“His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.” (Revelation 1:14, ESV)
“I have made you a tester of metals among my people, that you may know and test their ways. (Jeremiah 6:27)
The concept of Jesus’s eyes of fire mentioned when the apostle John stood before Him in his vision on the island of Patmos really fascinates me lately. John was the one who knew Jesus the most intimately of the inner twelve and the only one who remained to witness His death on the cross when the others scattered. He often referred to himself as the one Jesus loved yet in this moment when Jesus revealed Himself to him, he still fell at his feet as though dead (Rev 1:17).
Jesus is a tester of our hearts
An assayer is someone who tests metals, including ore, for their components and judges the value or worth of the metal based on its purity of composition. The method is accomplished by using a combination of intense heat, dry reagents or fluxes, and special vessels that help separate the precious metals from the rest of the extraneous material, or dross.
King Jesus doesn’t merely examine our hearts, but He tests and evaluates our true spiritual condition and then brings His fire to effect a greater purity and usefulness in our lives.
He sees through everything in the same way that fire penetrates metal.
His eyes of fire penetrate to the core reality and the truth of everything that exists.
He sees everything that is good and everything that is bad, without any bias or clouded judgment.
He sees behind the scenes and below the surface.
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account (see Hebrews 4:13).
When the dross is removed from the precious metal, be it gold or silver, then the vessel is ready to use. When the tree is pruned, it can produce more fruit; when the wheat is separated from the chaff, then the wheat is ready to use.
John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. (Luke 3:16)
How many of us in our charismatic circles love that verse? How many messages and writings have we heard on this aspect of receiving the Holy Spirit and being baptized in fire? Let’s not forget to read the next verse:
His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (v. 17, emphasis mine)
Jesus desires intimacy with us. He longs for a people who intimately know Him face to face. But in order to get closer to Him, those eyes of fire are going to test the pure motives of our heart and let us know that He is committed to burning up the chaff in our lives. He will remove the dross, for it’s impossible to get closer to the heat source without things getting brought to the surface in our lives and removed.
Mike Bickle states in a message on this subject and passage:
The more I understand that His eyes are on me, the more I walk in the fear of God, and, secondly, the stronger or the more mature my intimacy with God is. So the two practical applications are, we grow in the fear of God by the revelation of His eyes of fire, but we also mature in our intimacy with God. We see that He sees us; that He feels what we feel; that His eyes are always on us; that we move His heart. He moves our heart as well. The connection is the knowledge of His eyes being on us. 1
Jesus is not testing us because He wants to punish us, but the opposite: He wants to make us better. He wants to purify us, and often times the way he does it is through trials and tribulations. We must not neglect to understand the ways of the Lord, as many forget that it’s His love for us that allows us to suffer for times and be prepared for His presence.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8)
But the word of God also says a fire goes before Him (Psalm 97:3). As we draw near to Him, the fire touches our lives. It touches our thoughts, it touches our motives, it purifies our minds. God knows we won’t be ready for His face when we seek Him, until we’ve been purified by His fire.
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24)
It was only recently that I noticed for the first time that this verse in the Old Testament mentions God’s jealousy in the same sentence as mentioning that He’s an all consuming fire. But God’s jealousy is not the same as ours. He’s not insecure or incapacitated by immature thoughts in his jealousy like we our in our idea and concept of it. His is a jealous love for us. And it’s in our best interest, out of his love for us, that He brings the winnowing fork to the threshing floor of our lives.
Jesus tests us with his eyes of fire “…that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.” (Ephesians 6:13).
Purification of the Life of Zion
I’ve recently been re-reading the book The Fire Of Delayed Answers By Bob Sorge when I began making my notes for this post. In the first chapter he brings up the very same passage and concepts about the eyes of fire as I’d been planning on writing, but I came across something even more interesting that I best just quote for our purposes:
“Gehenna was a place outside Jerusalem where King Josiah, in his godly reforms destroyed the altars of idolatry. It became a place where refuse was burned. It was the city’s incinerator. The purpose of Gehenna was the purification of the life of the city. In time, Gehenna came to be the name for the fire of hell. Gehenna (hell) is set ablaze by the holiness of God. Fire destroys the perishable and perfects that which is imperishable.”
“Unless this holy fire burns within you now, bringing you to purity and peace, then you will have no escape from the fire of Gehenna which consumes forever.”2
Jesus said in Mark 9:47 we’d all be salted with fire. Salt is for retaining flavor, or purifying. Psalm 104:4 states that God makes His ministers a flame of fire, and Daniel 12:10 mentions that “many shall be purified and made white.” If we’re going to be a people after God’s heart who know Him intimately as ones who see Him face to face, then there’s no escaping the fire in His eyes!
Intimacy with God will result in righteousness and holiness pervading our lives. It’s impossible for the fire not to have a purifying effect. To quote Sorge again:
When hypocrites and the half-hearted can dwell in our midst without being convicted or made uncomfortable, then something’s wrong. God intends for His fire to so envelope the local church that hypocrites will not be able to stay, and the devout will not be able to remain unchanged.3
When a people after God’s heart are close to Him, it will result in the fire on a corporate level, and changed lives.
Eyes Like Doves
His eyes are like doves beside streams of water, bathed in milk, sitting beside a full pool. (Song of Solomon 5:12)
As a dove does not have peripheral vision, so is the Beloved Jesus – He has complete singleness of vision and cannot be distracted by anything that is unpleasing to his Father. His eyes are loyal to God and to us, His Bride. His eyes also speak of His ability to see and discern everything; he has perfect insight into every area of our lives and His perspective is absolutely pure.
The phrase “bathed in milk” speaks of that which is white and nourishing, and speaks of the Lord’s purity of discernment. This basically speaks of God’s ability and great skill to see perfectly everything about our lives, and interprets everything about our lives through the cleanness of His own heart because His motives are always pure. He always knows what fire to put us through at what stage of our lives, and precisely how much we need.
He’s gentle, yet convicting.
The same Jesus whom all it took was one look at Peter after he betrayed him and it cut to the heart and made him run and weep that he denied the Lord. Yet, when Jesus restored him, this is the same man who boldly proclaimed the Gospel and 3000 were converted at Pentecost. The deeper the piercing of His eyes, the deeper a work done in our hearts.
Will you look into His eyes of purging and let him see into your heart?