Our Eternal Kingly Priest (Part 2)
Today, I want us to see right off that this passage is perhaps the greatest passage in the entire Bible. Many might take offense and argue this with me but please let me explain…this passage shows us more clearly than any other passage a picture of our reigning King Jesus.
Charles Spurgeon in a sermon on this text makes a very crucial point when he reminds us that what God is revealing in these verses is the final chapter of redemption. He also makes the point that we are privileged to have John’s vision recorded for us so that we too and see Christ as He really is.
To illustrate what I mean, lets look quickly this morning to a few examples.
In Luke 2 we have the account of Joseph and Mary taking the infant Jesus to the Temple for circumcision and for the purification rights for Mary. When they arrive, they are greeted first by the elderly Simeon. Upon seeing Jesus, he takes him in his arms and praises God for salvation. Simeon even went on to say that he could go ahead and die because God had promised through the HS that Simeon would not die until he had seen the Messiah. God revealed the truth to him that Jesus is the promised Messiah, the Savior of His people. So, Simeon knew Jesus as Savior.
The disciples knew Jesus in a more complete way than Simeon did. They knew Him as Savior but also as Lord and Teacher. They were Christ’s disciples and He taught them. They knew Him as One that the wind and waves obey, as One who could feed 5000 with just a few fish, they knew him as One who could heal diseases and cast out demons.
And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 
The inner circle had more of Jesus revealed to them than Simeon knew or even than the other disciples knew.
John and Us-
But, because of this vision here in Revelation, John has shown us more of Jesus than even His disciples knew. We have been shown who the risen Lord is because God the Father gave this to the Son who sent it to John by the angel to give as a gift to His Bride.
Remember the context, John is worshipping on the Lord’s Day. He thinks he’s all alone, but the reality is Jesus is not only in the midst of the churches but He is with John. It’s as if John opens the door to the church building to enter for worship and discovers that Jesus is inside. What would it be like to worship Jesus with Jesus? One thing we may at times forget is that Jesus is here with us as we worship. We too are worshipping Jesus with Jesus.
TT- Jesus is the Great Kingly Priest governing the Universal Church
Human need met by text
Our world needs a clear vision of who Christ really is. Our biggest problem is that we don’t have a clear and accurate view of Jesus Christ. Our need is to see Christ as John saw Him. Too often many today have a distorted view of Christ, one that actually has made Him literally into a false god. Many see Jesus as someone who is there just for them and there to meet their needs but that isn’t the essence of Jesus. John’s view of Jesus is accurate and when he sees his Lord he does what everyone will one day do…he falls to the ground in awe and in worship. This is how Jesus is revealed in the Book of Revelation; this is the true and living Christ to whom everyone must give an account. So, today as we read the text let your imagination work to see Jesus the way John did and then understand this is the Jesus we all will one day see face to face and give an account of everything we’ve ever done, good and bad.
This is the vision he sees.
9 I, 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. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “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.”
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and 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. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In 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.
17 When 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, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As 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. 
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands,… seven lampstands are the seven churches.
13 and 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.
We saw last time that Christ stands in the midst of His churches governing them and loving them, encouraging and admonishing them, as we’ll see in the next two chapters. Jesus stands as High Priest to His Bride, the church. Dressed in priestly garments and more specifically the garments of the high priest for no priest wore a golden sash only the high priest of Israel was arrayed with such lavish vestments.
14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.
These images all together indicate that Jesus is the Eternal King and Eternal Judge, given power by the Ancient of Days.
Let’s turn together to the Book of Daniel…
13 “I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed. 
Here, in the Book of Revelation, John describes his vision of Jesus and the images are that of a reigning King who will judge the nations.
14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow.
9 “As I looked,
thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool; 
In Daniel’s passage we see clearly that white hair like white wool is describing the Ancient of Days, or we could say God the Father. John, however, is using this description in Daniel to describe Jesus the Son. What is going on here is that when Jesus goes to the Ancient of Days and is given all authority and power because of His resurrection, then He too can be described with the same attributes. He is as much deity as the Ancient of Days is so the attributes are the same.
This title, The Ancient of Days, is a title of deity and one that emphasizes the longevity and power of reign. The Ancient of Days has always been Ruler of the universe. The point is that whatever can be said of the Father, because of the power granted to the Son, can be said of Jesus. They are not the same Person but have the same attributes. That’s why Jesus could say,
56 Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”
John also reports that…. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.
These words are directly from Daniel 10. In this chapter of Daniel he saw a future vision of One who was coming who would make war with and defeat the enemies of God and His people.
5 I lifted up my eyes and looked, and behold, a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a multitude. 7 And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. 8 So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. 9 Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground.
10 And behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly loved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for now I have been sent to you.” And when he had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling.
As we look to the context of John’s writing and his vision of Jesus standing in the midst of the churches it becomes clear. Jesus will defeat the enemies of God’s people and will reign among all the churches.
His eyes like flames of fire are penetrating and see all things. He knows those who are His and those who are not. He sees our deeds and is not fooled. What’s even more powerful is that Jesus does not need light to see. His eyes themselves produce light. He sees and perceives all things perfectly.
15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace,
Jesus walks with purity among the churches. His feet represent that part of Him that was earthly. His feet were that part that connected Him to earth while He was here. Now, John sees that even His feet were not tainted by contact with sinners but they are pure and refined.
This aspect of Jesus’ power can be seen as He healed people during His earthly ministry. Probably the one example that illustrates this best is when Jesus healed the leper by touching him. It was forbidden in Israel to have any contact with a leper because it was by contact the disease would spread. The leper was unclean and forced to be quarantined outside the camp.
45 “The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, ‘Unclean, unclean.’ 46 He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp. 
Notice what Jesus does with the leper…
When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. 2 And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” 
The point of all of Jesus’ miracles and especially these types is that He is God and actually commands diseases. When Jesus touched the leper, He did not acquire the unclean disease but His purity and power was transmitted to the leper. This is the symbol of the pure bronze refined in a fire. Jesus can contact us and remain pure. He can forgive sin and remain pure. He can be in the midst of the churches and remain pure. He can war with Satan and God’s enemies and remain pure. Evil and sin do not transfer to Jesus but His purity overpowers them.
and his voice was like the roar of many waters.
Here, John wants us to connect the vision Ezekiel saw and heard as God approached. Like Daniel and like John, Ezekiel falls down face toward the ground in worship and awe.
2 And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. 
Again we see the attributes of God being ascribed to Jesus. The sound of the Lord’s voice like that of many rushing waters overpowered the waves of the sea as John stood on the beach that day. The Lord spoke clearly and John listened.
I pray we hear the Lord’s voice as He directs His church here at Grace. I pray we not only hear but we listen and we obey. Someday we will hear the Lord’s voice audibly. Until then we listen to His voice through the pages of Scripture and we hear and we obey.
16 In 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.
Here, the last verse telling us of the physical appearance of Jesus gives us three more astounding traits.
John tells us as he looked a Jesus he notice that in His right hand there were 7 stars. The right hand is the hand of power. In His hand, Jesus explains the seven stars are the seven angels of the seven churches represented by the seven lampstands. Before we learned that the number seven was the number of fullness or the number of completeness. The seven churches are the entire church universal and these angels are the ministers or literally the messengers of the churches. The term angel here has confused many. The word angel simply means messenger of God. So Jesus is holding divine authority over the messengers in the churches. So, we’re not thinking of angelic being but pastors and ministers within the churches.
Through these messengers Jesus’ Word goes forth as the sharp double-edged sword.
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. 
God’s Word must go forth with His authority from called and sent messengers whom Jesus empowers with authority from His right hand.
One last feature that John tells us about… his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
When John reports that Jesus’ face was shining like the sun, he wants us to realize that Jesus has been in the presence of the Father.
Whenever Moses would speak with God his face would shine…
34 Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, 35 the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him. 
17 When 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, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.
Here we see what will happen when we see Jesus for the first time. No human can stand in His presence, not even John the Apostle. So, listen, if someone tells you that they have spoken with Jesus, ask them how long they were laying on the ground or ask them how long they were unconscious.
Remember Isaiah’s response in chapter six? Remember the response of the disciples at the angel at Jesus’ tomb? Remember the response of the soldiers when Jesus said I Am? Remember Daniel’s response and Ezekiel’s response. John’s knees buckle under the weight of the Divine presence.
In the Book of Isaiah, there are at least three places where this title for God appears.
4 Who has performed and done this,
calling the generations from the beginning?
I, the Lord, the first,
and with the last; I am he. 
Each example in Isaiah, what is being stressed is the fact that God is sovereign over creation and especially over history. Oh what comfort Jesus is giving the persecuted Church! He is in control over all events from the beginning of time to the consummation of history. God governs the way history precedes. Jesus tells John…Fear not, John. He tells the church…Fear not Church I love you and I am He who controls the process of history.
C. Fear Not, I Am the Living One
18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore,
Here is the divine dilemma, Jesus is called or closely associated with the Ancient of Days. He is the Living One…who died…and is alive again forever. It’s important to see that Christ’s death and resurrection were part of God’s divine plan from all the ages past. His resurrection, alive again was in God’s decree and something He delighted in. We must understand as hard as this is to comprehend, it was the Son of Man who died on the cross and was in the tomb for three days. Now He is alive forevermore. This is of vital importance to the Church. It is the risen Lord who walks among the candlesticks.
Jesus was in death’s grasp for the three days in which He was in the tomb. When death could no longer hold Him and He rose again to life, He brought with Him the keys. Death was defeated and Christ is Victor. He alone determines who is freed from death and who is not. Christ possesses the realm of death.
If you fear death, as one of Christ’s own, remember we will all persevere in Christ. All who are faithful to the end will share in Christ’s eternal victory over death.
This is the best passage in the Bible. Because we see more of Jesus than in any other place. We, along with John, are beholding His glory.
What the Church needs is to see that this is Jesus, mighty in power and in sovereignty and who holds the keys to death and the grave.
This is the Jesus who is worthy of our praise and obedience. He is majestic and perfect in every way. Christ is worthy. He is our Great High Priest, Our Great King and Our Judge. Nothing is invisible to Him. This is the One who walks among the churches, who exhorts them, encourages them, and rebukes them. What would Jesus say to us about our church?
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