“…His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire.” Revelations 1:14
When John the Apostle wrote the book of the Revelation, he began with the words: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass…” (Rev. 1:1) The first thing we need to take away from this passage is that the book of Revelation was given to unveil to us the risen Christ as He IS in His glory, power, and holiness. As we proceed through the book, we stand amazed by His sovereign control and power to bring His will to pass, as revealed in past, present, and future history. But what is perhaps most stunning is the END towards which mankind is heading. It is the great culmination, realization of the purpose of the revelation of God in creation, but mostly, at the cross when Christ died. That is the pivotal point of history, and the whole of what follows has its meaning and revealed purpose with respect to that cross. It is the singular point of reference which defines the purpose of man, and that is, to KNOW and GLORIFY GOD…forever.
John tells us that he received this revelation of Christ when he was in exile on the Isle of Patmos. He was an old man at this time, and certainly nearing the time when he would go to be with the Lord. Perhaps it is safe to say that, except for the Apostle Paul, no one knew Christ as well as John. And yet, with the revelation of Christ in His glory, John relates: “…And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.” (1:17) Why did the Lord Jesus reveal Himself to John at this time, and in this manner? We know that it was for the benefit of His servants (1.1), but what purpose would such an overwhelming revelation serve?
Perhaps the specifics of the revelation will help us to grasp its meaning. Christ declares twice in the first chapter that He is the Alpha and Omega, in one case adding, “…the beginning and the end,” and in the other, “…the first and the last.” He most certainly declares this to illustrate His eternal sovereignty, control, …and that He is indeed, The Eternal King, and Lord of Lords, the great CAUSE and CULMINATION of all creation. He WILL bring His will to pass, because He is God…Almighty God.
With regard to Christ’s appearance, that which was so overwhelming to John, why do His servants need to see Him as such, and not simply as the physical Christ who rose from the grave? Throughout Scripture there is the recurring theme of God’s holiness, uniqueness, separateness from His creation, and certainly from sin. But we have difficulty in grasping what this means. T. Bimney wrote these words: “The spirits that surround the throne may bear the BURNING BLISS; but that is surely theirs alone, since they have never, never known a fallen world like this.” If we would grasp something of the eternity of God, His holiness, His holy work…and purpose, we need a vision of Christ in that glory, AS HE IS THIS DAY. Then, HIS work, His working in history becomes the focal point of all consideration of our existence for the present, and for eternity. To neglect such an overwhelming vision, and revelation, of Christ in His glory, is to refuse to believe that He is the Sovereign God, and that He is bringing all things to pass according to His will. And we are called to walk before Him, and work WITH Him, abiding IN Him.
Dear Father, open our eyes to see Your glory in Christ. Enable us to grasp the significance of belonging to Him, being His servants, at this time in history. And strengthen us to believe Him for His purposes to be revealed, and accomplished in our lives while we are still on this earth, and this for His glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.