Having been introduced to the author, the Book of Revelation now focuses on the one who gives the Revelation. Jesus, in this passage does not come across as gentle Jesus meek and mild. Jesus in this passage has a sword coming from his mouth which represents justice. This is a large, two-edged Thracian sword. It’s not a small Roman gladius.
Jesus’ eyes are burning, which shows his penetrating insight and his hair is white which shows wisdom and dignity. There is about Jesus a general radiance that is dazzling.
Remember, whenever we are awed by the special effects of a movie where the theatre trembles and the screen blinds us in amazing 3D, we always have our minds telling us this is not real. In the immersive reality of a vision all the senses are excited and the vision is ‘real’ in a more total sense. Watching King Kong on a screen has us laughing and gasping. If we were face to face with a giant gorilla we would wet our pants as we ran for cover. Reading about the glorified Christ leaves us a little cold, but we must allow ourselves to begin to see that it is the reality of this vision that threw John to the ground dead.
The spiritual reality of the risen Christ was watching keenly the actions of the early church. Although he loved them he also judged tem with a fearsome, holy righteousness.
9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 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. 16In 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.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 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[e] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
- What descriptors of himself does John use to show his comaraderie with the members of the churches of Asia Minor?
- How do descriptors of Jesus elevate him to a god-like status?
- How does this passage set up Jesus’ judgement of the churches?
- Verse 19 is often seen as an outline to the book. Chapter 1 is what we have seen, chapters 2 and three are what is now, and chapters 3-22 is what is to come. How would you agree or disagree with this?
- What is the point of your learning about Revelation except for your own personal amusement or safety?
How do pictures like these help? How do they hinder?