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God’s Final Say on Christ
Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • June 5, In the year of our Lord, 2016
The Father loves the Son. You cannot read the Gospel According to John without coming to that conclusion.
What then is the final thing the Father said about the Son? The Book of Revelation shows us the answer, because the Book of Revelation is about Jesus Christ.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
The first few words of the Book of Revelation are, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” “Of” meaning both about Jesus and from Jesus.
Therefore, read the Book of Revelation, remembering that it is about Him. When people read the Book of Revelation and forget that Jesus is in charge, the Book of Revelation frightens them.
You can use Hebrews 12.1–2 as a summary of Revelation, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12.1–2). Do what that reading says, and you will have just what it says you will have, endurance to run the race, even with horrible obstacles and competition from the temptations of the world, but you will have the joy that Jesus had, even as the joy He had enabled Him to endure the horrible cross.
Do what John did as he shows in the opening words of Revelation. He made his introductory remarks in verses 1–8. Then he set us up in verses 9–11 to see something wonderful. Now see the beginning of the actual vision, “Then 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” (Rev 1.12–16). Keep that imagery before the eyes of your mind, otherwise, Revelation and the rest of Scripture will become a mere dictionary of Christianity, with seemingly unrelated information.
The glorified Jesus that John saw carries the rest of the message to the end of Revelation, but the Book also shows that the Lord includes us in His mighty glory. However, you will miss that, if you get lost in figuring out all the details and interpretations.
After John initially saw the lampstands, he wrote down what he saw next. He said that he saw someone like the Son of Man. Jesus rarely referred to Himself as the Son of God. The writers of the Gospel Accounts and the Letters refer to Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus most often referred to Himself as the Son of Man. That terminology comes from the Book of Daniel, where you will find a fascinating picture of Jesus, “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then 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 the one which shall not be destroyed” (Dan 7.13–14). I say fascinating, because Daniel presented that vision of Jesus from the perspective of heaven; Daniel saw Jesus coming up to heaven. When He arrived He received a kingdom. Daniel foresaw the ascension of Jesus after His death and resurrection. However, my point is that Daniel called the Lord the Son of Man, because He, deity, became a man.
Yet, we come back to what John saw, and we have to remind ourselves that the glorified being John shows us once lived on the Earth as a carpenter, then as a preacher and a teacher.
Jesus Among the Churches
John writes what he first noticed in verse 12. He wanted to see the voice, but having turned around, he saw seven golden lampstands, and verse 20 says that the lampstands are the seven churches.
So get this. While the churches could not see Jesus in any fashion, there he was right in their midst in His brightness. The church was experiencing phenomenal growth, but that brought the “huge iron teeth” of Roman persecution. What was the unarmed church to the Roman Empire that Daniel pictured in this way? “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns” (Dan 7.7). I’ll show you what the church is: It is the body of the magnificent one John saw standing among the golden lampstands. Rome had nothing on that. The world has no idea whom they oppose. As you see the shinning glory of Jesus in Revelation 1, remember how the Lord wanted Aaron and his sons to bless Israel, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace” (Num 6.24–26). Jesus began His Revelation to John and the church in the same way, pushing out the fear and planting courage in its place.
Notice what Jesus did and said to John after he saw the bright shinning Jesus and fear filled the apostle’s heart, “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. The mystery of the seven stars which 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 which you saw are the seven churches” (Rev 1.17–20). Do not be afraid, John, and Christians throughout the world. Remember what Jesus suffered, and look at Him now. See Him use the same hand that held stars to comfort an aged preacher. Jesus immediately began to reveal meaning of the vision.
See the Glorified Jesus
Look at the glorified Jesus:
He wore a body-length garment, girded with a golden band.
His head and hair were bright white.
His eyes looked like a flame of fire.
His feet resembled fine brass.
His voice sounded like many waters.
He held seven stars with His right hand.
He spoke words sharp as a double-edged sword.
His face looked like the sun.
With the fierce persecution poured out by Rome, this was just the thing they needed to see. They needed to see that the greatness of Jesus far exceeded the greatness of Rome. They needed to see that no caesar compared to the Lord of lords.
With the advancement of the homosexual agenda, the forces of Islam, the blasphemies of atheism and evolution, the lure of worldliness, the perverted interpretation of the First Amendment that government must be hostile to religion, and any other evil force that wants to silence us, we need to see Jesus in His glory. We need to know who runs the show. We need to look to Jesus, not the forces arrayed against us. We need to live by faith in Him who is the beginning and ending of all things.