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.
In this week’s lesson, we are going to look at the King Who Is to Come.
Our text this week 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
- 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.
- “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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
NOTE: Audio will be available at a later time