What about Jesus in Revelation?


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In your last column you tried to answer the question of “what color is Jesus”. Now I do agree with your final thoughts of “do we look like Him?” But what about the Book of Revelation?  “Hair like wool!  Feet like fine brass as if burned in a furnace”? Doesn’t the Bible clearly give us (mankind) an idea of what color Jesus was? He was the color of Fine Burned Brass.—Darrin G.

 

You have an interesting and reasonable question, but you are drawing incorrect conclusions because you have misunderstood the symbolism and interpreted a passage literally that is best understood as heavily laden with symbolic meaning. A failure to discern the difference between the figurative and the literal often results in significant error.

First of all, John plainly warns us of the symbolic nature of the entire Book of Revelation by use of the word “signified” in Revelation 1:1. This word means “to show by signs or emblems.”

Second, the plain meaning rule of interpretation requires that we interpret literally unless it cannot be interpreted literally without becoming absurd. The description you reference in Revelation one states:

Revelation 1:14-16 NKJV

His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

This passage is clearly symbolism unless you also want to believe that in place of an actual tongue, Christ has a distomos—a two-edged sword. We generally interpret the two-edged sword symbolically; The Word of the Lord is the sword in His mouth by which He will destroy the enemies of God (Ephesians 6:17).

Third, the passage actually speaks more clearly if it is symbolic than if it is interpreted literally.

His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow—symbolic of the lamb of God, bright, without flaw or imperfection and completely sinless (See Isaiah 1:18). And also deeply reminiscent of the description of the Ancient of Days described in Daniel seven. White hair is also descriptive of wisdom gained through experience (Lev 19:32 and Prov 16:31).

His eyes like a flame of fire—This is reminiscent of the messenger of God in Daniel ten. The symbolism is of a person from whom you can hide nothing (Hebrews 4:13).

His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace–This passage reminds me of the smoking oven that linked arm in arm and walked with God between the pieces of the sacrifice and ratified the covenant with God on behalf of Abraham in Genesis fifteen.

The symbolism of feet of brass—everywhere in Scripture brass or bronze is representative of judgment. The fiery appearance is a reminder of the wrath of God. The image conveys the fiery wrath and judgment of God that is coming into the world to trample underfoot the enemies of God.

He has the voice of many waters—this points us back to Ezekiel’s vision (Ezekiel 1:24; 43:2). He is describing the sound of a massive waterfall. You feel the thunderous power of His voice in your bones as He speaks.

Lastly, John goes on to describe Jesus as a lamb as though it had been slain having seven horns and seven eyes (Revelation 5:6). This is again symbolic and not to be taken literally.

I enjoyed the study but I stand by my answer.


Ken Van Horn is pastor of My Father’s House Family Church at 501 Broad Street in Cusseta, Georgia and author of the book: “A Greater Reward,” which is available from Amazon on Kindle. Questions for him should be asked in the form below. You may also contact him through Facebook or follow him on Twitter.

 

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