One of the most alarming things I have been noticing within the world of sports, entertainment and politics (but also the church! In fact this may be the fault of the church) is how many athletes, actors and politicians (and “church-goers”) say they are “Christians” and they talk about their “faith” and give thanks to “God” or speak of “Jesus” but either their lives do not match their profession or they have a very shallow and superficial understanding of the Gospel, the one true faith, what it means to be a Christian and the Lord Jesus Christ. It has all been watered-down and compromise is excused and justified away!
For example, I just read of a very popular singer who claims to be a Christian but dresses and dances in a way that is very provocative, especially for someone claiming to be a “Christian.” She sees no problem or contradiction with her lifestyle and Christianity. She doesn’t believe it grieves the Holy Spirit or that He has a problem with it.
Another example is an athlete right now who has created a lot of controversy himself due to his “faith.” But He recently cancelled speaking at a church because of it’s “controversial” positions. What were those “controversial” positions? Simply stating the truth that Mormonism is a cult (holding false views of Jesus and salvation) and Islam is a false religion (false views of salvation and Jesus too) and that homosexuality is sinful according to scripture. (Which has garnered attention in the media due to the pastor’s public engagement in politics recently). But apparently this athlete isn’t interested in taking a firm stand for the truth (or identifying himself too closely with those who do in love) but wants to promote a message of “hope” and “faith” and “love” that is inclusive but doesn’t reveal the hearts of men and bring conviction of sin. Jesus did die for all, but all must come to Him in repentance and faith. The apostle Paul testified that “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:21).
So what Jesus are so many speaking of? What Bible are we reading from? Last time I checked (and I just did) every Bible I have records Jesus saying things such as:
Matthew 10:34-39 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’ “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Where has that Jesus gone?
Why are we trying to declaw and tame the Lion of the tribe of Judah?
This “nice” Jesus has no power and is the “Jesus” of our own imagination and culture.
Now, yes it is true—Jesus did not come to condemn the world but save the world.
John 3:16-17 is wonderful and beautiful saying: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
But that’s not the last verse and last thing Jesus said.
The very next thing Jesus went on to say was this: “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:18-20).
Jesus did not come to condemn; because we have already condemned ourselves through our unbelief in Him!
He did come to save us but that required Him dying on the cross and paying the just penalty for our sin, taking upon Himself the wrath of God that we deserved.
And Jesus said that after He left another would come (The Holy Spirit) who Jesus said in John 16:8-9 “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.”
But today the unpardonable sin is to say a word about sin or that we are unrighteous and that we stand guilty before God and deserve His judgment!
What we need today is a fresh vision of Jesus in His glory, because I fear we have gotten so comfortable with Him being “human” that we have forgotten He is the Holy Son of God!
What we need is a Matthew 17, Revelation 1 and Revelation 19 moment:
Matthew 17:1-8 says this: “After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured (His appearance changed) before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters — one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.”
This was in many ways a preview of an experience and encounter John would later have and record for us in Revelation 1:12-18:
“I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
Revelation 19:11-16 “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Is this the Jesus you know?
Because this is the Jesus of the Bible and the real Jesus alive in heaven and one day returning to earth to rule and reign!
I would encourage you to listen online to a message I spoke on the Revelation of the Glory of Jesus last year during a series through the book of Revelation. The link to where you can find this message (which is on the right hand side of the messages page under the Revelation Series, and titled “Revelation 1” and “Revelation 19 &20” ) is here: www.theallenwoodchuch.org/messages.
And below are my notes on Revelation 1:12-18 (minus quotes from commentaries) regarding Jesus in His glory.
I just pray we will have a fresh vision and that many will see His glory and hear His voice so that only the real Jesus is seen and honored!
Revelation 1:12-18 notes from the message entitled “Revelation 1”
Verse 12—-“7 golden lampstands”—represent churches—(we are the light of the world).
Verse 13a—-“One like the Son of Man”—this is Jesus in His glorified state.
-Notice He was in the midst of the seven lampstands. Jesus is with His people!
-It is not merely the Crucified Christ (or Savior) who is in the midst of the church.
-It is not merely the Resurrected Christ (Our Living Lord) who is the midst of the church.
-It is not merely the Soon Returning Christ (our King) who is the midst of the church.
-It is the Glorified Christ—-who is in the midst of the church!
And with that—let’s go through the description of Jesus John saw.
First of all it says He saw one: Like the Son of Man.
That reminds us of Jesus’ humanity.
And that is important because it reminds us that even in His glorified state; He still relates to us as human beings.
But let’s look at the description John gives of what was unique in comparison with us as human beings, in His appearance.
Verse 13b—-“clothed with a garment down to the feet…”
The wearing of garments down to the feet was a sign of someone of high rank/honor of importance; such as a King or Priest. Jesus is both our High Priest and King.
Verse 13c—-“girded about the chest with a golden band.”
The High Priest back then wore a breastplate in which the names of the tribes of Israel were engraved so that they were on His heart.
Verse 14a—“His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow…”
This speaks of His Eternal nature, wisdom and perfect purity. It speaks of Christ’s dignity, authority, Majesty, worthiness of respect, honor and awe.
Daniel 7:9 records Daniel as saying–“As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool.”
Verse 14b—“and His eyes like a flame of fire…”
This speaks of the fact that Christ see’s all and through all in such a way that His judgment is perfect and pure. His eyes penetrate and pierce through even to the very thoughts and motives and attitudes of our heart.
Verse 15a—-“His feet were like fine brass…”
-Denotes strength, power, endurance, stability.
Verse 15b—-“as if refined in a furnace…”
Every description that is given is meant to inspire awe in the one who reads of this.
Verse 15c—-“and His voice as the sound of many waters…”
Again gives you the sense of how Majestic He is.
The authority and majesty of His voice is like the sound (the roar) of many waters.
When I read this I thought of when my family went to Niagara falls and just the deafening sound of the roaring of the waters. It is awe-inspiring, majestic and powerful.
Ezekiel experienced the voice of the Lord like the sound of many waters as well—because Ezekiel 43:2 says this: “I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory.”
I also thought of Psalm 29 which says this: “Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness. The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion like a young wild ox. The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”
Verse 16a—-“He had in His right hand seven stars…”
-Right hand speaks of power, protection, grace, favor, guidance.
-Seven stars are the angels of the churches the messengers of each church. (Perhaps pastors).
What a comfort to know He holds them in His right hand and they are under His influence!
Verse 16b—-“out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword…”
-This is the Word of God for the Word judges and heals!
Hebrews 4:12-13 says: “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 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.”
And so, Jesus sanctifies His people by the Word.
But He also fights against His enemies but not with a physical sword, but with the Word of His mouth.
Verse 16c—-“and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.”
Countenance…speaks of His face.
And John says it was like the sun shining in its strength, meaning unhindered by the clouds of the sky or darkness of the night: brilliant, dazzling, too bright for any human being to look upon and not be blinded.
In fact look at John’s reaction to this, Verse 17a— “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.”
Interesting because this is a very similar response as prophets of old who saw the glory of God; such as Daniel and Isaiah.
Isaiah 6:1-5 records this: “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”
The brilliant perfection, holiness, majesty of Christ the King exposed and laid bare all his sinfulness; which is perhaps why many don’t want to know the glorified Christ!
But anyway, Daniel likewise felt all his strength go out from him and John falls down at his feet as though dead as the glory of Jesus is too much for mortal man in their human flesh to take in to process to bear!
Verse 17b—“But He laid His right hand on me…”
Here is evidence of Christ’s compassion, His grace, His favor, as we have seen the right hand is symbolic of favor and grace.
And here this reminds us of the necessity of His grace in order to bear the sight of Him and stand before Him.
Verse 17c—“saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 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.”
So notice He not only touched John with His grace, but spoke peace to His heart, calming His fears.
-Jesus strikes fear into man but Jesus also relieves the fear of man by His grace.
As the line in amazing grace goes: “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear…and grace my fears relieved.”
To really know the Lord we must have a fear of the Lord.
And then we will know the grace and peace of the Lord.
So Jesus says to John: “I am the First and Last, the beginning and the end.”
I am everything.
I have always been, always is and always will be.
And as He says next—“He who lives…was dead…but behold am alive forevermore!”
So right there is the Gospel!
-“I have the keys of Hades and Death.”
Remember all authority and power on heaven and on earth has been given to Him.
And so, He has not only been resurrected and glorified, but holds all power and authority.
He is Sovereign, the possessor of all power!
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.