Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest.
Revelation 1:12,13 ESV
In these verses the vision begins, John turns to see where the voice is coming from and he sees the golden lampstands and right in the middle of them is one that looks “like” a son of man. Like, is a very important word to keep in mind as we study the revelation. It is used frequently throughout the book. We must keep this in mind so we do not take everything we read about too literally. The book of revelation is writtenusing apocalyptic language. Apocalyptic language was used commonly in eastern literature to draw attention to the significance of a subject being discussed. We must keep this in mind as we study.
The next part of the vision is that the one that looks like a son of man is dressed in a long robe with a gold sash around his chest. Jesus referred to Himself as the son of man quite frequently and when the vision shows us one “like” a son of man wearing a long robe with a golden sash it shows the significance of the one wearing it. The gold sash denotes royalty. He is also standing in the middle of the lampstands, which shows he is the center of everything around Him.
As we look at the next several verses we will see the word “like” used frequently to describe in terms that we can understand what John was seeing. Like, is used almost like a parable to help us grasp what is being revealed, in terms that everyone can understand. So, even as confusing as the book of revelation can be it, its not meant to confuse but to inform.
The revelation that was given to John was something that could be understood and applied to those Jesus was communicating with. One thing that may play into the kind of language being used when we think about it is that, it was going to be written down and sent out from a Roman prison colony. Disguising the message with apocalyptic language may have helped to transmit the written word without the Romans catching on to it.
© 2013 Leo J. Woodman