The description of Jesus having feet “like burnished bronze” is found in Revelation 1:15, which says “His feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace.” This verse is part of John’s vision of the glorified Christ, where Jesus appears with attributes that communicate His divine nature and authority. Let’s explore the meaning and significance of His bronzed feet.
Bronze in the Bible
Bronze was a metal highly valued in ancient times for its strength and brilliance when polished. It was an alloy of copper and tin that was used for making tools, weapons, armor, mirrors, artwork, altars, and other objects. Bronze did not rust or corrode easily like iron, so it kept its luster for a long time.
The bronze laver in the Old Testament tabernacle was made from the polished bronze mirrors of women who served at the entrance (Exodus 38:8). This basin was used by the priests to wash themselves before entering the Holy Place, representing purification from sin before approaching God’s presence. Bronze was also used extensively in the construction of the temple that Solomon built (1 Kings 7:15-47). The two bronze pillars, bronze sea, bronze carts, and other bronze articles used for temple worship displayed the glory and splendor of God.
In the Bible, bronze is sometimes symbolic of strength, brilliance, and craftsmanship. It was a valuable metal and its polished sheen made it a fitting representation of the radiance, glory, and purity of God. The feet of Jesus shining like bronze evokes these ideas and more as we examine the passage.
Feet in Biblical Imagery
In Scripture, the foot can symbolize ownership, dominion, or authority over something based on the ancient practice of placing one’s foot on conquered territory (Joshua 10:24). The feet can also represent the idea of being settled, positioned, or established in a place (Psalm 31:8). To be under someone’s feet depicts submission or being in a lower position (1 Corinthians 15:27). Metaphorically, the foot represents the walk or lifestyle of a person (Psalm 119:105).
When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, He was showing servant-hearted humility and the importance of spiritual cleansing (John 13:5). His pierced feet on the cross remind us of the tremendous sacrifice He made for our salvation. In John’s vision, the brilliant feet of Christ likely convey ideas of ownership, authority, stability, and splendor as the Divine King who has conquered, now reigns, and is coming to judge the world. The radiant, bronzed feet evoke power, glory and purity emanating from Christ’s holy presence.
Burnishing is a polishing process used on metals like bronze to make them shiny, lustrous, and almost mirror-like in appearance. The technique involves rubbing the surface with a tool to compress the metal and create a smooth reflective finish. In John’s day, burnished bronze would have been very brilliant and radiant when fresh off the polishing wheel.
The fact that Christ’s feet glowed like burnished bronze highlights the splendor, glory, and purity exuding from His sacred being. In the vision, Jesus has a face shining like the sun, eyes blazing like fire, voice thundering like rapids – and now feet beaming like polished bronze fresh from the furnace. The cumulative impact conveys His divine nature and holy presence. His feet burnished like bronze reflect the glory due His name and nature as the risen Lord of lords.
Refined in a Furnace
The analogy of burnished bronze is enhanced by the description “refined in a furnace.” Metals like gold, silver, iron, and bronze were purified by smelting or melting them down in a furnace to separate impurities and alloy mixtures (Psalm 12:6, Isaiah 48:10). This refining process removed dross and produced pure metal that could then be burnished to a high sheen.
The furnace of testing, trials, and persecution purifies the faith of believers like metal refined in a fire (1 Peter 1:7). Jesus endured the furnace of earthly suffering then emerged gloriously refined – without sin or impurity of any kind. His brilliant feet represent that pristine holy state after enduring the fire of sacrifice. Like burnished bronze refined to perfection, Christ’s glory shines through His humanity, now liberated from all constraints of mortal existence.
Significance for Christ’s Nature and Authority
The imagery of Jesus’ bronzed feet connects with several aspects of His nature and role:
- His feet like burnished bronze reflect divine purity, holiness, and separation from all stain of sin
- They represent His authority over all Creation as King of kings and Lord of lords
- His established position of power, dominion, and rulership over heaven and earth
- His supremacy and victory over all competing powers – His feet crush Satan underfoot (Romans 16:20)
- His right to render final judgment – executed by the One with feet of judgment
- The stability and permanence of His reign and standing, unshaken as the risen Lord
- The splendor and glory due His name, the excellencies of His majestic holiness emanating from Him
Overall, this symbolic image of Jesus’ burnished bronze feet conveys His supreme position of divine Kingship over all things who alone is worthy to take the scroll and execute judgment (Revelation 5:5, 10:2).
Old Testament Parallels
The brilliant appearance of Jesus’ feet may also parallel imagery found in the Old Testament.
Daniel’s vision of a heavenly being included “legs of burnished bronze” (Daniel 10:6). The angelic messenger had a body that glowed like lightning with eyes blazing like fire (Daniel 10:6). The prophet Ezekiel described God’s glory: “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. Like the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. Such was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord” (Ezekiel 1:28). Both accounts use exalted imagery to describe the overwhelming brilliance of the holy presence of God.
Jesus’ bronzed feet likely connect to these Old Testament visions of God’s glory. The luster of polished bronze reflects the splendor surrounding our risen Lord Jesus who shines with the same effulgence of deity.
A Picture of Holiness, Glory and Judgment
To summarize, the imagery of Jesus’ feet “like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace” powerfully conveys His deity in terms of:
- Purity – His sinless holiness and separation from any stain or impurity
- Glory – The excellence and splendor of His divine nature emanating outward
- Power – Supreme authority over all Creation as King of kings
- Judgment – His right to execute judgment, feet that crush evil underfoot
This symbolic picture functions to underscore Christ’s deity as the Holy One (Acts 3:14), source of glory (Hebrews 1:3), ruler of all (Revelation 19:16), and final judge of the earth (2 Timothy 4:1). His feet burnished like refined bronze give just a glimpse of the majesty of our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus with Bronze Feet in Heavenly Glory
The apostle John had walked with Jesus during His earthly ministry. He knew Christ’s human frame and form during His time on earth. But in this vision of Jesus in heavenly glory, John hardly recognized Him. The resurrected and exalted Christ appears with blazing eyes, voice like thunder, face of sun, hair white as snow – an overwhelming sight. His feet glowed like burnished bronze, astonishing John and defying ordinary description.
This visible manifestation of Jesus’ divine glory and purity left John stunned. Along with the other attributes noted, the bronze feet inspired awe and worship. No longer did Jesus seem like just a man – this was Christ dominating all creation in power and brilliance. The One with feet burnished like bronze was no mere carpenter – this was the King of Glory (Psalm 24:7-10).
John’s vision offers just a peek at Christ’s magnificence and deity. His attributes displayed in the vision are symbolic representations of His divine majesty and authority. The breathtaking, indescribable sight led John to fall down as though dead before this overpowering Christ (Revelation 1:17). TheJesus with bronzed feet filled him with awe.
This visible display of glory served to reassure John that the risen Christ reigns victoriously. He alone is worthy to take and open the scroll -He has decisively triumphed (Revelation 5:5)! As John gazed at Jesus’ unspeakable brilliance, the One with bronzed feet strengthened him in preparation for receiving the Revelation to come – the unveiling of Christ’sfinal victory and return in blazing glory as King of kings.