And now, the big reveal of Revelation chapter 1. If this chapter were a movie, verses 12-18 would be the epic and unexpected scene that has audiences talking. This opening chapter of Revelation—full of critical set-up details—peaks with some mind-blowing specifics from John’s vision of the glorified Christ.
We read the following in Revelation 1:12-18:
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades”.
Notice how many times John uses the word “like”? The details about the risen and now-glorified Savior were so otherworldly that John had to use descriptive terms his readers would be familiar with—like pure snow, blazing fire, bronze glowing in a fire, the sound of rushing water. But none of these adequately describe what John saw. I’ve been on a few short-term missions trips, and when you return home and try to describe your experiences to others, words simply aren’t adequate. John experienced this phenomenon—on steroids.
We’re all familiar with the first-coming version of Jesus—the baby born in Bethlehem, the twelve-year-old Jesus in the temple courts, the one who healed the sick and performed miracles, the “meek and mild” Jesus who quietly accepted all of the abuse heaped on him and laid his life down for us at the cross. Revelation reminds us that these snapshots tell only part of the story. Jesus came the first time as a suffering servant. At his return in Revelation 19, he will be seen in all of his glory—coming as a warrior-king to settle all accounts and take his rightful place as sovereign of the universe. We see this in full stunning view when Jesus returns at the end of the tribulation—piercing the darkness with bright glory, coming to the world as a horse-riding warrior wearing a bloody robe and with a sword coming out of his mouth as he leads the armies of heaven.
One purpose of Revelation is to give us a full picture of Jesus. To get this full picture, we must know how it all ends. Revelation peels back the curtain to show us what is to come and how it all points to Christ. Revelation 19:10 even states, “It is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.” In other words, the Holy Spirit, who inspired all of Scripture, put prophecy in the Bible specifically to point us to the truth about who Jesus is!
Why is it so important to have a complete picture of Jesus? Because it changes everything. As we struggle to understand why evil is allowed to flourish and a thousand other similar questions, we see here that God is still in complete control. Jesus is in his rightful place, and there is an appointed time set for him to settle all accounts and make everything right. The thin veil that separates our world and the unseen world will come crashing in, and our faith will become sight as we behold the fiery-eyed, gloriously glowing unstoppable Jesus. To borrow John’s phrase from the end of the last chapter of the Bible—Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
To learn more about the book of Revelation and how it impacts you today, purchase your copy of The Non-Prophet’s Guide™ to the Book of Revelation at your favorite online bookstore, OR VISIT: TheNonProphetsGuide.com for more information.