Summary: Revelation 1:9-20, part 2

The Seven, part 5

John's Portrait of the Lord of the Church

Revelation 1:9-20, part 2

June 16, 2013


In 1:9-20 we have John's “Portrait of the Lord of the Church.” This is the only place in the bible where Jesus Christ is described. So far in this sections, we looked at the occasion of the portrait, seeing that the apostle John wrote this letter to seven churches to address the specific issues in each church at the end of the first century. John says he a partner with them in three ways - in the tribulation, the kingdom, and patient endurance (perseverance). There is no salvation without perseverance and we only persevere because God faithfully supplies us with grace to persevere. We saw that tribulation and the kingdom and perseverance are all intertwined in the bible. Those who belong to the kingdom must persevere in the midst of suffering. The apostles encouraged the young churches in the same general area “to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” We also saw that John modeled being a faithful witness for the churches. He was exiled on Patmos because of his faithful witness to the gospel in his life and his ministry. We also saw that the purpose of the portrait is meant to capture our attention and our raise our affections. We will only persevere if we are convinced that Jesus Christ is worthy of our complete devotion and that our affections rise to that level of devotion. So john calls us to lift our eyes off of our circumstances to glimpse the risen and victorious of Christ. This week we want to look at the portrait features.

• The Portrait Features

John sees seven golden lamp stands which represent the churches. The lamp stand referenced here is the Menorah which has a twelve sided base with seven branches that have flames at the end of each. Then each branch has seventy garnishing. It was used to light the tabernacle and then the temple which had no natural light. It came to be known as a symbol for the people of Israel whom God chose and called to be a light to the nations. It was plundered several times by Israel's enemies, the last time when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple in 70 AD. It is significant that it was removed from Israel after they rejected their Messiah and God took away their privileged status as God's covenantal people as well as their calling to be a light to the nations and has made the church God's covenantal people and given the church the calling to be a light to the nations. That is why the Son of Man, Israel's hope, is in the midst of the churches. His presence is with the church. Christ is the center, he is the head, he dwells in and among his church because he loves the church, he died for the church, and presently lives for the church. Lets look at the details of the portrait; first he is a conquering king.

• Conquering King

This is not the earthly Jesus but the resurrected and glorified Lord. The Son of Man imagery comes from Daniel chapter seven where Daniel sees a vision of the future the Son of Man, whose kingdom will overthrow all earthly kingdoms of the earth, coming in the clouds to the Ancient of Days. This refers to Jesus' ascension to the right hand of the Father where he rules and reigns with Father. His resurrection was the stamp of approval from the Father and the reward is that Jesus was given universal sovereignty and power and authority.

• Dignity and authority

This Son of Man is clothed with a long white robe and a golden sash around his chest. There is debate whether the robe is priestly or kingly, but it may be vague for a purpose, implying both. The longer the robe, the more dignity and authority one had; Jesus' robe went to his feet. The golden sash is not around his waist as would be with a workman who tucked his robe in while he worked because Christs' work is finished. He lived a perfect life and was a perfect sacrifice for our sins. He rose in victory and ascended to the right hand of the Father and given universal sovereignty and power and authority. This is good news for God's people; bad news for his enemies and enemies of his church. He is the coming king and judge. You do not want to be against him or even be indifferent to him. Nothing will stop his plans and purposes; his kingdom is and is coming.

• Ancient of Days

This Son of Man who comes to the Ancient of Days, God, is now identified as the Ancient of Days. He is identifying Jesus as God. It is why the Jesus shares the throne with God in the Revelation.

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