John goes on to describe Jesus as he saw him. Let’s remember that John knew Jesus very well, since he was one of His closest disciples. This time, though, Jesus appeared before him in very different way.
The first thing that John noticed was the voice of the Lord that came from behind him. His voice was like a trumpet (Heb. Shofar). The Bible tells us that is the sound we will hear before His second coming (1 Thes. 4:16; 1 Cor. 15:52; Zach. 9:14).
When John heard the voice behind him, he turned around to see who was speaking…
(Rev. 1:12-13) Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 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.
“Son of man” is a phrase the prophet Daniel used to describe the Messiah (Dan. 7:13-14). Throughout the Gospels, Jesus referred to Himself as “the son of man” (e.g. Matt.16:13; Mar. 2:10; Luk. 9:56; John 9:35).
John saw Jesus in the midst of seven lampstands. Later on, the Lord explains what they represent:
(Rev. 1:20) 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.
As previously mentioned, the message that the Lord gives to John is to be relayed to the Churches (Rev. 1:10-11).
John recognized the Lord, but he saw Him differently. Let´s read his description:
(Rev. 1:14-16) The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 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.
White hair is normal for an elder person, but the prophet Daniel calls Him the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:13), who appears to be young but has existed for a long time (from eternity). His eyes like a flame of fire are piercing, they examine everything, they burn what’s bad and purify what is good. His feet like burnished bronze represent judgement. His voice like many waters represent purification. In the Bible, “waters” (plural) also refers to many peoples and nations. The stars in His right hand represent angels, and His right hand represents action. The Lord has angels at His disposal that He will send to execute His purpose. The two-edged sword in His mouth represents the Word of God (Heb. 4:12).
This vision that John received about the end times is very similar to the one Daniel saw:
(Daniel 10:5-6) I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude.
It is no coincidence that the vision that Daniel received was also about the end times.
(Daniel 10:14) and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come." '
John and Daniel had a similar reaction to the vision of the Lord:
Daniel: (Daniel 10:8-12) So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground. And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. And he said to me, "O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you." And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling. Then he said to me, "Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. '
John: (Rev. 1:17-18) 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, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
The Lord’s appearance in the last days instills fear. Possibly many will be “offended” by His image in the last days (Rev. 19:11-16). However, we need to understand that this is not meant to cause “fear”, but to provoke holy and reverent fear that leads to repentance. John explains this in his Gospel:
(John 3:17-21) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.
Just like John, the Lord tells us not to be afraid, because He is in control even in the midst of the chaos, and that we can find our hope in Him. This is the reason why the Lord gave the vision of Revelation to John, and he charged him to write it…for the benefit of those who believe in God.
(Rev. 1:19) Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.
More posts on the study of: Revelation