Rev. 1:9-20: The Real Christ


Christmas is about a month away. Actually one month ago we celebrated Christmas Eve. Let’s flashback to Christmas season.

Begin with a video clip from the Movie Elf where Buddy the Elf finds out that Santa is an imposter.

How much confidence do we have in an imposter?

I would think none. We want the real deal. We want the real Santa or… the real Jesus, the real God.

As we look at the rest of Revelation chapter 1 we see that Revelation 1 shows Jesus as God. We see Jesus as the Judge. We see Jesus as the eternal One. We see Jesus as outside of time. We see Jesus as pure, wise and the conqueror.


As we look at this passage my Theme is that John sees the glorified Christ and He is commanded to write.


My burning application is that Jesus is amazing, you’ll see.

Please turn with me to Revelation 1:9-20:

I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 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. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

17 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. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

  1. I want to briefly summarize the passage.
    1. In verses 9-11 John is identified as the messenger.
    2. John is in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.
    3. The Lord’s Day may be Sunday, or it may mean that He was “in the Spirit” when the Day of the Lord came. The Day of the Lord is a time when God makes everything right. So, in this case it means when the Lord showed him this vision.
    4. What does it mean to be “In the Spirit”? This could mean that He was spending time in his devotions and I like to think that way but I don’t think it is likely. It is more likely that John was taken up by the Spirit.
    5. The Holy Spirit got ahold of him and he was in a state for God to speak to him.
    6. Are we in a place for God to speak to us? Think about that.

Jonathon Edwards in the Spirit:

The first instance that I remember of that sort of inward, sweet delight in God and divine things that I have lived much in since, was on reading those words, I Tim. i:17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever, Amen. As I read the words, there came into my soul, and was as it were diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the Divine Being; a new sense, quite different from any thing I ever experienced before Never any words of scripture seemed to me as these words did. I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up to him in heaven, and be as it were swallowed up in him for ever! I kept saying, and as it were singing over these words of scripture to myself; and went to pray to God that I might enjoy him, and prayed in a manner quite different from what I used to do; with a new sort of affection. But it never came into my thought, that there was any thing spiritual, or of a saving nature in this.[1]

Not long after I first began to experience these things, I gave an account to my father of some things that had passed in my mind. I was pretty much affected by the discourse we had together; and when the discourse was ended, I walked abroad alone, in a solitary place in my father’s pasture, for contemplation. And as I was walking there, and looking up on the sky and clouds, there came into my mind so sweet a sense of the glorious majesty and grace of God, that I know not how to express. I seemed to see them both in a sweet conjunction; majesty and meekness joined together; it was a sweet, and gentle, and holy majesty; and also a majestic meekness; an awful sweetness; a high, and great, and holy gentleness.

  1. John was on an island called Patmos for preaching the Gospel. I like what the Life Application Study Bible says:
  2. John was exiled to Patmos because he refused to stop preaching the Good News. We may not face persecution for our faith as the early Christians did, but even with our freedom few of us have the courage to share God’s Word with others. If we hesitate to share our faith during easy times, how will we do during times of persecution?[2]
  3. John hears a voice and the voice comes from behind him and the voice was like a trumpet and He told John to write to the seven churches. We will come back to the seven churches in a couple of weeks. I want to move on to the description of Jesus.
  4. Let’s walk through the descriptions of King Jesus and gain insight.[3]
    1. In 1717, King Louis XIV of France died. Preferring to be called “Louis the Great,” he was the monarch who declared, “I am the State!” His court was the most magnificent in Europe, and his funeral was the most spectacular. In the church where the ceremony was performed, his body lay in a golden coffin. To dramatize his greatness, orders had been given that the cathedral would be very dimly lit with only one special candle that was to be set above the coffin. The thousands of people in attendance waited in silence. Then Bishop Massillon began to speak. Slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle and said, “Only God is great.”[4]
    2. In the following verses we see Jesus as God. We see Him as the Great and Awesome God.
    3. Do you ever struggle in your faith?
    4. I’m serious, please honestly answer, I do [raise your hand]. There are times when the devil tries to work on me (Eph. 6:10-12) and I start to doubt this book [hold up the Bible]. I start to doubt the Bible. You know the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. I heard about a sermon from David Jeremiah where he says whenever God is doing something good, God is planting seed, imagine the devil trying to pluck those seeds up. The devil is the crows. (Matthew 13:4 and 19) Sometimes the devil likes to get at me.
    5. However, when I get into this book God speaks. God brings me back to my senses. In verse 9 the text says, “The Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Verse 2 says “The Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ.” I think I see a theme laid out already. I heard it said:
    6. This book will keep you from sin and sin will keep you from this book.
    7. The cool think about Revelation is the cross reference. As I was studying these descriptions of Jesus I saw cross references in Daniel 7:1-14, but also in Isaiah, Ezekiel, the rest of Revelation and the Bible. The cross references prove this is from God. This is God’s Word. You see no one, let alone forty people over 1200 plus year, could write all 66 of these books and make this connect. This is God’s Word.
    8. All throughout Revelation we see that John uses an Old Testament pool of images. His audience would have known these.
    9. In verse 12 John turns to see who was speaking to him and he sees 7 Golden Lampstands.
    10. Lampstands: this comes from Temple imagery
    11. You would come in the sanctuary and see the curtain between the sanctuary and the Holy of Holies. There you would see the alter of incense. To your right would be the table of show bread, to the left was the seven branched candelabra.
    12. This is the first example of John using temple imagery.
    13. John sees us to be priests (verse 6) and that is another example of the Temple imagery. But as we go throughout this chapter we see Jesus as the High Priest and the King. Hebrews 9:11 shows Jesus as our High Priest.
    14. We see this Temple, Old Testament, imagery all throughout Revelation.
    15. John says that he sees one like a Son of Man in verse 13. This is the beginning of the cross references and connection with Daniel 7:1-14. This is the beginning of showing Jesus as God.
    16. Notice how John says, “like” a “Son of Man.” All the way through John’s vision we see “like” and “as”
    17. This is a signal to us that even though he uses this imagery it cannot fully convey the reality of the vision he is having.
    18. He is indicating this image I am explaining doesn’t fully contain the reality but it points to it.
    19. How do you describe the indescribable?
    20. One “like” a Son of Man. Clothed with a long robe and a golden sach.
    21. Clothing: the attire of the High Priest
    22. The attire of a King
    23. Jesus is the High Priest and the King
    24. Head and hair white as white wool, white as snow. This has the idea of purity.
    25. This image comes from Daniel 7 and the Ancient of Days.
    26. “Ancient of Days” was God in Daniel 7. John is saying that Jesus is God!
    27. John is using the Jewish pool of imagery to show that Jesus is God.
    28. Dan 7:9-10: 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. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
    29. The thing is Daniel 7 is a major cross reference but only one among many. This passage is littered with connecting points throughout the Bible.
    30. Actually, I want to give you a homework assignment go home and use your study Bible, or if you don’t have one let me know and I will get you one. Walk through this passage this week and look at the cross reference and let God speak to you. You can easily do this on
    31. The Ancient of Days is connecting Jesus as Lord. Is Jesus our Lord?
    32. His eyes like a flame of fire, His feet like burnished bronze refined as in a furnace.
    33. Images of light and fire in a Jewish pool of imagery are images for God.
    34. John is utilizing imagery to describe his encounter with Jesus to show that Jesus is God.
    35. His voice is “like the sound of many waters.”
    36. Verse 10: John had said that the voice is like a loud voice “like a trumpet.”
      1. Our logical left brain wants to know which it is.
      2. John would say both, it is both. These are images that transcend reality.
  • John changes his description frequently. He modulates his imagery often.
  1. He is showing to his readers that no images are sufficient to contain our reality.
  2. We cannot substitute the image for the reality.
  3. John is describing Jesus as overwhelming
  4. Hebrews 12:29: Our God is a consuming fire
  5. Verse 16: in His right hand… Sharp two edged sword: The Word is the unchangeable reality in which all that is unreal crumbles.
  6. All that is false finds its demise when it encounters the WORD
  • Let’s apply: We see in verse 17: When John sees him he falls at his feet as though dead.
    1. This was common in the Jewish pool of images when one encounters God. They fall down and worship.
    2. How do we respond to this passage?
    3. How do we respond with the image of Jesus as God?
    4. How do we respond with the double-edged sword? That represents the Word of God. You know how Jesus responded to the devil in Matthew 4, anyone can answer… with the Word.
    5. This passage encourages and convicts me. I am encouraged by the validity and importance of the Scripture. I am challenged and convicted to take the Word seriously. (2 Timothy 2:15 and 3:16-17)
    6. Just like the Jewish pool of imagery Jesus says “don’t be afraid”
    7. Jesus is the Living One: amplified: I was dead before, but I am alive forevermore.
    8. Jesus has the keys to death and hades, who? Only Jesus.
    9. Jesus is in charge.
    10. Jesus tells John to write the things that he has seen, that he is seeing and that will take place after this.
    11. Greek preposition translated “with” There is a standard Greek word for this preposition, but this never occurs in Revelation, nor in the LXX. So, how do you say “with?” So, he uses another preposition. The NASB and most all translations, translates it “after” as in “’after’ these things.” It could be that it really is “with” and “after” as in both. John could be playing off both.
    12. We use “after” in this context to get the idea that Revelation is to be translated in a futurist way.



John sees the glorified Christ and He is commanded to write.


My burning application is that Jesus is amazing, I hope you have seen that. I hope you are encouraged and challenged by who Jesus Is as well as the Word of God is His Word.

I like what the Life Application Study Bible says:

Revelation will challenge your mental picture of Jesus Christ. What forms your impression of him right now— famous paintings, movies, Sunday school art? Do you ever picture Jesus with a gold sash and snow white, woolly hair? Do his eyes flash fire and his feet glow like bronze? When you imagine Jesus speaking to you, does his voice thunder like mighty ocean waves? Reevaluate the way you think of Jesus as you read and study Revelation. Allow his powerful presence to transform your life.[5]

The Real Jesus Christ

The greatness of God is most clearly displayed in his Son. And the glory of the gospel is only made evident in his Son. That’s why Jesus’ question to his disciples [in Matthew 16] is so important: “Who do you say that I am?”

The question is doubly crucial in our day, because [no one is as popular in the U.S. as Jesus]—and not every Jesus is the real Jesus. …

There’s the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, for family values and owning firearms.

There’s Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.

There’s Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life’s problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.

There’s Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals.

There’s Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as you).

There’s Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes fun faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.

There’s Martyr Jesus—a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him.

There’s Gentle Jesus—who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash (while looking very German).

There’s Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that “all you need is love.”

There’s Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.

There’s Spirituality Jesus—who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine, and would rather have people out in nature, finding “the god within” while listening to ambiguously spiritual music.

There’s Platitude Jesus—good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons, inspiring people to believe in themselves.

There’s Revolutionary Jesus—who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and blame things on “the system.”

There’s Guru Jesus—a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.

There’s Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.

There’s Good Example Jesus—who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.

And then there’s Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham’s chosen seed; the one to deliver us from captivity; the goal of the Mosaic law; Yahweh in the flesh; the one to establish God’s reign and rule; the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim Good News to the poor; the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.

This Jesus was the Creator come to earth and the beginning of a New Creation. He embodied the covenant, fulfilled the commandments, and reversed the curse. This Jesus is the Christ that God spoke of to the Serpent; the Christ prefigured to Noah in the flood; the Christ promised to Abraham; the Christ prophesied through Balaam before the Moabites; the Christ guaranteed to Moses before he died; the Christ promised to David when he was king; the Christ revealed to Isaiah as a Suffering Servant; the Christ predicted through the Prophets and prepared for through John the Baptist.

This Christ is not a reflection of the current mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father’s Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for our sins—more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible.[6]


God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)



[2] Tyndale House Publishers (2011-08-01). Life Application Study Bible NLT (Kindle Locations 161629-161631). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[3] I benefitted from Dr. Mulholland’s lectures on Revelation at Asbury Theological Seminary. I was not able to take his class while there but listened on Itunes U.

[4] Jeff Arthurs, “Laying the Foundation for Peace,”


[5] Tyndale House Publishers (2011-08-01). Life Application Study Bible NLT (Kindle Locations 161625-161631). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[6] Kevin DeYoung, “Who Do You Say That I Am?” from his DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed blog (posted 6-10-09)

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