Help would be appreciated on the vision of Christ in Revelation 1.12-16. Is John describing the Lord Jesus in His priestly office or are we to see the Lord in another capacity?
More often than not the vision is taken to refer to the Lord Jesus in His priestly character. The present writer, however, is happy to see that it is a vision of the Lord seen as the priestly Judge. It might be of significance to comment that we do not here see the Lord wearing a mitre or holding in His hand a censer, for the Lord in these verses is not viewed in His ministry as our Great High Priest ministering to the needs of His people, but in perfect discernment judging unerringly the conditions prevailing in the seven churches. In the epistle to the Hebrews the priesthood of Christ is seen to be heavenly in its character and sphere, whereas in Revelation 1 the Lord is seen walking in the midst of the lampstands.
We believe it is more in keeping with the context of the vision and with the rest of the character of the book of Revelation to observe here the Lord Jesus as the Priest-Judge presenting Himself as the complete remedy for the need of each of the seven churches whatever their condition. Priests in the old economy were to exercise judgment and have discernment.
Notice He is seen as the Son of Man. This title is in harmony with the thought of judgment, because the Lord Jesus Himself taught that all judgment is given to Him because He is the Son of Man (Jn 5.27). Revelation itself is a book of coming judgments. The description of the Lord in 1.14, His hair as wool, white as snow and His eyes as a flaming fire, speaks of His divine wisdom and His searching intelligence which fit Him perfectly in His unerring judgment as He assesses each church. The address to the church at Thyatira opens with a reference to this feature (2.18). John describes again His eyes as a flame of fire when He comes to the earth in judgment at the Second Advent (19.12). The Lord, we believe, still walks in the midst of the churches and exercises His present priestly judgment. This is a solemn thought that we far too often forget, but the fact of it should cause each assembly to maintain testimony and behave rightly in the knowledge that nothing in the assembly can escape the notice of His all-searching eye.
John J Stubbs
Is the sabbath, the day after which the firstfruits were waved before the Lord (Lev 23.11), the seventh day of the week, or is it, as I have heard taught, a reference to the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, no matter what was the day of the week on which that fell?
The four Spring feasts, occurring in the early part of the year, find their parallel in Christianity. These four feasts may be sub-divided into pairs of related feasts:
1) The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
2) The Feast of Firstfruits and the Feast of Weeks.
The first feast in each pair sets before us Christ and His work, whilst the second in each couplet typifies believers of this present dispensation and what they enjoy as a consequence of Christs work.
Passover week consisted of three main events: a) the slaying of the Passover lamb on 14th Nisan; b) the commencement of the feast of Unleavened Bread on 15th Nisan; c) the offering of firstfruits on 16th Nisan. It should be noted that some modern commentators disagree with this chronology.
We read, "ye shall bring a sheaf of firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord...on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it" (Lev 23.10,11). There appears to be, on the part of some, a misunderstanding of the expression, "on the morrow after the sabbath". The word "sabbath" not only refers to the seventh day of the week; it also clearly refers to the day of the festivals themselves; thus, e.g. "In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation" (Lev 23.24), and again, "Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement...It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest" (Lev 23.27,32).
As to the Feast of Firstfruits, the wave sheaf was to be waved before the Lord "on the morrow after the sabbath"; the reference is to the Paschal sabbath, which always took place on 16th Nisan, two days after the slaying of the Passover lamb. It so happened, by divine arrangement, that the two sabbaths, the weekly and the Paschal, fell on the same day (the seventh day) of the week when the Lord Jesus was crucified - "that sabbath day was an high day" (Jn 19.31). It was more than the ordinary sabbath, it was also 16th Nisan.
David E West