Revelation 1:12-20

The Appearance of Messiah

The End Times

In my last post, we continued our verse-by-verse study of The Revelation of Yeshua the Messiah to Yochanan.  In this post, we conclude our unpacking of Chapter 1 of Revelation.

12 I [Yochanan] turned around to see who was speaking to me; and when I had turned, I saw seven gold menorahs; 13 and among the menorahs was someone like a Son of Man, wearing a robe down to his feet and a gold band around his chest. 14 His head and hair were as white as snow-white wool, His eyes like a fiery flame, 15 His feet like burnished brass refined in a furnace, and His voice like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp double-edged sword, and His face was like the sun shining in full strength.” ~ Revelation 1:12-16 (CJB)

Seven gold menorahs (“candlesticks”).  Exodus 25:31-40 speaks of the seven-branched menorah which stood outside the second curtain in the Tabernacle. The ten gold menorahs in Solomon’s Temple (1 Chronicles 28:15) were carted off to Babylon (Jeremiah 52:19).  In verse 20, the seven menorahs are identified as the seven Messianic communities of verse 11.

Son of Man is Yeshua’s preferred title for Himself as the Messiah (see Matthew 8:20).  Yeshua fulfills three main offices set forth in the Tanakhprophet, priest and king. Yeshua served as a prophet during his life on earth (see Matthew 21:11). At present, he serves as High Priest in heaven (see Hebrews 2:17-3:6; 4:14-5:10; and; 6:20-10:21); this is signified by his wearing a long robe and a gold band around his chest, the clothing of the Cohen HaGadol [High Priest] (see Exodus 28). The rest of the description in vv. 14-15 suggests his future role as judge and Messianic king.

9 As I watched, thrones were set in place; and the Ancient One took his seat. His clothing was white as snow, the hair on His head was like pure wool. His throne was fiery flames, with wheels of burning fire. 10 A stream of fire flowed from His presence; thousands and thousands ministered to Him, millions and millions stood before Him.  Then the court was convened, and the books were opened.” ~ Daniel 7:9-10 (CJB).  Daniel used similar language as Yochanan to describe God the Father.  Thus, we see here Yeshua’s identification with God.

A sharp double-edged sword came from his mouth.  “ See, the Word of God is alive! It is at work and is sharper than any double-edged sword — it cuts right through to where soul meets spirit and joints meet marrow, and it is quick to judge the inner reflections and attitudes of the heart.” ~ Hebrews 4:12 (CJB) It is the word of God that our Lord will use to both govern and judge the churches.  We will see this imagery again in Revelation 19:15.

Revelation 1:17-19
The Commissioning of Yochanan

17 When I saw Him, I fell down at His feet like a dead man. He placed his right hand upon me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, 18 the Living One. I was dead, but look! — I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys to Death and Sh’ol. 19 So write down what you see, both what is now, and what will happen afterwards.” ~ Revelation 1:17-19 (CJB)

I fell down at his feet like a dead man.  This vision of Yeshua seems to have caught Yochanan off guard. Rabbi Sha’ul tells us: “So from now on, we do not look at anyone from a worldly viewpoint. Even if we once regarded the Messiah from a worldly viewpoint, we do so no longer.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:16 (CJB).  It is one thing to be told this truth and yet a different thing to experience it.  There was a time when Yochanan felt relaxed enough to lay his head on Yeshua’s bosom, but that is certainly not the case here. Yeshua reaches out, puts His hand on Yochanan and says, Don’t be afraid.  Yeshua identifies Himself again as the First and the Last. However, He adds more truth by calling attention to His death and resurrection. He assures us that He is alive now and forevermore.  He clearly states that he has the keys of Death and Sh’ol [She’ol, Hades, Hell – the place of the dead, according to the Tanakh].

Special Comparative Note on Revelation 1:19 [1]
“What is now, and what will happen afterwards.”

Some dispensational Futurist believe that what is now are the developments that occur in the Church Age as recorded by Yochanan in Chapter 2 & 3 in the form of the seven letters.  They see the entire Church Age to encompass from the time of Yeshua’s resurrection to the Rapture of the Church incorporated in these seven letters.  I’ll get into this further in my next post.

What will happen afterwards could be more literally translated what “are about to” happen afterwards, a fact that Preterist seize upon as further evidence for their belief that the fulfillment of the book would be quick in coming, i.e. the fall of Jerusalem.

Revelation 1:20
A Mystery Explained

“Here is the secret meaning of the seven stars you saw in my right hand, and of the seven gold menorahs: the seven stars are the angels of the seven Messianic communities, and the seven menorahs are the seven Messianic communities.” ~ Revelation 1:20 (CJB)

One mystery is solved ~ the seven menorahs are the seven churches to whom Yeshua’s letters are sent.  But, who are the angels of the seven Messianic communities? Some say that they are angels designated to guard the churches; others say that they are elders or pastors of the local churches. Because the seven letters in chapters 2 and 3 contain reprimands, it is doubtful that these angels are heavenly messengers.  If these are earthly leaders or messengers, they are accountable to God for the churches they represent.

In my next post, before we begin to unpack the letters in Chapter 2 & 3, we will look at the Structure of The Letters and a Special Comparative Note on both Chapters.

Click here for PDF version.


[1] Material in this chart is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg

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