Monday, August 1, 2011

Attributes of Jesus from Revelation 1 (4 of 4)

Today's article is the last in this series on the Attributes of Jesus from Revelation 1. So far, we've covered: Part 1 (verse 5): Jesus Christ, Faithful Witness, Firstborn from the dead, Ruler of the kings; Part 2 (verses 5-10): Lover, Free-er, Maker, Receiver, Coming on the clouds, Visible to all, Alpha and Omega, The Almighty, Voice like a trumpet; and Part 3 (verse 13-15): Among the lamp stands, Son of Man, Robe to feet, Golden sash on chest, Head like wool/Hair like snow, Eyes like blazing fire, Feet like burnished bronze, Voice like many waters. And now for the final verses 16 through 18.

Holds seven stars in His right hand

The right hand is the place of blessing and honor. The right hand wields power and strength. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches (represented by the lamp stands in verse 13) of Asia Minor: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. Each of the letters in Revelation 2 and 3 are written to these angels. An open question about which there is much debate is: Are these angels in the heavenly sense, like Gabriel and Michael? Or is this word used in the "messenger" sense, as in the leader (e.g. pastor, teacher, prophet) over the church in the human sense? In either case, it's Jesus who holds them. Not an angel. Not a mere man. But Jesus. The Shepherd. The one who corrects and disciplines and serves and protects. He is the one who provides leadership to the church. Genesis 48:14,18,19; 1st Kings 2:19; Psalm 45:9, 60:5, 63:8, 108:6, 118:15-16, 110:1; Matthew 20:21,23, 22:44, 25:32-34; Revelation 1:11,20; Ephesians 4:15, 5:23

Out of his mouth comes a sharp, double-edged sword

Jesus is the living, active Word of God, sharper than a double-edged sword, able to divide between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The Word of God is the sword the Spirit wields. It was by Jesus' word that everything came into being; He spoke and it was. That same power and authority will be released to kill all who would presume to war against Him. John 1:1-5; Ephesians 6:17; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 19:11-21

Face shining like the sun in its strength

This is the same description as used on the mount of transfiguration. Just as the sun comes up every day, so too will David's throne be established forever; David's kingdom endure. This is fulfilled in Jesus, the descendent of David, both in His everlasting kingdom and in His physical appearance. From the rising of the sun until its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised. Here, it will never set, so praise will rise continually. Nothing can hide from the sun's heat. In perfect beauty and holiness, God's fire shines forth as a consuming fire. God's shining face brings salvation to His people and destruction to their enemies. Matthew 17:2; Psalm 19:6, 50:2-3, 80:3,7,19, 94:1, 97:1-12, 113:3; Daniel 7:10

First and Last

He is unique. There is no God before Him, nor will there be one after Him. This is our comfort; we don't have to be afraid of changes in rulership. Regardless of what we go through, He has been there and is there and will be there. He is all sufficient. He was the agent of creation, the originator of all things. In the end, al things will be subject to Him. Evil will be abolished and the righteousness of His kingdom will reign. As Savior, He is the one who starts our life of faith and He is the one wo brings it to completion. Isaiah 41:4, 43:10, 44:6, 46:4, 48:12; John 1:3; 1st Corinthians 15:24-26; Colossians 1:16, 2:9-12; 2nd Peter 3:7; Hebrews 1:2, 2:10, 12:2; Revelation 1:8, 1:17

Living One

This is the title of Jesus used by the angels at the tomb on the first resurrection Sunday. "The" Living One. Not "A" living One. The definite article is used. He is unique, specific. The "Living" One. He's alive by His own life force. Death could not keep Him down. He is the Life-giver. Life flows from His very being. The Living "One". In conjunction with the definite article, emphasizing the uniqueness of His singularity. There is only one source of Life. This echos Jesus' own statement about Himself: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. The fulfillment of the Feast of First Fruits. He's the source of all life. The one in whom we live and move and have our being. This title is in contrast to all else. All other idols and gods and things people worship are not living, but only exist because He created them whether spiritual beings or physical objects. And as created beings, they are not worthy of worship, even though they may claim and demand worship. Luke 24:5; John 14:6; Acts 2:24, 17:24-29; Romans 6:4,9; 2nd Corinthians 13:4; Revelation 13:2-8

Was dead

How can the Living One become dead? It truly is a mystery. The Infinite becoming a finite human is easier to understand than the Living One dying. But scriptures says it happened. What it means or how it was accomplished I don't know. But here Jesus declares it about Himself, so it must be. Paul also mentions it. I suspect it's related somehow to Jesus becoming master over death. Perhaps it is related to Jesus being baptized. It wasn't because He was in need of repentance, but rather so that we, as part of the bundle of the living wrapped up in Him, might experience baptism with Him. In a similar way to His baptism, He had to die so we, bundled with Him, might die with Him so we could be raised with Him. In His humanity, as a prototype for all human-kind, He died. It's bending. My brain explodes. It's mush trying to wrap itself around this mystery. Romans 6:8-10

Now alive forevermore

The Living One, who was dead, is now alive forever and ever and ever. The Living One could not be held by death; it was impossible. Like darkness has no choice but to flee before light, death had no choice but to flee before the Living One. He did not have to die over and over again but rather His sacrifice is sufficient, once for all people for all time. It is appointed for all to die once and after that face judgement. Since He has now died once, He's now alive forever to bring salvation to those who place their trust in His atoning death. Acts 2:24; Romans 5:6-19, 6:10; Colossians 1:21-23; 1st Peter 3:18; Hebrews 9:21-28, 10:10-12

Hold keys of death and Hades

The one holding the keys is free to enter and leave at will. He has authority over that place. This is what He did. He entered and spent three days in Hell. Then He left of His own accord. He has authority over even death. The last enemy. He is the one who has freed us and we no longer have to live in fear. Death has no substance anymore. It is merely a powerless shadow. Hell and the place of destruction are naked before Him. The gates of death are revealed to Him and He sees the gates of darkness. He will abolish death. There will no longer be any death. Matthew 12:4; Psalm 23:4; Job 26:6, 38:17; 1st Corinthians 15:26; 2nd Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:15; Revelation 21:4

And that's it for this series. I hope you were blessed by it. If you have any thoughts, please leave them in the comments below.