Bible Study Series: Revealing Jesus in Revelation
Revelation Chapter 1:9-20 The glorified Lord & Revelation's Key!
by I Gordon
- We'll give a little background to where John was writing from and who he was writing to
- We'll look at Jesus unveiled as John met the glorified Christ!
- We'll explore the key verse which outlines the structure of the book of Revelation
- We'll end with an application looking at the difference that seeing the real Jesus makes in your life
Let's jump right in!
- By divine decree this book is meant to be sent and most importantly read by the churches. So it is a great pity a large percentage of them don't today!
- God is still in the business of getting us to share what He has revealed. Maybe, just possibly, He is not asking you to write on a scroll and put it in the post these days. But maybe it is through a website or a YouTube or social media channel, or some other way of making His truth known to as many as possible. However you can reach people the word needs to go out.
So let's look now at this One who was speaking to John because it's the most powerful vision of the risen Lord that we have in the New Testament.
- Rev 1:12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands
Rev 1:20 tells us that the seven lampstands are the seven churches of Revelation. So Jesus is pictured amongst the churches. The seven golden lampstands is imagery from the Menorah, the seven branched lampstand that stood and gave light to the Holy Place in the Tabernacle and Jewish temple. (Exo 25:37; Zec 4:2) In this age, the light is to come through the church. Now in my country at least, the church is largely ignored today by society and those in authority but individually we can give still light. Jesus even said that in this age we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16). So let that light shine for Him!
- Rev 1:13 and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.
The 'son of man' title goes back to Daniel 7:9-14 and was used by Jesus of Himself when He stood in trial before the High Priest (Matt 26:62-66). When John sees the glorified Christ he says He is 'like a son of man' but different... He is a man... but a glorified man! The robe with the golden sash is a pointer to the High Priest in the Old Testament. (Exod 28:4-6) The High Priest's sash had threads or thin strips of gold in it (Ex 39:1-5) yet this One has a sash of complete gold. The gold speaks of divinity and it shows that the Old Testament High Priests were imperfect types of the real High Priest, Jesus! This helps us understand why He walks among the lampstands (churches) - He is performing His role as the High Priest. It was the High Priest's task alone to make sure the lampstand was burning and producing good light. So they would have to inspect it daily, checking the oil supply, removing soot and trimming the wicks. This is how Jesus is seen here as the High Priest inspecting the churches for the light they give. How is the light of the church you go to? How is your light for that matter? Always remember that the lamp requires oil to burn brightly and you cannot be the Christian you even want to be without Him!
- Rev 1:14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.
Having a head and hair like white wool pictures His age, wisdom and holiness. Daniel received a vision of the 'Ancient of days' that gave the same image - "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.' (Dan 7:9) This One we worship has been around a long time. For all time! He has seen it all, knows it all and His wisdom is beyond measure! And that comes down to how He is dealing, right now, with your life as well.
His eyes were like a flame of fire - William Shakespeare once said “The Eyes are the window to your soul”. Well these are eyes that look right into the depths of your being and remind us of His penetrating insight of all of us and His refining purity. 'Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.' (Heb 4:13) Later in Revelation it mentions those same eyes of blazing fire again (Rev 19:12) for they are focused on the battle as He comes as King of kings and Lord of Lords.
- Rev 1:15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
Feet like burnished bronze - Bronze speaks of judgement and reminds us of the brazen altar in the outer court of the tabernacle. This One pictured fulfilled the sacrifice of the brazen altar and had to go through the judgment of God for your sin and mine. And now all judgement has been committed into His hands (John 5:22). And His voice is like rushing waters. I remember going to Niagara falls in Canada and the scale and volume of the waters going over the falls was just amazing. The sound was awesome, giving the feeling of awe at the power and majesty of nature. And Jesus' voice will instill that same feeling of power and authority!
- Rev 1:16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double- edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
The two edged sword is His word. Oh the power of His word - both His written and spoken word! Psalms 33:6, 9-11. Also see Heb 1:3, Isa 48:1-2. Isaiah 11:4 He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
His face was like the sun shining in all its strength - This reminds us of Moses having to be hid in the cleft of the rock from the glory of God for no man can see my face and live.' (Ex 33:20) It also reminds us of the prophecy of Isaiah that the day will come when: 'The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. (20) Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.' (Isaiah 60:19-20) The disciples were given a preview of this on the Mount of transfiguration where 'He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.' (Mat 17:2) A glimpse, as it were, of what our Lord shall be like in the Kingdom age!
So would you run up and give Him a hug, a high-five, or fall at His feet motionless? John, as a natural reaction to what he saw, instantly (and wisely) went with the latter option. Even though he had leant on Jesus' bosom at the last supper and called himself 'the disciple Jesus loves', this experience of a glorified Jesus was on a whole different level! Thankfully, Jesus didn't leave John in that place of fear and uncertainty for very long...
He immediately reaches out to John
He touches John, placing a comforting hand on him
He gives John a word of comfort, reassuring him of who He is.
John's fear is replaced with peace for he hears 'Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last... the Living One.' Now any good Israelite would know that 'the first and the last' is a title of the eternal Almighty God in the Old Testament (Isa 44:6; Isa 48:12). John is in the presence of the eternal God!5 He is in the presence of the living One. All other religions follow someone that is dead. Christians follow the One that even death, that great enemy of mankind, could not cope with! John is in the presence of the One that has all authority and power, holding command over the living and the dead. Jesus controls who goes into hell, who doesn't, and those who will never even see death at His return. May we be those in the third group but if we can't, may we definitely be those in the second!
"Some imagine that the devil is somehow the "lord of Hell." Some imagine that the devil has authority or power to determine life or death. Clearly, they are wrong, for only Jesus holds the keys of Hades and of Death. We can trust that Jesus never lets the devil borrow the keys." Pastor David Guzik
"My friend, you and I can take comfort in the fact that Jesus has the keys of death. He is the One who can relieve us of the terrible fear of death." J. Vernon McGee
So this outline matters! This key to Revelation is important! And ok... to be fair this is not a skeleton key. It doesn't unlock every door and every mystery in the book of Revelation. That might be asking too much! But it is the God inspired outline which God was very clear on because He wants us to be clear on it. And it causes no end of confusion to start saying that God's judgement through the seals, trumpets and bowls have already been unleashed.
- He is the faithful witness (Rev 1:5)
- The firstborn from the dead (Rev 1:5)
- The ruler of the kings of the earth. (Rev 1:5)
- The One who loves us and freed us from our sins (Rev 1:5)
- He is the One who is coming in the clouds whom every eye shall see (Rev 1:7)
- The Alpha and Omega (Rev 1:8)
- The Almighty (Rev 1:8)
- The glorified Lord with eyes like fire and a face shining like the sun (Rev 1:13-16)
- He is the First and the Last (Rev 1:17)
- The Living One (Rev 1:18)
- The One who died and is alive for ever and ever! (Rev 1:18)
- The holder of the keys of death and Hades (Rev 1:18)
If you haven't heard of Preterism feel free to move on. But there is a belief called Preterism that teaches that the prophecies of the New Testament were fulfilled in the 1st Century with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Thus they have to place the writing of the book of Revelation much earlier than the 95/96 A.D widely accepted by most scholars. They have to place it before 70A.D actually for their theory to be maintained. Preterism should be rejected for many reasons. There is a very good article written here on this if interested:
You can also look here to see how the early Church Fathers, well after 70AD, still spoke of a future coming Antichrist who will sit in a future Jewish temple:
If you really want to get into the dating of Revelation and why the early date suggested by Preterists is wrong I would suggest this article:
- John Walvoord, in 'The Revelation of Jesus Christ' writes: “According to Victorinus, John though aged, was forced to labor in the mines located at Patmos.”
This phrase appears in many early Christian writings and refers to Sunday, the day of the Lord's resurrection. Some have suggested this phrase refers to the Day of the Lord (see note on 1Th_5:2), but the context doesn't support that interpretation, and the grammatical form of the word Lord is adjectival, thus "the Lord's day."
And J. Vernon McGee saying it in his own unique way!
"On the Lord's day." The meaning of this is controversial. Some outstanding scholars interpret this as being a reference to the Day of the Lord. While I certainly respect them and their viewpoint, I cannot accept this view, although the great theme of Revelation will deal with the Day of the Lord, which is the Tribulation period and the millennial kingdom. But John says that he was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day and, in my judgment, the Day of the Lord and the Lord's Day are two different things. We recognize that anti-fat and fat auntie are two different things and that a chestnut horse and a horse chestnut are two different things. And I would say that the Day of the Lord and the Lord's Day are two different things also, and that the Lord's Day refers to what we call Sunday.
When you look at trumpets in the Bible you see a number of important events. Here are a few examples:
- God was manifest on Mount Sinai, on the third day, with lightning, thunder and the sound of trumpets (Ex. 19:16; 20:18).
- The Lord's year of jubilee, when all debts were forgiven and the land was restored to its rightful owner, was accompanied by the sound of a trumpet (Lev. 25:9).
- The first victory in the Promised Land, when Joshua led Israel to victory over Jericho, had seven trumpets before the fall of Jericho (a pointer to the trumpets in Revelation!) (Jos. 6:13,20).
- A trumpet will announce that the Day of the Lord is at hand (Joel 2:1).
- And the sound of the trumpet will be heard at the rapture of the Church (1Cor. 15:42; 1Th. 4:6) This is the sound I (and you) want to hear!
- Our daily bread has the following thought: "Whether the company is Twentieth Century Fox in Hollywood or Twentieth Century Data in Dallas, time has caught up with these companies and they’re a century behind. Should they change their names? Consultant Frank Delano says, “You can’t do business in the 21st century with a 20th-century name. You need a name that is really universal with no limitations.” " Well there is nothing limiting in any way being called the Alpha and the Omega... That never gets old!