The New Covenant Christ
Dec 02, 2015
At the end of Revelation 1:14, John says of the Speaker that “His eyes were like a flame of fire.” This is repeated in Revelation 19:12, where it is clear that it is the glorified Christ that fits this description. The windows of the soul gives us a peek into His very being. Deuteronomy 4:24 says,
24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
As we will see shortly in Revelation 1:16, “out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword.” Hebrew idiom likens the tongue (and the word) to a sword. In fact, the Hebrew word labbah means both a flame and the tip of a weapon, such as a sword or spear.
Hebrews 1:7 says also that God “makes His angels winds, and His ministers a flame of fire.” The word of God is in His angels, and is reflected in the name of the angel. Hence, an angel is pictured as a flame, or tip of the sword, which is the word of God that comes out of the mouth of Christ.
The eyes of Christ are mentioned in Zechariah 4:10, “the eyes of the Lord which range to and fro throughout the earth.” This comes in the context of the “stone” set before Joshua (Yeshua) in Zechariah 3:9. On this stone are “seven eyes,” which also appear to be the same as the seven lamps on the lampstand in the temple (Zechariah 4:2).
It is complex, but it is likely that this “stone” is the same as the Stone Kingdom arising in Daniel 2:35, which is destined to fill the whole earth. If the seven lampstands represent the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, then it is apparent that the church is supposed to have the seven lights (“eyes”) to carry out its responsibility under God. The church fell far short, of course, but the overcomers within the church have not failed. By being in agreement with Christ and the divine plan, the overcomers see the world through His eyes. As they absorb the angels that determine their callings, they become the living word by manifesting in their lives the word that is in their angels.
The eyes of the glorified Christ, then, are a flame of fire, depicting the angels who are sent forth from Him into the earth with the word of God. Those angels become the eyes of God in the earth. Seven are assigned specifically to the seven churches, whose overcomers become the living word, thus bringing heaven to earth. Being in Christ, they are the Stone Kingdom cut out of the mountain without hands, which eventually fills the whole earth.
His Bronze Feet
Revelation 1:15 continues,
15 and His feet were like burning bronze, when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.
David wrote in Psalm 8:6, “Thou hast put all things under his feet.” He wrote this after killing Goliath. This is quoted in the New Testament, applying it to Christ in Hebrews 2:8, 1 Corinthians 15:27, and Ephesians 1:22. It is plain that Christ subdues His enemies (portrayed by Goliath) through judgment. This is why His feet are pictured as molten bronze, for bronze is the metal of divine judgment in Scripture. The brazen altar in the courtyard of the tabernacle and temple is the place where sin is judged by sacrifice.
At the same time, we must balance this with the fact that God also subdues His enemies by the power of love, which is demonstrated by His willingness to die for His enemies (Romans 5:6-10). Therefore, all the animals that were types and shadows of Christ were offered to God to pay for the sins of the people. It pictures divine judgment as fiery bronze that is motivated by love, which is His nature. In other words, divine judgment was not designed to destroy permanently, but to put all things under His feet, so that God might be “all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).
Under the Old Covenant, which Paul calls “the ministry of death” in 2 Corinthians 3:7, men died by the physical sword. By the physical sword also was Canaan conquered. But under the New Covenant, which is “the ministry of the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:8), believers have been given “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17). This weapon is “sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). This spiritual sword is the word of God itself, which has the power to divide soul and spirit and to “judge [cut apart, separate] the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”
It is important to understand that the judgments of God under the New Covenant are not administered to destroy the bulk of mankind, but to find a way to include them in the Kingdom of God. They are to be put under the feet of Christ—that is, under His authority. He accomplished this by His death on the cross, pictured in the sacrifices on the brazen altar. Although the sin was massive, His life and blood was worth far more than all the debt of mankind throughout history. So He had the means to pay the penalty Himself for the sin of the world, and He loved His creation enough to give His life.
The Seven Stars
Revelation 1:16 ends John’s description of the One speaking:
16 And in His right hand He held seven stars; and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.
The explanation for the seven stars is given later in verse 20: “the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.” The seven stars are the Pleiades, pictured in the heavens as the Seven Sisters, who are also the seven churches in the book of Revelation. In Prof. E. Raymond Capt’s book, The Glory of the Stars, he writes on page 101,
“In the neck of Taurus is another cluster of stars called the ‘Pleiades’ (the Seven Sisters). The word means ‘the congregation of the judges’ or ‘rulers’. The brightest star in this group is ‘Al Cyone’ (Arabic), which means ‘the center’. Some leading astronomers believe it is the center of the universe. Apparently that is what was implied when Job is asked of God, ‘Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades?’ (Job 38:31).”
Identifying the Seven Churches with the Pleiades, as John does, shows us that the Church is called as “the congregation of the judges.” The Church is the “congregation,” rather than an organizational structure. The Old Testament word kahal, is translated in the New Testament Greek as ecclesia (Hebrews 2:12) which is translated into English as “Church.” The Church in the wilderness under Moses (Acts 7:38) was not the organization or the tabernacle; it was the congregation. The Church is the congregation who go to the building, not the building where the people gather.
The Pleiades are thought by some astronomers to be located at the center of the universe. The Pleiades were also thought to be the throne of God. It is interesting, then, that the Church—that is, the congregation—is called to rule in His throne, which is the center of all things. Revelation 2:1 says the Seven Stars are “in His right hand,” even as Paul says in Ephesians 1:20 that Christ was raised up to sit at the right hand of the Father.
The “right hand” signifies power, authority, rulership. In this case, it has a dual meaning. First, Christ has power over the Seven Churches, for He is the Head and has pre-eminence over all. Second, the Church itself is given authority in view of their position in Him and under Him. Their authority is simply an extension of Christ’s own power.
In his description, John saved the best for last. “His face was like the sun shining in its strength” (Revelation 1:16).
The face of Christ is said to be shining “like the sun.” Here John sees Christ fully unveiled, manifesting the glory of the Father as seen by the three disciples in His transfiguration on the mount. That story is found in Matthew 17:2, where it says,
2 And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as the light.
This manifestation was in turn a New Testament parallel to the transfiguration of Moses when he too was “in the mount.” We read of that in Exodus 34.
The Transfiguration of Moses
Moses went up the mount, where, on his sixth ascent, God gave him the Ten Commandments in stone. While there, however, the people had built a golden calf to worship. When Moses returned after forty days and saw what the people had done, he broke the tablets of the law (Exodus 32:19).
He then ascended on his seventh trip to intercede for the people (Exodus 32:21). God told him that He would no longer lead Israel personally but lead them through an angel. Afterward, Moses made his eighth and final ascent into the mount, as recorded in Exodus 34:4. God then made a separate and distinct covenant with Moses and Israel in verse 10,
10 Then God said, Behold, I am going to make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform miracles, which have not been produced in all the earth, nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the Lord, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you.
This covenant was foreshadowed in the light that shone from the face of Moses when he returned from the mount with the new tables of the law. Moses’ transfiguration was the beginning of this covenant of miracles. This, I believe, provided the basis for the celebration of Israel’s final feast, the Feast of Tabernacles—specifically the eighth day of Tabernacles. It is the day of receiving the fullness of the Spirit and the glorified body. Moses was the first to set the pattern, commemorating it as a feast day. Later, the same pattern was repeated in Christ, for He was the prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:18; Acts 3:22). The final fulfillment will be seen in the body of Christ on the eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles in some year.
Neither Moses’ nor Christ’s transfigurations are specifically dated, for God has hidden much of His plan in types and shadows. We know from the story in Exodus that this occurred some time in the fall of the year. But the fact that Moses was returning from his eighth trip up the mount gives us our first clue. Secondly, he was carrying the second law, the first having been broken, shows us a picture of the New Covenant, where the law is kept, whereas the first law was broken (Hebrews 8:8-12). It was, by the way, the same law (Exodus 34:1). The only difference was that the second law was not broken, for it is an abiding covenant, based upon what God will fulfill in us, not how well man can fulfill it for God.
The difference between these two transfigurations is that Moses found it necessary to veil his face, while Christ appeared to John unveiled in His full glory “like the sun.” Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 3:14 that the Old Covenant is the veil. This veil, he says, is removed in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:16).
So also we must understand the feet of the unveiled Christ as part of a New Covenant manifestation of Christ. The New Covenant is based on the promises of God, whereas the Old Covenant is based on the promises of man. The promises of man cannot be kept perfectly, and so it leads to death. Only the promises of God will be kept fully, and when Christ comes as the Mediator of the New Covenant, it is certain that those promises will be kept. In other words, all things will be put under His feet.
This is part 12 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Revelation." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones