GETTING THE EMSSAGE/Soldiers of Christ arise!

GETTING THE EMSSAGE/Soldiers of Christ arise!


In Isaiah chapter 1, the Lord laments that his people do not know him and seek him: “The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”  The vision of the exalted Christ in Revelation 1:14-16 is meant to remind Christians to have a view of this present world from above where Christ is and not forget their Master.

The book of Revelation is given in the context of tribulation on earth. In verse 9, John calls himself a “brother and partner in the tribulation.” Christians must struggle to be faithful in tribulation and temptation. J. C. Ryle said: “Where there is grace there is conflict. The believer is a soldier of Christ. There is no holiness without warfare. Saved souls will always be found to have fought a fight.”

The reality of the glory of Christ strengthens and encourages Christians in this fight. The attributes of Christ do not change no matter what the Christian endures in this world. In the vision, John sees one like a son of man, and the “hairs of his head were white like white wool, like snow” (verse 14).

In Daniel 7, there is a similar description of “the Ancient of Days.” John is seeing a vision of Christ’s divine nature. The whiteness of his hair means that he is the Holy One. He frowns upon the sinful nature of man and smiles upon the restoration the grace of God brings.

Next, John says that “his eyes were like a flame of fire.” Christ has holy, penetrating vision. This points to his omniscience, that he knows and sees all things. Christ judges according to what he sees, and what he sees is how things really are. If he wasn’t omniscient, how could he judge the world? This is bad news for those who ignore or mock him, but good news for his followers. He knows the struggles and sins we are going through.

Also, “his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace.” In Daniel 2, the mighty kingdoms of men are inevitably replaced. Even Rome, with iron feet to crush other nations, has clay mixed with the iron, pointing to an inevitable crumbling. Not so with Christ’s kingdom. The image of his feet reflects power, stability, and longevity. His kingdom is forever. 

His voice is “like the roar of many waters.” If you have ever been close to a large waterfall, you know the sound of many waters. It conveys great power. The voice of the Lord is loud in creation in the sense that it conveys that God is great and worthy to be feared. His voice is louder in redemption. Hearken unto my voice, come unto me is the command of Christ. It is a gracious command because in him is eternal life. To reject him, though, is the way to condemnation.

We tend to turn the volume down on the word of God. It is in our nature to resist God. Here the one who speaks is described in such a way that we understand how deliberate it must be for a soul to refuse Christ. On the other hand, if you follow what he says, if you submit to his voice, you will be wise and blessed no matter how difficult the path may be. 

“In his right hand he held 7 stars.” The right hand means the power of God. The 7 stars we learn in verse 20 are symbolic of angelic aid to the church. Christ is Lord of all. He has all the heavenly host of angels at his command. When you are discouraged or weary in your journey with Christ, remember that he holds in his hand the 7 stars. No one can snatch you out of his hand.

“From his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword.” In Isaiah 11 and Revelation 19, this means judgment on the nations of men. In Hebrews 4 it is a warning to Christians who might be wavering in their faith. He is able to “discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” We cannot forget our accountability to Christ. To leave him is to forsake all hope.

“His face was shining like the sun in full strength.” If Christ’s face is against you, there is no place to hide. If such a face has favor toward you, who can stand against you? Christians may know great sorrow and pain in this world, but it is momentary. The glory of Christ is shining above.

The Rev. Chris Shelton is pastor of Union’s First Presbyterian Church.

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