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His head

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and His hair

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were white as wool,

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white like snow,

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and his eyes

were like a flame of fire.

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His most important part and

His least important parts

were pure, washed clean,

having a shining bright purity, and he had the knowledge necessary

to judge or to purify.



The “head” stood for authority and leadership, or that which was “chief,” i.e. the most important.


“Hair” could be “the least important part of someone,” or this could be a reference to “wisdom,” since wisdom comes in part from life’s experiences. If “white hair” stood alone I would think it referred to wisdom, but since it is coupled with a “white head,” I don’t think so. The fact that it is further described by two modifiers that obviously mean “pure,” supports my opinion that in this case “hair” means the “least important part of someone.”

3: "wool"

In ancient times the sheep were washed, and the burrs and thorns removed from their woolen coats before they were sheared. This was a slow and tedious process. Thus wool was a powerful symbol to them of purity due to cleansing. Jesus did not need to wash in order to be cleansed since He had committed no sin. But that is the nature of imagery; the important thing is the message the image conveys, not the technicalities sacrificed in the process.

4: "snow"

Not only does this sentence let the reader know that Jesus is pure and therefore has the moral authority to carry out judgment on the wicked, He is also our example. Those suffering persecution were already pure. But this is an encouragement and an exhortation to stay focused and remain pure. Notice the layering of several images conveying purity.


“Fire,” as a symbol, stood for either “punishment” or “purification.” Here it’s association with “knowledge” would seem, at first glance, to pull the meaning toward judgment, however, as indicated in the letters to the churches in chapters two and three, Christ’s knowledge of their spiritual strengths and weaknesses enabled Him to call them to a state of greater purity. So both are possible here.