When John Saw JesusRevelation 1:9-20Theme: The glorified Christ.This week’s lessons teach us who Jesus is and why he is to be worshiped. LessonThe fourth thing described in John’s vision is found in verse 15: “His feet are like bronze glowing in a furnace.” That image is also in Daniel (10:6). It suggests moral purity but it also speaks of the force and irresistibility of Christ’s judgment, because these are the feet with which he’s going to tread out the great wine press of God’s wrath.
We’re told that “his voice was like the sound of rushing waters” (Rev. 1:15). That’s how Ezekiel describes the voice of the Almighty (Ezek. 43:2).
“In his right hand he held the seven stars” (verse 16). In Daniel, chapter 12, the stars are the wise among Israel, which is a way of talking about those among the Jewish people who were believers. But here, in Revelation, verse 20, the stars are identified as “the angels of the seven churches; and the lampstands are the seven churches.”
We’re told in verse 16 that “out of his mouth came a sharp, double-edged sword.” The sword is a symbol for God’s Word. Hebrews 4:12 says, “the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” You have an identification of the Word of God with the sword of the Spirit in Ephesians 6 and the same figure comes back in Revelation 19, verses 15 and 21.
And then here’s his final description: “His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance” (verse 16). It’s worth remembering that John had seen something like this before, because he had seen Jesus transfigured into his glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. So here he’s seeing something with which he’s somewhat familiar.
Let me remind you that we’re talking about visions. One characteristic of visions that people in the Bible have of God is that the vision strikes them with such terror of his majesty, that they fall down as if they’re dead. Certainly we have that in the case of Isaiah and the vision that he has in chapter 6. It’s what happens to John here. When he saw this and heard it, he fell at his feet as though he were dead. What happens is that Jesus reaches out and lifts him up – it’s the equivalent of a resurrection – and then begins to unfold the revelation that continues to the end of the chapter. The words that we have here contain Jesus’ self-identification, his commissioning of John, and the first explanation of what John has seen.
This new set of titles for Jesus in verse 18 adds to what we’ve seen in verse 5. Here, Jesus is “the First and the Last,” “the Living One,” and the one who holds “the keys of death and Hades.” “The First and the Last” is similar to the way God identified himself in verse 8. “The Living One” emphasizes Jesus’ victory over death – he died, but he’s alive again; and the reference to holding “the keys of death and Hades” emphasizes Christ’s present rule and power.
Jesus says to John, “Don’t be afraid.” And the reason not to be afraid is that Jesus Christ is the one who holds the future in his hands. He holds the keys.
What is symbolized by the bronze feet?
With what are the stars identified in verse 20?
What does the sword symbolize?
What is the meaning of each of the names given to Jesus in verse 18?
Further StudyMeditate on the following passages pertaining to the power of God’s Word: Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 19:15, 21.