12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,
- Note the strange language – turning to see the voice? How do you see a voice? He sees the person speaking – but please, get acquainted early with this type of literature.
- Notice that when John turns he does not first notice who is speaking – but he takes note of the churches.(we will see later that the lampstands are the churches.
- The next verse (13) shows us Jesus, and Jesus working in the midst and through his church.
13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.
- What did Jesus look like? John get’s a look at the glorified Jesus, and gives quite a description. It is too bad he didn’t have his cell phone with him so he could take a picture.
- The image is awe-inspiring and terrifying and reveals some important aspects of the Lord. I like what Bruce Metzger once said in his comment on this passage – “John does not mean what he says; he means what he means.”
- Don’t let this slip by – it has been 60 years since John has last seen Jesus and when he does, he is immediately drawn to the Daniel passages.
- Daniel language – Jesus has adopted this language for himself.
- What was given to the Israelite in Daniel 7 was their hope and salvation in Jesus Christ.
- If you look back at Daniel you can see that Daniel is revealing to the captives Jesus Christ – it may not be clear, in fact pretty fuzzy – but there.
- The robe may be a description of Jesus in his high priestly role.
- The golden sash around his chest, not waist – similar to the angels with the censors in Rev 15.
14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,
- What about the white hair? An Ancient of Days description or purity talk?
- His eyes of fire – searching, an all knowing God attribute – he sees all.
15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.
- All of these descriptions are specific identifiers for these readers. This is the same Son of Man identified as the heavenly figure of Daniel 10 and of Daniel 7.
16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
- Where is Jesus? Among the 7 lampstands
- What was his description? God
- What is in his hand? (his right hand, the hand of power = authority)
- Jesus holds the pastors and churches in his hand.
- Sharp two edged sword – We know from Hebrews 4:12 this is the word of God. And it kills and it makes alive.
- Jesus rules and reigns – and how does he do it? With his words.
- The sun in the OT is used for God. Malachi 4:2 states “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.”
- The NT at the transfiguration = Matt 17:2 “And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.”
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,
- This is the common reaction we see when people come in contact with a heavenly being – be it God, Jesus, the Angel of the Lord (I realize these are all God) or just an angel – fall down as dead.
- But you never hear that today as the charismatics describe their encounters.
- Mostly they will say, God came to me and told me this or that – or it was so cool as I saw heaven open etc. I have yet to hear, “and I messed my pants.”
- So I wonder, was it really an experience with God?
- Compare John at the transfiguration where he was able to bow in worship before Jesus – here he is pretty much knocked down and can’t do anything.
- An interesting note, when Jesus appears as the lamb, it is only to his own people – and the people stand as there is no fear before the lamb (Rev 7:9-17). The joy of appearing before the lamb Rev 19:5-9.
- We see this reaction to the lamb in the first vision of the 2nd coming in Rev 14 – where Jesus comes to his own not as judge but as the one who delivers them.
18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
- This is Jesus speaking – wow, tell me this is not scandalous talk.
- You mean I don’t hold these keys? Are you telling me that this is out of my hands?
19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.
- Very little is given in today’s teachings about the past and present – everyone wants to race to the future events – and cast them way out into the end times events with little regard to how much of this may be the ‘future’ events for first century readers of the letter – in their upcoming days, weeks, months or years.
20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
- 7 stars = 7 angels = 7 pastors
- 7 lampstands = 7 churches
- This is the fulfillment or assurance of Matt 28 – “Lo, I will be with you always.”
- The ascension does not mean that Jesus has left like he is way up there in the sky and you having to go up to him.
- This is the point – Jesus is with his Church reigning and ruling.