The Authority Of The Son Of Man (rev. 1:14-16)

14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars…

As John continues to describe his vision we are reminded of a similar description of angel-like encounter that we read about in another (partially) apocalyptic Jewish work – The Book of Daniel. There we read in Dan.10:4-6:

“On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, while I was by the bank of the great river, that is, the Tigris, I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, his face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult.”

Both encounters testify, though somewhat differently, that both men (in Daniel and in Revelation) wore white linen robe with a golden girdle, both had eyes like flaming torches, feet of burnished bronze, face that shone like a sun and voice that sounded like a sound of rushing waters. This is a remarkable similarity indeed.

However, other than this remarkable similarity, there are also other striking differences. The Son of man in Revelation is seen with the hair that is white like wool and snow (vs.14) and in the middle of the description two more important visual descriptions are added – he held in his hand seven stars and from his mouth proceeded the two-edged sword.

The whiteness of the hair evokes another text curiously also located in the Book of Daniel. The Almighty God of Israel is described as the Ancient of Days, who does not only wear white robe, but also has head of white hair. We read of that magnificent encounter in Daniel 7:9-10:

“I kept looking until thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames; its wheels were a burning fire. “A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; the court sat, and the books were opened.”

So an interesting feature that appears in the Book of Revelation can be noted the description of angel-like heavenly being (Son of Man) is in some important detail (white robe and hair) is mixed with the description of the Ancient of Days. We cannot yet speak of full merger of the characters, but certain expressed resemblance is nevertheless becomes evident.

The Book of Enoch contains much of the language similar to Revelation. In Enoch God is called Head of Days (instead of Ancient of Days in Daniel) and also the Lord of the Spirits. In this passage God is described to have white hair like wool. In 1 Enoch 46:1-3 we read:

“And there I saw One who had a head of days, and His head was white like wool, and with Him was another being whose countenance had the appearance of a man, And his face was full of graciousness, like one of the holy angels. And I asked the angel who went with me and showed me all the hidden things, concerning that Son of Man, who he was, and whence he was, (and) why he went with the Head of Days? And he answered and said unto me: This is the Son of Man who hath righteousness, with whom dwells righteousness, and who reveals all the treasures of that which is hidden, because the Lord of Spirits hath chosen him, and whose lot hath the pre-eminence before the Lord of Spirits in uprightness forever.”

As in many apocalyptic passages the Son of Man figure is in the presence of the Lord of the Spirits. In this passage (which John probably knows) he is not the one with white hair. Perhaps this is John’s way of intentionally blending the Father and the Son.

The angel-like heavenly being in the Book of Revelation is also seen by John holding seven stars in his right hand. While it is important to try and identify as much as possible that symbolism behind the seven stars, it is more important to see that the fact that he is holding them all in his right hand speaks of his great authority and power. When we get to vs. 20 we discuss in more details the interpretive options for the phrase “stars are the angels of the seven assemblies”, but for now the important point is that these seven starts, no matter what they represent, are under full and unquestionable control of the heavenly being that speaks to John.

About the author

Dr. Eli Lizorkin-EyzenbergTo secure your spot in our new course “The Jewish Background of New Testament” - CLICK HERE NOW

You might also be interested in:

Shanah Tova!

By Julia Blum

Who Was Melchizedek?  (3)

By Julia Blum

Join the conversation (48 comments)

Leave a Reply

  1. Nathan Garrison

    “We cannot yet speak of full merger of the characters, but certain expressed resemblance is nevertheless becomes evident”.
    We can speak of full merger.
    Zechariah 14:9 KJV And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

    “Perhaps this is John’s way of intentionally blending the Father and the Son”.
    Not only John, but everyone else should come to under stand the literal message of example. A guide for all Humans to know and follow. That example message is the relationship of God the Father and God the Son.
    John 14:6-9 KJV Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (7) If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. (8) Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. (9) Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

    John 5:30 KJV I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

    Our Father, our only Parent, Eternal Ever Living, All Mighty God, The One living God, there is no other God that is God. The Sovereign God. Every Word that proceeds out of His mouth We are to obey and is no burden to Us. It is Our joy and Our purpose to obey every Word.

    Zechariah 14:9 has always been true. And will always be true, since there was an Ancient of Days. This Ancient of Days has no beginning and has no end.

    – “He held in His hand seven stars and from His mouth proceeded the two-edged sword”.

    The ONE, True Church and The Holy Word of God.
    By the creation of the Nation of Israel, We are introduced to a concept of Obedience to the One Living God. Our Father has given to Us, the example for living and worship of The One God. There is God the Father and God the Son. The Father chose the Son as He chose Israel. The Father leads and The Son follows. The Son is in perfect Harmony to the Father. They are indistinguishable, one from the other. The Father leads and the Son follows. The Holy Written Word of God teaches Us there is One Power that flows from The One Father through His first begotten Son and into The Son’s younger Brothers.
    Also, there is the ‘dual’ example of Marriage. One concept of Obedience over two concepts for living. Or if You wish, you could call them, One. We are told, there is a Marriage Covenant between He and Us. Today, We are blessed with the one infallible Teacher. The Holy Spirit of the Father of us All. It is His Spirit and not another God. It flows out of the One God and into All who are ‘able’, to receive It. The River of Life.

  2. Eliyahu Leichel

    Proverbs 30 verse 4 states: “what is His name and the name if his son in case you know”
    The name of the Son is Yeshua and the name of the Almighty who created all things is Yahua. Yeshua was Almighty God’s firstborn son directly from his loins like Isaac was to Abraham.
    The book of Daniel talks about the messiah in a glorified state as an only begotten son from the Father. The book of Revelation talks about the messiah in a much more glorified state as High priest and sitting at God’s right hand until all enemies are placed under his feet. To which angel has God said: “you are my son today I have become your father” therefore if the Son is from the Father wouldn’t the Son have a similar appearance as the Father. Yet the Son is not greater than the Father as the Son repeatedly told the nation of Israel. The trinity teaching is a false teaching remember the Shema: “Hear o Israel, Yahua our God Yahua is one”

  3. Jerry S.

    Speaking as one raised in the church, the implications of these studies intrigue me most. Many are left with nowhere to turn for an earthly career. Not an easy place to find oneself, but there is yet hope available in HIM.

    J.

  4. jane z. mazzola

    I find your comments & serious study very enlightening.

  5. David Gonzalez

    I appreciate the Language of the Hebrew Bible and all of its potential insights.

    However, I do not agree with the usage of the book of Enoch, despite its accurate character in some places. May I explain?

    A good reference link is used above to understand the origins of the book of Enoch, see http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01602a.htm . However, to accept that book as valid as the Canon, or even the Apocrypha, I believe is a common mistake made by some, and an intentional mistake made by a few.

    As shown in the outline of the link above, indeed chapters deal with the ‘watchers’, angels, having intercourse with human women, and thereby creating a race of giants called the Nephilim. Although this is widely accepted as truth today, I believe that is you study the relatively few arguments for this belief, you will quickly see it fall apart. It is on this basis, among others, that I believe that the book of Enoch is either a forgery or has been diminished by the insertion of zealous doctrines and miss-translations, over the last…2,500-3,500 years. These doctrines do not hold up in the light of a short by effective Bible review.

    My best, but not nearly singular example for this (I have over 40 Biblical reasons for rejecting the 1st book of Enoch), is the argument of the Genesis verse “the sons of God”, “b’nai ha’Elohim” found in 6:2, is a reference to, and ONLY to the Angels of God. This is not only true, but fails the Biblical litmus test. The KJV has “sons of God” referred to 11 times, and the NASB 10 times.

    Below you will see that the “sons of God” are never referenced as an angel, but only as SAVED OR RIGHTEOUS DEAD HUMAN BEINGS.

    Examples of this, starting in the most recent books of the Bible, the New Testament, are as follows:

    1. (Jesus speaking) Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” NASU
    2. Luke 20:36, (Yeshua speaking) “for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.) NASU
    3. John 1:12-13, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” KJV
    4. Romans 8:14, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” NASU
    5. Rom 8:19, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.”
    6. Galatians 3:26, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” NASU
    7. Philippians 2:15, “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse.” KJV
    8. 1 John 3:1-2, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
    9. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” KJV

    Clearly, EVERY NEW TESTAMENT verse the SONS ARE SAVED SAINTS, NEVER AN ANGEL OR A SPIRIT! Therefore, when studying the passages in Genesis, or Job, this forces us to see if what we have been told about those verses is actually true.
    the “sons of God” are never referenced as angels, but only as SAVED OR RIGHTEOUS DEAD HUMAN BEINGS.

    I submit that a careful student should all that is possible that aids in his or her growth in Bible understanding, but that the book of Enoch, for whatever reason, is severely flawed, and cannot be used as an effective tool to support ANY doctrine, unless it has full compatible support from the authority of the accepted Books of the Christian Bible.

    I have in my book, “WHO WERE THE NEPHILIM, ANGELS GIANTS, OR MEN”, another 39 proofs that debunk the concept of Angels producing a race of giants. (See http://mountainfaithchurch.org/Home_/529-who-were-the-nephilim-by-david-j-gonzalez.html )

    I realize I hold a minority view, never-the-less, I believe that any serious student will want to study this out before rendering their own decision on the matter.

    Your comments are welcome

    1. Jerry S.

      Job 2:1 ?

      1. David Gonzalez

        Job 2:1?

        Answer.

        It reads, “Another day came when the sons of God came to serve Adonai, and among them came the Adversary to serve Adonai. Adonai asked the Adversary, “Where are you coming from?” The Adversary answered Adonai, “From roaming through the earth, wandering here and there.” CJB

        The key to this verse is found both in Hebrew and English, where we see an “and”, represented by a the Hebrew letter Vav, signifying and additional thought ,

        “AND CAME ALSO HASATAN”

        This signifies other beings, were also before the Throne of God, in addition to Satan. This is clearly spelled out by the distinction in the phraseology here, that the SONS OF GOD, must be beings other than Satan.

        Again, according to the abundance of Scriptural evidence showing that the SONS OF GOD are always THE RIGHTEOUS DEAD, or those that are alive in this earth that are the RIGHTEOUS LIVING, OR SAINTS, means Satan, demons, or devils, can never be considered sons of God.

        Satan is merely a visitor to the place of God’s throne, not the only visitor. Satan is not ever going to be called, OR BE PART OF THE ESTEEMED GROUP, THE SONS OF GOD.

        Shalom

        1. Jerry S.

          Are you implying those present before the LORD, other than the accuser in Job 2:1 are those children of GOD from NT times?
          J.

    2. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear David, thanks for sharing you perspective. Clearly this information you shared with everyone is not a deep dark secret and can be gleaned from a quick study of the question. I am not trying to teach the book of Enoch as canonical. I am aware why the book was not included in the canon. That does not concern me. In my hermeneutical approach I venture far beyond what is considered canonical. You can see this in all my writings. If your interpretive methods do not allow you to go that far, I understand. I do not establish such boarders for myself and read NT not only as sacred words but also as Jewish literature in comparative way with other literary works of the era. If you find this approach unacceptable, then I should apologize to you now. You will not enjoy most of what you will read on this blog. Shalom!

      1. David Gonzalez

        Dr. Eli, Actually, I love your approach, and find nothing offensive in your discussion. As you have allowed studious discussion, I have only submitted my perspective on the subjects shown. I would in no way ask you to refrain from your approach, as I as well find it refreshing. Your Shalom rests upon my house. Ruth 2:4, “Adonai be with you”; and they answered him, “Adonai bless you.”
        CJB

  6. nancy b. isom

    Hello, seven is referenced all thru scripture. Reference to the seven stars….is this referencing the seven tribes? Also, referencing the 7 judgments?

  7. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    Dear Jayant, the book of Enoch was not written by Enoch, it is just named after him. Please understand why we use such books as secondary sources. Here are a few facts from Catholic Encyclopedia (free online version) http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01602a.htm

  8. Jayant

    Dr Eliyahu
    thanks for insight into 3 great accounts of Son of Man.Its time we include book of Enoch in future studies of prophecy n visions as Book Enoch is referred to by New Testament disciples .3 accounts differ as they probably refer to different stages of work of Son of Man .Daniel himself was not shown who He is but Enoch was as he walked with God and was taken.

  9. victor m marrero

    Please in spanish

  10. Harold Langendoen

    interesting to hear of Enoch the man God just took !

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Dear Harold, the book of Enoch was not written by Enoch, but by others in his name and much later. The beliefs it reflects are very close in time and theology to John’s Revelation.

  11. jane z. mazzola

    Dr. Eli,
    Your further explanation to Rebecca (& to me as a reader) is very helpful in understanding an additional nuance of NT theology & “expressions of Judaism” & how used in the Hebrew Scriptures.

    Thank you again.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Jane, welcome to the forum! We are (and I am) glad you are here with us! Dr. Eli

  12. Rebecca

    Thank you, Dr. Eli.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Sure thing 🙂

  13. Rebecca

    Dr. Eli,
    Would you please explain further what you mean by “Perhaps this is John’s way of intentionally blending the Father and the Son,” since Jesus said in John 14:9 “…Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father'”?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Revelation has what has been termed “high Christology”, however it does not appear to have very clear trinitarian language. Instead Revelation frequently displays the duality of God, an idea known in some expressions of Judaism as “two powers theology” at the time. One way of doing this is to show another/distinct heavenly being and show the divine attributes with them, by blurring the lines or using language that is typically used for God, thus blending the two by association.

  14. Viera

    17 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.(Math. 17)

  15. Charlotte Francischine

    as a Seventh Day Adventist , I have always held an interest in Hebrew studies .. the more understanding we have in the character of Jesus.. the better understanding of GOD.. I’m looking forward.. wish I could visually study as I watched you on TV last night and was intrigued !! thank You

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      What is better then a video? A live video! The classes we offer a very visual and interactive 🙂

  16. Raffaello Franchetto

    What’s the Book of Enoch ? Is it possible to find and read it?

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/boe/
      This is public domain

  17. Kat

    Very interesting…. What I see in Enoch is the coming of the Kingdom. This is similar to John 14:15 titled “Jesus promises the Holy Spirit”. I am looking forward to your class. 

  18. jzmazzola

    What are some of the reasons for these visions in the Book of Daniel, Enoch, & Revelation. Will that be explored later? Thanks so much, & blessings on such awesome studies.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      We touch on that from time to time. Please read other posts on Revelation.

  19. Ryan

    As an ancient coin collector, numismatic, we see the crescent and star symbols that go back quite a ways in history and you will find the iconography going back to Moabites (14th-6th century BCE) and will even see the iconography in Sumerian associated with, you guessed it the God Nanna, aka Sin and the stars with Innana.
    “…some scholars maintain that later use of the symbol arose from Babylonian mythology in which the juxtaposition of Sin (moon god, father of time) and Shamash (supreme ruling sun god, judge of heaven and earth) was a metaphor for the cosmic powers given to the Babylonian king to rule.”
    This lends credibility to your thesis the stars are under control of a central God.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Great point from the Near-eastern studies! The imagery of stars and heavenly bodies is associated with quite a few gods in the the East, the imagery is often of power and authority.

  20. Stephen Yang

    שלים Dr. Eliyahu ! for your devoutional lesson.

    In the word of the “the Ancient of Days was seated” …and so on,(Dan.7:9). And “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” says the Lord, “Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty (Rev.1:8)is the same One the Messiah who is coming the end of age for Judgment. “And I saw Thrones,and they sat on them, ad judgment was committed to them.And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Yeshua and for the word of GOD, who had not worshiped the beast of his image, and had not received his mark on their forheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Messiah for a 1,000 years(Rev.20:4)

  21. Gail Smit

    Shalom Dr Eli. How awesome the description of Almighty God. Indeed, we serve ONE GOD. I find it interesting that they both give a description of His hair and eyes of flame yet in Exodus 33:21-23 we find that Moses could not look upon God. As His glory passed Moses was hidden in the cleft of the rock. He lovingly covered Moses with His ‘hand’ because His ‘face could not be seen.’
    I have looked at these verses in awe of our God. In a VISION Daniel and John could see some details of His eyes. However, when He passes by ‘physically’ (i.e: not in a vision); the glory is too much for man to bear. We can only imagine the Glory we will see face to face in eternity. Blessings.

  22. Maura (Catherine)

    The image is befitting a just diety, one who has consistently ruled the ages. He has all authority, but is still wlling to guide us, as the loving father that he is. He is on the throne of Grace, and we know that he is perfection.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Amazing isn’t it? Glad this post inspired you to comment.

  23. Synnøve Andersen

    Thank you very much dr.Eli for an interesting study! –
    About the Lord’s white hair “Perhaps this is John’s way of intentionally blending the Father and the Son.”:
    Could you also say that his status had chanced from that in Daniel?

  24. Miss Peter-Gay Jackson

    Thank you for a descriptive explanation of the word , it enlightens us of the beauty and the glory of God.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      You are most welcome.

  25. Robert

    Was Daniel the first to see the vision? so that the other two would have read Daniel and were telling it in their notes. Just a thought but very interesting subject.

    Thank you for the study.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Hard to tell, but it does nor change our reading of John. We know he utilizes Jewish apocalyptic literature to convey ideas in his letter.

  26. Maria Elena Martinez

    Thank you Dr. E for referring to the Book of Enoch. I have no formal education, but I’ve always wondered why that book is so taboo in study circles!! For some reason it didn’t make the cut to the standard 66, but it’s one that the prophets refer to with the same authority as all the others!!
    Shalom, MaE

  27. James Larry Stell

    In my experiences in deep meditation, that is exactly the image you see.
    The white-haired angelic being is a representation of our higher self, the God part of us. That is the real part of us that survives death and reunites with God.

  28. Roger D. Anderson

    “Head of Days”, or “Ancient of Days”
    I don’t know if you make a distinction between the two as authorative or not. Interpretive comparisons are of interest to me and I realize texts like the Targums and Apochrapha can shed light on Cannonized texts.
    Head of Days seems to imply to me a greater title than Ancient of Days.
    Will you elaborate on the distinctions? What I perceive is head as in first, in authority over, or all days contained in. Where as Ancient seems much smaller than that.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      Roger, hi. I think the Head of Days and Ancient of Days is equivalent titles. (sorry my elaboration was very short) 🙂

  29. Deborah Lee

    Shalom! Thank you Dr. Eli for this well thought out study, it is truly a blessing. The passage referenced in Revelations appears to discuss the Son of Man in his glorified state. I think that a possible reasoning for the descriptive similarity to angels is that the angels are too in a glorified state as well. Although man lost his glorified state through the fall of man through Adam, we, as believers, will regain a state that is glorified once again. We do not know what we will be, but we will be like him and our glorified state will be more glorious than before. (1 John 3:2) We will go from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18)

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      agree. Though as you note yourself it is a possible reasoning.