The Levites, who performed the priestly duty of the OT, camped around the glory of the Lord which resided in the Tabernacle (Num. Num. 1:50; 1Chr. 1Chr. 9:27). The glory of the Lord was in the midst of the Levitical priests. The lampstands, which represent the churches (Rev. Rev. 1:20+), made up of believers who are priests unto God (Rev. Rev. 1:6+), also have the glory of the Lord in their midst (Mtt. Mat. 18:20).1 Unlike other religions of the world, the Christian is not serving a famous mortal man whose body is now long moldering in the grave. Christs corpse is unavailable because He is risen and active among His Church as the body of Christ continues to minister on the earth in His absence. Unlike the glory of God in the OT which departed from the people of God due to their sin (1S. 1S. 16:14; Ps. Ps. 51:11; Eze. Eze. 8:6; Eze. 9:3; Eze. 10:4, Eze. 10:18-19; Eze. 11:22-23; Hos. Hos. 5:14), each NT believer is indwelt and permanently sealed with the Holy Spirit (John John 6:27; John 14:16; 2Cor. 2Cor. 1:22; Eph. Eph. 1:13; Eph. 4:30).2 He is in the midst of His Church, and will remain there for the day of redemption (Eph. Eph. 4:30).
the seven lampstands
In the OT, the Menorah was made of a single central shaft to which six (or eight) branches were joined, the entire assembly being a single affair. Here, we have seven individual lamps, representing the seven typical (and historical) churches which represent the witness of Christ through the church. The central shaft joining these seven lamps and providing the oil for their continued illumination is Christ Himself (John John 15:5). Some have seen in the separate lampstands a reference to the dispersion of the Jews.3
Son of Man
In a remarkable passage in the OT a likeness with the appearance of a man (Eze. Eze. 1:26) is seen high above the throne. His form is clothed in brilliant radiance which Ezekiel describes as the likeness of the glory of the LORD (Eze. Eze. 1:27). This is the One Who was seen by Stephen just prior to his death (Acts Acts 7:56). Consistent with the description found in Revelation 1:7 , this is the One who is presented to the Ancient of Days in the book of Daniel (Dan. Dan. 7:13) and who is to receive dominion and glory, and a kingdom (Dan. Dan. 7:14). Jesus applied this term to Himself in the gospels (Dan. Dan. 7:13; Mtt. Mat. 24:30; Mat. 26:64; Mark Mark 13:26; Mark 14:62; Luke Luke 21:27). Jesus is both the Son of God and Son of Man. These two titles hint at the mystery of the incarnation, where all the fullness of God dwelt in human form (Col. Col. 2:9). Jesus, as the Son of God, is divine and without sin. As the Son of Man, he was begotten of Mary in the line from David, Abraham, and Adam (Mtt. Mat. 1:1, Mat. 1:6; Luke Luke 3:31, Luke 3:34, Luke 3:38; Rev. Rev. 12:1-5+). His divinity and virgin birth provide the necessary perfection by which His death could atone for the sins of the world (Isa. Isa. 53:9; John John 8:46; John 14:30; 2Cor. 2Cor. 5:21; Heb. Heb. 4:15; Heb. 7:26; Heb. 9:14; 1Pe. 1Pe. 1:19; 1Pe. 2:22; 1Jn. 1Jn. 3:5). Although He is truly a man (Php. Php. 2:7; Heb. Heb. 2:17), He is unique from all other men in His sinless perfection (Rom. Rom. 8:3). As the Son of Man, His humanity provides for His role as the judge (John John 5:27) and kinsman-redeemer (Goel , 1Ti. 1Ti. 2:5)4 of mankind (Rev. Rev. 5:4-5+); to taste of death (Heb. Heb. 2:14); and to restore the dominion lost by the first man Adam.5 One like the Son of Man appears again in Rev. Rev. 14:14+ where He reaps a harvest from the earth.
garment down to the feet
Apparently a reference to His priestly garments. Gen. 37:3; Mark 13:38 [sic ]; Luke Luke 15:22)the association of dignity with it probably resting originally on the absence of the necessity of labor.6
girded about the chest
The high priest wore a priestly sash around his priestly garment at the height of the breast (Ex. Ex. 28:4; Ex. 28:39; Ex. 39:29; Lev. Lev. 8:7; Lev. 16:4). But this sash was not made of gold (see below). A garment reaching to the feet was impractical for those who were laborers and came to denote a position of status. The seven angels of Rev. Rev. 15:6+ are similarly girded.
The ordinary girding for one actively engaged was at the loins (1K. 1K. 2:5; 1K. 18:46; Jer. Jer. 13:2 cf. Luke Luke 12:35; Eph. Eph. 6:14; 1Pe. 1Pe. 1:13); but Josephus expressly tells us that the Levitical priests were girt higher up, about the breast . . . favouring, as this higher cincture did, a calmer, more majestic movement.7Christ has an unchangeable priesthood because He continues forever (Heb. Heb. 7:14). Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Heb. Heb. 7:25).
with a golden band
How similar Johns vision is to that of Daniel by the Tigris (Dan. Dan. 10:5-6). Daniel saw a man . . . whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz (Dan. Dan. 10:6). His visitor had eyes like torches of fire and feet like burnished bronze and spoke with a voice like the voice of a multitude. Yet it seems that Daniels visitor could not have been the Son of Man which John sees here, for how could the prince of Persia (an angelic being influencing the kingdom of Persia) have ever withstood the Lord of Glory (Dan. Dan. 10:13)? And when did God ever require help (Dan. Dan. 10:13)?8
2 The intended permanence of sealing may be seen in the following examples: (1) the tomb (Mtt. Mat. 27:66); (2) Jesus testimony (John John 3:33); (3) Jesus sealed by the Father (John John 6:27); (4) witnessed during the Tribulation (Rev. Rev. 7:3+); (5) what the seven thunders uttered (Rev. Rev. 10:4+); (6) Satan during the Millennium (Rev. Rev. 20:3+).
3 Here, the scattered condition of the nation [of Israel] is just as distinctly indicated by the fact that the seven lamps are no longer united in one lamp-stand. The nation is no longer in the Land, for Jerusalem is not now the centre; but the people are scattered in separate communities in various cities in Gentile lands. So that just as the one lamp-stand represents Israel in its unity, the seven lamp-stands represent Israel in its dispersion; and tells us that Jehovah is about to make Jerusalem again the centre of His dealings with the earth.E. W. Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1984, 1935), 72.
4 Goel is a Hebrew term describing the person who is next of kin and his respective duties: to buy back what his poor brother has sold and cannot himself regain (Lev. Lev. 25:25-26); to avenge any wrong done to a next of kin, particularly murder (Num. Num. 35:19-27); to purchase land belonging to one deceased who was next of kin and to marry his widow and to raise up children for the deceased (Ru. Ru. 2:20; Ru. 4:14). Boaz, the kinsman-redeemer of the book of Ruth (Ru. Ru. 4:1) is a type of Christ as our kinsman-redeemer.
5 It is instructive to study the following parallels between Adam and Christ: 1) Adam was created in Gods image, Christ is the manifestation of God in the flesh; 2) Adams disobedience brought condemnation leading to death, Christs obedience brought justification leading to life; 3) Those who are in Adam die, those who are in Christ have eternal life (1Cor. 1Cor. 15:22); 4) Adam is the son of God (Luke Luke 3:38) as is Christ (both were directly created by God); 5) All men are born once in Adam, believers are born again in Christ; 6) The first Adam became a living being (Gen. Gen. 2:7), the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit (1Cor. 1Cor. 15:45); 7) Adam is from the earthmade of dust (Gen. Gen. 2:7), Christ is from heaven; 8) Adam lost dominion, Christ regained it. 9) A tree bore Adams downfall, a tree bore Christs victory. 10) Adams body was animated by the breath of God (Gen. Gen. 2:7), the body of Christ is animated by the breath of God (1Cor. 1Cor. 12:13).
6 Richard Chenevix Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1861), 31.
7 Ibid., 32.
8 Some interpreters separate Daniel Dan. 10:1 into two separate passages, the first part (Daniel Dan. 10:1-9) being a vision of Christ and the second part (Daniel Dan. 10:10-21) involving an angelic being who required assistance (Dan. Dan. 10:13, Dan. 10:21). We believe several factors favor understanding the same heavenly being as being in view throughout the chapter.