Tuesday, 25 August 2020
…and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. Revelation 1:13
John’s vision, which began in the previous verse, spoke of seven golden lampstands. Now, continuing with that thought, it says, “and in the midst of the seven lampstands.” Although getting ahead of the presentation, it is right to explain the meaning of these lampstands. Verse 20 will say, “the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.”
With this understanding, John then sees a vision of one “in the midst of the seven” churches. The word translated as “midst” signifies “in the middle.” Therefore, this is probably referring to seven lampstands, rather than one lampstand with seven branches. However, John could be beholding someone standing in front of a seven-branched lampstand. That would appear less likely though.
Either way, there in the midst of them is “One like the Son of Man.” This terminology permeates Scripture, and it can be speaking of the Lord, or of a given person. For example, Ezekiel is called “son of man” numerous times in his book. It is a way of specifically identifying the humanity of a person.
Further, there is no article before “Son of Man” in the Greek of this verse. Therefore, it should say, “a Son of Man.” However, this does not mean that it is not the Lord. Rather, it is focusing on His humanity. This term, Son of Man, is used of the Lord in both testaments. For example, it is speaking of Him in Daniel 7:13, where the definite article is also lacking in the original (even those placed in the translation) –
“I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.” Daniel 7:13
The term will also be used in Revelation 14:14 –
“Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.” Revelation 14:14
The term “Son of Man” is used again and again by Jesus when refereeing to Himself in the book of Luke. There, to stress His humanity, He uses the article – “the Son of Man.” However, in John 5, He says this while leaving off the article –
“For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man.” John 5:26, 27
John’s vision now is clearly referring to Christ Jesus – the God/Man. However, the focus is first on His humanity. Of Him, it says he is “clothed with a garment down to the feet.” The word “feet” is singular – “down to the foot.” Thus, it gives the sense of being fully covered. One might paraphrase this as “from shoulder to foot” to get the sense of the words.
This is a clear reference to the tunic worn by the high priest of Israel. The same word used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament concerning the length is seen in Exodus 28:31. This is the only time this word, podérés, is used in the New Testament.
Such a full covering pictures absolute purity and sinlessness. When one is naked, partially or completely, it signifies being exposed. Such exposure represents being in a state of sin. The typology goes back to the garden of Eden where Adam and Eve realized they were naked and tried to cover themselves. Being fully covered, this Son of Man has no exposure, and thus is sinless.
The study concerning the garments and implements of the high priest of Israel shows that every single detail of them points to the person and work of Jesus Christ. Those were types and shadows of the true High Priest of the New Covenant. Unfortunately, the heretical sect known as hyperdispensationalists claims that the symbolism is Jewish and has nothing to do with the church.
This shows a complete misunderstanding of Old Testament typology. The things of the Old anticipate Christ in the New. The garments of Christ, our High Priest, are not relying on those types and shadows. Rather, they are the fulfillment of them. Christ performs His priestly functions (mediating between God and man) based on His status as the Mediator.
To say that Christ is not the High Priest of the Gentiles, as well as the Jews, is to say that Paul’s reference to Christ as our Mediator (see 1 Timothy 2:5) has no meaning. It robs the significance of Christ’s work, it denies that the New Covenant it a single covenant for all people, and it heretically separates the one gospel of Jesus Christ into two.
To understand the symbolism of this garment, prefigured by that of Israel’s high priest, one can refer to the video or written sermons on those passages provided by the Superior Word.
Next, the description continues with, “and girded about the chest with a golden band.” This is reflective of the description found in Daniel 10 –
“I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! 6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude.” Daniel 10:5, 6
Noting this, it continues to show the inaccuracy of the doctrine of hyperdispensationalists. The same symbolism of Christ, even from the Old Testament, shows that what was given to Israel’s high priest under the Mosaic Covenant was only anticipatory of the greater things found in Christ.
This zónén chrysan, or golden band, reveals both the priestly and kingly offices of the One being presented. The zóné, or “band,” simply signifies a belt, sash, girdle, etc. At times, it describes a money belt. In this case, because it is about His mastos, or literally “breasts,” it signifies a band, or sash.
The sash of the high priest of Israel is described in Exodus 28 – all of its details anticipate Christ Jesus. In Isaiah 11:5 and 22:21, a sash is used to describe the coming Messiah, either directly or in typology. In particular, Isaiah 22:21 anticipates a ruler, not a priest. The same is true with Job 12:18 –
“He loosens the bonds of kings,
And binds their waist with a belt.”
Paul uses the idea of such a girdle in Ephesians 6:14 to indicate binding oneself with truth. Of this Son of Man, His band is gold. It signifies purity and holiness, royalty, and divinity. Thus, even though He is a Son of Man, He is also divine. He is pure and without spot, He is set apart, and He stands in kingly status.
Life application: The garments described in this verse show a uniting of the offices of both High Priest and King into one. This was anticipated in the book of Zechariah –
“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH!
From His place He shall branch out,
And He shall build the temple of the Lord;
13 Yes, He shall build the temple of the Lord.
He shall bear the glory,
And shall sit and rule on His throne;
So He shall be a priest on His throne,
And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” Zechariah 6:12, 13
Christ Jesus is the fulfillment of that prophecy. In the New Covenant, He replaces the Aaronic line of Israel’s priests, and He fulfills the promise of eternal kingship made to King David. Again, to argue against the intolerably poor doctrine of hyperdispensationalsm, as has already been done above concerning Christ’s priestly office, the same is true with His kingly office.
Paul uses the term “kingdom,” again and again, when writing to the Gentile believers. One simple example of this is speaking of the time of the rapture of the church –
“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” 1 Corinthians 15:50
It would be rather silly to set up a kingdom that had no king. Christ is the fulfillment of the types and shadows of the Old Testament, having become both High Priest and King of a New Covenant – one which is set up for those who accept His one (and only one) gospel. Do not be led astray by the heretical teachings of hyperdispensationalism. Jesus is the Lord and Savior of both Jew and Gentile.
The book of Matthew displays Jesus as the King, and John shows Jesus as the High Priest; both of these are more fully explained in the book of Hebrews. Jesus, who is our Great King and High Priest, is the One who is always in the midst of the church, watching over us and directing us according to His purposes. Those churches who glorify Him will receive their reward; those who fail to do so will be removed from His presence.
He is our God and worthy of our devotion, adoration, and praise.
The Church serves the One true, eternal, and awesome God through the Lord Jesus! It is You, O Christ, who reveals the Father, and it is You through whom the Holy Spirit is given. You are the focus of our faith. You are our glorious and reigning King and our faithful and merciful High Priest who mediates on our behalf. You are most glorious and worthy of all praise! Amen.