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Description of Jesus in Revelation 1:10-18

Pastor of Iglesia Conexiones, a baptist church in Jessup, MD. B.A. in Bible, B.S. English Ed., M.S. in Educational Leadership.

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0

In the New Testament’s Book of Revelation, John says that, when he was in the island of Patmos, he heard a voice behind him telling him to write book and to send it to seven churches. John then turned around, and he saw someone standing in the midst of seven golden lampstands.

We know this is Jesus because he tells John that he had died but is now alive forever (Revelation 1:18). Clearly, this statement is a reference to the central tenet of Christianity: that Jesus of Nazareth died on a cross, resurrected on the third day after dying, and then ascended to heaven.

John then proceeds to describe Jesus, and the description he gives us of Jesus is amazing, glorious, and also dreadful. John is using symbols to describe Jesus, and these symbols are there not only to make an impression on the reader, but also to communicate certain truths about Jesus.

The Son of Man

John describes Jesus as “one like a son of man. This title should remind us of Jesus, who (according to the four gospels of the New Testament) often referred to himself as The Son of Man .

The importance of this title should not be overlooked. Although, in the Jewish Bible, the prophet Ezekiel is often called “son of man” to indicate that he was merely a human, in the book of Daniel there is “one like a son of man” who came with the clouds of heaven and unto whom God gave an eternal kingdom (Daniel 7:13-14).

The book of Revelation, then, is indicating that Jesus (who, according to the New Testament’s gospels and the Book of Acts, ascended to heaven in a cloud and will return in a cloud) is the “one like a son of man” introduced in the book of Daniel.

Now, according to Jewish understanding, the “son of man” in Daniel 7 is the Messiah (which means Christ, or Anointed).

The reason why Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of Man is that, by doing so, he was declaring himself to be the Messiah of whom the prophet Daniel wrote.

The Unnamed Man

Moreover, in this passage, John also gives us other significant details about Jesus.

The Lord’s voice is like a trumpet. The significance of Jesus’s voice being like a trumpet is that, when he returns from heaven, he will use his voice and the trumpet of God to call the dead back to life (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 1 Corinthians 15:52) and to gather his elect (Matthew 24:31). Thus, the sound of the Lord’s voice may be communicating to John and John’s audience what the book of Revelation is about.

Moreover, Jesus was wearing a robe that reached his feet, and he had a golden girdle around his chest. His feet were the color of bronze, his eyes were like fire, his face was bright likr the Sun, and his voice sounded like many waters. This description is similar to the description of the unnamed man in Daniel 10:5-9. Revelation is letting its readers know that Jesus is that unnamed man in Daniel 10:5-9 (who is the one like a son of man in Daniel 7).

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In fact, according to Luke, the apparition leading to Paul’s conversion (Acts 9:3-9) was very similar to the unnamed man’s apparition to Daniel. This is an indication that the New Testament writers believed the unnamed man in Daniel 10 to be the Son of Man in Daniel 7, who is identified a Christ.

Moreover, the clothes Jesus is wearing in Revelation are similar to the ones worn by Eliakim, unto whom God commits the government in Isaiah 22:21. In fact, John later uses Isaiah's description of Eliakim’s authority (Isaiah 22:22) to describe the Jesus’s authority. Thus, the clothes show the Son of Man's status as king (remember that, in Daniel 7:14, he received dominion, glory, and kingdom).

The Divine Man

John provides additional details about Jesus that are very significant because they indicate that Jesus is Divine.

First, Jesus has white hair. The white hair of Jesus is not a reference to the Son of Man in Daniel 7, but to the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:9. Revelation has elevated Jesus to the status of God.

Also, from Jesus’s mouth proceeds a sword with two edges. This sword with two edges is, in the New Testament, God’s word (Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 6:17). However, in this passage—contrary to popular belief—God’s word is not the Bible, but the divine act of directing and judging.* So then, the sword that proceeds from Jesus’s mouth means that God directs and judges through Jesus.

Finally, Jesus identifies himself as “The First and The Last,” a title that, in the Jewish Bible, belongs only to God (Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, and 48:12).

*In Hebrews 4, God guides the people to rest through his word (revelation) and also judges them through his word (they fail to enter God’s rest). So then, the word is not the Bible, but God’s act of directing and judging.

*In Ephesians 6:17, the word proceeds from the Spirit, because God directs and judges through the intervention of His Spirit. Notice that Hebrews 4 also made reference to the Spirit of God.

Was The Son of Man Divine?

One important question we should address is whether John was biblically justified to depict Jesus as both the Son of Man and God. After all, aren't the Son of Man and God (the Ancient of Days) different entities? Why then did John give Jesus the attributes of both the Son of Man and God rather than the attributes of the Son of Man only?

The answer is that John knew something about the Son of Man in Daniel 7 that many contemporary readers do not know: as I discussed in a previous article, the Son of Man in Daniel 7 is not merely human, but also divine.

Who Is The Son of Man? Watch from 1:29:43 to 1:37:55

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© 2018 Marcelo Carcach

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