JESUS’ COUNTENANCE AS THE SUN IN ITS STRENGTH.
Revelation 1:16--"And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and His COUNTENANCE was as THE SUN SHINING IN HIS STRENGTH."
The final detail of Jesus’ description in Revelation 1:16 is His COUNTENANCE. The definition of COUNTENANCE is the FACE or FEATURES, the FACIAL EXPRESSION or APPEARANCE.
Jesus’ FACE shone like the sun in its strength. WHEN IS the sun at its brightest--its rays as strong as they can get? When it’s straight above us, at the apex, the very top of the sky. This occurs in the NOON HOUR.
Have you ever tried to look directly into a NOON DAY sun? You can’t! Even a flash of the sun, with it’s intense brightness, brings stabbing pain. We close our eyelids tightly while our eyes water, recovering from that momentary assault. While our eyes remain shut, the sun's brightness diffuses through the thin covering of the lids, glaring like a hot redness against our sensitive retinas. Sunlight strikes our eyes like thousands of sharp needles!
This is what the Apostle John saw AND FELT as He looked upon the intensely bright face of the risen and glorified Lord. He could NOT gaze upon Him very long. (We’ll get to that detail in a moment.)
Jesus, in the GLORY of being God, SHINES with an intense brightness like the sun. We see this description applied to Him in another scripture. Let’s look at Matthew 17:2, where the Transfiguration of Jesus is recorded.
“And (Jesus) was TRANSFIGURED before them: and His face did SHINE like THE SUN, and His raiment (clothes) was WHITE as the LIGHT.”
Peter, James and John were allowed to witness Jesus in His FUTURE GLORY, which would indeed occur after Jesus rose from the dead and returned to the Throne of His Father. They SAW Jesus as GOD!
In that Transfiguration, Jesus’ FACE shone like THE SUN in the STRENGTH of its NOONTIME rays. John saw Jesus like THIS SAME WAY (for the SECOND TIME) in the vision he witnessed in Revelation 1:16.
HOW DID JOHN REACT TO THE AWESOME APPEARANCE OF JESUS?
John had a VERY HUMAN response, as we see in the next verse: His senses were so OVERLOADED, He FAINTED!
Revelation 1:17--“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet AS DEAD. And He laid His RIGHT HAND upon me, saying unto me, 'Fear not; I am the FIRST and the LAST.'”
John is completely OVERWHELMED by the vision of the RESURRECTED and GLORIFIED Jesus. He SAW Jesus in a garment as white as light, with a breast-covering of brilliant gold. He SAW Jesus’ white hair and beard, and His flaming intense eyes. He SAW Jesus’ feet, the gleaming golden brass, and FELT the HEAT which radiated from them. He HEARD the powerful voice which rumbled like a massive waterfall. He NOTICED seven stars in Jesus’ right hand, and WONDERED at the sharp two-edged sword which protruded from His mouth. Before he collapsed, he may have had a fleeting second to WONDER--"What does all of this mean?" And THEN He GLIMPSED Jesus' FACE and saw the GLORY--as BRILLIANT as a noon day sun. John could no longer stand in the Lord's awesome presence! With pain stabbing at his eyes, his knees buckled and he went down.
John could NOT STAND in THE PRESENCE of such a MIGHTY and GLORIFIED Jesus. John's frail flesh could NOT ABIDE in such close proximity to the SON OF GOD in ALL of His Father's power and brilliance.
John fell at Jesus’ feet as if he were dead. He fainted.
As we dig further into our study of the book of Revelation, we’ll discover how John keeps FALLING ON HIS FACE as the prophecy is given to him. He EXPERIENCED the ENORMITY of all that was given to him in the POWERFUL PROPHECY of the Revelation. He must have known FEAR many times over. We can only GUESS about his fleshly responses to the scenes and the drama, which in MANY ASPECTS, must have SEEMED LIKE the worst kind of nightmare--or CONTRARIWISE--the most AWESOME DEGREE of heavenly visions! He saw THE BAD, and he saw THE GOOD! Indeed, it's almost MORE than A MAN could endure--and LIVE to tell about it!
Daniel is another prophet who received powerful, mighty visions from the Lord, and like the Apostle John, Daniel continually FELL UPON HIS FACE. (It’s interesting to note: the book of Daniel is to the Old Testament WHAT the book of Revelation is to the New! BOTH prophecies reveal the SAME period of THE FUTURE--the time of the TRIBULATION!)
Daniel 8:27--“And I, Daniel, FAINTED, and was SICK certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business, and I was ASTONISHED at the vision, but NONE UNDERSTOOD it.”
If a person is going to be shown THE SECRETS of what God has planned, he or she better be PREPARED TO FAINT!
Jesus DID NOT allow John to lie there in that DEAD FAINT. He touched and comforted John, telling him to NOT BE AFRAID. Pay special attention to this DETAIL--Jesus COMFORTED John with His RIGHT HAND of BLESSING.
Here’s what Jesus said, “Fear not; I AM the first and the last.”
Jesus spoke the words, “Fear not” which was used by "THE ANGEL OF THE LORD" a number of times in the Old Testament (which are OT appearances of Jesus--such as to the greedy prophet, Balaam). Jesus, as THE ANGEL OF THE LORD, told people “Fear not” on every occasion of His appearance.
To the Apostle John, Jesus adds, "I AM the FIRST and the LAST.”
I won’t go into an extreme in-depth analysis of that statement. It’s a REPEAT of what we saw in Revelation 1:8. (If you want a review, scroll backwards into my previous blogs.)
Jesus said, “I AM.”
He SPOKE God’s name, the Hebrew construction of JHVH. In Hebrew pronunciation, that name is “Jaweh;” in English, “Jehovah.” In that name is God’s ETERNAL presence--THE FIRST and THE LAST. This is the SAME PHRASE as spoken BY GOD to Moses from the burning bush--“I AM Who I AM and what I AM and I will be what I will be.” Past, present and future--the God Who ALWAYS IS! (Every form of the verb, "to be.")
Can you imagine what we'll SEE when Jesus descends into the air to Rapture His Church? He'll look like how John SAW Him. However, our earthly flesh will be translated in the "twinkling of an eye" into a GLORIFIED BODY. When we SEE Him, our FLESH won't collapse. But I can imagine the PROFOUND joy and the worship which will overwhelm us! We'll fall on our faces in AWE and REVERENCE.
With that thought I'll end today's installment.
Let's LOOK FOR JESUS with all of our being and intensity! One day, He will INDEED appear--with a SHOUT like the blast of a ram's horn trumpet, which echoes throughout the atmosphere like the roar of a waterfall. Are you ready? I certainly am!
I pray that you have an AWESOME and WONDERFUL day!