Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
Click picture to visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.
12:And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13: And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14: His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15: And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16: And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
[1:12-16. This is a description of Jesus Christ as a Judge (cf. John 5:22,27). Christ has authority over both the church and the world. The seven candlesticks (lampstands) are identified in verse 20 as the seven churches mentioned in verse 11. The Son of man is a messianic title from Daniel 7:13, and was Jesus' favorite designation for Himself. The garment described in verse 13 is a judge's robe. His white hair symbolizes justice, purity, and glory. Fire is also a symbol of judgment. The brass and the sound of the voice show Christ's authority and power. The seven stars are identified in verse 20 as the angels of the seven churches. The sword also represents Christ's judgment (cf. 19:15) of the church and the world through His Word. His countenance or face was like the sun as the glory of God shone forth.]
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:
18: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
[1:17,18. John's initial reaction to this vision was fear. He was overwhelmed by the glory of God as seen in Christ. (cf Dan. 8:17, 18; 10:8,9; Zech. 4:1). As Jesus did many times with the apostles (cf. Matt. 14:27; Mark 4:40; Luke 5:10), so now He tells John to fear not. The first and the last (cf. v. 11; 22:13) is equivalent to the language of verse 8, and is a title of the almighty and eternal God. As God in the Old Testament is called the "living God," so Christ is he that liveth. He became dead when He humbled Himself to die on the cross (cf. Phil. 2:6-8), but then rose to live for evermore. Three tenses of Christ's existence are emphasized: (1) His ever-abiding life; (2) His death as God-man; and (3) His resurrection to everlasting and authoritative life. He has authority over death and judgement, and therefore has the keys of hell (Hades) and of death (cf. 20:14).]
19: Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
20: The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.