Toady’s verses will allow us to finish up Chapter 1 as we look at the “Vision of the Son of Man”
Chapter 1: 9-20 – I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. It said “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven starts in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all it’s brilliance.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and Last. I am the living one. I died , but look – I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys to death and the grave (Hades in the Greek). Write Down what you have seen – both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the messengers of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”
Points to Ponder…..
At that time The Christian Church was facing severe persecution. Almost all believers were socially, politically, or economically suffering because of this empire-wide persecution. Some were even being killed for their faith. John had been exiled to Patmos, a small rocky island in the Agean Sea about 50 miles offshore from the city of Ephesus on the Asia Minor seacoast, because he refused to quit preaching the Good News. We may not face persecution for our faith as the early Christians did, but even with our freedom few of us have the courage to share God’s Word with others. If we hesitate to share our faith during easy times, how will we do during persecution?
The “Son of Man” is Jesus himself. The title “Son of Man” occurs many times in the New Testament in reference to Jesus as the Messiah. John recognized Jesus because he lived with him for three years and had seen him both as the Galilean preacher and as the glorified Son of God at the Transfiguration. Here Jesus appears as the mighty Son of Man. His white hair indicates wisdom and divine nature; his bright eyes symbolize judgement of all evil; the gold sash across his chest reveals him as the High Priest, who goes into God’s presence to obtain forgiveness of sin for those who have believed in him.
Revelation will challenge your mental picture of Jesus Christ. What forms your impression of him right now – famous paintings, movies, Sunday school art? Do you ever picture Jesus with a gold sash and snow white, wooly hair? Do his eyes flash fire and his feet glow like bronze? When you imagine Jesus speaking to you does his voice thunder like mighty ocean waves? Reevaluate the way you think of Jesus as you read and study Revelation. Allow his powerful presence to transform your life.
As the Roman government stepped up its persecution of Christians, John must have wondered if the church could survive and stand against the opposition. But Jesus appeared in glory and splendor, reassuring John that he and his fellow believers had access to God’s strength to face these trials. If you are facing difficult problems, remember that the power available to John and the early church is also available to you!
Our sins have convicted and sentenced us, but Jesus holds the keys of death and the grave. He alone can fee us from eternal bondage to Satan. He alone has the power and authority to set us free from sin’s control. Believers don’t have to fear death or the grave because Christ holds the key to both. All we must do is turn from sin and turn to him in faith. When we attempt to control our lives and disregard God, we set a course that leads directly to hell. But when we place our life in Christ’s hands, he restores us now and resurrects us later to an eternal, peaceful relationship with him.
**points to ponder taken from the Life Application Study Bible.