Read Revelation 1:12-18. Compare John’s portrayal of Christ with the divine being in Daniel 10:5-6. How does Jesus appear in John’s vision? What is He doing?
John sees Jesus dressed as High Priest, walking among the lampstands. The picture of Jesus walking among the lampstands points to God’s promise to ancient Israel that He would walk among them as their God (Lev. 26:12).
In Revelation, the lampstands represent the seven churches in Asia to which Revelation was originally sent (Rev. 1:20), and (as we will see on Wednesday) the lampstands also symbolize God’s church throughout history. Through the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ watchcare continues to be over His church on earth. He will be continually with His people until He brings them to their eternal home.
Moreover, the picture of Jesus as High Priest among the lampstands is drawn from the ritual practice in the Jerusalem temple. The daily task of an appointed priest was to keep the lamps in the Holy Place burning brightly. He would trim and refill the lamps that were waning, replace the wicks on the lamps that had gone out, refill them with fresh oil, and then relight them. In such a way, the priest became acquainted personally with the situation of each individual lamp. In the same way, Jesus is acquainted with the needs and circumstances of His people and intercedes for them personally.
Read Revelation 2:2, Rev. 2:9, Rev. 2:13, Rev. 2:19; Revelation 3:1, Rev. 3:8, Rev. 3:15. What does the statement “I know” say about Jesus’ acquaintance with the situations and needs of God’s people?
Jesus identified Himself with the titles of God as “the first and … the last” (see Isa. 44:6, Isaiah 48:12). The Greek word for “last” is eschatos, from which the word eschatology (study of end-time events) comes. The meaning of this word shows that the focus of eschatology is on Jesus Christ, who has the last word on final events. He is the One “who lives” and possesses “the keys of Hades and of Death” (Rev. 1:18, NKJV). By His death and resurrection, Jesus has been given the authority to open the gates of death (Job 17:16, Ps. 9:13). All who trust in Him will rise from the grave to everlasting life (1 Cor. 15:21-23). Jesus’ faithful followers don’t need to fear, because even the dead are under His watchcare. And if that is so with the dead, how much more is it with the living? (See 1 Thess. 4:16-17).