“Searching the Seven Churches”
The Cosmic Ruler – (Revelation Chapter 1 Verses 9-20)
The apostle John turns to see who is talking to him (v12), and remember John knows him, and it nearly kills him (v17). What is the significance of what he sees? “One like a son of man” (v12). That was the title Jesus used regarding himself in the gospels (Matthew 9:6). Now some think that was just a reference to his human nature, on the contrary, it was a reference to his deity, and the Jews knew exactly what he meant by it. He was declaring himself to be God. If you go back to the book of Daniel in the Old Testament you will find the same term used there, “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14 ESV). This is the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man. He stands in the midst of the seven candlesticks, the entire church, which is entrusted with bearing his light to a lost world, “you are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14). They are termed as golden depicting the preciousness of a faithful church. Notice the Son of Man’s dress (v13). This depicts his Kingly-Priestly figure. In the Old Testament, it was the priest’s function to keep the lamps burning. Jesus, our great high Priest does so by commenting, correcting, exhorting and warning his church. In this way, his church remains fit to a light-bearer to the world. The girdle is worn high up on his chest, not that is, in sacrificing mode, because he has made that once-for-all sacrifice of himself to God. A sacrifice never to be repeated. His features are described also (v14-15). The description of his head and hair, signify his being crowned with holiness., this is the Lord in his holy temple (Isaiah 6:1), i.e. his church. I recall McArthur waxing eloquently about the glories of heaven on occasion (he is a pre-millennialist) and he came to these words, “and I saw no temple in the city” (Revelation 21:22). He was non-plussed, he said he couldn’t fathom it, for he had just been speaking about a rebuilt temple. No need in the new Jerusalem.
Then his eyes (v14). This is the all-seeing Judge, who sees not only the condition of the church but also all the intentions and actions of her persecutors. Nothing will miss his penetrating gaze. His feet of bronze (v15), that will trample over and crush all the powers of evil, “the Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:41-43). The voice of the King is awe-inspiring (v15). He is the coming Judge (v7), and they will see him and they will hear him. When the Lion-King roars the earth trembles. Finally, his hand (v16). This speaks of his sovereignty, he rules supremely over all, he is Lord. The stars are angels (v20). This represents the official ministry of the church. Again Daniel, “and those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). The messengers of righteousness who turn many to righteousness through the ministry of the gospel. The sword proceeds from his mouth, the word of the Almighty (v8). It is living, energetic, and powerful (Hebrews 4:12). It is the sword of the Spirit, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). With it, he slays his enemies also, “from his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty” (Revelation 19:15). And, “the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh” (Revelation 19:21). Lastly, his face shines with unveiled majesty and glory. Little wonder John almost died at the sight of his glorious King.
(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2011)