Revelation 1:17-18 NKJV And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. (18) I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
One day while John was in the Spirit (most likely meaning he was fully engaged in worshiping the Lord, praying in the Holy Spirit, singing psalms, hymns & songs given by the Spirit, lost in meditation of the Word, or some other form of worship where his attention was turned totally toward the Lord), Jesus appears to him in a glorified way that he never encountered Him before during Jesus’ earthly ministry. It says His eyes were like a flame of fire, His head & hair were white and wooly, His feet were like polished pure brass, His voice like a roaring waterfall, & His face was as bright as the midday sun. This would truly be an overwhelming and fearful sight to most of us and John was no different, falling down on his face at Jesus’ feet. Then Jesus picks him up and says, “Stop being afraid.” International Standard Version.
Then Jesus shares 3 truths with John that comforted him and abated his fears, before giving him 7 important messages to local churches of the day and taking him by the Spirit to Heaven where he would receive the rest of the Revelation. These 3 truths not only helped subside John’s fear, but they will also help us in living free from fear today. Jesus said, “”Stop being afraid! I am the first and the last, the living one. I was dead, but look-I am alive forever and ever! I have the keys of Death and Hades.” (ISV)
- Fear not – Jesus is the First & the Last. This speaks to His Divine nature. Remember, you don’t just have a relationship with a man, this man also happens to be a part of the Godhead and was a part of the beginning of all things. Jesus is also the Last. He always gets the last word in and at the end of time He will hand the Kingdom back over to the Father (1Corinthians 15:24-26) and we will all live together forever. If we’ll really get revelation of Him and live in a constant reality that the faithful One who is the First & the Last is always for us, with us, & in us, we’ll be like John and quickly get up on our feet.
- Fear not – Jesus is alive. This speaks of His presence. Revelation 1:18a in the Good News Bible says, “I am the living one! I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever.” There is no end to Jesus nor to His eternal love for us. Hebrews 13:5 tells us He will never leave us. As a follower of Jesus, we are never alone and therefore never have to fear.
- Fear not – Jesus has the keys of Hades and of Death. This speaks of His authority. Hebrews 2:15 shows us that all fears ultimately stem from the fear of death (we’ve looked at this in previous blog posts and is discussed in my book Fearless Psalm 34:4 Living Free From Fear). Since Jesus has authority over the thing that causes fear in the first place and has commissioned us to go in His authority and walk in fearless victory (Matthew 28:18-19, Romans 8:37), we can walk in His authority and live free from fear.
Jesus is picking each of us up today, helping us stand back up on our feet and saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”