Revelation 19:12

His eyes were like a flame of fire
His eyes match the description which John saw in his first vision of the glorified Christ (Rev. Rev. 1:14+ cf. Rev. Rev. 2:18+). His gaze is absolutely piercing and impossible to hide from. His absolute righteousness and the justice of His judgment would be impossible to endure except through identification with Him as one of His own: “Who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap” (Mal. Mal. 3:2). See commentary on Revelation 1:14.

on His head were many crowns
Crowns is διαδήματα [diadēmata] . He no longer wears the crown of thorns (Mtt. Mat. 27:29; Mark Mark 15:17; John John 19:2, John 19:5). He is crowned with glory and honor and has been set by the Father over the works of His hands (Heb. Heb. 2:7-9). MacArthur suggests the many crowns are an indication of the crowns He will gather when He vanquishes the kings of the earth:

Many indicates His collecting of all the rulers’ crowns, signifying that He alone is the sovereign ruler of the earth. Collecting the crown of a vanquished king was customary in the ancient world. After defeating the Ammonites, David “took the crown of their king from his head . . . and it was placed on David’s head” (2S. 2S. 12:30).1

More likely, the many crowns worn by Christ are an indication of His right to rule and the many facets of the character of His rule. Zechariah saw two of these crowns: His simultaneous role as priest and king. Only in Messiah, the BRANCH, will these two rules coincide:

Then take silver and gold, and make crowns,2 and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; and speak unto him, saying, thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne : and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. (Zec. Zec. 6:11-13, KJV) [emphasis added]

The high priest wore a crown above the miter (Zec. Zec. 3:5; Lev. Lev. 8:9). Messiah shall wear many crowns, one surmounting the other (Rev. Rev. 19:12+). It was a thing before unknown in the Levitical priesthood that the same person should wear at once the crown of a king and that of a high priest (Ps. Ps. 110:4; Heb. Heb. 5:10). Messiah shall be revealed fully in this twofold dignity when He shall “restore the kingdom to Israel” (Acts Acts 1:6).3

The plurality of crowns also indicates He is the King par-excellence, the “KING OF KINGS”. See commentary on Revelation 19:16. See Crowns.

He had a name written
Had a name written is γεγραμμένον [gegrammenon] , perfect passive participle: a name having been written. The name was written upon Him in the past. The MT text has having names written, and a name written. In other words, having many names written, but one specific name which no man has known.

no one knew except Himself
Οὐδὲς οἶδεν εἰ μὴ αὐτός [Oudes oiden ei mē autos] : no one knew if not Him.4 All the guessing of men throughout history will prove to no avail in identifying this name or else the Word of God would be broken. His unknown name is the subject of a proverb written by Agur the son of Jakeh:

Surely I am more stupid than any man, and do not have the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom nor have knowledge of the Holy One. Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if you know? (Pr. Pr. 30:2-4)

This riddle surfaces numerous times in various attempts to identify the Angel of the Lord. When Jacob wrestled with the man at Peniel, he asked the name of the man, but the man (the Angel of the Lord) did not provide it (Gen. Gen. 32:29). When Jehovah instructed Israel to follow the Angel He would send before them, He warned them not to provoke the angel, “for my name is in Him” (Ex. Ex. 23:21). When the Angel of the Lord appeared to Samson’s mother-to-be, she mentions He did not tell her His name (Jdg. Jdg. 13:6). Later, when Samson’s father met the Angel and asked for His name, the Angel replied, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?” (Jdg. Jdg. 13:18). (Wonderful is one of the known names of Messiah, Isa. Isa. 9:6.)

Agur interpreted his ignorance of the name of the Son as a lack of knowledge of the Holy One. To this we could add the words of Jesus, “no one knows the Son except the Father” (Mtt. Mat. 11:27; Luke Luke 10:22). We believe the mysterious name of Jesus is a secret shared between only He and the Father and is intended to indicate their inviolate unity. God only shares His secrets with those who have intimacy with Him (e.g., Daniel, John). The secret name of Jesus will not be revealed until He and the Father choose to do so, possibly at His Second Coming. Whatever the name is, it will undoubtedly reveal some splendor concerning His character, like His many other names.

Overcomers in the church at Philadelphia were promised to have the name of the Father and of the New Jerusalem written upon them as well as Jesus’ new name (Rev. Rev. 3:11+). Perhaps Jesus’ new name is this secret name.

This same idea that shared secrets demonstrate intimacy is found in the promise to the overcomers in the church at Sardis who were promised a white stone with a new name written upon it which no one knows except God and the one receiving it (Rev. Rev. 2:17+).


1 John MacArthur, Revelation 12-22 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2000), Rev. 19:12.

2 Some object to rendering the plural עֲטָרוֹת [ʿăṭārôṯ] as crowns. The thought is that it is impractical and out of step with OT practice for more than one crown to be placed upon the head of Joshua. They suggest it should be rendered by the crown (NKJV) and that what was made was a single ornate crown combining both silver and gold and indicating the unification of both the priestly and kingly station. This may be possible, but the natural rendering is the plural crowns. The same interpreters don’t express a similar reluctance to take the crowns as plural in the equivalent statement in the NT: : “on His head were many crowns (διαδηματα [diadēmata] )” (Rev. Rev. 19:12+).

3 A. R. Fausset, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine,” in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, 1877), Zec. 6:11.

4 Οἶδεν [Oiden] is a perfect tense verb with present tense force. See [Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1999, 2002), 578].