I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. -Revelation 1:10-20

The white hair of Jesus’ head teaches us that the Gospel is an ancient mystery. It is the foolishness of God which is wiser than the wisdom of men. And contrary to how we think of white hair today, it does not signify age in the sense of weakness, but in the sense of an ancient and formidable strength. Have you ever shaken hands with an 80-year-old farmer? They can nearly crush your hand without even trying. It feels like shaking hands with a steel bear trap. This is the mysterious authority, mystery, strength, and wisdom meant to be depicted by Jesus’ white-as-snow hair.

His eyes which are a flame of fire teach us that He sees all. Nothing is hidden from His gaze as nothing can hide in the darkness when His all-seeing gaze requires no outside light to reveal it. His eyes themselves are the light which peels back the myriad layers enveloping our darkened hearts which even we have no chance of understanding. (Hebrews 4:13)

Jesus’ feet, like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, are indicative of the fact that He is the suffering servant. Bronze represents suffering and sacrifice in Scripture, especially the Old Testament. He is the one “like a son of the gods” who stand with His people in persecution. He does not stand far off and apart from it. On the contrary, when we are reviled, it is He who is being slandered. Just as He stood in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Mishach, and Abednego, He also goes through every fiery trial with us.

God’s children are never alone in their suffering. No matter what they may feel, they are never alone in Christ. Somehow, though it is beyond our comprehension, the immutable (i.e., unchanging, unable to be changed) God and Sovereign of the universe has been changed in Christ on our behalf. In Christ, suffering has altered Him so that what once were mere human feet are now as bronze, refined by the many fiery trials through which we, His beloved children, have passed through in Him. By this, we can know that whatever may befall us, whether persecution, cancer, Alzheimer's, or doubts and trials of the psyche, we are, and will ultimately be, conquerors and over-comers in Him, our great God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.

From His mouth comes the sword of the Spirit, that Word with which the Spirit is always present to will and to work when and where He will. It is through the Word, the mightiest weapon of God, that Christ does His most excellent work. There, in this weapon, which we as reconciled and forgiven saints also wield, is the power to pierce to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12) One side the Law, the other the Gospel, the sword of the Spirit is always working for us—for our repentance and reconciliation—to bring us back, again and again, into the arms of a faithful, loving, and kind Father.

To be continued…

This is a weekly article series working through the book of Revelation. It is followed every Friday morning at 8 am (CST) by a live devotion dealing with the same subject matter and often additional material for reflection. Tune in Friday mornings on Christ Hold Fast's Facebook Page to learn more and ask questions.