(Adapted from an article that appeared in “Scripture Truth”, Jan.-Feb.,1960)
Some of the most majestic words which ever fell
from the lips of the Lord Jesus are found in Revelation, Chapter One. It was in
the will of God that John was found in the solitude and quietness of Patmos, and
“in the Spirit on the Lord’s day.” (1:9,10) Circumstances had been controlled of
God, that he might receive the communication for the welfare of His people,
until the return of the Lord Jesus in His glory. All being ordered thus, the
servant being prepared for the service, and the service being prepared for the
servant, the Lord makes His presence known to the Apostle, who hears behind him
a great voice, as of a trumpet, calling him to attention. The Lord of glory then
1. “I am the first and the last.” (1:11) It has
been pointed out that the “I” is emphatic. HE HIMSELF is before us. He is the
FIRST, He is before all. HE is THE LAST. He sums up everything. The beginning
and the ending of all are in the power of His Almighty hand.
2. “I am He that liveth.” (1:18) He is the
LIVING ONE, who ever was, and is, and will be. HE is “The Same.” The Same
“yesterday,” in the past of eternity and of time; and “today” in the present in
the midst of all that changes here; and “forever” in the future, whatever that
may be (Heb. 13:8). HE LIVES eternally “the Same.” Faith has ever delighted in
His changelessness. Down the ages “The living God” has been the refuge and
rejoicing of His saints in their every difficulty and danger.
3. “And was dead,” (1:18) He became that which
He had not been. Of His own will, He went into death. No man could take His life
from Him. He laid it down of Himself and took it again. (John 10:17,18) For His
Father’s glory He became flesh, taking upon Himself holy, spotless humanity in
the body prepared for Him. For His Father’s glory He gave His immaculate life in
sacrifice at the cross of Calvary.
4. “And, behold, I am alive for evermore.”
(1:18) THE FATHER’S GLORY was before all else at the silent sepulchre in
Joseph’s garden. The Son was raised from the dead by the Gory of that Father. It
could not be that the Holy One could see corruption. Christ lives in triumph
over every foe. The Spirit of God delights to call our attention to Him as alive
from out of death. So we read, “It is Christ that died, yea, RATHER that is
risen again.” (Rom. 8:34) Note well that adverb of divine preference. The Victim
of the cross is now the Victor of the throne.
5. “Amen, and I have the keys of Hades and of
Death.” (1:18) The “Amen” of solemn affirmation and confirmation is to be
observed. His solemn words are to be pondered over and kept in mind. As we have
seen, He lives for evermore, and as such He has “the keys of death and of hades.”
“Neither death nor life” separates the believer from His love. (Rom. 8:38) All
power is His, in heaven and in earth, whether over the grave, or in the region
of departed spirits. He opens or shuts at His will, and soon He will exercise
His authority in resurrection for all His own.
In view of that which he had seen of the
personal, the official and the moral glories of the Son of Man, the Apostle was
to write the book of “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” And so it should be with
all His servants. With reverence and godly fear they should present the things
which they have spiritually discerned, concerning the Son of Man and Son of God.
He is the Center of the Gospel story, the Center of the thoughts and purposes of
Soon He will come forth “King of Kings and Lord
of Lords” (Rev. 17:14), subjecting all to Himself. Meanwhile we are called to
His “kingdom and patience” (Rev. 1:9) and await His kingdom and glory at His
return to claim His inheritance. May we be loyal and true to Him in the interim,
with life and lip, witnessing of His majesty and mercy, and proclaiming His
salvation far and wide.