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His feet were like fine bronze which is refined in a furnace. His voice

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was like the sound of many waters.

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He had immovable strength, complete stability, firmness and excellence in his proceedings, strength and steadiness of his ways, and methods. This came as a result of His extreme purity. He was obviously someone whose authority must be obeyed, for the extent of His power was immense.


1: "His voice"

Apart from being a revelation of what is inside a person, the voice was known as the expression of a command, and thus the demonstration of authority. These two are not far removed from each other, for a command is the expression of someone’s will, coupled with the authority to bring it about. The fact that “His voice” is used here in conjunction with “many waters” points to power, or in a human sense, authority.

2: "many waters"

There is only one Hebrew word for water, and it is always written in a plural form, however, it sometimes carries a singular meaning. The symbolic uses of water are quite varied and they depend on how it is used. The plural sense of “waters” is often a way of describing something that is great in quantity or size, i.e. “vast.” The Greek use of a plural is a throw-back to the Hebrew concept of abundance expressed in the plural. Here “many waters” is a doubling of this emphasis on quantity. It refers to His authority to issue commands, so I have interpreted this vastness to refer to the extent of His authority, or its reach.

Feet Like Fine Bronze

Feet were a symbol for different things depending on what else the image is coupled with. This phrase, “feet like fine bronze,” reminded the reader of Ezekiel’s visions (EZ 1:4-7, 26-28; 8:2) and Daniel’s vision (Dan 2:31-35). The use of feet or legs in Ezekiel is not explained, it is assumed the reader will understand it. The vision of Daniel is that of a statue of great strength and beauty, but it had one weakness, the feet were made of iron mixed with clay. Due to that weakness the statue was easily destroyed. When the word “feet” is used in this way it indicates the level of stability one has, for the feet are the foundation on which we stand. It is most likely that bronze is in view here rather than brass, since brass was an alloy of copper and zinc, and was more rare than “Bronze,” which was an alloy of tin and copper. Bronze was considered quite strong, but still shiny and beautiful. So to the people of that day, bronze was a sign of “beautiful strength.” “Fine bronze” seems to be placing the emphasis on its luster; some translate it “burnished or polished bronze.” This highlights the double emphasis of beauty and strength together. “Feet of fine bronze” may denote firmness and excellence in his proceedings, or the strength and steadiness of his ways, counsels and methods in ordering and governing His church.

Refined in a Furnace

Several Bible versions translate this phrase in such a way as to place the emphasis on the color or brightness of His feet, i.e. “glowing as in a furnace.” However, the use of a perfect participle (meaning “having been refined”) leads me to believe the emphasis should be on the final product—purity.

It is quite possible that the idea being communicated is that of bronze that has just come out of the furnace. Once it is cooled, how can the viewer know it is refined and pure? However, the focal point for the meaning of the symbolism is still the idea of purity.

The text also states that it had been refined “in a furnace.” Obviously, that is the only place metal can be refined. However, I see here two images that mean the same thing, thus giving it a double impact. It could have been stated simply as “refined bronze,” with only one symbol for purity. But no, it was stated using two symbols for purity (“refined” and “furnace”) making the symbolic meaning twice as powerful. Couple that with the words “fine bronze,” and we have a triple emphasis on purity.

Purity is a key theme in Revelation. Jesus is often described as pure, and the believers are also described as pure. But this is more than a description, it is an exhortation. If you want to be on God’s team you must have a pure heart. The authority that Jesus exercises is based partially on His purity. One cannot have true authority without purity of heart, for all types of authority must include moral authority.