Part 003 – The Judge

The Book of REVELATION

A Study

Part 003

The THEME of the Book of Revelation is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” (Rev.1:1) and this theme is stated as “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ” in Rev.1:2. And as given in Rev.1:9, John was in the island of Patmos to receive and record the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ” and this is all about God bringing to completion through His Son, all that He purposed and planned to do regarding man in relation to the earth. For this purpose God took John to an isolated island.

In the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.”

Then in verse 10, we read, John was In the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. John, in the Spirit, was not only removed from the Isle of Patmos into heaven but also moved through time to the Lord’s Day, which will begin after the end of the present dispensation. John’s removal into heaven foreshadows the rapture of the Church. And John was shown the following events in sequence:

1) The rapture of the church (Rev.1:10 & Rev.4:1, 2)

2) The whole church standing in judgment with a view to the impending Messianic Era (Rev.1b to Rev.4)

3) Preparation for the redemption of the inheritance (Rev.5)

4) Daniel’s unfulfilled 70th week — the seven year tribulation period — through the tribulations, both the redemption of the earth as well as the restoration of the Jews will be accomplished (Rev.6 to Rev.19a)

5) The 1000-year Messianic Era (Rev.19b to 20a)

6) The judgment of the unsaved (Rev.20b) — this is after the end of the Messianic Era

7) Some details of the Messianic Era and the Eternal Ages (Rev.21 and Rev.22)

 

A very similar thing happened with Ezekiel, when he was in Babylonian captivity. Israel which was chosen to be a nation above all other nations was in a shameful and pathetic condition as captives of Babylon, which is a heathen nation. In the Spirit, Ezekiel was moved not only to another location (to Jerusalem) but moved back in time (Ezek.8:3) and was shown all the abominations committed by them as a result of which they are now in captivity. Ezekiel was also moved in the Spirit forward to a future time and was shown how the nation of Israel will be restored back to the original purpose for which the nation was created (Ezek.37:1).

In a similar manner, John was moved in the Spirit to be shown the Lord’s Day, which begins with the rapture of the church. In 1Thess.4:16, 17, we read that during the rapture of the church, the Lord will descend with the trumpet of God. We see the same trumpet associated with rapture in Rev.1:10 & Rev.4:1, 2. There, John saw seven golden lampstands (v.12) which are stated to be the seven Churches named in v.11 with details provided about each in chapters 2 and 3. Seven is a number used to show completeness and all seven churches depict the complete church seen in Christ’s presence immediately after the rapture. The Church in Philadelphia (which had kept the word of Christ’s patience) as well as the Church in Laodicea (which is described as wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked) are seen in Christ’s presence together, at the same time, following rapture, both awaiting judgment, with a view to the Messianic Era.

Every detail of Christ’s appearance in Rev.1:12-18 shows that He is standing

not as a High Priest, but as a Judge

Son of man

Firstly, Christ is introduced here by the title, Son of man. This title occurs twice in the Old Testament in Psa.8:4 and Dan.7:13. Both these verses are set within Messianic passages, and they establish an unchangeable pattern in which this title should be understood. Later in the New Testament this title occurs 84 times in the Gospels and after that it occurs only 4 times — Acts 7:56; Heb.2:6; Rev.1:13; 14:14 — and the Son of man” must be understood as a Messianic title in all these occurrences, allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. At His first coming Christ used this title referring to Himself (Luke 19:10) while describing His mission — offering the coming kingdom to the Jewish people. This title was also used in connection with Christ’s betrayal, death and resurrection in Matt.12:40; 20:18; 26:2. All these refer to the work of the cross through which man will be restored back to the original purpose for which he was created. And this purpose will be realized in the Messianic Era. This title is also used in events surrounding Christ’s second coming in Matt.24:27-44; Luke 12:40, when He will return to establish the Messianic Kingdom. This title is also used relative to the Father committing all judgment to the Son in John 5:22-27. The judgment of all believers will take place with a view to their position in the Messianic Kingdom.

Clothing

Christ, the “Son of man” is clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band” (Rev.1:13). The garment down to the feet could describe Christ either as a High Priest or as a Judge. But note the timing of the scene. At that time, this dispensation would have come to a close, the Holy Spirit will have completed His search for a bride for God’s Son and Christ’s work as High Priest for the Church also would have been completed. Christ’s work as a Judge will occur at that time, just preceding the Messianic Era. The girdle is seen about Christ’s breast, showing that He is a Judge and not a Priest. A priest wore the girdle about his waist. In John chapter thirteen, Christ girded himself with a towel about the waist and washed the disciples’ feet, and that is a picture of His high priestly ministry on behalf of all believers. In Rev.15:6, which is a scene of judgment, we find the seven angels girded about the chest.

Appearance

His description that His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow” (Rev.1:14) can only refer both to His longevity and holiness. He is the One Who always existed and always will exist, without beginning or ending (John 1:1, 2, 14). And He is the One without sin Who judged sin at Calvary (2Cor.5:21) and is about to judge all believers relative to their works (1Cor.3:11-15; 2Cor.5:10, 11). Then the text goes immediately into the subject matter at hand — judgment. The One in the midst of the seven golden lampstands is seen having eyeslike a flame of fire,” feetlike fine brass,” a voice, “as the sound of many waters” and “out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword” and “His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Rev.1:14-16). The fire” and brass” are seen in different aspect of judgment of sin at the altar and at the laver in the tabernacle. Note the use of “a sword” in a judgmental scene at the time of Christ’s return in Rev.19:15. Then the power of His words was evident in the occasion where those who came to find fault with Christ confessed that, “No man ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:32, 45, 46) On a subsequent occasion, the men who came with Judas to take Christ, on hearing Him say, “I am he” fell backwards to the ground (John 18:3-8). And Peter experienced Christ’s piercing eyes after he had, three times, denied Him (Luke 22:61, 62). Christ looked into Peter’s eyes in a manner which penetrated his very being, which caused him to go out and weep bitterly.

Every one of us — all believers — in that coming day will stand before Christ, the Judge (2Cor.5:10; 1Cor.4:5), with His piercing eyes “as the flame of fire” and His voice “as the sound of many waters.” Many of us who had been disobedient and unfaithful, will on that day like Peter will — go out and weep bitterly. This reminds us that the wicked and slothful servants and those who are not in possession of a wedding garment would be cast into “the outer darkness” where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt.22:13; 25:30).

And finally, we see that, His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Rev.1:16). All the judgments of the One Who is enswathed in a covering of glory will consist of completely righteous decisions and determinations. None will be wronged in any way. Our rewards will be exactly commensurate with our works.