Revelation 1:17 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:
What a powerful moment we witness here in John’s vision. I am certain you are familiar with the events described here; the Apostle John is experiencing a vision which is the Apocalypse (the revealing) of Jesus Christ. It is worth considering that this is that same John who during Christ’s ministry on earth possessed such a bond with Jesus that at the last passover meal in the upper room we are told he rests his head on Jesus’ chest, much like a son would to a father. What peace and security! what an affectionate bond that existed between the two of them- Jesus- the Master and Lord, John- the Disciple and Son.
And yet, here we find John reuniting with his Savior, how great the difference in reaction. I find it interesting to note that we are told in Revelation 1:10 that John was in the Spirit during this vision which to me makes his reaction even more significant. What would have occurred if John were present in body, if even in spirit he falls over as dead before this Awesome Christ?
Let me take a moment now to profess openly that I am so thankful for my Savior! I long to look upon His face, to kneel before Him, to adore Him, and to offer up praises to this Lamb of God who takes away my sin! Yet, there is a part of me who, like John, trembles and quakes at the thought of standing before this Holy One.
Let’s continue and consider for a moment the scene before us…
We read that during John’s vision he hears a great authoritative voice and upon turning he sees One like unto the Son of Man- Regal, royal, magnificently clothed in the finest robe, fitted with a belt of what must be the purest gold; His head and hairs white as snow with penetrating, piercing eyes of flaming fire; standing with feet of brass that are steadfast, righteous, and final in judgment; declaring with a voice as of a trumpet – “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.”
John’s response? He does what any and each of us would do if we were brought before Christ in our spirits- He fell over at the feet of Christ as dead. Oh! the power of our God. Even in a vision He has the power to slay us! Oh! how wretched we are, pitiful, puny men before this Awesome God. We are so arrogant in our sin, so filled with pride and vanity that when we catch but a glimpse of this King of all creation we can only fall upon our faces dead.
I believe the scripture reads as dead only because John was there in spirit, had he been there in body he would have fallen over not as dead but truly dead consumed by the might of the Alpha and Omega. Notice, it is Jesus who then reaches down to the fallen John and raises him up by laying His right hand of power upon him. After which John then goes on to faithfully record all the things he had up till then seen, all the things that were, and all the things that would be. John went on to record the book which is the REVELATION of JESUS CHRIST.
Meditating upon this scripture I realized that I too had fallen as dead before this Christ. I had come to the point of realization that I in my spirit had to DIE to myself. No longer could I continue to live my life like I was; miserable and bound. Enslaved to all sorts of desires and afflictions, dead- I was truly dead in my sin. It was here that I came before this Christ, (filthy and wretched as I was) falling on my face at His feet dead, surrendering all to Him. Dead before Him, in my sin, in my will, in my spirit- just plain dead. He then reached down to me with His right hand of power and raised me up into newness of life- a life no longer lived for myself, but a life lived for Him and to Him and in Him! And… a life of Him living in me.
Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 6 that if we truly are raised in newness of life into a life lived in Christ Jesus that we are then dead to sin and alive to Christ, alive to live a life of righteousness and holiness- a life of obedience to the Scripture and to Jesus Christ our redeemer. He is our redeemer- the One who paid the sin penalty that we owe, purchasing us.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Corinthians 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.
Being raised up from death into life, from darkness into light, by Jesus should therefore bring a similar response to us that it brought to John, which was obedience to His commands. The command immediately given to John was, Revelation 1:19 “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter”. And he did! One such command for us then is the aforementioned, 1 Corinthians 6:20 “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s”. Are you? You do realize that this is not really optional, right? If you have died to sin (being made alive in Christ) you no longer live a life OF sin. You do not keep doing sinful things.
Jesus said in Matthew 5:14-16
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”.
Do we let the world see good works? Not things you do to make you righteous (or holy), but the way you live because you are living a righteous life in Christ. These are good works brought about by a life lived in obedience to the commands given by God, otherwise the expectation would not be that our works would cause the world to give God the glory. Does your light shine? Or is your light hidden, perhaps under a basket of being ashamed of Christ and His cross? Maybe your light is hidden by all the priorities of your life that supersede God’s prominence? What if your light is really not there at all?
I heard it said once, I do not remember by whom, something to the effect of, “You will either kneel before Christ now or bow before Him then” as a reference to one willingly submitting to His authority now and receiving all that entitles; redemption, adoption, fellowship: or you will bow by His authority on that last day, that great and terrible day of the Lord when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all creation.
Romans 14:11-12 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
There are no doubt many who scoff at these verses, many who in their pride and arrogance (pitiful men really) sneer at these words, of this I am aware. But I just wonder, if John that Apostle whom Jesus loved, when standing before this soon returning Christ falls flat on his face due to the shear immense power of His presence, what really do they think they are going to do?
Revelation 22:10-14 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.