Looking at verses 9-20 of Chapter 1 we see it acts as a bridge between the early introduction of Jesus and John and the main content we find in the rest of the book of Revelation. John reminds us that he too is suffering and must endure just like the 7 churches must. He is on an island in the Mediterranean (Patmos) and is doing hard labour for his crimes. His crimes were serving God, proclaiming the Gospel, and providing testimony of Jesus. The same crimes we should share in.
While Emporer's day was the first day of every month, the Lord's day is the start of every week. The early church took up Sunday to be the Lord's day. This is linked to the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ being on the Sunday and it symbolising a new start, new life, and a new week. It could have also been the result of having access to the synagogues, i.e. staying away from the Jewish Sabbath (Friday night to Saturday night).
Seven lampstands. Why seven? Could be because it made a nice circle on the map, could be the Roman postal districts, but I personally like that seven for the Jews is linked to completeness. That while only seven churches are referenced it means all churches - i.e. the complete (full) body of Christ. Lampstands are a link to the Old Testament and Judaism. They are a symbol and a tie back to the Tabernacle and the Temple and remind us that we are an extension of the Israelites, of the people Israel. God chose to reveal Himself using the nation of Israel and used Israel to fulfil His plan to provide salvation to us, through His son, Jesus Christ. Lampstands draw their light using a source of energy, oil. The Lampstands here represent the seven churches and they each draw their energy from the one true source of all things, Jesus, who in John's vision, now stands amongst the seven Lampstands. He holds the seven stars (the messengers of the churches) in His hand.
Jesus is titled here, "the son of man". While this title sounds humble, it's far from. Jesus called Himself most often during His earthly ministry and it points back to Daniel 7:13-14;
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 worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.
This is not the suffering servant we hear of in Isaiah, but rather a person who is given all power and authority from the Ancient of Days (God Himself). We then read of the clothes worn by this son of man, and it again points back to the Old Testament. Clothes that we see the priests of Israel wearing, showing us that Jesus is the High Priest.
Physical characteristics also point to Jesus's power and majesty. White hair showing wisdom, white as snow showing purity (Isaiah 1:18). Eyes of fire show the judgement that will come with Jesus Christ, along with brass feet that have been refined by that same judgement. Brass symbolising judgement and sacrifice, strength and stability. A voice like rushing waters telling us that Jesus's voice is loud and full of authority, like a massive waterfall. From His mouth a double-edged sword. The word of God is like a heavy sword that is able to kill and destroy. It has no dull side, it is all edge, all able to cut. Jesus's face will shine like the sun.
Everything in these verses shows us the strength, majesty, authority, and righteousness of Christ, yet King Jesus still shows us compassion. By placing His hand on John and telling him not to be afraid, we see Jesus as our personal king as well as king over all, forever and ever. He holds the keys to death and Hades. He has the power over life and death. A reminder to us in our suffering, just as it would have been of the 7 churches living under the threat of death from Casaer. Jesus is the true life bearer. Everything is under His control.
Regardless of what happens, whether it's economic hardship or relational heartbreak, unemployment or bereavement, as a church or individually, Jesus triumphs!