Volumes could be written on this portion, but we will give a very brief description of the vision that John was privileged to behold in verses 12-16. We see from verse 9 that John was exiled “on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” He was a faithful witness of Jesus Christ to the very end of his life. In verse 10 we learn that he was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,” thus he was under the complete control of the Holy Spirit which enabled him to receive this glorious vision of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now let’s look at what he saw:

Verses 12-13: “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.” On earth Jesus had often referred to Himself as “the Son of Man,” but at that time He was manifested in lowliness and meekness; here He is seen as a Priest in the midst of the seven churches (see Revelation 1:11 & 20), ready to judge them (chapters 2 and 3 give us the Lord’s judgment of these seven churches).

Verse 14: “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow.” This speaks of His eternal PURITY and WISDOM. Daniel beheld a similar vision of God in Daniel 7 where he wrote, “And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool.” Verse 14 goes on to say, “His eyes like a flame of fire.” This no doubt speaks of how He is “all-seeing” and “all-knowing.” Hebrews 4:13 declares, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Verse 15: “His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace.” You may recall that the altar in the temple in Jerusalem was made of BRASS and on that altar sacrifices were made for sin, thus Jesus’ “feet” of “fine brass” speak, as we have noted, of His holy judgment of the seven churches (and also of His judgment upon the world, as seen in chapters 6-19).  John also HEARD “His voice as the sound of many waters.” That voice, which one spoke in pure grace to those who had ears to hear (see John 10:27) would now speak in judgment and every ear would hear it.

Verse 16: “He had in His right hand seven stars.” The “right hand” speaks of His power and the “seven stars” are “the angels (or messengers) of the seven churches” (verse 20). He has power over all those responsible to bear witness of Him. Our verse continues with, “out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword.” Hebrews 4:12 helps us out with this: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and SHARPER THAN ANY TWO-EDGED SWORD…a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Again, Jesus was about to “judge the actions and motives of the seven churches” and His ability to judge accurately is seen here. Our verse closes with these words, “His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” Perhaps when John saw this he recalled the vision he had seen of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration, for Matthew 17:2 says, “and He was transfigured before them. His FACE SHONE LIKE THE SUN.” This last sight was too bright for his mortal eyes, and speaks clearly of the “glory of Deity.” John was made to see, for a second, what we read of in 1st Timothy 6:16: “who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see.”

What was John’s reaction to this glorious vision? Verse 17 provides the answer: “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.” The one who had calmly leaned on Jesus’ breast now made to fall at His feet in fear! But Jesus relieves his fears with these words from verses 17-18, “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.” He reminds him that though He certainly is God, He also became a Man in order to redeem men through His death and glorious resurrection. These words would assure John that he had nothing to fear, for Jesus had conquered death and because of this he (and every other believer in Christ) is looked upon in all the value of Christ’s death and resurrection. Our “death and resurrection” are in His blessed Hands, for in having the “keys of Hades and of Death,” He has complete authority over our eternal destiny. We too shall be “alive forevermore!”  (224.7)  (DO)