Revelation 1:9-16 Part 6

Fiery Light…….that’s the sight recorded by John upon seeing the Son of Man amidst the pure gold lampstands of the universal Church of Jesus Christ. The whiteness of His head and hair like the Ancient of Days in Daniel chapter seven; the flaming fire from His eyes like the throne, also in Daniel chapter seven; and the eyes of the Son of Man in Daniel chapter ten.

Listen to Daniel (chapter ten):

4) “On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris,

5) I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist.

6) His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.”

You see, the sights and sounds of the pre-incarnate God from His holy sanctuary are almost identical to the sights and sounds of the incarnate God the Son as He appears to John, and as John records them in this first chapter.

What I’m supposed to do with them I have no idea. I don’t know that I’m supposed to know what these things mean……only that the distinctiveness, and holiness and perfections of God are in clear contradistinction to the lowliness and imperfections of man. God is totally distinct from His creation. We are creatures; He is Creator.

Pre-incarnate God appears to Daniel; incarnate God appears to John. The language is similar; the language in other appearances to the saints and prophets is similar. We’re supposed to make the connections. I don’t know that we’re supposed to know what it means in every case where the sights and sounds of the glory cloud and the sanctuary are recorded.

God has chosen to reveal Himself – to Moses, to Isaiah, to Jeremiah, to Daniel, and to John (and others) – in the same, and similar, fashion all through Scripture. The prophetic Scriptures are brought into fullness here in John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ as Jesus now occupies the throne-room sanctuary, revealing the same images and sounds seen and recorded previously all through Scripture. He is most lovely – in the midst of His Church and holding it together as it is portrayed in beautiful, pure gold lampstands.

At the same time He is most awesome and fearsome in His appearance – as none other could be. He is holy – as nothing other could be. Nothing, or no one, other than He could appear as He appears; or sound as He sounds.

However, all things were made by Him; and all things are held in their existence by Him (otherwise they wouldn’t exist). And since all things were made by Him, then they, many times, can be identified as bearing some resemblance – by their sights and sounds.

In other words, if a thing exists, then it came from God. And it has some “correspondence” with its Maker. It has a “likeness”, or a “similitude” to the One Who created it. After all, He is the “pattern” for everything He created. There is no other pattern.

In the same manner it could be said that there is correspondence between things created. A good example of that would be the “mountain” theology that we learned in the Gospel of Matthew, a part of which has the symbol of God’s covenant nation, Mount Zion, being thrown into the sea; and, in its place, the new mountain of God being raised up over all the nations.

We mentioned in a former sermon that John first heard the trumpet voice of Jesus Christ. And we said that that voice wasn’t “like” the trumpet; but that it was “as” a trumpet. The point being that Jesus’ voice can’t be “like” a trumpet. The sound of Jesus speaking to John is the original sound. The trumpet sounded by Israel is “likened to” the voice of God. It is a created sound – created as corresponding to the sound of the voice.

The same is true here in our text. His speaking to John is further described by John as “a sound of many waters”. The way many rushing waters sounds is a created sound! Many rushing waters sounds the way many rushing waters sounds, because it corresponds to the voice of the creator of that sound! Because He made it – it sounds the way it sounds. And the way it sounds, sounds like His voice sounds.

Further, the other sights and sounds of the glory cloud/judgment seat/throneroom of God originate from Him. Thunder sounds the way it does because of the staggering and terrifying sound of God’s glory cloud, as exampled before the millions of Israel at Mt Sinai. Thunder sounds the way it does because God made it to sound that way. It’s His sound. Thunder, as we know it, is a “similitude”. God doesn’t sound like thunder; thunder sounds like God! The sound “corresponds” to Him.

The same is true of lightning. The stunning spectacle of God’s Word flashing angelically from His glory cloud must have been breathtaking and dreadful. But lightning doesn’t flash “naturally”; it is a created thing corresponding to its creator. The glory cloud doesn’t “look like” lightning; lightning looks like God’s glory cloud!

One more and we’ll quit: God’s glory cloud/throneroom/judgment seat doesn’t sound like wind! The sound of mighty wind was created by God because it corresponds to the sound made by God and His glory cloud. The sound that wind makes is a created sound, and it is similar in some ways to the sound made by the angelic glory cloud as it moved upon Mt Sinai, and as it filled the tabernacle and as it filled the temple. And there are many other examples such as the sound of mighty wind in Jerusalem at Pentecost as the glory cloud came near, and Holy Spirit was poured out upon mankind at Peter’s preaching! Men from every nation on earth were added to the Church in that one day, as thousands came to see what made the incredible rushing sound of the wind! But it wasn’t wind…… was the sound of God the Spirit and His glory cloud.

But now we have to move on to verse sixteen:

16) “and having seven stars in His right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword proceeding out of His mouth, and His face as the sun shines in its power.

It should be pretty obvious that we have to exert some exegetical effort here, isn’t it? The fanciful interpretations of the “stars in His right hand” range from astrological predictions from the seven-star pleiades constellation all the way to restoration of the stars in the sky after the world is burned up in the dispensational fiery holocaust at the “end times”! The imaginations of men run wild when they see things like this; and they think that the products of their imaginations should be self-evident to everybody else, since they thought of it!

But the stars of the heavens are there for a reason – or for a number of reasons! And the reasons are God’s reasons. They’re not there in order for men to form their own mythical and mystical innovations and explanations for them.

The stars and galaxies are not just there! And there is no such thing as a “universe”! As Ezekiel, in the spirit, clearly saw, as God showed Him; and as Ezekiel wrote it in His Spirit-inspired prophecy, the creation isn’t “infinite”. And it isn’t just there; it’s there for a reason.

And as we determined earlier, whatever was created was created by God; and it bears some “correspondence” to Him and His divine aseity. As the apostle Paul put it, in Romans chapter one, the creation itself declares the existence, glory and power of God. Therefore mankind is held responsible for knowing Him and worshipping Him as the Creator of it all.

And since that is the case (that all of the creation declares the glory and power of God), the galaxies and stars of the heavenlies bear a correspondence to Him. In other words, there is a connection, a likeness, a resemblance to God and His sanctuary in all that He has made, since all things were brought into existence by Him and from Him. His creativity, in all of its parts, says something about His existence, His glory, His power – and it does so clearly, in that all men are thereby responsible for knowing and worshipping Him as Creator God. There is a clear correspondence between what is created and the One Who created it!

We’ll begin today to look at the stars. Then when we get to verse twenty, hopefully we’ll have a good understanding of the sight of the incarnate God with seven stars in His right hand.

But having already created light (corresponding to His Own fiery light), God then created the sun, the moon and the stars. Listen in Genesis Chapter one:

And God made the two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also (verse 16).”

Then in Genesis twenty two, right after Abraham faithed in God’s promises for a Redeemer/King, we read this:

“that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the seashore. And thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.”

Two things here (there are many, but only two for us this morning), there is a correspondence between the numbers of God’s redeemed people and the numbers of stars! The stars are of a very great number, as are the “seed” of Abraham. And, secondly, there is ONE “seed” of Abraham Who will possess the gate of HIS enemies. “HIS” is singular!

While we’re on the correspondence between the large numbers of stars and the large numbers of Abraham’s “seed”, let me just read once again, from Moses’ Deuteronomy, what is prophesied should Israel not obey God. Listen:

“And ye shall be left few in number, whereas ye were as the stars of heaven for multitude; because thou didst not hearken unto the voice of Yahveh thy God (Deuteronomy twenty eight).”

And then, after many such correspondences between men and stars, we begin to see just how God views these things. Listen to Isaiah in His prophecy of Israel’s destruction:

9) Behold, the day of Yahveh cometh, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger; to make the land a desolation, and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

10) For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause its light to shine.

11) And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity: and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

12) I will make a man more rare than fine gold, even a man than the pure gold of Ophir.

13) Therefore I will make the heavens to tremble, and the earth shall be shaken out of its place, in the wrath of Yahveh of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger (Isaiah chapter thirteen).

We begin to see, in the prophets, the terrible wrath of God toward judaism – Israel’s heretical religion. And one of the similitudes, or equivalences, in His Revelation to the prophets, is His de-creating Israel’s “lights”. Heaven and earth – Israel – had been created by God; and it had “lights”…….. i.e. prophets, and priests, and kings, and wise men- saints of God who were to lead Israel and be shining beacons to the Truth.

But in the wrath of God toward this adulterous and idolatrous nation, all of these “lights” would be turned off. What light – what wisdom – what truth – they did have would be taken away from them. Should you remember from our exegesis of Matthew chapter twenty four, this is exactly what Jesus said in answer to His disciples question “when shall these things be?” Listen again:

“But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken (Matthew 24:29).”

But listen to Daniel chapter twelve, which is the condition of the earth under the Kingship of the coming fifth great kingdom:

“And they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”

So, what we see in the Scriptures is an equivalence between the righteous and wise in the coming King of Kings, and the brightness of the realm of the creation! ……..a “correspondence”, if you will, between rulers and kings and wise men and elders and leaders who righteously lead God’s people in truth of His covenant (all on the one hand), and the bright lights of the heavens which God so gloriously made in the similitude of His Own fiery Light.

This, of course, is all preparation for Jesus’ words to John as recorded in Revelation one verse twenty. We’ll make use of it all as we attempt to understand what He said.

Now……..the sword extending from the mouth of Incarnate God. What an ominous and daunting aspect of the Son of God! And yet, at the same time, so beautiful. This is the direct “fullness” of the prophecy of Ezekiel chapter twenty one. And at the same time it fits perfectly with the termination of the “lights” of Israel. Listen to God’s Revelation to the prophet:

1) And the word of Yahveh came unto me, saying,

2) Son of man, set thy face toward Jerusalem, and drop thy word toward the sanctuaries, and prophesy against the land of Israel;

3) and say to the land of Israel, Thus saith Yahveh: Behold, I am against thee, and will draw forth my sword out of its sheath, and will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked.

4) Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of its sheath against all flesh from the south to the north:

5) and all flesh shall know that I, Yahveh, have drawn forth my sword out of its sheath; it shall not return any more.

6) Sigh therefore, thou son of man; with the breaking of thy loins and with bitterness shalt thou sigh before their eyes.

7) And it shall be, when they say unto thee, Wherefore sighest thou? that thou shalt say, Because of the tidings, for it cometh; and every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spirit shall faint, and all knees shall be weak as water: behold, it cometh, and it shall be done, saith the Lord Yahveh.

8) And the word of Yahveh came unto me, saying,

9) Son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus saith Yahveh: Say, A sword, a sword, it is sharpened, and also furbished;

10) it is sharpened that it may make a slaughter; it is furbished that it may be as lightning: shall we then make mirth? the rod of my son, it contemneth every tree.

11) And it is given to be furbished, that it may be handled: the sword, it is sharpened, yea, it is furbished, to give it into the hand of the slayer.

12) Cry and wail, son of man; for it is upon my people, it is upon all the princes of Israel: they are delivered over to the sword with my people; smite therefore upon thy thigh.

13) For there is a trial; and what if even the rod that contemneth shall be no more? saith the Lord Yahveh.

14) Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite thy hands together; and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the deadly wounded: it is the sword of the great one that is deadly wounded, which entereth into their chambers.

15) I have set the threatening sword against all their gates, that their heart may melt, and their stumblings be multiplied: ah! it is made as lightning, it is pointed for slaughter.

It is, indeed, a sword from the sheath of Yahveh – a deadly and destructive sword. And His Name is Jesus. But – ah! – it is a two edged sword as the writer of the letter to the Hebrew refugees makes clear. Jesus the ascended and crowned King is the Word of God made flesh. And He is seen here by John with a two edged sword proceeding from His mouth. Listen to the writer of Hebrews:

For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.

We’re going to stop here and continue next time with some more comments from this verse, and then continuing on into the last four verses of chapter one.