The Living One Who Was Dead

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. We’re going to be finishing chapter 1 of Revelation today in our Trinitarian Commentary. Before that, I of course ask for your prayers. The first is my continuing goal of Christlikeness. It’s been a real struggle in many ways today to try to change old ways of thinking and replace them with new and better ones that are more akin with the way of Christ. The second is for my finances which will be awfully tight this year and seem to be starting out that way already. Finally, I ask for prayers in a specific area of my life where I’m hoping to see requests one and two play out. For now, let’s go to Revelation 1:17-18.

17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Christ addresses John for the first time and describes himself. The terminology of being the first and the last would remind the Jewish reader immediately of Isaiah 48:12, where YHWH himself uses this description to speak of his own nature. It is what we have in mind when we refer to the alpha and the omega.

Christ also describes himself as the living one, apropos for speaking to the one who said of him in the prologue of John “In him was life.” Jesus is the living one by nature. He is not brought into existence but rather he has always existed.

To be sure that this is Jesus, he speaks of himself as having been dead. How does this work? Jesus never ceased to exist, but his body did cease at one point to have life in it. It is because his nature is life itself however that he could not be conquered by death.

This would be a comfort to the churches as it should be a comfort to all in the church today. Jesus conquered the grave. The early church was looking at an early grave simply for being Christian. There are numerous churches today that face the same situation in many parts of the world. Some people reading this blog right now might be in such parts of the world facing death. You are to be honored for your commitment and let us all hope we would do the same.

However, Jesus not only conquered death but he is alive for ever and ever. His resurrection was not like that of others where they rose only to die again. Jesus rose from the dead and because of his resurrection, will never have to taste death again.

Now, he holds the keys in his hands to death and hades. That which tried to conquer him is now that which he is the master of. Once again, what a message of hope this should be for us in who Jesus is. He is the one who is in charge of the worst enemy. For Christians facing death, they can realize they are facing a conquered foe because the God-man has already conquered death.

Tomorrow, we shall look at the first letter to a church in the book of Revelation to see what we can learn about Jesus.

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