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…. (Revelation 1:12-13a)
Artists through the years have tried to capture the image of Jesus Christ on canvas. The Bible never tells us what the Carpenter of Nazareth looked like then, but we know what He looks like now—for John saw Him and was overwhelmed. In the first chapter of Revelation we behold Christ unveiled.
Consider His WORTH (v.11a). Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. He is the first and last letters and all those in between. Twenty-six letters are used in the English language to form all our words. That's all you need—Jesus is all you need. His worth is also suggested in Rev.1:13 where He is "girded about the chest with a golden band." Gold is a precious metal, the symbol of riches. John falls, deeply sensing his own unworthiness in the presence of One so worthy.
Hear His WORD. Throughout the text, stress is laid upon what the Eternal Word of God is saying.
He speaks with A TRUMPET VOICE (v.10). One cannot read this without thinking of 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 where the trumpet of God sounds. Just as He cried with a loud voice before the tomb of Lazarus, "Lazarus, come forth!" so the saints who slumber will arise.
It is also A THUNDEROUS VOICE (v.15b). John heard the thundering waves dashing on the rocks of Patmos. The voice of Christ drowned out the surf. “John, these waters may separate you from human companionship, but your Heavenly Companion will never leave you, nor forsake You!”
His is A TESTING VOICE (v.16b). The test of true faith is the Word of God. "He who rejects Me, and does not receive my words, has that which judges him—the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." (John 12:48)
However, it is also A TENDER VOICE (v.17b). I am most grateful. These are words of grace that dispel all fear.
Christ speaks with A TRIUMPHANT VOICE (v.18). Keys stand for authority. Acts 2:24 says, "And God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power." The hymn expressed it,
Death could not keep its prey, Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord.
Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o'er His foes.
He arose a victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever with His saints to reign.
Note His WALK (v.13a,20; 2:1). He walks among His people. It is a walk where He is sifting us and evaluating us. His feet are as brass in a furnace (v.15a). This is a picture of judgment. He is going to confront His churches in chapters 2-3.
Observe His WORK.
He is THE INTERCEDING PRIEST (v.13). His robes are those of the High Priest who went into the temple and stood before the golden lampstand, and so we see Jesus in an even greater way. He ever lives to intercede for us.
He is THE INTERROGATING JUDGE (v.14-15). Here are the piercing eyes of the Ancient of Days. You can't pull the wool over those eyes!
He is THE ILLUMINATING LIGHT (v.16b). He is the Light of the world.
He is THE INVINCIBLE KING (v.18). He holds the keys of authority as King of kings and Lord of lords!