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The Revelation of Jesus Christ
1. The word "Revelation." The word "revelation" means an unveiling or uncovering, thus we approach the last Book of the Bible with a definite unveiling of the Divine program, as it is set forth in Jesus Christ. So many people imagine that this wonderful Book is a Book of hidden and unrevealed mysteries. This may be so to those who are not taught of God, but to His own who know Him and His Word, it is the revelation of God.
2. The Revelation of Jesus Christ. The Lord Himself is the center of every Book of the Bible, but particularly is this true in the last Book of the Bible. When we are reading the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ, therefore, we must not be looking for churches, but for Christ walking in the midst of the Churches. We must not be looking at the breaking of the seals and their judgments, but we must be looking at Christ who takes the sealed book from the hand of the Father, and is counted worthy to open it. We must not be looking for the sounding of trumpets but we must be looking at the Lord Jesus Christ who stands back of the trumpets. It is so easy to be sidetracked from the main message of the Book.
3. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants." The word "servants" is the word "bondslaves." Perhaps, when people, say that they cannot get anything from this final Book of the Bible, they are admitting that they are not bondslaves to Christ, for God gave the Revelation to Jesus Christ to give to His bondslaves,
4. The Revelation of Jesus Christ concerning events which must come to pass speedily. The expression of the opening verse is "must shortly come to pass." The meaning of the word "shortly" is "quickly," that is, when once the Book of Revelation begins to unfold, events will pass rapidly, one after the other,
5. The Revelation of Jesus Christ delivered unto John by an angel. God gave it to Christ. Christ delivered it to an angel, and the angel delivered it to John. The fact that the angel was an intermediary, by no means lessens the truthfulness of the message. We read in Hebrews that the words of angels are sure and steadfast.
6. The Revelation of Jesus Christ was given unto John by an angel through signs. The word "signified" carries with it the thought of signs. It was given by signs, in order to make the message clear and forceful.
7. John who received this Revelation from an angel "bare record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw." Let us remember that the last Book of the Bible, therefore, is called "the Word of God." It is also called "the testimony of Jesus Christ." John gave it out as he received it. It is none the less the Word of God because it came from. God through others to its.
8. The Revelation of Jesus Christ carries with it a special blessing to those who read it , to those who hear, and to those who keep the things that are written therein. There is no other Book in the Bible that carries such a wonderful prelude. This Book carries a particular blessing, but note that there are three steps.
Those are blessed first who read the words of the prophecy. Second, they are blessed who hear the words of the prophecy. There is a third statement: the things must he kept to insure the blessing.
9. The Revelation of Jesus Christ describes a time which is to come. When John the Baptist began to preach that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, he meant that the King was at hand. When we read here that the time is at hand, we read that Christ is at hand. The Book of Revelation is a Book which details the events which will come to pass when Christ returns. The first step in the Revelation was a particular message to the Seven Churches of Asia. With this message delivered, the Spirit immediately launched into those marvelous events which shall come to pass after the church age has passed.
I. THE SEVEN CHURCHES IN ASIA (Revelation 1:4 )
We have given a survey of the introductory words to the Book of Revelation. Let us now consider the Seven Churches which were in Asia to which the Book was addressed.
These Churches were seven local Churches. From the Isle of Patmos they lay out before John. One followed another in geographical position. That these Seven Churches are also representative Churches we do not doubt. The message was not written to them alone, but it was written also to the Churches upon which the end of the ages is come. When the. Churches are addressed, to each individual Church is sent the expression, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches." It is not what the Spirit said unto the Churches in Asia, but what the Spirit is saying unto the Churches; all of the Churches, the Churches everywhere, of every time.
II. THE SALUTATION TO THE CHURCHES (Revelation 1:4 )
How beautifully it reads: "Grace be unto you, and peace." The Holy Spirit did not grant us peace prior to grace. "There is no peace, saith [our] God, to the wicked." Nevertheless to the saints who have tasted grace, and who have known the power of that grace in redemption, there is peace. This was the message of the Spirit through the Apostle Paul when he said to the Romans, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace."
The salutation continues with a threefold vision of Christ. "Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come ." Here John acknowledges that his message is from Jesus Christ, and it is to the Seven Churches. It is from Jesus Christ, however, in the full meaning of the word, Jehovah. It was from the Christ who was, the Christ of the ages past, the Christ of the Father's right hand before the world was. It is from Him who is, the Christ who is now seated in His high priestly work at the Father's right hand. It is from Him who is to come, the Christ whose Second Advent is about to be consummated.
III. THE SEVEN SPIRITS BEFORE THE THRONE (Revelation 1:4 , l.c.)
In John's address he brings in the Holy Spirit as the Author of the Revelation. We have already seen that God gave the Revelation to Christ, Christ gave it to the angel, and the angel to John. Now, John, in addressing the Seven Churches, says that the Revelation was from Jesus Christ and, also, that it was from the seven Spirits which are before His throne. To us it is very beautiful the way the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Triune God, are brought into view as the Author of the Book. Certainly, the Book of Revelation should be the more seriously considered with such prefatory statements behind it.
1. The seven spirits before the throne are descriptive of the perfection of the Holy Spirit in His attributes. Isaiah 11:1-16 gives an elucidation of this sevenfold perfection of the Spirit. There in Isaiah we read, "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." Here are seven things, all of which belong to the Holy Spirit.
2. The Holy Spirit is seen as the witness to Jesus Christ. This is in accord with other Scriptures. The Word of God describes the Holy Spirit as taking the things of Christ and showing them unto us, Christ said of the Spirit, "He shall not speak of Himself." He also said, "He shall glorify Me,"
3. As we continue to read in the Book we find in chapter Revelation 1:9-10 that John was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day. In chapters 2 and 3 seven distinctive times we read of what "the Spirit saith unto the Churches." So, we must not by any means eliminate the Holy Ghost from the testimony of Jesus Christ.
IV. A SECOND THREEFOLD WITNESS TO JESUS CHRIST (Revelation 1:5 )
The salutation continues. "And from Jesus Christ, (1) who is the Faithful Witness, (2) the First Begotten of the dead, and (3) the Prince of the kings of the earth." This threefold statement is in line with the other which said. "From Him which is, and which was, and which is to come." The same thing is said now from a different viewpoint.
1. "From Jesus Christ, who is the Faithful Witness." This carries us back to His earth-life. We seem to see Him sitting on the Mount of Olives with the disciples gathered around Him as He opened His lips and taught them. He is the Faithful Witness to the individual who was in darkness, and longed for the light. He was not only a Witness, but He was faithful in His witness.
2. He was the First Begotten from the dead. Others were raised from the dead, but not in the sense that He was raised. They were quickened to die again. He was quickened and He came forth from the grave not to die again. He came with a new body.
The Apostle Paul spoke of Christ as the first fruits from among the dead. Here are his words: "And now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the Firstfruits of them that slept." When we think of Christ as the first fruits in the resurrection we think of the great harvest that will follow. He said, "Because I live, ye shall live also."
3. The Prince of the kings of the earth. We may as well refuse Christ's Faithful Witness when He was upon the earth, and the fact of His resurrection, as to deny that He is the destined Prince of the kings of the earth.
Remember that this statement, "The Prince of the kings of the earth" was given by God through Christ by an angel unto John, and that John gave it from the Spirit. It is certainly a true record. "The prince of the kings of the earth" leaves no possible doubt as to the fact of Christ's Second Coming, when He will come as King of kings, and Lord of lords.
V. THE WITNESS TO THE BLOOD OF CHRIST (Revelation 1:5 , l.c.)
The Book of Revelation deepens its grip upon our hearts. We are still studying the salutation of John to the Seven Churches, He has spoken to us about Jesus Christ as a Faithful Witness, as raised from the dead, and as Prince of the kings of the earth.
Perhaps we marvel that in the address thus far nothing has been said of the great Calvary sufferings of our Lord. Would the Spirit have us to understand that the thing for us to emphasize is merely the faithful witness of Christ so far as His earth-life was concerned? Are we to put the stress upon His ethics alone? Far from it. The Lord rather held the Cross to itself in order that special mention might be made of it.
1. "Unto Him that loved us." Here is a wonderful statement. We know that God loved us, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son." Note, also, that Christ, loved us, "for He loved us, and gave Himself for us." In John we read that "Having loved His own * *, He loved them unto the end." He loved us first, when we were created. He loved us down through the years in the days of our wanderings and sin. He loved us, as He moved among us healing the sick, and teaching His wonderful words. He loved us, however, unto the end when He went to the Cross for us.
2. "Unto Him who washed us." He could not wash us with His love, apart from His Blood. He could not wash us by His grace, or by His mercy. It was His love, His mercy, and His grace which sent Him to the Gross, but it was the shed Blood that washed us from our sins. Our sins were also washed from us. God pity those in the pulpits who in these days of apostasy are eliminating the Blood of the Cross from their testimony.
3. He loved us before He washed us, and He washed us because He loved us. It was while we were yet sinners that Christ died for us. He loved us though we were unclean, though we were guilty, though we had despised Him. Thank God that He loved us! Had He not loved us, He never would have gone to Calvary for us.
VI. THE GREAT PERSPECTIVE (Revelation 1:6 )
The verse before us carries us beyond our present earth experience into the age of the kingship of Jesus Christ. We have just seen how Christ loved us and washed us, but that is not all of the story of redemption. He did not only save us for present blessings, but for future attainments and obtainments.
1. He loved us and washed us to make us "king-priests." This is a compound word, He is our Melchizedek. Melchizedek was the priest of the Most High God, and the King of Salem. Jesus Christ in Heaven is a Priest after the order of the Aaronic priesthood. Jesus Christ, when He comes again to this earth, will be a King-priest after the order of Melchizedek.
If we are destined king-priests, let us recognize our royalty and live as a king should live. If we are priests who are the go-betweens from God to man, let us live in the light of the glory of that priesthood. There are some people who are accustomed to say that the Second Coming of Christ is nothing particular to them; it should be everything to them. This present earth experience is but the front porch to the palatial mansion which lies beyond. Should we give our whole thought to the porch, or should we pass through Into the palace and look over its wonderful beauties?
As the salutation closes the Holy Spirit through John breaks forth into a glorious magnificat: "To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." How can we do otherwise than praise God when we think of what we were, what we are, and what we shall be!
VII. THE GLORIOUS APPEARING (Revelation 1:7 )
"We have already been told that Jesus Christ was the One who is to come. He has already told us that He was the destined Prince of the kings of the earth. Now, however, He enlarges upon the third phase of the gospel story.
1. He gives a succinct statement of Christ's Second Advent. "Behold, He cometh with clouds." This statement is but the fulfillment of the prophecies of Christ. You remember His words as recorded in Matthew 24:30 : "And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory."
The Coming of Jesus described here is not any spiritual coming, because it is the Lord Himself who is to "descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel." It is the Lord Himself who is to come with the clouds.
2. Every eye shall see Him. A man once ridiculed these words in our presence. He said that if Jesus Christ came to the Mount of Olives, the people living in Ohio could not see Him. However, the Bible tells us that His Corning shall be like the lightning. In this day of the radio and television, it is not so difficult for us to believe that every eye shall see Him. The Coming here described is the Coming of the Lord, not for the saints, but with them. It is His Corning back to the inhabited earth.
3. They that pierced Him shall see Him. How wonderful it was of God, and how tender and considerate for Him to add this expression we now consider. Not only is Christ coming again, not only will every eye see Him; but His own people, Israel, the people who denied Him and gave Him over to Pilate for crucifixion, will see Him. This word leaves no doubt at all in the mind but that God knew that the Children of Israel would not be amalgamated by the races. They were to be preserved like Moses' bush, ever burning, but never consumed. Like Daniel in the lions' den, unharmed. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, unscathed. Like Jonah swallowed, but not digested. We are looking for the Lord to come at any hour for His saints.
VIII. THE FIRST RESULT OF CHRIST'S RETURN TO THE EARTH (Revelation 1:7 , l.c.)
Did you ever write a letter and then at the bottom of it say, "P. S.," "postscript"? The postscript was probably more important than the letter, even though it was brief. Perhaps you observed that in this opening salutation in the Book of Revelation. Revelation 1:6 closed with an "Amen," God's great "so be it." It was as though God said, "This is a conclusion." Then, God wrote a postscript. It is in Revelation 1:7 , and it concludes with His second "Amen." Let us observe this postscript.
We have already seen that Christ was coming again, and how every eye, and particularly His own people, will see Him. The final statement carries the effect upon those who behold Him. "All kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him." There must be a reason for this wailing, and this weeping as the kindreds of the earth behold Christ.
We need to remember that no man upon the earth in the days of the antichrist can buy or sell without they receive the mark of the beast and the number of his name. We need to remember that all the earth will wonder after the beast. Not only that, but we need to remember that the Second Coming of Christ to this world is described by the Lord as a certain fearful looking for of fiery judgment which will devour the adversary.
We begin now to understand why it is that the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Perhaps this wailing will not only be the wailing of fear, but with many, the wailing of repentance. This will be true of Israel when they shall see Him.
Please read and consider the following words found in Zechariah 12:10 : "And I will pour upon the House of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me whom, they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."
A big lump of something a stone supposedly lay for centuries in a shallow limpid brook in North Carolina. People passing that way saw only an ugly lump and passed on. A poor man passing one day saw a heavy lump a good thing to hold his door ajar and he took it home. A geologist who stopped at the poor man's door one day saw a lump of gold the biggest lump of gold ever found east of the Rockies.
Many people looked upon Jesus. Some saw only a Galilean peasant and turned away. Some saw a Prophet and stopped to listen. Some saw the Messiah and worshiped. Some saw the Lamb of God and looked to Him to save them from their sins. There are people today who see in Jesus simply a perfect man, and they get nothing more from Him than the example of His perfect life. Others looking upon Him see the Son of God, and having no affinity for anything that is from Heaven they simply pass by on the other side. Others looking upon Him see the Lamb of God the Divinely chosen Sacrifice and Saviour and realizing that their greatest need is to be saved from their sins they go to Him for cleansing. When you look at Jesus what do you see? E. L. Pell.
Christ Among the Churches
We enter in this marvelously descriptive chapter, centering our thoughts upon the appearance of Christ as He walks among His Churches.
1. The general description of Christ. The Lord Jesus in Revelation 1:8 is heard saying, "I am Alpha and Omega." This expression is indeed descriptive of the eternity of our Lord. Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last. It would he as though Christ had said, "I am the A and Z." That is, "I am before all things, and I am after all things."
We love to think of it this way: Jesus Christ is the ever-present Christ. With Him there is no past. He was always there, and He is there now. With Him there is no future. He is in the future the same as He is in the past. Jesus Christ lives in one eternal now. However, He reaches back to the beginning, and on to the end.
There is in Revelation 1:8 a statement which is not found in Revelation 1:4 . It is the expression, "the Almighty." This is one of the great Names of God. It was the Name that was used to Abraham when Jehovah said unto him, "I am the Almighty God." The word means, as commonly accepted, the God who is enough.
The last time this wonderful Name of Christ is used is in Revelation 19:1-21 as the Lord Jesus is described as treading out the wine press. Here is the expression: "He treadeth the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." We will find that the One who walks in the midst of the Churches is indeed the God who is enough.
2. A description of John in tribulation. In his address the Apostle said, "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the Kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ." John goes on to say how he was exiled to the isle that is called Patmos because of his fidelity to the Word of God, and because of his testimony to the Word of Jesus Christ.
The suggestion is the verification of the words of our Lord: "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." It still calls us to follow Christ fully.
3. Does Christ have a right to walk in the midst of the Churches and to speak with all authority? We answer unequivocably, He has. Christ loved the Church, and bought it. He has the same authority over the Church, as the head has over the members of the body. The Church should accept this Headship of the Lord Jesus, remembering that One is Master, even Christ, and all we be brethren.
I. CHRIST IS DESCRIBED AS BEING CLOTHED WITH A GARMENT DOWN TO THE FOOT, AND BEING GIRT WITH A GOLDEN GIRDLE (Revelation 1:13 )
Revelation 1:12 tells us that John heard a voice speaking unto him, and being turned he saw seven golden candlesticks.
1. The seven golden candlesticks are designated in Revelation 1:20 as the Seven Churches. Jesus Christ is described in our key verse as in the midst of His Churches, Christ in the midst of His Churches brings to our memory several statements of Scripture:
(1) Christ was in the midst of the crosses on Calvary.
(2) After His resurrection Christ was in the midst of the disciples as they were gathered in the upper room.
(3) Christ says, "Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst."
(4) Christ will be in the midst during the wonderful Millennial period. This is the statement of Zephaniah 3:14-17 .
(5) Christ will be in the midst of the throne in Heaven.
All of this informs us of the fact that Christ is the center of all things, and pre-eminently the central figure in the Church.
2. Christ clothed with a garment down to the foot. The picture here is that of the high priestly work of Christ. He is clothed with the robe of service. Not. only that, but He is in the act of service because His robes are girt about with a golden girdle. Our mind goes back to the time when Christ girded Himself and took a bason of water and a towel, and began to wash His disciples' feet. He did this that He might establish forever that He is in the midst of us as one who serves.
3. He was girded about with a golden girdle. "Girdle." in the Word of God, stands, for royalty in service. He is serving, but He is serving as a king serves his people. Surely if He serves us we ought to serve one another. He is the High Priest; we ought to be the tinder-priests.
II. CHRIST IS DESCRIBED AS HAVING HIS HEAD AND HIS HAIRS WHITE LIKE WOOL (Revelation 1:14 , f.c.)
1. We think first of Christ's eternity. Whiteness, particularly white hair, expresses old age or maturity in thought and deed. The Lord Jesus is not old in the sense of being worn out, but He is old in the sense of time. That is, He is from eternity unto eternity.
The white hairs of our Christ, however, by no means suggest that He is aged in the sense of being worn and wrinkled or decrepit, with His power spent and His energy wasted. Psalms 110:1-7 describes Christ's coming back to the earth to reign on David's throne, and it says, "From the womb of the morning: Thou hast the dew of Thy youth." Christ is not coming out of the gloom and the shadows of the gloom and the shadows of the eventide. He is coming as the sun, burning forth at the breaking of the day. He is coming in freshness, in power, with the dew of youth upon Him.
2. His white hairs tell of His purity. Jesus Christ is the only One who ever walked among men as the sinless One. The angel, Gabriel, said unto Mary as he announced the birth of Christ, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." Jesus Christ was holy, and by virtue of His holiness He made us holy, and now, robed in raiment of purity and whiteness He walks in the midst of His Churches. God grant that we may be worthy of One so fair, so pure, and so wonderful.
III. CHRIST IS DESCRIBED WITH EYES AS A FLAME OF FIRE (Revelation 1:14 , l.c.)
1. The Lord Jesus Christ is the all-seeing Christ. There is nothing that is covered to Him. In Hebrews 4:13 we read, "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."
We may deceive the minister, or the minister may deceive the people, but neither the one or the other can deceive Christ. It is written of old that He stood over against the treasury and observed how people cast in their offerings. He always stands over against the treasury.
More than that He stands over every pew. He observes everything that is going on. He notes everything in the service; the singing, the preaching, the invitation. There is not anything that is not open to His eyes. He even looks into the heart, and He reads its thoughts and meditations.
2. Jesus Christ is the all-helping Christ. When we think of His eyes, we think of His omniscience, but we should add to this thought a further consideration. The Prophet said, "The eyes of the Lord ran to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him."
The Lord does not look upon the Churches only to condemn and to seek the wrong. He looks to aid, comfort, and assist. Let us not be afraid because Christ's eyes are as fire. Let us be comforted thereby and encouraged to know that there is One looking down from above in order that He may bless.
IV. CHRIST IS DESCRIBED AS HAVING FEET LIKE UNTO FINE BRASS (Revelation 1:15 )
1. We see Christ now in His stately steppings. He is walking in the midst of His Churches in order that He may be wisdom and power unto them His feet are like unto fine brass, because He is the strength of men. Do we not remember how the Lord said before He went away, "All power is given unto Me In Heaven and in earth, Go, * * lo, I am with you?"
Jesus Christ Is our Samson who can break every cord, and take hold of the pillars of all opposition, casting them down. He is our David who can go forth and conquer Goliath. He is our Jonathan who can move against the Philistines and rout them.
He met the principalities and powers of darkness, and overcame them utterly, dispelling and vanquishing them. Such an One is walking in the midst of the Churches.
2. His voice is as the sound of many waters. In this verse we have not only His stately stoppings described in the feet, as in a furnace refined; we have also His authority. When the Lord Jesus speaks it is time for men to hold their peace. He said, "He that hath My Commandments, and keepeth them (that is, obeyeth them), he it is that loveth Me."
There is no authority in the Church of Jesus Christ which can supersede, or lift its head above the Lord Jesus. There may be many voices in the world, but above them all rings the clear, clarion call of the Son of God. "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it."
V. CHRIST IS DESCRIBED AS WITH A SHARP TWO-EDGED SWORD PROCEEDING OUT OF HIS MOUTH (Revelation 1:16 )
We have no difficulty in catching the meaning of this symbolism. The sharp two-edged sword is the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says that "the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword." Ephesians 6:17 says, "And take the helmet of salvation, and the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God." These two verses suffice.
When Christ comes again He comes with a sharp two-edged sword coming out of His mouth. Thus, as He walks in the midst of the Churches, that same sword is seen and it is His Word. The minister has but one mission and that is to preach the Word.
What else should be preached? If we preach words of our own we will utterly fail. If we preach the Word of God we will preach the power of God unto salvation.
God says, "He that hath My Word, let him. speak My Word faithfully." "What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord, Is not My Word like the fire? and like the hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?"
VI. CHRIST IS DESCRIBED IN HIS COUNTENANCE AS THE SUN SHINING IN HIS STRENGTH (Revelation 1:16 , l.c.)
Here is, perhaps, the most beautiful of the whole description of our Lord, We remember how Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus Road was stricken down at noonday by the shining of a light brighter than the noonday sun.
We remember how the Bible describes the beautiful, new Jerusalem, the city of gold, as needing no light of the sun, or of the moon, or of the stars, "for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the Light thereof."
It was on the Mount of Transfiguration that the raiment of Jesus Christ was white and glistening, but His face "did shine as the sun." Beloved, this is He who walks in the midst of the. Churches.
1. The light of His countenance will direct us in the way that we should go. We need not err in guidance, for the Lord God giveth us light.
2. The light of His countenance will illumine the dark things and make them plain. The intricacies of His Word, the deeper meanings of His grace, the higher visions of His glory will all be made manifest in the brightness of His countenance,
3. The light of His countenance stands for fellowship. "If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another." The light of His countenance stands for the exclusion of darkness and of sin. "Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil."
4. The light of His countenance is a wonderful place in which to hide. We usually think of hiding in some dark cupboard, but the Psalmist says, "I will hide in the light of His countenance," The reason is that the security of light lies in the fact that God dwells in light that is unapproachable which no man can approach unto "whom no man hath seen, nor can see."
VII. CHRIST IN THE MIDST OF THE CHURCHES SPEAKING (Revelation 1:18 )
1. The effect upon John as he saw this vision of the Seven Churches and Christ in the midst of them was more than magic. We read, "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead." When Peter, in that miraculous draught of fishes, beheld the power and the glory of the Lord, he fell down before Him and said, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
This, however, should not be the effect it should have on us. John, no doubt, was startled and astonished at his vision, but we should walk with the Lord so closely and intimately that we will not be overwhelmed at the vision of His glory. However, we are still in the flesh. Isaiah was a good man and yet, when he saw the Lord high and lifted up, His glory filling the Temple, and he heard the seraphim saying, "Holy, holy, holy," he cried, "I am a man of unclean lips."
2. Christ's assuring words. First of all, Christ told John that He was the First and the Last, then He gave in addition these words, "I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Jesus Christ stood before John restating that wonderful climactic glory of His death, burial, and resurrection. He stood before John acclaiming, not only that He was a Victor on the Cross, but a Victor when He descended into hades, because He brought back the keys of death and of hell.
Still further He acclaimed the feet that He was not only a Victor on the Cross, and a Victor when He descended into hell, but that He was a Victor when He came forth from the grave.
To each one of us there comes, therefore, this assurance that we need not fear life because Christ lived and met its issues; we need not fear death because Christ died and look away its sting. We need not fear the life to come because Christ is alive forever-more, and He has met all of its future possibilities.
Christ "in the churches" is the secret of their power.
Imagine one without genius and devoid of the artist's training, sitting down before Raphael's famous picture of the Transfiguration and attempting to reproduce it, How crude and mechanical and lifeless his work would be! But if such a thing were possible that the spirit of Raphael should enter into the man and obtain mastery of his mind and eye and hand, it would be entirely possible that he should paint this masterpiece; for it would simply be Raphael reproducing Raphael, And this in a mystery is what is true of the disciple filled with the Holy Spirit Christ by the Spirit dwells within him as a Divine life, and Christ is able to image forth Christ from the interior life of the outward example. A. J. Gordon.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Revelation 1". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12