Category: Knowing Jesus

Logos: God Before Time (Part One)

Logos: God Before Time (Part One)

As we begin our chronological study of the Gospels, it is important to realize that the Gospel story begins long before time when the Logos was with God and was God. John, the Beloved Apostle opens our understanding with a powerful theological declaration that echoes Genesis 1:1 and fills in the person and power of the God Who is Before Time…

 

John 1:1

En arkhêi (In the Beginning) ên ho lógos, (the Word was) kaì ho lógos ên pròs tòn theón, (and the Word was with God) kaì theòs ên ho lógos. (and God was the word)

 

NLT: In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

Here, beloved, in this verse begins the story of the Gospels. The Word, the eternal expression of the Godhead, is the focus of the story of the Gospels.

 

Let us look for a moment at Rabbi David Sturn’s exposition on John 1:1 and 2

 

1:1a ‘In the beginning was the Word.’ This echoes the first sentence of Genesis: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The Word is not named as such in Genesis but is immediately seen in action: “And God said, ‘Let there be light’” (Gen. 1:3). God expresses himself as commanding, calling, and creating. This expressing, this speaking, this “Word” is God. A God who does not speak, a wordless God, is no God at all. Word, from the Greek logos, corresponds to the Aramaic memra, a technical, theological term used by rabbis in the centuries before and after Yeshua when speaking of God’s expression of himself. Thus the Messiah existed before all creation (cf. 17:5).

 

1:1b-2 And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.Some qualities of Yochanan (John) that have been considered non-Jewish or of Hellenistic origin in the past are better understood in a Jewish context. One example is its famous use of the Greek term logos: “In the beginning was the Word [logos], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” F. F. Bruce notes, “The term logos was familiar in some Greek philosophical schools,” and “constituted a bridge-word by which people brought up in Greek philosophy…found their way into Johannine Christianity.” At the same time, “The true background to John’s thought and language is found not in Greek philosophy but in Hebrew revelation” (Bruce, The Gospel of John 29). John’s use of logos is rooted in the creation account of Genesis and parallel Jewish discussions of personified wisdom (Pr. 8:22ff.) and of the Aramaic term memra or word. Another example is John’s frequent use of stark contrast, as between light and darkness (1:5ff.; 3:19–21; 12:35–36) or above and below (8:23). As with logos, this usage has been explained in terms of Greek philosophy, which was dualistic, but it actually reflects streams of Second Temple Jewish thought, in particular, the Dead Sea Scrolls.”

 

Let’s look a little deeper at Logos and then we will circle back

 

Word Wealth: The Word

(Greek ho logos) (1:1; 1 John 1:1; Rev. 19:13) Strong’s #3056: This Greek word was used to speak of the principle of the universe, even the creative energy that generated the universe. The term logos may also have some connection with the OT presentation of Wisdom as a personification or attribute of God (see Prov. 8). In both the Jewish conception and the Greek, the Logos was associated with the idea of beginnings—the world began through the origination and instrumentality of the Word (Gen. 1:3). John may have had these ideas in mind, but more likely he used this word in a new way to identify the Son of God as divine. He is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), the express image of God’s substance (Heb. 1:3). In the Godhead, the Son functions as the Revealer of God and is God in reality.

 

John 1:1 is probably the strongest passage in the NT for declaring the deity of Jesus Christ. Because of this, many who deny this biblical doctrine, especially cultists, have attempted to undercut it by arguing that this passage only teaches that Jesus is “a god” and so not fully Deity. This confused position falls on at least two grounds. Such a view is polytheistic, the belief in more than one god. Second, it betrays a misunderstanding of Greek grammar. Verse 1 of the first chapter of John reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The last portion of v. 1 is the major point of contention. It reads in the Greek theos en ho logos, or literally, “the Word was God.” God, or theos, occurs in this verse without the Greek article ho, so that some have contended that the lack of the article in the Greek text should cause the statement to be translated “the Word was a god.” The best understanding for the translation, however, as recognized by Greek scholars, is that since theos is a predicate and precedes the noun logos and a verb, it is natural for it to occur here without the article. Greek scholars are agreed that the verse should be translated as it regularly is in modern and ancient translations, clearly affirming that Jesus is indeed God.

 

Now we said that John’s use of Logos is rooted in Hebrew revelation, but how so? Let’s look at the 8th Chapter of Proverbs. The entire chapter deals with Wisdom as a personification; Wisdom, like Logos is a personification of God.

 

8.22: ‘Created me:’ Since ancient times, interpreters have disputed whether the verb “kanah” means “created” or “acquired.” The latter allows for the possibility that wisdom existed from eternity and was coeval with God. Some Christian groups preferred this, since they identified wisdom with the Logos, which was in turn identified with the Christ.

 

8.23 (me not the rabbis) does appear to suggest that Wisdom was a created being. This, however, is translation dependent, and seems to be a matter of dispute.

 

8.24: According to Gen. 1.2, the ‘deep’ (the primordial sea) existed before creation began. Wisdom insists that she preceded in existence even this most primordial of entities. ‘I was brought forth:’ This word is usually used of birth. The background metaphor of divine parenthood is reinforced by v. 30.

 

8.25: The mountains were thought to rest on foundations or on pillars set (miraculously, see Job 38.6) in the abyss or the underworld.

 

8.27-31: Wisdom declares that she was present when God produced the inhabited world. Compare this with John 1:3, “By Him were all things made and without Him was not anything made that has been made.”

 

8:22-24brought . . . forth . . . I was given birth. Together, these expressions depict Wisdom’s delivery in primordial time as the Lord’s daughter. In this case, wisdom issues from the very character of God; it is not something created apart from him. And as an attribute of God, wisdom is a characteristic he employed to create the cosmos (see Introduction: Lady Wisdom; see also Col 1:15-20). Consequently, Lady Wisdom has certain knowledge about God’s ways (cf. 30:3-4).

 

8:22–31 the first of his acts of old (v. 22). The same wisdom that makes this invitation is the wisdom that was present with God when he created the world and established it as a coherent system, for Wisdom (personified) says, I was daily his delight (v. 30; cf. also 3:19–20). The wisdom that enters the lives of the faithful actually enables them to participate in the rationality at the heart of things. This is why the impious are called “foolish” or even “stupid” (12:1); they are self-haters (cf. 8:36). On the question of whether the personification of Wisdom here goes beyond personification and describes an actual person, the Pre-Incarnate 2nd Person of the trinity.

 

A brief detour into the Introductions of the other gospel accounts…Where John lays a very theological preamble to the Gospels for us, Mark is much more succinct and Luke addresses his to a very specific person:

 

Mark 1:1

This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God

 

Luke 1:1-4

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilledamong us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

 

 

Limited comment on Mark’s Introduction is needed, so I will be brief: Mark’s Gospel account is very fast moving so he does not offer a ton of detail. In his account, we find simply enough information to come to faith in Christ. Luke on the other hand tells us why he wrote and what we can expect to find within his gospel account.

 

Let’s unpack Luke’s introduction a little more…

 

Most Excellent TheophilusOn the one hand, this appellation is a little curious but only if you are not familiar with the customs of Ancient Rome. By referring to Theophilus as most excellent, he identifies the reader as an official in the Roman government. In Acts 26:25, Paul refers to the governor Porcius Festus as, Most Excellent Festus. Luke addresses the book of Acts to the same person and given Paul’s appeal to Caesar at the end of Acts, we have the possibility that Theophilus was a Praetor (magistrate) who had become a Christian and now wanted to examine the facts behind his faith.

 

We know that Luke was a physician that traveled with Paul (Colossians 4:14) but he writes with the skill of both an historian and a lawyer. Luke states that this will be an orderly account and I personally believe that this account was submitted as part of Paul’s legal defense.

 

Now, circling back to our study of John 1:1

 

“In the beginning” In these powerful words John tells us that Jesus was before time and by saying God was the Word, John identifies the Jesus as being co-existent and co-eternal with God the Father.

 

In part two, we will look deeper at the pre-existence of Jesus and His role as creator.

YHWH Shua (Jesus): Savior, Healer, Sanctifier, and Coming King

YHWH Shua (Jesus): Savior, Healer, Sanctifier, and Coming King

SAVIOR

The Name of Jesus has impacted lives around the world for more than 2,000 years. He is a universal Savior, promising “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

  • Jesus is an exclusive Savior. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name in heaven given to men by which we must be saved” Acts 4:12. Contrary to what contemporary culture tells us, there are not multiple paths to God. There is only one—Jesus Christ

 

Jesus’ death and resurrection ensures His followers an endless list of promises from God’s Word. When we yield our lives Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, His promises are for us, including peace with God today and hope of eternity with Him.

Promises relating to the Atonement

Because Jesus is our Savior, Scripture tells us that:

 

  • we are forgiven of sin (Acts 2:38)
  • our guilt is taken away (Romans 8:1)
  • we have peace with God (Romans 5:1)
  • God’s wrath is satisfied (1 John 2:2)
  • we have been justified (Romans 5:1)
  • Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us (Romans 4:24)
  • we are “new creations” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • we have eternal life which can never be taken away (John 3:16-21 and John 10:28-29)
  • we have been adopted by God and are now joint heirs with Christ (John 1:12, Romans 8:17)
  • the Holy Spirit lives in us (Romans 8:11)
  • Jesus is our advocate (1 John 2:1)
  • nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:38-39)
  • death has no more sting (1 Corinthians 15:54)
  • we have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade (1 Peter 1:4)

 

Because Christ died for us, all of these are ours when we surrender our life to Him as Lord (1st) and Savior.

 

 

 

The Tenses of Salvation

As we consider Christ’s death on the cross, I think it’s important to look at the three “tenses” of salvation.

 

  • Past: First, we have been saved. We have been justified or made righteous in God’s eyes. (Romans 5:1, Ephesians 2:8-9)

 

  • Present: Second, we are being saved. We are in the process of being sanctified or made more like Christ through the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 1:18;2 Corinthians 2:15)

 

  • Future: And we will be saved. When Christ returns, we will be glorified or made like Him. We have an eternal inheritance. (Romans 5:9)

 

 

Four other things are important to consider about Jesus as our Savior:

  • He is a universal Savior (Representatives of all mankind will be saved from their sin). John 3:16 tells us that “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” All who come to Him with repentant hearts, sorry for their sins, and believe that He is who He says He is, will receive His salvation. Revelation 7:9 Tells us that there will be a great multitude in Heaven from every tongue and tribe on Earth.

 

  • Jesus Christ is an exclusive Savior. Acts 4:12 tells us that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name in heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Contrary to what contemporary culture tells us, there are not multiple paths to God. There is only one: Jesus Christ. I have said before that the idea that all roads lead to God is semi-true. Any path that is not following Jesus, as He Himself commands, will lead to an appointment at the Great White Throne Judgment.

 

  • He is a comprehensive Savior. Romans 8:29-30 make it clear that our salvation, predestined from before the foundation of the world includes not only justification and forgiveness of sins but also God’s commitment to reform us into the very image of His Son and that one day, when that process is complete, we will be glorified.

 

And He is an all-powerful Savior. Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Christ’s work on the cross sealed our salvation forever. As Romans 8:38–39 tells us, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Further, John 10:28-29 tells us “ 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[a]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

 

 

Jesus is our Savior. Nothing can separate us from His great work on the cross, from His love.

 

SANCTIFIER (Baptizer with the Holy Spirit

 

Many Christians understand God’s promise of salvation but do not experience the ongoing vigor of the life of the Holy Spirit within us. For those who neither understand nor allow the Holy Spirit’s control in their lives, the results have a profound effect.

Unsuccessful struggle against sin and a lack of power in life and ministry frustrate those who have asked Jesus to be their Savior but not their Sanctifier, resulting in a lack of joy in their walk with Christ. At the point when we are born again, we become members of God’s family. We believe He paid the price for our sin, and we are positionally sanctified, or set apart from those who are not born again, and are seen as holy because of what Christ has done.

 

 

“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30) NKJV

 

We saw earlier that the Bible teaches three tenses of salvation:

  • I have been saved: Justification
  • I am being saved: Sanctification
  • I will be saved: Glorification

 

Sanctification means separation

  • Separation from sin: “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” 1 Peter 1:15-16.
  • Separation to God: “(He) has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father…” Revelation 1:6.

 

We read in John 1:29, 33 that Jesus is

  • “the one who is taking away the sin of the world…”
  • “the one who is baptizing with the Holy Spirit”

 

Two realities—two experiences. All Christians understand the first promise. But many Christians do not understand the experience of the second. It is the experience of Christ’s sanctifying work in a believer’s life. For those who neither understand nor allow for the Spirit’s control in their lives, the results will have profound effect. Ongoing and unsuccessful struggle against sin and a lack of power in life and ministry frustrates the believer. Doubts creep in about the assurance of salvation; there is a lack of joy in the walk with Christ.

 

Pneumatology “101”

In the context of the following Scriptures, the Greek word for Spirit is pneuma.

  • Every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” (Romans 8:9).
  • Many Christians do not realize they have filled with the Holy Spirit. and baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3, Galatians 3:27)

 

With the decision to submit to Christ as Lord, the One who was sacrificed for the sin of the world, the believer is immediately indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The believer who forsakes the flesh, allowing the Spirit’s infilling, experiences victory and deliverance not only from the penalty of sin because Christ’s righteousness is imputed to him. The Christian who is filled with the Christ’s Spirit knows deliverance from the power of sin as Christ’s righteousness is imparted to him.

 

Not only does the follower of Christ experience freedom from eternal death because Jesus lives in him but also freedom to live an abundant life in the present because Jesus lives through him. With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit he is equipped to fight the temptations of the future.

 

A Sad Reality

  • Most American Christians show little evidence in their lives that they have been separated from sin.
  • Most American Christians behave in ways that make it difficult to believe that they have been “set apart” for the service of God.

 

Part Two

According to John 1:29-33, Jesus is:

  • the one who is taking away the sin of the world
  • the one who is baptizing with the Holy Spirit

 

Through the power of the Holy Spirit we experience

  • Deliverance from penalty of sin
  • Deliverance from the power of sin
  • Freedom from death
  • Freedom to live
  • Release from the guilt of the past
  • Equips for the temptations of the future
  • Christ’s righteousness is imputed to us
  • Christ’s righteousness is manifest in us
  • Jesus lives in us
  • Jesus lives through us

 

True or False Christians?

According to the New Testament, there are two kinds of Christians.

  • I Corinthians 3:1-4 — spiritual and worldly (carnal/false)
  • Romans 7 and Romans 8 — self-propelled and Spirit driven
  • Ephesians 5:18 — filled and not filled

 

What does the fruit of a true Christians life look like?

 

  • “It’s all about purity.”
  • “It’s all about power.”
  • “It’s all about joy.”

 

Jesus tells us in John 15 that He is the Vine and we are the branches and because of our relationship with Jesus, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit:

 

  • “we will bear much fruit…” — PURITY
  • “we can ask whatever we want that is in harmony with His will…” — POWER
  • “our joy will be complete” — JOY

 

How to have a Spirit Filled Life

  • You cannot make yourself holy any more than you can make yourself saved! (Rom. 6:11; Rom. 12:1-2)
  • Christ is your Sanctifier in the same way that He is your Savior! (Col. 2:6; Gal. 2:20)
  • Maintain a continuous relationship with Jesus through obedience to his Word. (John 15:1-11)

 

Abiding and the Word of God

  • John 17:17 — “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
  • John 15:3 — “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.”
  • John 15:7 — “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.”.

 

 

Why do so few Christians experience the reality of sanctification and a life in communion with both the Sanctifier (Jesus) and the Agent of our Sanctification (the Holy Spirit)?

 

  • Ignorance — Acts 19:3
  • Sin — Ephesians 4:30
  • Fear — I Thessalonians 5:19
  • Lack of Desire — Matthew 5:6

 

Is there a difference between the baptism and filling?

The major problem here is that the New Testament does not clearly distinguish between several different words used to describe the dealings of the Holy Spirit with God’s people. Some of these words are listed below.

  • “baptized”
  • “filled”
  • “anointed”
  • “sealed”
  • “earnest”

 

While the language the Bible uses to describe the experience may be ambiguous, the possibility of living a spirit-filled life is a Clear Reality

 

Is this a one time experience?

While the initial filling of the Holy Spirit usually comes as an experience subsequent to conversion, it is important to understand that:

  • Sanctification is also a “progressive” experience. Philippians 2:12–13; Philippians 3:12–14; Colossians 2:6
  • It is also important to recognize that we need to be filled again and again because we leak!

 

Two Great Errors when pursuing a sanctified life:

  • Avoiding the Holy Spirit out of fear: Many Christians run from God because of sin or preconceived notions of inability or worthiness. When we remember to live Jesus’ words from John 15, “Apart from Me you can do nothing,” we realize that our daily sanctification is dependent on our willingness to surrender to Him.
  • Seeking an experience or feeling as the evidence that we have been filled: Experiences are temporary and feelings are fleeting. God’s Word is true and everlasting. We cannot put our faith in experience or feeling but only in His eternal Word.

 

 

HEALER

 

A great portion of Christ’s time was dedicated to healing the sick. He healed all kinds of people: the blind, the paralyzed, the lame, the deaf, lepers, those who had fevers, and many with chronic illnesses.

 

 

“Jesus Is Still the Healer”

We find no record in the gospels of Jesus turning away anyone who came to him for healing, nor do we find that any disease was too difficult for him to heal. He even raised the dead. Miraculous healings still occur today—evidence that Christ is still our Healer.

The Purpose of Divine Healing is to Glorify Jesus. In the Book of Acts, we find three important truths we need to grasp: Jesus is still the Healer, Healing comes from Jesus alone, and the purpose of divine healing is always to glorify Him.

 

Now, I need to point something out: Jesus does provide physical healing in accordance with the good pleasure of the Father’s will BUT THIS IS NOT THE HEALING PROVIDED FOR IN THE ATONEMENT.  The healing provided for in the Atonement is the healing of our sin sick soul and healing our relationship with God.

 

Why did grant physical attention to so many people?

 

  • To facilitate His message: Jesus knew that by meeting a physical need, healing, the door would be open to speak about Jesus’ greater mission—to bring salvation to souls. We see the same pattern throughout Jesus’ ministry. Whenever Jesus made an intangible claim, He backed it up with a tangible act. Jesus said He was the bread of life and fed 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread.

 

  • To prove He could forgive sin: How do you prove such an intangible thing? First, Jesus lived in a culture where the assumption was that sickness was a result of sin. Second, based on the same assumption, healing comes with forgiveness of sin. To prove that He had the power to forgive sins, Jesus said to the man who was lowered down through roof on a mat, “Friend, your sins are forgiven…take your mat and go home” (Luke 5:20).

 

  • To prove He was God: Jesus healed to prove He was the Messiah. Only One has authority to forgive sin—God alone—a charge the Pharisees made when Jesus healed sickness and at the same time forgave sins. He was claiming authority to be God.

 

  • To show His compassion: Jesus healed because he cared. There is no record of Jesus turning anyone away who asked for his help.

 

  • To show that He is the Lord of all of life: Jesus is the Lord of compassion—not just Lord of our souls but of our bodies as well.

 

  • To show that salvation starts now: Jesus’ wonderful, compassionate willingness to reach out and touch our physical needs demonstrates that it’s not just future tense but present tense. Salvation starts now. He heals in this life, in this moment, in anticipation of something much more complete as eternity rolls on.

 

Why Isn’t Everyone Healed?

Why do people get sick in the first place? The Bible gives a theology of sickness and suffering as well as a theology of healing. There are a number of reasons for sickness. The first is sin. The Pharisees were right that some get sick because of sin but wrong that all get sick because of sin. In 1 Corinthians, we are warned about abusing the table of the Lord. “That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you sleep.”

Sometimes God allows the enemy to make us sick. Sickness definitely is related to the curse, the fall, and the work of Satan. There is no better example than Job. In the testing, our faithfulness can be perfect. God allows sickness or disabilities to teach us lessons that would not be learned any other.

 

Healing also can be God’s way of taking us home, the moment of eschatological healing that ultimately comes when we are made perfect. No more glasses, no more insulin, no more antibiotics.

 

How Do We Respond?

Our prayers for healing tend to be, “Jesus heal me because I want to serve you more, I don’t want pain, or I want to be a testimony of your faithfulness. See how much more faith I have now.”

 

The only possible right response is: “What ever brings You glory, Lord. I believe you can. With the absence of a firm word to the contrary, then I believe that you will. But the only reason I want to be healed is because I want to bring You glory. If something else brings You more glory, that’s ok with me. It’s not about me. It’s all about Jesus.”

 

 

 

COMING KING

 

For the remainder of our time together, we will look at YHWH Shua as the King who is coming…

 

It is nearly impossible to look at the world without noticing that it has spun out of control and that’s the bad news. The good news is this: the world is right on schedule to meet its appointed culmination. How will this happen? Well if you will pardon the pop culture reference, it will happen with the return of the King.

The Lord of All the earth is about to make His return and to restore a paradise that has been lost. Officially, we call this “Our blessed hope” and it can be articulated this way: “The Imminent Return of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds of glory to gather His Church unto Him, is the Blessed Hope of the church.” Following that event, will be the Tribulation, the days of wrath, which will then culminate in the Millennial Kingdom.

Our text, for the remainder of our time, is Revelation 1:10-18

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,

If you look back to Exodus Chapter 19, when the Lord made His visitation Sinai, His visitation was preceded by the sound of a trumpet, and it is interesting to note, that in most of human history, the blast of a trumpet announced the arrival of a coming King. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17, we see that, at the Rapture, the arrival of the King to gather His people to Himself into the clouds is accompanied by the sound of a trumpet. So we have two possible things in play here: 1. John heard the sound of a trumpet heralding the arrival of the King of the Universe. 2. The voice John heard was as loud, distinctive, and piercing as a trumpet blast. I tend to think that number 2 is the more likely scenario although 1st is a possibility.

11 saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

We are about to be treated to a glimpse into the Eternal Throne Room. Not only that, but we are about to receive a privilege unmatched anywhere in Scripture. Ever the teacher, the Lord Himself is about to give us the definitive exposition on the Scripture. We are going to see, in the imagery He uses, the Lord of all the Earth in resplendent glory and majesty.

We need understanding with verse 12-16 This vision is absolutely not a physical description of Christ in His Glory; we are not yet at the point where we will be able to behold Him as He now is. Instead, this is the lesson: Christ gives us a composite of Old Testament symbols representing the Lord of All:

 

10 Noteworthy Items

  1. One like the Son of Man

First, we need to note that this was not some otherworldly creature. The person that John saw was human in form. Over 80 times in the Gospels, Jesus refers to Himself or is referred to as the Son of Man. This term does not simply identify the humanity of Jesus; His use of it to refer to Himself shows that He identifies with us. The One who is God above all gods, whose own precious blood redeemed the church, has humbled Himself to the point of being able to identify with the Bride. Since she can never be God, like the groom is, He has brought Himself to her and came in her likeness, as a Son of Man.

  1. “Clothed” in a garment down to the feet

By being clothed in a garment down to the feet, Christ shows Himself in His High Priestly role. (Hebrews 2:17 and 3:1) From the Ascension until this point in Redemptive History, Jesus has filled the Office of ha Cohen Gadol, the High Priest continually offering intercession for His saints before the Throne of God the Father. His shed blood at Calvary was the final atoning sacrifice which then left the role of the High Priest to be intercessor before God.

  1. Girded about the chest with a golden band

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus tells us that all authority in Heaven and on Earth has been committed to the Son. In the Ancient World, a gold band was a symbol of power and authority. Kings, Satraps, Governors, etc. wore these bands around the waist as a sign of their authority.

  1. His head and hair were white like wool

This identifies Christ with the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9-14). Not to be confused with the “white hair of old age,” this is a blazing white that speaks of righteousness. White is, perhaps, an insufficient adjective. This is absolute, superlative, holiness; a holiness so bright that leaves no room for any shadow. The white is Shekinah, the personal divine holy presence of God Himself.

  1. His eyes were like a flame of fire

In Greek, this phrase literally says “eyes shot fire.” Two things are in play here: first, this phraseology indicates indignance at the apostasy of the churches since the Church not being what she should be would certainly arouse the indignance of Christ. Secondly, eyes like a flame of fire speaks of the omniscience of Christ. Every thought and motive must pass through this gaze and all that is impure will be burned away.

  1. Feet like fine brass, refined in a furnace

If we look back to the Tabernacle for a moment, the altar of burnt offering was covered with brass and its utensils were made of the same material (Exodus 38:1-7). Glowing hot, brass feet are a clear reference to divine judgment. Jesus Christ with feet of judgment is moving through His church to exercise His chastening authority upon sin.

  1. Voice like many waters

When you stand near a waterfall, every other sound is drowned out by the thunderous roar of the waters. This is a picture of Jesus on the Day of Judgment; every voice, every sound will be brought to stillness before His authority. That is to say, when Christ calls His Judgment Court to session, the entire cosmos will come together and be convened.

  1. In his right had He held seven stars

Many times in Scripture, we see that stars and angels are used interchangeably and since the word angelos means messenger, it is clear that these would be messengers to the 7 Churches. What is not clear is whether Christ is referring to 7 actual angels or to the pastors of the 7 churches that He was sending His messages to. That Christ holds them in His hand shows Him as absolute Lord over all things, including the Church.

  1. Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12)

A two-edged sword speaks of judgment and portends to judgment on those who would attack Christ or His Church. The Standard of Judgment that Christ uses is none other than Sacred Scripture, His Word. What will determine your salvation and your righteousness? Nothing more or less than the standard laid out in the Bible.

  1. His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength

Think back to Matthew 17:12 on the Mount of Transfiguration. His countenance (face) is blazing in unmistakable resplendent glory.

Looking down to verse 17…

17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

It is possible that John simply passed out, but it is also possible that the shock of seeing Christ in His glory caused John’s aged heart to fail and, as He did so often in the Gospels, the Lord healed John with a touch.

“Do not be afraid”; when one is approaching the Sovereign Lord in His majesty, there is a measure of fear but that is not all that is alluded to here: The Lord, in His all-consuming holiness could have struck John dead for any sin, at all, that he had. Jesus, though, has an excellent memory, and knowing John as the Disciple Whom Jesus loved, he reached out in His grace and mercy and strengthened him.

18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

I know Baptists don’t do this, but every time I read this verse it makes me want to jump and shout. I don’t think most people get this verse. The Living One who was dead and it alive forever more!! Stop and get that. The Source of Life, who was murdered by His creation is alive forevermore! No one will ever again take His life from Him and the life that He gives to His Church can never be taken to her either!

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