The Meaning of Revelation 1:14 Explained

Revelation 1:14

KJV: His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

YLT: and his head and hairs white, as if white wool -- as snow, and his eyes as a flame of fire;

Darby: his head and hair white like white wool, as snow; and his eyes as a flame of fire;

ASV: And his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

What does Revelation 1:14 Mean?

Verse Meaning

His head, even His hair, was very white, as Daniel described the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:9 (i.e, God the Father). John sometimes first stated a general term and then followed it up with a more specific one, as here (i.e, head and hair). [1] White hair often represents wisdom and the dignity of age in Scripture.
"...Revelation borrows components of complex OT figures, not the figures themselves." [2]
Thus we should not import everything that Old Testament figures teach in their contexts into Revelation. In Daniel 7:9, for example, the person with the white hair is God, but the white hair symbolizes wisdom. It may be improper to conclude that God meant John to understand that the person with the white hair in Revelation 1:14 is God. He definitely meant him to understand that the person with the white hair was wise.
John referred the images of God the Father in the Old Testament to Jesus Christ thus granting to Jesus the attributes and titles previously reserved for the Father (cf. Revelation 1:18; Revelation 2:8; Revelation 5:12; Revelation 22:13). [3] This is one way of stressing the equality of Jesus with the Father, here specifically His eternal pre-existence.
His eyes were similar to blazing fire, evidently an allusion to His piercing judgment and omniscient understanding (cf. Revelation 2:18, Revelation 19:12; Daniel 10:6; Mark 3:5; Mark 3:34; Mark 10:21; Mark 10:23; Mark 11:11; Luke 22:61).

Context Summary

Revelation 1:9-20 - From The Living Lord To The Churches
The tribulation and patience of Jesus are essential conditions of His Kingdom. We cannot exert the divine energies of the latter, unless we are willing to take our share of the former. There should be no Lord's Day without our definite claim to be in the Spirit; and if we are in the Spirit, every day is a day of the Lord. The seven churches are distinct in their several characteristics, but one in their blended light.
Here is variety, but unity. Jesus was in the midst on the Cross; He is in the midst where two or three are gathered; He is the Lamb "in the midst of the throne" but He is, also in the midst of the collective life of the Church in her earthly ministry and warfare.
The manifestation of His glory may overwhelm our mortality, but the touch of His pierced hand encourages the soul. His favorite assurance is, Fear not. Here is life in its threefold aspect! In its original source, first and last. In its triumph over death-I became dead. In its eternal reign-I am alive for evermore. The things which John had seen are probably comprehended in this chapter; "the things which are" in Revelation 2:1-29; Revelation 3:1-22; and the things which are to come to pass in the remainder of this book. [source]

Chapter Summary: Revelation 1

1  The preface
4  John's salutation to the seven churches of Asia
7  The coming of Christ
8  His glorious power and majesty

Greek Commentary for Revelation 1:14

As white wool [ως εριον λευκον]
Εριον — Erion (wool) in N.T. only here and Hebrews 9:19, though old word. The person of the Lord Jesus is here described in language largely from Daniel 7:9 (the Ancient of Days). [source]
White as snow [ως χιων]
Just “as snow,” also in Daniel 7:9. In N.T. only here and Matthew 28:3.As a flame of fire (ως πλοχ πυρος — hōs phlox puros). In Daniel 7:9 the throne of the Ancient of Days is πλοχ πυρος — phlox puros while in Daniel 10:6 the eyes of the Ancient of Days are λαμπαδες πυρος — lampades puros (lamps of fire). See also Revelation 2:18; Revelation 19:12 for this bold metaphor (like Hebrews 1:7). [source]
As a flame of fire [ως πλοχ πυρος]
In Daniel 7:9 the throne of the Ancient of Days is πλοχ πυρος — phlox puros while in Daniel 10:6 the eyes of the Ancient of Days are λαμπαδες πυρος — lampades puros (lamps of fire). See also Revelation 2:18; Revelation 19:12 for this bold metaphor (like Hebrews 1:7). [source]
White [λευκαὶ]
See on Luke 9:29. Compare Daniel 7:9. [source]
Wool - snow []
This combination to represent whiteness occurs in Daniel 7:9, and Isaiah 1:18. Snow, in Psalm 51:7. [source]
Flame of fire []
Compare Daniel 10:6. Fire, in Scripture, is the expression of divine anger. The figure may include the thought of the clear and penetrating insight of the Son of Man; but it also expresses His indignation at the sin which His divine insight detects. Compare Revelation 19:11, Revelation 19:12. So Homer, of Agamemnon in a rage: “His eyes were like shining fire” (“Iliad,” i., 104); also of Athene, when she appears to Achilles: “Her eyes appeared dreadful to him” (“Iliad,” i., 200). [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Revelation 1:14

Revelation 2:18 Who hath His eyes, etc. []
See on Revelation 1:14, Revelation 1:15. [source]
Revelation 2:17 A white stone [ψῆφον λευκὴν]
See on counteth, Luke 14:28; and see on white, Luke 9:29. The foundation of the figure is not to be sought in Gentile but in Jewish customs. “White is everywhere the color and livery of heaven” (Trench). See Revelation 1:14; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 14:14; Revelation 19:8, Revelation 19:11, Revelation 19:14; Revelation 20:11. It is the bright, glistering white. Compare Matthew 28:3; Luke 24:4; John 20:12; Revelation 20:11; Daniel 7:9. It is impossible to fix the meaning of the symbol with any certainty. The following are some of the principal views: The Urim and Thummim concealed within the High-Priest's breastplate of judgment. This is advocated by Trench, who supposes that the Urim was a peculiarly rare stone, possibly the diamond, and engraven with the ineffable name of God. The new name he regards as the new name of God or of Christ (Revelation 3:12); some revelation of the glory of God which can be communicated to His people only in the higher state of being, and which they only can understand who have actually received. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Professor Milligan supposes an allusion to the plate of gold worn on the High-Priest's forehead, and inscribed with the words “Holiness to the Lord,” but, somewhat strangely, runs the figure into the stone or pebble used in voting, and regards the white stone as carrying the idea of the believer's acquittal at the hands of God. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Dean Plumptre sees in the stone the signet by which, in virtue of its form or of the characters inscribed on it, he who possessed it could claim from the friend who gave it, at any distance of time, a frank and hearty welcome; and adds to this an allusion to the custom of presenting such a token, with the guest's name upon it, of admission to the feast given to those who were invited to partake within the temple precincts - a feast which consisted wholly or in part of sacrificial meats. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Others, regarding the connection of the stone with the manna, refer to the use of the lot cast among the priests in order to determine which one should offer the sacrifice. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Others, to the writing of a candidate's name at an election by ballot upon a stone or bean. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
In short, the commentators are utterly divided, and the true interpretation remains a matter of conjecture. [source]

Revelation 19:12 A flame of fire [πλοχ πυρος]
As in the opening vision of Christ in Revelation 1:14 (Revelation 2:18). [source]
Revelation 2:18 The Son of God [ο υιος του τεου]
Here Jesus is represented as calling himself by this title as in John 11:4 and as he affirms on oath in Matthew 26:63. “The Word of God” occurs in Revelation 19:13.His eyes like a flame of fire (τους οπταλμους αυτου ως πλογα πυρος — tous ophthalmous autou hōs phloga puros). As in Revelation 1:14.His feet like burnished brass As in Revelation 1:15. [source]
Revelation 2:18 His eyes like a flame of fire [τους οπταλμους αυτου ως πλογα πυρος]
As in Revelation 1:14. [source]
Revelation 5:6 In the midst [εν μεσωι]
See Revelation 4:6 for this idiom. It is not quite clear where the Lamb was standing in the vision, whether close to the throne or in the space between the throne and the elders (perhaps implied by “came” in Revelation 5:7, but nearness to the throne is implied by Revelation 14:1; Acts 7:56; Hebrews 10:11).A Lamb (αρνιον — arnion). Elsewhere in the N.T. ο αμνος — ho amnos is used of Christ (John 1:29, John 1:36; Acts 8:32; 1 Peter 1:19 like Isaiah 53:7), but in the Apocalypse το αρνιον — to arnion occurs for the Crucified Christ 29 times in twelve chapters.Standing Second perfect active (intransitive of ιστημι — histēmi) neuter accusative singular (grammatical gender like αρνιον — arnion), though some MSS. read εστηκως — hestēkōs (natural gender masculine and nominative in spite of ειδον — eidon construction according to sense).As though it had been slain (ως εσπαγμενον — hōs esphagmenon). Perfect passive predicate participle of σπαζω — sphazō old word, in N.T. only in Revelation 5:6, Revelation 5:9, Revelation 5:12; Revelation 6:4, Revelation 6:9; Revelation 13:3; Revelation 18:24; 1 John 3:12. ως — Hōs (as if) is used because the Lamb is now alive, but (in appearance) with the marks of the sacrifice. The Christ as the Lamb is both sacrifice and Priest (Hebrews 9:12.; Hebrews 10:11).Having Construction according to sense again with masculine nominative participle instead of εχοντα — echonta (masculine accusative singular) or εχον — echon (neuter accusative singular). Seven horns Fulness of power (the All-powerful one) is symbolized by seven.Seven eyes (οπταλμους επτα — ophthalmous hepta). Like Zechariah 3:9; Zechariah 4:10 and denotes here, as there, omniscience. Here they are identified with the seven Spirits of Christ, while in Revelation 1:4 the seven Spirits are clearly the Holy Spirit of God (Revelation 3:1), and blaze like torches (Revelation 4:5), like the eyes of Christ (Revelation 1:14). The Holy Spirit is both Spirit of God and of Christ (Romans 8:9).Sent forth Perfect passive predicate participle of αποστελλω — apostellō masculine plural (agreeing with οι — hoi and οπταλμους — ophthalmous in gender), but some MSS. have απεσταλμενα — apestalmena agreeing with the nearer πνευματα — pneumata f0). [source]
Revelation 5:6 Seven eyes [οπταλμους επτα]
Like Zechariah 3:9; Zechariah 4:10 and denotes here, as there, omniscience. Here they are identified with the seven Spirits of Christ, while in Revelation 1:4 the seven Spirits are clearly the Holy Spirit of God (Revelation 3:1), and blaze like torches (Revelation 4:5), like the eyes of Christ (Revelation 1:14). The Holy Spirit is both Spirit of God and of Christ (Romans 8:9). [source]
Revelation 2:17 Of the hidden manna [τοῦ μάννα τοῦ κεκρυμμένου]
The allusion may be partly to the pot of manna which was laid up in the ark in the sanctuary. See Exodus 16:32-34; compare Hebrews 9:4. That the imagery of the ark was familiar to John appears from John 6:31-43,. This allusion however is indirect, for the manna laid up in the ark was not for food, but was a memorial of food once enjoyed. Two ideas seem to be combined in the figure: 1. Christ as the bread from heaven, the nourishment of the life of believers, the true manna, of which those who eat shall never die (Revelation 11:19 John 6:48-51); hidden, in that He is withdrawn from sight, and the Christian's life is hid with Him in God (Colossians 3:3). 2. The satisfaction of the believer's desire when Christ shall be revealed. The hidden manna shall not remain for ever hidden. We shall see Christ as He is, and be like Him (1 John 3:2). Christ gives the manna in giving Himself “The seeing of Christ as He is, and, through this beatific vision, being made like to Him, is identical with the eating of the hidden manna, which shall, as it were, be then brought forth from the sanctuary, the holy of holies of God's immediate presence where it was withdrawn from sight so long, that all may partake of it; the glory of Christ, now shrouded and concealed, being then revealed to His people” (Trench). -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
This is one of numerous illustrations of the dependence of Revelation upon Old Testament history and prophecy. “To such an extent is this the case,” says Professor Milligan, “that it may be doubted whether it contains a single figure not drawn from the Old Testament, or a single complete sentence not more or less built up of materials brought from the same source.” See, for instance, Balaam (Revelation 2:14); Jezebel (Revelation 2:20); Michael (Revelation 12:7, compare Daniel 10:13; Daniel 12:1); Abaddon (Revelation 9:11); Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, Babylon, the Euphrates, Sodom, Egypt (Revelation 21:2; Revelation 14:1; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 9:14; Revelation 11:8); Gog and Magog (Revelation 20:8, compare Revelation href="/desk/?q=re+2:7&sr=1">Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 2:27, Revelation 2:28). Heaven is described under the figure of the tabernacle in the wilderness (Revelation 11:1, Revelation 11:19; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 8:3; Revelation 8:1-130; Revelation 4:6). The song of the redeemed is the song of Moses (Revelation 15:3). The plagues of Egypt appear in the blood, fire, thunder, darkness and locusts (Revelation 8:1-13). “The great earthquake of chapter 6 is taken from Haggai; the sun becoming black as sackcloth of hair and the moon becoming blood (1653214091_75) from Joel: the stars of heaven falling, the fig-tree casting her untimely figs, the heavens departing as a scroll (Revelation 8:1-13) from Isaiah: the scorpions of chapter 9 from Ezekiel: the gathering of the vine of the earth (chapter 14) from Joel, and the treading of the wine-press in the same chapter from Isaiah.” So too the details of a single vision are gathered out of different prophets or different parts of the same prophet. For instance, the vision of the glorified Redeemer (Revelation 1:12-20). The golden candlesticks are from Exodus and Zechariah; the garment down to the foot from Exodus and Daniel; the golden girdle and the hairs like wool from Isaiah and Daniel; the feet like burnished brass, and the voice like the sound of many waters, from Ezekiel; the two-edged sword from Isaiah and Psalms; the countenance like the sun from Exodus; the falling of the seer as dead from Exodus, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel; the laying of Jesus' right hand on the seer from Daniel. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
“Not indeed that the writer binds himself to the Old Testament in a slavish spirit. He rather uses it with great freedom and independence, extending, intensifying, or transfiguring its descriptions at his pleasure. Yet the main source of his emblems cannot be mistaken. The sacred books of his people had been more than familiar to him. They had penetrated his whole being. They had lived within him as a germinating seed, capable of shooting up not only in the old forms, but in new forms of life and beauty. In the whole extent of sacred and religious literature there is to be found nowhere else such a perfect fusion of the revelation given to Israel with the mind of one who would either express Israel's ideas, or give utterance, by means of the symbols supplied by Israel's history, to the present and most elevated thoughts of the Christian faith “(this note is condensed from Professor Milligan's “Baird Lectures on the Revelation of St. John”).A white stone ( ψῆφον λευκὴν )See on counteth, Luke 14:28; and see on white, Luke 9:29. The foundation of the figure is not to be sought in Gentile but in Jewish customs. “White is everywhere the color and livery of heaven” (Trench). See Revelation 1:14; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 14:14; Revelation 19:8, Revelation 19:11, Revelation 19:14; Revelation 20:11. It is the bright, glistering white. Compare Matthew 28:3; Luke 24:4; John 20:12; Revelation 20:11; Daniel 7:9. It is impossible to fix the meaning of the symbol with any certainty. The following are some of the principal views: The Urim and Thummim concealed within the High-Priest's breastplate of judgment. This is advocated by Trench, who supposes that the Urim was a peculiarly rare stone, possibly the diamond, and engraven with the ineffable name of God. The new name he regards as the new name of God or of Christ (Revelation 3:12); some revelation of the glory of God which can be communicated to His people only in the higher state of being, and which they only can understand who have actually received. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Professor Milligan supposes an allusion to the plate of gold worn on the High-Priest's forehead, and inscribed with the words “Holiness to the Lord,” but, somewhat strangely, runs the figure into the stone or pebble used in voting, and regards the white stone as carrying the idea of the believer's acquittal at the hands of God. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Dean Plumptre sees in the stone the signet by which, in virtue of its form or of the characters inscribed on it, he who possessed it could claim from the friend who gave it, at any distance of time, a frank and hearty welcome; and adds to this an allusion to the custom of presenting such a token, with the guest's name upon it, of admission to the feast given to those who were invited to partake within the temple precincts - a feast which consisted wholly or in part of sacrificial meats. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Others, regarding the connection of the stone with the manna, refer to the use of the lot cast among the priests in order to determine which one should offer the sacrifice. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
Others, to the writing of a candidate's name at an election by ballot upon a stone or bean. -DIVIDER-
-DIVIDER-
In short, the commentators are utterly divided, and the true interpretation remains a matter of conjecture.A new nameSome explain the new name of God or of Christ (compare Revelation 3:12); others, of the recipient's own name. “A new name however, a revelation of his everlasting title as a son of God to glory in Christ, but consisting of and revealed in those personal marks and signs of God's peculiar adoption of himself, which he and none other is acquainted with” (Alford). Bengel says: “Wouldst thou know what kind of a new name thou wilt obtain? Overcome. Before that thou wilt ask in vain, and after that thou wilt soon read it inscribed on the white stone.” [source]

Revelation 5:6 Standing [εστηκος]
Second perfect active (intransitive of ιστημι — histēmi) neuter accusative singular (grammatical gender like αρνιον — arnion), though some MSS. read εστηκως — hestēkōs (natural gender masculine and nominative in spite of ειδον — eidon construction according to sense).As though it had been slain (ως εσπαγμενον — hōs esphagmenon). Perfect passive predicate participle of σπαζω — sphazō old word, in N.T. only in Revelation 5:6, Revelation 5:9, Revelation 5:12; Revelation 6:4, Revelation 6:9; Revelation 13:3; Revelation 18:24; 1 John 3:12. ως — Hōs (as if) is used because the Lamb is now alive, but (in appearance) with the marks of the sacrifice. The Christ as the Lamb is both sacrifice and Priest (Hebrews 9:12.; Hebrews 10:11).Having Construction according to sense again with masculine nominative participle instead of εχοντα — echonta (masculine accusative singular) or εχον — echon (neuter accusative singular). Seven horns Fulness of power (the All-powerful one) is symbolized by seven.Seven eyes (οπταλμους επτα — ophthalmous hepta). Like Zechariah 3:9; Zechariah 4:10 and denotes here, as there, omniscience. Here they are identified with the seven Spirits of Christ, while in Revelation 1:4 the seven Spirits are clearly the Holy Spirit of God (Revelation 3:1), and blaze like torches (Revelation 4:5), like the eyes of Christ (Revelation 1:14). The Holy Spirit is both Spirit of God and of Christ (Romans 8:9).Sent forth Perfect passive predicate participle of αποστελλω — apostellō masculine plural (agreeing with οι — hoi and οπταλμους — ophthalmous in gender), but some MSS. have απεσταλμενα — apestalmena agreeing with the nearer πνευματα — pneumata f0). [source]
Revelation 5:6 Having [εχων]
Construction according to sense again with masculine nominative participle instead of εχοντα — echonta (masculine accusative singular) or εχον — echon (neuter accusative singular). Seven horns Fulness of power (the All-powerful one) is symbolized by seven.Seven eyes (οπταλμους επτα — ophthalmous hepta). Like Zechariah 3:9; Zechariah 4:10 and denotes here, as there, omniscience. Here they are identified with the seven Spirits of Christ, while in Revelation 1:4 the seven Spirits are clearly the Holy Spirit of God (Revelation 3:1), and blaze like torches (Revelation 4:5), like the eyes of Christ (Revelation 1:14). The Holy Spirit is both Spirit of God and of Christ (Romans 8:9).Sent forth Perfect passive predicate participle of αποστελλω — apostellō masculine plural (agreeing with οι — hoi and οπταλμους — ophthalmous in gender), but some MSS. have απεσταλμενα — apestalmena agreeing with the nearer πνευματα — pneumata f0). [source]

What do the individual words in Revelation 1:14 mean?

- And the head of Him and the hairs [are] white as if wool white as snow the eyes [are] like a flame of fire
δὲ κεφαλὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ αἱ τρίχες λευκαὶ ὡς ἔριον λευκόν ὡς χιών οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ὡς φλὸξ πυρός

  - 
Parse: Article, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root:  
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
κεφαλὴ  the  head 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: κεφαλή  
Sense: the head, both of men and often of animals.
αὐτοῦ  of  Him 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.
τρίχες  hairs 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: θρίξ 
Sense: the hair of the head.
λευκαὶ  [are]  white 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Feminine Plural
Root: λευκός  
Sense: light, bright, brilliant.
ὡς  as  if 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ὡς 
Sense: as, like, even as, etc.
ἔριον  wool 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: ἔριον  
Sense: wool.
λευκόν  white 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Neuter Singular
Root: λευκός  
Sense: light, bright, brilliant.
χιών  snow 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: χιών  
Sense: snow.
ὀφθαλμοὶ  eyes 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Plural
Root: ὀφθαλμός  
Sense: the eye.
ὡς  [are]  like 
Parse: Adverb
Root: ὡς 
Sense: as, like, even as, etc.
φλὸξ  a  flame 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: φλόξ  
Sense: a flame.
πυρός  of  fire 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Singular
Root: πῦρ  
Sense: fire.

What are the major concepts related to Revelation 1:14?

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