A Voice Like Many Waters

“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters” (Rev. 1:14–15).

A vivid description is given of the Lord Jesus, and in true apocalyptic colors. He wore a long robe, down the feet. The color of the robe is not specified here, but He had a golden sash around His chest. Both His head and hair were white, strikingly white—white like wool, white like snow. His eyes were fiery flames, and His feet were like refined brass just out of the furnace. His voice was like the sound of many waters.Revelation

The golden girdle around His chest indicates priesthood (Ex. 28:8), although the Lord Jesus held a priesthood much higher than that of Aaron. His head and hair were white, not like the whiteness of skin, but a pure white. In the next verse (v. 16), we see that His face shone like the sun at full strength, so it was a penetrating whiteness. Picture a sun that is white, not yellow. Feet that are like burnished bronze also show up in the Old Testament—the feet of the cherubim that surrounded the throne of God had feet that color (Eze. 1:7). And the angelic messenger that came to Daniel was very much like this (Dan. 10:6) in a number of particulars. His face was like lightning, his eyes like torches, his feet like burnished bronze, and his voice was like many waters. John is clearly describing the Lord with terms previously used for one of His great servants.

Having a voice like many waters is not an unusual scriptural trope. “And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory” (Eze. 43:2). Such a voice sounds like thunder (Rev. 14:2), and later on John says that it sounded like a huge multitude, or a great thundering (Rev. 19:6). When we open our Bibles to read the Word of God, or attend worship in order to hear it declared, we should feel like we are standing on a rocky beach near the base of Niagara Falls. God’s Word fills all the available space.

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Nathan Smith
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Any thoughts on the comparison to the Song of Songs verse that many waters cannot quench love. Those two references to “many waters” always struck me, but I dont see a clear comparison. One seems to address the power of the divine voice and the other the power of (divine) love.

Also of note (or maybe not) would be L’Engle’s short novel called Many Waters. I think that was more a reference to the Songs verse as compared to “Noah’s” flood.

DC Moody
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DC Moody

The voice of many waters is quite the sound, I have been told. I got to hear Derek Thomas speak about some of the people in his congregation in South Carolina who got caught in the flooding in October. He said that the sound of water rushing towards them was a sound they said they would never forget.

Rob Steele
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Rob Steele

Water is a big deal in scripture. The sea is chaos and gentiles. Rivers are life, especially the River of Life. There are ceremonial washings and baptisms. Not sure what the text is getting at here though, other than that it was super impressive.