Friday, October 24, 2008

Revelation 1:11 through 20

I. Vision of the Man

a. “I turned to see the voice”

i. Could imply John turned to see the speaker

1. Represents a heavenly creature

ii. Old Testament references to “seeing the voice/sound” related to God

1. Exodus 20:18, 22

2. Daniel 7:11

3. Deuteronomy 4:12

4. Several prophets refer to words they saw

a. Isaiah 2:1; 13:1

b. Jeremiah 23:18

c. Amos 1:1

d. Micah 1:1

e. Habakkuk 1:1

iii. Also a warning to us that what we are about to see is symbolism

b. Seven golden lampstands

i. In terms of imagery, the Temple atmosphere is implied

1. The closest representation is that of the menorah from Old Testament tabernacle/temple

ii. Arranged around the man

1. The Temple menorah were placed before the Lord (Exodus 21:27; Leviticus 24:2-4)

2. These are situated to burn before the Son of Man

iii. Zechariah 4:1-4, 10

1. Seven lamps are the eyes of the Lord

2. Revelation 1:20 interprets the lamp stands as the seven churches

c. Son of Man

i. Reference to Daniel 7 and 10

1. The Son of Man and Ancient of Days are combined in this person

2. Jesus referred to himself as son of man

ii. Qualities to which John is drawn

1. Clothed in a robe and sash/girdle/belt

a. Much has been made of this as a priestly garment

b. Since we have little in way of description, it is inconclusive

c. If the lamp stands do create a temple atmosphere, priestly garments are appropriate interpretations

2. White head and hair

a. It is more appropriate to understand this as “white head, that is, hair”

b. Feature of the Ancient of Days from Daniel 7:9

c. OT and Near Eastern culture had certain attitudes toward “elderly”

i. Respect, honor, wisdom, and high social status

3. Eyes like fire

a. Some believe that this is a statement of judgment

b. Also allusion to Daniel 10:6

4. Feet like bright bronze

a. The Greek word is only used here in Revelation

b. Daniel 10:6

c. This person is barefoot – perhaps a nod to lack of special priestly footwear when officiating

d. Represents strength and stability or moral purity

5. Voice like many waters

a. Again a reference to a “loud” voice

b. Ezekiel 43:2

c. Some hold that the sound of the surf on Patmos was an inspiration for this image

6. Seven stars in his right hand

a. Revelation 1:20 interprets this as seven angels

b. Right hand represents power or authority

i. Authority over the churches

ii. Protection/judgment over the churches

c. Some see the stars as adopted from mythology/astrology

7. Sharp, two-edged sword from his mouth

a. Image found only in Revelation

b. Always refers to Christ

c. Sword’s function is mentioned in 2:16 and 19:15

i. Fight against those who do not repent

ii. Smite the nations

d. Sword is used as a metaphor for the tongue

i. Power then lies with words or speech

ii. Reason, effective speech, and Word of God are all compared to a sword or dagger

1. Psalm 52:2; 57:4

2. Ephesians 6:17

3. Hebrews 4:12

iii. Isaiah 11:4 – justice is the rod from his mouth

8. Face shining like the sun

a. Metaphor for holiness or divinity or transcendence

b. Spoken of in relation to theophanies (experience of meeting God)

c. Tradition of brightness of the faces of the righteous

d. Transfiguration of Jesus (Matthew 17:3)

iii. The person speaks to John

1. John falls down at the person’s feet

a. Common response when heavenly creatures are encountered

b. Isaiah 6 – undone

2. Words of assurance to John

a. Do not be afraid

b. Accompanied by the right hand

3. Identification

a. I am – identified with Christ’s “I am” statements as well as God

b. First and last

i. Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:12 – refers to God

ii. Occurs again in Revelation referring to Christ

c. Living One, I was dead, I am alive forevermore

i. Jewish tradition names God as the Living God

ii. Resurrection affirmation

d. Keys of death and Hades

i. Represent authority over the realms of the dead

4. Commission

a. Some see this as the outline of the entire book

i. Things you have seen – this vision

ii. Things which are – current state of churches

iii. Things which will take place – eschaton

b. John is commanded to write about the visions

5. Interpretation

a. Jesus gives understanding regarding the “mystery”

b. Similar to parable constructions

i. Story – interpretation

ii. Image – interpretation

c. Seven stars are the angels

d. Seven lamp stands are the churches

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