouth of the Word of God will be like the sound of many waters at the great battle of Armageddon in Rev 19 when He conquers all those armies assembled against Israel. Heb 4:12 “The word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
We know this verse is used in regard to preaching and conviction and the gospel, but it will have a great application in Rev 19, for there the Sword will discern the thoughts and intents of the combatants against Israel and see their evil intent, and they will be slain as God’s word and The WORD condemns them. A two-edged sword cuts both ways, and both thoughts and intents of every individual will be bared before the King of the universe. Zech 12:9 “And it will come about in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”
(b). You see in the second part of this verse it speaks of His face being like the sun in its full strength. The sun is a burning heat, and He will burn His enemies when He comes. This is an image of judgment. He is the Sun of Righteousness, and He will shine as the Sun on His redeemed people Israel as we are told in Malachi – Mal 4:1-3 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff, and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings, and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. And you will tread down the wicked, for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,’ says the LORD of hosts.”
As the sun dawns after the dark night, so too shall the sun of righteousness dawn on a troubled and persecuted Israel at the Second Coming, and its rays will bring in righteousness in the Millennial kingdom. The face like the sun that John saw is properly the face in judgment as it is connected with the sword, but an application from it is that the Lord will usher in righteousness in His Kingdom.
There is a very special event in store for those who honour, reverence, fear, worship the Lord’s name (the name of Jehovah). They will experience “the sun of righteousness,” which will arise with healing in its wings. Jesus the Messiah is the Son of Righteousness, but here the expression in Malachi is the sun of righteousness, which will arise in a glorious sunrise to end the dark, horrible night of the Tribulation. The great and glorious day will dawn, but remember this is Jewish and the saints have endured the Tribulation, and it ushers in righteousness throughout the world, beginning with His people in Jerusalem first.
Now Messiah comes as the sun of righteousness after He deals with all the world’s enemies gathered against Israel. It will have an immediate effect on the saved of Israel who enter the Millennium, for they will skip about for joy with great expression of delight. There is an application for us Christians also. We wait for the dawning of the sun of righteousness when He snatches us away to the righteousness of heaven.
Rev 1:16 “In His right hand He held seven stars [The Lord of the Churches, the Bridegroom of His Bride, the Upholder of His brethren], and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword [Again the Judge of the earth. The sword of the Lord! The Word of God is Judge and Avenger, the Deliverer of His people. Link with Rev 19], and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. [The Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings, the glorious God, the One who will usher in Millennial Righteousness.]
THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST SO FAR IN REVELATION 1 (Verses 13-16)
Verse 13 – He is the Son of Man; the Lord who ministers in the middle of His churches. He is the Great High Priest ministering on behalf of His saints always.
Verse 14 The Ancient of Days revealed in Daniel. This is the Son of God seated on a judgment throne. The Lord who searches the hearts of men. He is the Discerner and the Judge, the Dispenser of wrath.
Verse 15 He is the Judge of ALL the earth – image from Daniel – the all-conquering future King of Revelation chapter 19; The Lord who is powerful in creation and judgment.
Verse 16 The Lord of the Churches, the Bridegroom of His Bride, the Upholder of His brethren. Again, the Judge of the earth. The sword of the Lord! The Word of God is Judge and Avenger, the Deliverer of His people. Link with Rev 19). The Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings, the glorious God, the One who will usher in Millennial Righteousness with the dawn sun.)
To be continued in Part 4