John’s vision of the glorified Son of God
“And in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band” (Revelation 1:13). The High priest of the Old Testament law and sacrificial system wore a long robe with a golden sash across his chest (Exodus 28). Here we have Jesus Christ, our great High Priest, ministering to His church. “Jesus Christ, our High Priest, had to be like His brothers in every way, so that He could become a merciful and faithful High Priest in service to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tested and has suffered, He is able to help those who are tested” (Hebrews 2:17-18). Jesus Christ is moving among His church, and He understands and sympathizes with our fears, sorrows, dangers, trials and temptations. He understands because He was tempted as we are, yet without sin. Jesus Christ released us from our sins by His blood, and we can come boldly to the throne of grace, and obtain mercy and grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).
“His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters” (Revelation 1:14-15). John sees the glorious physical features of our Lord Jesus Christ. Daniel 7:9 describes God and the same attributes are given to Jesus Christ. His hair is a shining, glowing and brilliant white of perfect holiness and purity. Brilliant and piercing eyes that see absolutely everything—nothing is hidden from Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:13). Brass is symbolic of judgment and discipline in God’s Law. Jesus’ feet, glowing like fine brass, represents His chastising authority within His church; Jesus Christ will deal out whatever discipline it requires to correct sinning Christians or a sinning church (Hebrews 12:3-11). Jesus Christ is the final voice of authority and power to His church and the world (Hebrews 1:1-4).
“He had in His right hand seven stars…The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches” (Revelation 1:16a, 1:20). The Greek word “angelos” literally means “messenger” and it can mean actual angels, or it can also mean human messengers. The Bible never teaches that angels are leaders in Jesus’ church, so these seven stars are human messengers. Jesus’ right hand implies the power, authority, and strength that Jesus Christ has over the human leaders of His church. Leadership in Jesus’ church is serious business; pastors and other church leaders are entrusted to mediate Jesus Christ’s leadership, and being totally committed to doing His will within His church is mandatory—not optional. Jesus said about Christian leadership, “Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave” (Matthew 20:26-27). Leadership within Jesus’ church demands humble and sacrificial service, with the priority of teaching God’s Word to God’s people (Ephesians 4:11-16). Jesus told Peter, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17). Paul wrote, “Preach the word! (2 Timothy 4:2).
“Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword” (Revelation 1:16b). Isaiah says “He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth (Isaiah 11:4). Jesus Christ will strike the nations with the sharp two-edged sword that goes out of His mouth (Revelation 19:15). Jesus Christ wields a sharp two-edged sword of judgment in defense of His church. Jesus told the Pergamos church if they didn’t repent He who has the sharp two-edged sword will come and fight against those in the church that hold to the doctrine of Balaam and the doctrine of the Nicolaitans with the sword of His mouth (Revelation 2:16). Jesus Christ is reaffirming that He will build His church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it (Matthew 16:18). Jesus Christ will defeat and destroy anyone who seeks to harm His church with the two-edged sword of His mouth. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). The Word of God is living and powerful (Hebrews 4:12).
“And His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Revelation 1:16c). Jesus Christ shines in His church as our Lord and Savior, and He shines as the light that condemns this dark and sinful world (John 3:18-21). The Holy Spirit inspired the writer of Judges to say, “Let all Your enemies perish, O Lord! But let those who love Him be like the sun when it comes out in full strength” (Judges 5:31). Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (John 8:12). Speaking of those who trust in Him as Lord and Savior, Jesus said, “You are the light of the world… Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16). Jesus Christ empowers His church, intercedes for His church, purges the evil from His church, disciplines His church, speaks to His church, controls His church, protects His church, and His church is to bring glory to Jesus Christ.
“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead” (Revelation 1:17a). John was so overwhelmed by His vision of the glorified Jesus Christ that he fell down at His feet motionless, and almost lifeless. Jesus took Peter, James, and John upon the mountain and was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light, and suddenly a voice said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” And they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid, and Jesus touched them and told them not to be afraid (Matthew 17:1-8). “God has exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth” (Philippians 2:9-10). Jesus Christ is our Savior or our judge—it’s our choice!