Who’s Coming? Part #2 – Revelation 1:7-17 10/25/20

Who’s Coming? Part #2 – Revelation 1:7-17 10/25/20

In our passage today, Jesus is revealed for who He is. If that revelation is allowed to accomplish all that it should, your perspective should be changed. You will know there’s no reason to worry about the future. Today we’ll pick up at Revelation 1:10-17; the first of the visions recorded by John in the Revelation. Last week we saw that Jesus is coming back revealed for who He is, God Almighty. As if that were not enough, we’re now given more information about this Jesus.

So, John hears Jesus speak, and we should note that there is power in that voice; Revelation 1:10. It is at the sound of that voice that the dead in Christ will rise to eternal life.[1] The thing John sees next is the revelation of the Son of Man in the midst of “seven golden lampstands.”[2] We know that the lampstands are symbolic of the churches because we’re told they are in Revelation 1:20. Jesus being in the midst of the lampstands, the churches, is significant.

With the Old Testament foreshadowing the New Testament, it was the High Priest who had sole oversight of the lampstands in both the Tabernacle, and later in the Temple;[3] Leviticus 24:3-4. The general background John draws from with the lamps comes, first, from the lamp used in the Tabernacle described in Exodus 25:31. The same imagery is symbolically applied to Israel in Zechariah 4:1-2. In this vision, the lampstand with its seven lamps figuratively stand for the entire temple which, by extension, was used to represent all those descendants of Abraham that remained faithful to God through all of their hardships.[4]

Zechariah prophesied that these people would draw their power to complete the work of the temple construction directly from God’s Spirit.[5] Consequently, with Jesus standing in the midst of His church, His followers, (that would be each of us, now incorporating all peoples as members of God’s people), are given divine power to complete our work, which is to be Jesus’ ambassadors.[6] Our work is to share in the ministry of reconciliation that Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19.

Then John saw Jesus, He was recognizable, John says the One he saw looked “like” the Son of Man; Revelation 1:13. The overall impression is probably more important than the individual details as Jesus is revealed for Who He Is.[7] As intriguing as Jesus’ personal appearance is, He’s shown to be doing something; Revelation 1:16.

In both the Old Testament, and in Revelation, stars are often associated with angles,[8] although not always. Now, “angels” is not as precise an expression as we might like. The word is (ἄγγελοι)[9] and fundamentally means “messenger.” [10] The primary use of the word in the New Testament refers to divine messengers and heavenly representatives.[11] However, (ἄγγελοι)[12] may also refer to a messenger, an envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God,[13] and therefore can refer to missionaries, prophets, or evangelists. Even pastors may be called messengers. Take your pick.

And now we come to a strange image, a double edged sword coming out of His mouth, and His face is glowing like the sun. This is almost certainly symbolic language. Its roots are found in the prophecies of Isaiah 11:4.[14] Hebrews describes the word of God as being a two edged sword;[15] Hebrews 4:12-13. The metaphor of the sword is important for a few reasons. First, it adds to Jesus being depicted as the eschatological Judge, the One who will fulfill the Messianic expectation.[16] It also shows that the victory Jesus wins will not be accomplished through human involvement.

The word used for “sword” is unusual and, in the Scriptures, is found only in the Revelation.[17] The word is (ῥομφαία).[18] This denotes a Thracian weapon, a large double edged sword.[19] It was a broad sword that was used for both cutting and piercing.[20] A sword is both a weapon and a symbol for war, but here coming from the mouth of Christ rather than in His hand, it points to divine judgment that will not be accomplished through power wielded by nations.[21]

As the first and the last, John clearly identifies Jesus as God, the absolute Lord of history, and the Creator of all that exists.[22] It was this One who determined to die so that we might be saved; 1 Peter 1:17-21. We have in our passage today a vision describing the glorified Person of Jesus Christ, God the Son. And yet, at the same time He is the son of Mary, God’s decisive act of mercy as He works to save us; Galatians 4:4-5.

It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the grandeur and glory of the exalted Lord that we forget that He loves us, in fact loves us intensely. He is the One who came into the world to save you and me. He is the same One described in John 3:16-17. Rightly understood, this passage gives us a much greater understanding of the mystery of God’s love. The Judge is also the Savior, God almighty is also the One who humbled Himself so that you and I might be saved. Philippians 2:8-11.

The day is coming when, in joy, we’ll confess before the hosts of heaven that Jesus Christ is Lord. In doing so, we will fulfill the purpose we were created for, with the result that God the Father will receive even more glory.

That is a cool picture.

[1] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 893. [2] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 206. [3] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 894. [4] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 206. [5] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 207. [6] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 207. [7] Alan Johnson, Revelation, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 12, Hebrews – Revelation, gen ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript eds., Richard Polcyn and Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1981), 427. [8] Alan Johnson, Revelation, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 12, Hebrews – Revelation, gen ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript eds., Richard Polcyn and Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1981), 427. [9]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Re 1:20. [10] Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 12. [11] Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 13. [12]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Re 1:20. [13] James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995). [14] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 211. [15] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 896. [16] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 211–212. [17] Alan Johnson, Revelation, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 12, Hebrews – Revelation, gen ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript eds., Richard Polcyn and Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1981), 428. [18]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Re 1:16. [19] Gerhard Kittel, Gerhard Friedrich, and Geoffrey William Bromiley, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1985), 987. [20] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 56. [21] Alan Johnson, Revelation, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 12, Hebrews – Revelation, gen ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript eds., Richard Polcyn and Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1981), 428. [22] Alan Johnson, Revelation, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 12, Hebrews – Revelation, gen ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript eds., Richard Polcyn and Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1981), 428.

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