Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

The description of Jesus (Rev. 1:12-16)

John describes Jesus as present with the seven churches of Asia (standing among the lampstands). The Saviour is about to send a letter to each, so we can deduce that he has been investigating what has been occurring in each.

The first detail that John mentions about Jesus is that he is like a son of man. We might assume that John is pointing to the humanity of Jesus here, and that is true.  Yet he has a special kind of humanity, one that is marked by unique abilities. Our minds should be drawn to the prophecy of Daniel 7 in which one like the Son of man received a kingdom from God the Father (which happened to Jesus when he ascended). So we have a description of the ascended Saviour.

John then describes how Jesus is dressed. The long robe and the golden sash remind us that Jesus is dressed like a priest. Of course, Jesus is a special kind of priest, linked to the order of Melchizedek. The difference between that priesthood and the priesthood of Aaron was that Melchisedek was a king as well as a priest. Jesus is a king and a priest.

Next John notes that the hair of Jesus was very white. In the vision that Daniel saw, it was the Ancient of Days (God the Father) who is said to have such hair. Therefore it is possible to regard this detail as indicating that Jesus is divine. Moreover, a hoary head is linked with wisdom as well as with dignity. The least we can deduce from the reference to hair is that Jesus possesses the wisdom to deal with the issues he has seen in the seven churches.

The eyes of Jesus are like a flame of fire. I suppose John means penetrating vision, able to see everything that is going on in the churches. John then says that the feet of Jesus were like bronze in a furnace, which must be connected to the description of his eyes being like fire. A metal in a furnace had been purified. Therefore, when a person saw a metal in this condition he knew that it was pure. John is not saying that Jesus became pure. Instead he is indicating that Jesus is always without any defects.


Then there is the loud voice of Jesus. John likens the voice to the noise of the Mediterranean Sea that dashed against the island on which he was exiled. Perhaps he heard its waves every day, drowning out all other noises. Such a sound could not be silenced by all the powers of man. When Jesus speaks, he will be heard, and he has come to speak to the seven churches. And through these messages, the awesome Saviour also speaks to us.

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