The Glorified Christ
I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven
golden lampstands, 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 like wool, as white as snow, and His
eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like 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. (Revelation 1:12–16).
John turned to see the voice that spoke to Him he initially saw a vision of a
menorah, which in turn appeared to morph into a vision of Christ. This suggests
to us that if people are to see Christ, they must first see Him in His church
and that the church is to faithfully represent the Glorified Christ to the
world. This is consistent with the last command Christ gave His church before He
ascended to heaven.
Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in
heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with
you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18–20).
into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15).
gospel is Christ; it is the message He brought to us from our loving creator
God. It is the message that God has now made everything possible to free mankind
from the necessity to sin, to cleanse away the guilt of past sins and to bring
people into a right relationship with God. At His first advent, Christ
established the Kingdom of God on earth. Mark 1:14–15 Records the early days
of Christ’s ministry in which He announced the presence of the Kingdom.
after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the
kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is
at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”
built His church upon the revelation that He is God incarnate, the promised
Messiah and the Savior of the world. Christ standing in the midst of the
menorah, the seven golden candlesticks, shows us that Christ works through His
church to bring the message of the gospel to the world. That vision must always
remind us of our high calling and responsibility to God and mankind to
faithfully teach and live the gospel. The forthcoming visions in the Revelation
reveal the challenges facing the Kingdom of God and the hindrances brought about
by the demonic powers against Christ’s church to distract and keep us from
fulfilling our God-given mission. Recognizing the weakness of men, Christ now
reveals Himself in the glory of His deity so that we will be encouraged to keep
our eyes on Him and be faithful to the work to which He has called us until He
returns the second time in final judgment.
As we consider the appearance of the Glorified Christ, the first thing we notice is that He is “clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.” This garment signifies two things: first Christ’s priestly office and second His kingly office. The long robe and golden band appear in the vision of Christ seen by the prophet Daniel and recorded in Daniel 10:4–6.
on the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great
river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain
man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! His body was
like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of
fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his
words like the voice of a multitude.
will also notice similarities in other attributes of Christ as seen in this
passage of Daniel and the first chapter of Revelation.
long garment worn by Christ is first described in Exodus 28:4 where God gives
Moses instructions for the making of the garments of the high priest. After
seeing Christ identified with His church, John sees Christ ministering to
mankind as the Divine High Priest.
holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High
Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus. (Hebrews 3:1).
then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus
the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High
Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted
as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews
is a High Priest more efficient and beneficial to mankind than the high priest
under the Law of Moses. That high priest presided over ceremonies and the
results of his ministrations brought only ceremonial atonement but no practical
atonement for sin.
But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. (Hebrews 10:3–4).
Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more
perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with
the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy
Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:11–12).
atonement in Christ is real resulting in redemption for all that will repent of
their sins and put their faith and trust in what Jesus did for them on the cross
of Calvary. The golden band around His chest is also indicative of His high
priestly dignity. Albert Barnes briefly describes this golden band: “Either
wholly made of gold, or more probably richly ornamented with gold. This would
naturally suggest the idea of one of rank—probably one of princely rank.”
Christ is our High Priest, He also holds a dual office as King in the Kingdom of
God. Both the long garment and the golden band are part of the formal vestments
of a king. Barnes continues his description:
raiment here assumed was not that of a priest, but that of a king. It was very
far from being that in which the Redeemer appeared when he dwelt upon the earth,
and was rather designed to denote his royal state as he is exalted in heaven. He
is not indeed represented with a crown and sceptre here, and perhaps the leading
idea is that of one of exalted rank; of unusual dignity; of one fitted to
inspire awe and respect.
Bengel, a Lutheran Pietist clergyman and Greek scholar living from 1687 to 1752
adds a little more to our understanding of the appearance of Christ here in
Revelation: “A King is more exalted than a priest. Hence Scripture speaks much
oftener of the kingdom than of the priesthood of Christ”.
Christ is our High Priest—and we must never forget that—His appearance to
John is intended not so much to present Him in that exalted office but rather to
reflect the importance of things to be revealed in the following visions as we
see Him leading His kingdom.
ATTRIBUTES OF CHRIST ARE SEEN
noting the garment and the golden band, John then takes notice of seven specific
attributes of the Glorified Christ. These attributes are presented entirely in
symbolic language and none of what is seen is to be taken literally; therefore,
what is seen portrays only the moral likeness of the glorified Christ, not His
gospels contain no descriptions of the person of Jesus; the only things we know
about His physical person is that He was male and Jewish. It is unusual, given
the love and devotion the writers of the gospels had for Christ that they did
not write a single line dealing with His personal appearance. It would have been
normal to give a description of Jesus except for the fact that the writings were
divinely controlled and inspired. God saw to it that there should be no
depiction of His appearance when He took on the form of a servant and was found
in fashion as a man. However, now at the beginning of the Revelation, we are
given a description of the glorified Christ, which, in its completeness,
describes the seven-fold nature of His character.
order in which these features are presented is significant. They are arranged in
pairs grouped about the Voice, which has the central place as the central stem
of the seven-branched menorah. The Voice is the central and main attribute as
its significance is seen in that the Voice was the first thing John saw when the
vision began. The order in which they are presented is:
Head and Hairs white like wool, white as snow
Eyes as a flame of fire
Feet like fine copper glowing in a furnace
Voice as the sound of many waters
Right Hand holding seven stars
Mouth from which issues a sharp sword
Countenance as the sun, shining in full strength.
to the Voice we have on either side; The Feet and the Right Hand; Next on either
side of these we have the Eyes from which issued a fame of fire and the Mouth
from which issued a sharp sword; Next on either side of these are the Head and
Hairs that are brilliant white and the Countenance shining as the sun in the
fullness of its strength.
OF THE SEVEN ATTRIBUTES
Head and Hairs white like wool, white as snow.
This symbolizes the eternal Being of God. The same symbol is used of the Ancient
of Days in Daniel 7:9, “And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was
white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool”. The color white
is a distinct symbol that appears 16 times in the Revelation and signifies the
glory of God as related to Christ or to His people. John 17:5, “And now, O
Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You
before the world was”. As the glory of the Father was in Christ, so is it in
the people indwelt with the presence of Christ.
Eyes like a flame of fire. This is an indication of Christ’s Deity and His
omniscience. Nothing is hidden from Christ. Revelation 2:23, “I am He who
searches the minds and hearts. Jeremiah 17:10 I, the LORD, search the
heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According
to the fruit of his doings”.
like fine copper (brass, copper, bronze) glowing in the furnace. Copper
(brass, bronze) is associated with the judgment of God. In Revelation 19:15 we
see Christ treading “the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty
God”. Isaiah 63:3, “I have trodden the winepress alone, And from the peoples
no one was with Me. For I have trodden them in My anger, And trampled them in My
fury; Their blood is sprinkled upon My garments, And I have stained all My
robes”. We find in the
tabernacle/temple the brazen altar that stood in judgment on the sins of the
people and was the only place were sacrifices could be made to reconcile people
to God. In the visions of Ezekiel, the four living creatures of chapter one had
feet that “sparkled like the color of burnished bronze”. At the end of that
chapter, Ezekiel, much in the same fashion as the Apostle John, “heard the
voice of One speaking” and fell on his face.
Voice as the sound of many waters. This identifies the Glorified Christ as
the God of Israel. Ezekiel 43:2, “And behold, the glory of the God of Israel
came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and
the earth shone with His glory”.
Right Hand holding the seven stars. The right hand always signifies strength
and skill. This is seen in God’s miraculously saving the Israelites from the
Egyptian army at the Red Sea. Exodus 15:6, “Your right hand, O LORD, has
become glorious in power; Your right hand, O LORD, has dashed the enemy in
pieces”. The Right Hand of God signifies God’s love for mankind and the work
He does to save them. Psalm 17:7, “Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your
right hand, O You who save those who trust in You From those who rise up against
them”. It is also emblematic of the power of Christ to keep His people. John
10:28, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither
shall anyone snatch them out of My hand”. Understanding the seven stars to
represent the angels of the seven churches, we see that His church throughout
all time is under His protecting care as well as His absolute power and that He
will both preserve and govern His church.
Mouth from which issues a sharp sword. This refers to Isaiah 49:1–2,
“The LORD has called Me from the womb; From the matrix of My mother He has
made mention of My name. And He has made My mouth like a sharp sword”. Christ
makes an obvious reference to this passage in His message to Pergamos,
Revelation 2:16, “Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight
against them with the sword of My mouth”. The Word of God is called “The
sword of the Spirit” in Ephesians 6:17 and in Hebrews 4:12 it is said that
“the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and
is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”. John 6:63 tells us
“the words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life”; but to those
who reject it John 12:48 says, “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My
words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in
the last day”.
Countenance as the sun, shining in full strength. As the sun is the supreme
light-giver to the physical world, so Christ is the supreme Light giver to the
spiritual world. In the Holy City mentioned in Revelation 21:23 it is said
“The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory
of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light”. John 1:9 tells us that Christ
is “the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world”. He
is the Light that shines in the heart of everyone that repents and believes the
description of the Glorified Christ is incomprehensible to the unenlightened
soul. No mere man could have comprehended Christ in His Deity and glorified
moral likeness. What we see in the Revelation is the Holy Spirit’s portrait of
Him who is the brightness of (the Father’s) glory and the express image of His
person (Hebrews 1:3).
aspects of this portrait of Christ appear in different connections throughout
the Book of Revelation; it is only in Chapter 1 that they appear together.
reality, there are no words in our language that can adequately describe the
glories and beauties of our risen Redeemer. There is nothing in human knowledge
and experience to which the Glorified Christ can be compared. As asked by the
Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 40:18, “To whom then will you liken God? Or what
likeness will you compare to Him? “
have been presented with this amazing group of symbols so that they may speak to
us of the ineffable glories that will be revealed on that day when we will be
transformed into His own likeness and “we shall see Him as He is” (1 John
drawing the covers over this glorious vision of Christ we look forward to the
day “when Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him
in glory” (Colossians 3:4).