A FACE LIKE THE SUN (Rev. 1:16c)

November 4, 2010 on 12:09 pm | In REVELATION FOR BEGINNERS | Comments Off on A FACE LIKE THE SUN (Rev. 1:16c)

He was on a journey with deadly intent. He and his associates had been arresting Christians so they could be tried and put to death. Now, s they were traveling in the heat of the midday sun, suddenly and without warning a light brighter than the noonday sun shone on them. They fell to the ground in fear, not knowing what was going on. Then the leader, Saul, heard a voice calling his name. When he asked, “Who are you, Lord?” the answer came, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 25:10-15)
Saul wasn’t the first to experience the blinding brightness of Jesus’ countenance in His divinity. Daniel, in one of his visions, described a being similar to John’s vision in Revelation, whose face was like the appearance of lightning (Daniel 10:6).

Now John, too, has a vision of Jesus and sees His face “like the sun shining in its strength.” So, is this just the natural appearance of Jesus in His divinity? Or does it have some special meaning beyond that? In this contextual description of Jesus we have taken the position that each feature, while it may or may not be a “normal” characteristic, it does carry symbolic value also. Further, we have noted that each symbol is two-sided—it can represent the justice of Jesus as well as His love and mercy. So how does that play out here?

In the incident regarding the apostle Paul on his way to Damascus to arrest Christians, we can see the justice aspect at work. It was like an act of judgment, at least insofar as it arrested him in his murderous plotting and blinded him. In Revelation 6:16, we see the wicked trying to hide from the face of Christ when He returns to execute judgment on the earth. At the same time, we can also notice mercy functioning. The encounter on the road to Damascus was really also an act of mercy for Saul as it resulted in turning his life around. Jesus loved Saul, the strict Pharisee, and Saul became Paul, a staunch follower of Jesus and a champion of the gospel. And in Revelation 6:16, even though some are fleeing from the presence of God, others are looking up and saying, “Lo this is our God and He will save us.” (Isaiah 25:9) So His mercy is extended to His followers at the same time as the wicked are being destroyed by the brightness of His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Our reaction depends on our relationship with Him. It reminds me of Jesus cleansing the temple as recorded in Matthew 21:12, 14. While the money changers were being driven out of the temple, other people were coming in to be healed.
So while the sun can be scorching, and burning, and blinding, and destructive, it can also be warming, and comforting, and illuminating, and immunizing. Jesus can be our best Friend and Advocate or a feared Judge.

I can remember a chorus from childhood that went “Heavenly sunshine, heavenly sunshine, flooding my soul with glory divine, Heavenly sunshine, heavenly sunshine, Hallelujah, Jesus is mine.” The sunshine of His love can surely be transforming if we get to truly know Him, accept Him as our Savior and Lord, and cooperate with His plans and purposes.

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