The Revelation of Jesus Christ Pt 5, 1:17-20

The last verses of chapter one. In these we see an awestruck John comforted by Jesus Christ, a divine outline for Revelation, and the interpretation of two previously used symbols.

VERSE 17-18

"And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and am holding the keys of hell and of hades."

The glory of God is always met with fear. When men see the glory of God they always fall to the ground. Let’s look at Isaiah’s reaction,

"Then said I, Woe is me! for I am cut off/destroyed; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." [Isa 6:5]

Isaiah sees “The Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple.” He sees beautiful angels crying out to God, “Holy, holy, holy, is The LORD of Hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.” The appearance of The LORD is so absolutely shattering that even the most glorious created beings, Seraphim, cannot look upon The LORD unsheltered, but, “each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.”

Isaiah sees this and pronounces a curse of death upon Himself. He is so shaken, so in terror and awe that He falls to the ground and curses Himself dead, “because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.”

When we see the glory of Jesus Christ through the scriptures, we ought to react as Isaiah. Woe is me! When we see the purity of our Lord, and His fiery gaze, we should fall in fear for we are unclean and impure and He is not: we are unholy and He is holy. And only by His grace and love do we stand; we are unworthy in every aspect of the word and we should revere Him with great awe! “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” [1 Cor 10:12]

And after John falls as dead, we see the grace and kindness of our Blessed Christ, who tells John not to fear.

Don’t pass this up quickly. We ought to be afraid! Jesus is God Almighty and holds our very breath in His hand. He has the power to kill us and to make us keep living! We ought to be terrified of Him! And think of the extreme magnitude of grace in just these two words: FEAR NOT. That this great and awesome God would look upon us with kindness and grace and tell us not to fear and welcome us into His presence is beyond comprehension, and He is eternally worthy of every ounce of our beings!

Jesus gives three reasons not to fear.

  1. I am the first and the last
    • Don’t fear because Jesus knows the past, present, and future. He is with us and has told us before the things which must come to pass. We don’t need to fear because Jesus isn’t caught off guard and He is with us.
      • “Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside Me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for Me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.” [Isa 44:6-8]
  2. I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore
    • Our Christ Jesus has resurrected and so shall we!
      • “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” [Rom 8:11]
  3. I am holding the keys of hell and hades

VERSE 19

"Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter"

An outline of the book is given to us. This is unique in the Bible (and many things about Revelation are!).

VERSE 20

"The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."

The word mystery in Greek means something which was hidden but is now being revealed. It is not the same meaning that we commonly use in English.

The idioms are explained well and don’t need much more. The LORD tells us in Hosea, “I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.”

CONCLUSION

Jesus is to be feared. He is holy and worthy of all worship. But He is also to be freely approached without terror for He is loving and kind, meek and lowly in heart.

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