“I hadn’t seen him for 60 years. The last time was on a hill just outside Jerusalem. I followed him all this time. I resigned myself to only seeing him again in eternity. But I heard this call and …”
“I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” (Revelation 1: 12-16)
“ … as you can see I am finding it difficult to word what I saw. He was more like what I saw on the Mount of Transfiguration. “Someone like … it was like … were like … were like … was like … was like …” I can’t fully describe what I saw but I saw Him!
John kept looking and behind the seven golden lampstands stood Jesus but like he had never seen Him before. Steeped in his Scriptural culture he uses a title all too familiar in the story of God. “One like the Son of Man”. God called Ezekiel that name but then when Daniel used it there was a shift from it being used for a human being to the One who would come from heaven to earth. An exalted figure, an earthly being but a heavenly one at the same time, human cloaking the divine.
Behind the Church is the reason for our existence. Empowered by a new kingdom, a divine power that enables the passion for the lost and the least, the mystery of the miraculous coming from another world led by Jesus who is not meek and mild, a spiritual leader, a guru, but a man who walked this earth and who carries titles that no one on earth can carry, the Son of Man. The Church needs to keep rediscovering who He is in order to be a true disciple in this world.
Six hundred years before He walked this earth as a man, Babylon is rising as a super power and begins expanding its empire. The city of Jerusalem is taken and that’s how the book of Daniel opens: “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.”
This is devastation. This is humiliation. That the people of God should be overtaken and overruled by the people of the world.
In 7:13-14 Daniel (a student of Jeremiah taken into exile) has a vision:
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
Daniel saw what Jesus carried in his heart and mind. When Jesus used the title Son of Man he was thinking of Daniel. In Luke 22: 69 as he was going through his trials and facing his death, “But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God” he is quoting this vision Daniel had.
Before all things created, eternal, before all time. He is for all and beyond all. He is forever and ever. When things die He is still alive. There is an end and the last person standing is the Son of Man, standing with the saints of God, with us!
“As I looked, ‘thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:9-10
Daniel so often seen isolated, standing for God in the midst of a wicked society sees an army. Thousands upon thousands ministering to THE Son of Man. Ten thousand times ten thousand standing before The Son of Man.
Old man John is looking and he is seeing what Daniel saw generations ago. He realises again that Patmos is not the end for him. He belongs to another world.
The purpose of our life is not here, our understanding of what has happened to us and others is not gained from this life, we don’t fear this life, we belong to another world and as we rediscover the Son of Man, this other-world seeps through our lives, through our humanity to a world who needs Jesus.
This is the answer to the Church. The answer to our decline. The answer for our discipleship. The answer for the world we live in is the rediscovery of the Son of Man. The world needs to see our humanity so that the divinity can impact their lives.