Wednesday, 26 August 2020
His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; Revelation 1:14
Here, John continues with the description of the Lord whom he beheld in His vision, beginning with, “His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow.” Here we have a comparison to that found in the Old Testament. In Psalm 51, David’s sin was uncovered, and he mourned over what he had done wrong. In his words, he said –
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:7
Thus, we have a direct comparison of “whiter than snow” by David to being pure and undefiled; sinless. Isaiah provides a second comparison of what is seen here in Revelation saying –
“‘Come now, and let us reason together,’
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18
Not only does Isaiah equate “white as snow” with sinless purity, but he then adds in a like-comparison, saying, “as wool.” Scripture has interpreted Scripture. Understanding this, Daniel 7 unites both and uses them to describe not the Son of Man introduced in the previous verse (Daniel 7:13 14), but the Ancient of Days of Daniel 7:9, 10 –
“I watched till thrones were put in place,
And the Ancient of Days was seated;
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like pure wool.
His throne was a fiery flame,
Its wheels a burning fire;
10 A fiery stream issued
And came forth from before Him.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was seated,
And the books were opened.”
What this is telling us is that the Son of Man IS the Ancient of Days. This should be obvious because God cannot be seen. He has no parts. This is the first hint that every revelation of God seen in a physical aspect in the book of Revelation is that of Jesus Christ, revealing the unseen God to us.
That God cannot be seen is supported elsewhere in Scripture, such as 1 Timothy 1:17, 1 Timothy 6:16, and 1 John 4:12. To understand this from a logical perspective, one simply needs to understand that time, space, and matter were all created by God. None can exist apart from the other two. As this is so, God is before His creation and He is outside of His creation. He is not bound by time, by space, or by matter. He is thus pure actuality with no potential to change. Therefore, Jesus Christ – the incarnate Word of God – reveals the unseen God to us. As this is so, any theophany of God is Jesus revealing the unseen God to us. This should be remembered as we proceed through the book of Revelation. The book is the “Revelation” or unveiling of Jesus Christ.
With this understood, there is one other attribute of the white hair that could be logically applied. In Leviticus 19, it says –
“You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32
Also, Proverbs 16 says –
“The silver-haired head is a crown of glory,
If it is found in the way of righteousness.” Proverbs 16:31
The intent of these, and other, verses is to show that the gray hair of a person conveys age, wisdom, honor, respect, and righteousness. Therefore, this second connotation certainly applies. Jesus Christ is the Ancient of Days, He is the epitome of Wisdom, He is deserving of the greatest honor and respect, and He is the embodiment of righteousness.
John next says of Him, “and His eyes like a flame of fire.” It is a description seen in Daniel 10:6 –
“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.”
The idea of fire in the Bible is that of judgment, purification, refinement, and so on. The Lord spoke from the midst of the fire when the Ten Commandments were given. It spoke of judgment. Any infraction of the law would be met with it. In Numbers 31:23, fire was to be used for the purification of defiled items.
And Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says the following –
“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-15
“Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences.” 2 Corinthians 5:9-11
Believers will come before Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and that which is of no value shall be burned away. The eyes of the Lord will pierce through the days of our lives and the actions of our conduct, and they will purify us for our eternal state. On the other hand, Revelation later says –
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.” Revelation 19:11, 12
Those who are not found in Christ will be judged with those same burning eyes, and they will be purified through destruction. See Revelation 20:9-15 for a description of their fate. None of this should be a surprise, however. Jude 1:7 says that what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah was given as an example to all of those “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”
Life application: As has been the case and will continue to be the case, the argument against Jesus’ deity crumbles into emptiness before the words of John as he relates what he sees in the glorious person of Jesus Christ.
Understanding this, the world must view Him from every aspect. He is the Provider of peace, but He is also the Judge of the wicked. He is gracious and merciful, and yet He is holy, pure, undefiled, and righteous. Those who fail to come to Him for salvation are set for an eternal swim in the Lake of Fire. Be ready for the day you stand before God. Call on Jesus Christ and receive His pardon for your sins now. Believe the gospel – Christ died for your sins, O sinner. Let Him wash away your misdeeds and purify you for eternal life in glory.
Lord God, we know that it is by Your righteousness that we are purified, and through Christ our sin is removed. We also know that it is Your penetrating gaze that looks upon our hearts and that knows every deed we do, both good and bad. Because of this, we cannot hide our sin. Instead, we confess it to You openly, asking that You cleanse us, purify us, and restore us to You through the precious blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.