Jesus Himself Appears

Revelation 1:9-20
9I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
10I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet
11saying, “Write what you see in a book 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.”
12Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,
13and 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.
14The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire,
15his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.
16In 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.
17When 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,
18and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
19Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this.
20As 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.

I think part of the fascination with the Revelation is the images that the words conjure up for us. They are unique and remarkable. They are unlike almost anything else you will ever read. Imagine you are John exiled completely alone on an island off the coast of Greece. You’re doing your regular Sunday morning worship thing and suddenly the Lord interrupts, this time with a visit of His own. Now before you stands the One you love; the One you followed for three years; the One you saw died horribly; and the One who you saw alive again. You recognize Him instantly – but He’s not exactly the same as you remember. He is different. He is glorified beyond description.

Because the Revelation contains no wasted words or descriptions, this passage about Jesus’ commissioning of John for this work of spreading His message, contains a clear picture of Jesus in all His glory. No detail is without meaning or impact both for John and for his readers. In this description of Jesus are 10 attributes that give teeth to all of the words that follow. He’s the real deal; the One who is God, the Son of God, the Lamb of God. In order to simplify the picture, I’ve included a chart with all of the attributes listed with their meanings and a cross reference to further explain this characteristic.  

Cross Reference

Long Robe
High Priest
Hebrews 4:14-16

Golden Sash

Daniel 7:13; 10:5
White Hair
Wisdom (worthy of awe)
Leviticus 19:32
Eyes of Fire
Destroy evil and purify His people
Hebrews 12:18-24
Feet of Bronze
Strength to conquer enemies
Daniel 2:33
1 Corinthians 15:25-27
Voice of Roaring Waters
The Voice of God

Ezekiel 43:2
Right Hand
Mercy and Comfort Granted
Matthew 25:34
John 14:15-17; 16:7
Seven Stars
The Seven Churches
The WHOLE Church
Detailed description to follow in the next 2 chapters
Two Edge Sword
Execution of Judgment
Hebrews 4:12
Whole Appearance
Like the Sun
A Metaphor for God Himself
Malachi 3:1-4; 4:1-2

John not only bows down before Jesus, he “falls at His feet as though dead.” The magnificence of Jesus in His full glory is too much for a sinful human to behold. John has seen a glimpse of this glorified Christ before. He was given the gift of being allowed to join Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter and James (Matthew 17:1-13). John witnessed Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah and surrounded by the glory of God. Then he only worshiped; now he falls as though dead. [We do not find a description of the Transfiguration in the Gospel of John. Could that perhaps be because Johns describes it here in the Revelation in its purest form so there was no need to repeat the description in his Gospel?] Jesus then reaches out with His right hand, the hand of mercy and comfort, and commissions John to spread the truth of His grace. All that John receives in the following visions is to be shared with the Church for the edification of all. As will be true for the entire Revelation, Jesus is at the center of this vision. He is the Author, and Source of all that we receive.