An Authentic Vision of Jesus
“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, 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. 16 In 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.” Revelation 1:12-16 NIV
I have an image of what Jesus looked like from the movies and artwork I have seen. Jesus typically has outstretched arms, kind eyes, long brown hair, and a white robe. Perhaps that is what Jesus looked like when John first saw Him. In Revelation 1, John sees Jesus for the first time since Jesus ascended. The last time John had seen Him, Jesus was the suffering servant. This time, when John sees Jesus, he sees a conquering King. Let’s take a closer look at John’s description of Jesus. We like to think of Jesus in terms of what He was, but the picture of Jesus in Revelation is as He is.
This Jesus that John saw was the real Jesus. Keep in mind, Revelation 1 is the only place in the entire Bible where a physical description of Jesus is given. The only other place that comes close is Isaiah 53:2.
“He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” Isaiah 53:2 NIV
When he first turns to see Jesus, John first sees seven golden lampstands.
Seven golden lampstands. The light in the lampstands do not come from the lamps. It comes from the oil in the lamps. The lampstands only make the light from the oil more visible. What a great picture of the church and the Holy Spirit. As the church, we don’t produce the light. We simply display it. A lampstand is not a light in itself. It is the instrument that displays the light. It must receive the oil and fire before it can give off any light. The church has no light in and of itself, but must first receive it from Christ. Since the seven golden lampstands represent the seven churches, it is interesting when John looks to see the voice speaking to him, he first sees the church, and among them, he observes Jesus. Next He describes Jesus as someone like the son of man.
Son of man. Though the title Son of Man sounds like a humble title, in light of Daniel 7:13-14, it is not. This is a title that reflects authority, glory, and power.
“13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14 NIV (emphasis mine)
Dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet with a golden sash around his chest. Commoners wore knee length robes. Long garments were reserved only for people of great dignity and authority who didn’t do much physical labor or work. The golden sash signified the garments of a priest. John sees Jesus as the authoritative High Priest.
Hair on his head was white like wool. White hair in John’s day was connected with the idea of wisdom and timelessness. John recognizes Jesus’ wisdom.
His eyes were like blazing fire. Fire, in Bible times, spoke of judgment. Jesus’ eyes reveal deep insight and judgment over evil.
His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace. Bronze, or brass, was known as the strongest metal known in the ancient world. His feet like bronze glowing in the furnace spoke of Jesus’ strength, stability, and permanence. In Exodus 27:1-6, Israel used a bronze or brazen alter. This image also spoke of judgment and sacrifice. Jesus stands in power and judgment.
His voice was like the sound of rushing waters. The voice of Jesus had the majesty of a mighty waterfall. The sound of the waterfall or rushing waters came from all around and could not be ignored. Here John speaks of the authority of Jesus.
In His right hand he held seven stars. The seven stars represent the leaders or representatives of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation 1:11. Seven, in the Scripture, is the number of completion. When John sees the Lord, it’s comforting to know the churches are completely and securely held in the right hand of Jesus.
Coming out of his mouth was a sharp double-edged sword. The sword coming from His mouth is a metaphor for the tongue that Jesus uses to speak judgment against His enemies. The words He speaks have the power to penetrate even the hardest hearts. John recognizes the power and force of the judgment of Jesus.
His face was like the shining sun. When John looks to the face of Jesus, His glory is so great that it is hard to even look upon Him. This is the same glory Jesus had in the transfiguration when His face shone like the sun in Matthew 17:2.
In Jesus’ right hand are seven stars – the churches. But they are all insignificant when you catch a glimpse of His face. Although the seven stars provide light, the pale in comparison to the face of the Lord. Charles Spurgeon says, “Dear friends, when you go to a place of worship, always try to see the Lord’s face rather than the stars in His hand. Look at the sun and you will forget the stars.”
As we study the Revelation of Jesus Christ, there are three challenges:
1 – Let the Word challenge you to holy living in an unholy world.
2 – Let the Word challenge you to have a greater urgency in evangelism.
3 – Let the Word cause you to be more missionary minded to fulfill the Great Commission before Christ returns.
Thank You Lord for revealing an accurate picture of Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus, I long to see You in Your glory. Amen and amen.
Ty Tamasaka is an author who hold a Master of Arts Degree from Pacific Rim Christian University in Christian Ministry He is a Bible teacher who loves to encourage people to enjoy Jesus’ grace and extend His Kingdom. Ty just released his new book Starting Fresh: Following Jesus on the Adventure of a Lifetime in addition to More than a Conqueror: 5 Pathways to Personal Revival.