I like to imagine Jesus – the aspects of his face, the colours in His eyes, the strength of His hands. One passage I often reflect on is found in [Revelation 1:12-16]:
“…and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white as wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were fine brass, as if refined in a furnace and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.”
This passage alone contains multiple descriptions of Jesus – it’s detailed!
- Where He stands – in the midst of the seven lampstands, representing His church.
- What He wears – a garment down to the feet with a golden band/sash around His chest.
- The colour of His hair – white as wool, white as snow.
- His eyes – like a flame of fire.
- His feet – fine brass refined in a furnace.
- His voice – like the sound of many waters.
- What He holds – seven stars, the seven angels and messengers to His church.
- In His mouth – a sharp two-edged sword and goes out from Him.
- His overall countenance – like the sun shining in all its strength.
In each one of these descriptions lies a deeper understanding, a more expansive revelation and a greater depth of vision. Why are His eyes like a flame of fire? How do eyes like this actually look like? I’m currently working through a short course by Corey Stark called “Seven Simple Keys”. Corey presented a few sessions while I was at the International House of Prayer on understanding the book of Revelation – the character of Jesus, His plans for this world, and His plans for eternity. “Seven Simple Keys” provides some insights, and suggested approaches to the book of Revelation, making it easy to understand. After all, God’s word is for everyone, not just for people who went to bible school! You can register for the course here: http://www.coreystark.com/
The first “key” Corey explores is this: “The book of Revelation is all about unveiling the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ”.
Indeed, the person of Jesus is so comprehensively described in Revelation, I wonder why we don’t spend more time reading it. As I read through Revelation 1, writing down the different aspects of Jesus described in the text, I became overwhelmed by the vastness of our God. Each aspect was, in itself, a treasure cove waiting for the seeker to look and find. Corey categories some of these descriptions and gives an overview of their purpose:
“In Rev. 1, Jesus highlights 52 distinct aspects of His eternal majesty, strategically given in 14 titles, 10 attributes (inherent qualities) and 28 descriptions that were meant to transform John (2 Cor. 3:18), giving him perspective to interpret, pray and prophesy the following events (Rev. 10:10-11).”
I made two lists as I went through Revelation 1 – one in which I grouped characteristics according to “titles, attributes, and descriptions” and another in which I simply wrote the descriptions as they occurred in the text. It was initially quite hard to keep writing down the descriptions because I felt like each description held so much to explore! However, I did eventually manage to compile a list of brief descriptions and it was interesting to look back over them as a whole. When I meditate on just one aspect of Jesus, I get to go deep into one detail of His person – for example, I focus in on His eyes and learn how He sees things. I learn how He sees the earth, how He sees the Father, how He sees me, and how He sees particular circumstances. I learn about His response as He looks back upon these things with His perfect love and justice. When I look at all these descriptions as a whole, I gain a picture of Jesus’ vast majesty. If just one aspect of His eternal majesty, his eyes for example, can overwhelm me, how much more does a glimpse of His whole glory strike me with awesome wonder? It’s hard to explain but it’s amazing!
So, here are some descriptions of Jesus – by no means a full list, but it’s a start and perhaps you can expand on it! Click the picture to enlarge it and view the descriptions by categories.
Otherwise, this is a short verse-by-verse overview:
1. Giver of His revelation (v.1-2)
- This is His testimony that was given to Him to show His servants (us!)
- He showed it to us through His angel who revealed it to John who wrote it down (John was a witness)
- We are witnesses when we “bear witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.”
2. The faithful witness (v.5)
- Since He was firstborn from the dead, He knows the power required to raise the dead to life and that power is found in Him.
- He is faithful witness because He has seen all God did from the creation of the world and He knows the will of the Father.
- He has witnessed all that is in the Father’s heart and He proclaims these things faithfully and perfectly in accordance with the will of the Father.
3. Ruler over the kings of the earth (v.5)
- Psalm 2 – He has overcome them even when they sought to destroy Him because the Father has given Him His authority.
- All things were created through Him and for His glory – all powers and dominions belong to Him, and the kings of the earth bow to Him because all that is on the earth and under it and all in them belong to Him.
Redeemer and Saviour of Love (v5-6)
- “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood”
- He restores us to kingship and priesthood, so we can serve before God when previously sin had separated us from Him.
He will be visible to all (v.7)
- All will see Him, even those who pierced Him and they will mourn as they understand who He is. There will be a day when the full glory of God is revealed.
6. Alpha and Omega, Beginning and the End (v.8)
- He was there at the very beginning with the Father –> He created all things and they exist by Him.
- He will be there at the very end –> He will bring justice to the nations and set up His rule –> this will be the fulfilment of the times and of the Father’s will.
- Hence He is and was and is to come
- Was: Sacrificial Lamb, Israel’s faithful lover and redeemer, Creator
- Is: Living Word of God, Strong Tower, Israel’s protector
- To Come: Lion of the tribe of Judah, King over all nations
7. Man of tribulation (v.9)
- Isaiah 53 – a man of many sorrows
8. Man of kingdom (v,9)
- Because Jesus will inherit all the kingdoms of the earth, He refused Satan’s offer of the kingdoms of the earth. He remembered instead God’s promise that all things in heaven and on earth would be His and He remained faithful to God alone
9. Man of patience (v.9)
- Though He did not see all the promises fulfilled in His time on earth, and though He did not see many people’s hearts changed, Jesus kept His hope in God because He knew the faithfulness of God’s word
- In trials, in our unfaithfulness and in sin, Jesus is patient but NOT tolerant since He is also JUST. Jesus is patient in His forgiveness.
10. Voice like a trumpet (v.10)
- Jesus speaks with a voice that is clear and loud, that proclaims, and that heralds a message.
11. Son of Man amongst the 7 lampstands, dressed in a garment to his feet and a golden band around his chest (v.13)
- Jesus is completely human, yet fully God. He stands in the midst of His church and He wears a King’s robe.
12. Dispatcher of God’s word and message (v.11)
- He shows us His revelation, then sends us out to tell His church what He says, and who He is.
13. Hair white as wool, white as snow (v.14)
- His wisdom, sanctity, holiness and timelessness
- His holiness is as blinding as the snowfields (blinding white). When we see His holiness, we cannot see anything else.
14. Eyes like a flame of fire (v.14)
- Zeal for His Kingdom (Isaiah 9:7)
- Passion for His people (Song of Songs 8:5-7)
- Discipline, Testing of Faith (1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Psalm 66:8-12)
- Judgement against Satan and the World (Revelation 19:11-21)
15. Feet like fine brass, refined in the furnace (v.15)
- Perfect in faith, He is the perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)
- He has feet that will trample and destroy all that is not love
16. Voice like many waters (v.15)
- Thundering, flowing, always calling
- Speaks of the flow of His love and of His unconquerable power
- Nothing can hinder the fulfilment of His commands
17. He holds the 7 stars (angels) in His hands (v.16)
- He is the ruler of heaven and the creator even of the heavenly creatures.
18. A double-edged sword comes from His mouth (v.16)
- This is the word of God spoken with power and authority. It pierces for increase of love, and pierces for justice.
- How will the word of God pierce us? Will we be sanctified or destroyed by it?
19. His countenance is like the sun shining in its strength (v.16)
- His light, and His life surpasses than of our earth’s sun. In that day, there will be no need for the sun, because it’s light will be outshone by the light of the Lamb. There is no darkness where Jesus is – His light is the life of men (John 1)
20. His glory commands worship (v.17)
- We fall at His feet when we see His unveiled glory.
21. He is the comforter, giver of strength, He dispels fear (v.17)
- He does this by speaking to us, touching us with His hand/His presence, by reminding us of who He is (His character)and what He is doing, and of the authority that He has over all things
22. He knows the things of the past, present and the future (v.19)
- He knows the will of the Father perfectly and He know how all things will turn out.
- He holds the map of all history and time in His hand and He knows its plan.