CHRIST THE COMMUNICATOR (1:5-16).
1. His pronouncement of trust, 5a; cf. Isaiah 55:4
2. His plan of redemption, 5b; cf. Colossians 1:18
3. His place of authority, 5c; cf. Psalm 24:1, 7; Matthew 2:2; 1 Timothy 1:17
4. His purpose for the believer, 6a; cf. Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9
5. His praise for eternity, 6b; cf. Revelation 5:12-13
6. His personification as Judge, Revelation 10, 12-15
a. Voice like a trumpet and like the sound of rushing waters = Authority or Glory and Majesty (Ezekiel 1:24; 43:2; Psalm 29:3-4)
b. Dressed in a robe reaching down to His feet and with a golden sash around His chest = priest and King after the order of Melchizedek (Exodus 28:4; Hebrews 6:20; 7:1; cf. Daniel 10:5-6; Josephus Antiquities 3.7.2)
c. Head and hair white like wool = Wisdom (Daniel 7:9; Colossians 2:3) and Purity (Isaiah 1:18)
d. Eyes like blazing fire = Insight (2:18) and Conquest (19:12)
e. Feet like bronze glowing in a furnace = Judgment (19:15)
f. Right hand holds seven stars = Power over the Messengers of the Seven Churches (1:20)
g. Mouth with a sharp double-edged sword = Execution of God’s Word (19:13, 15; cf. Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12).
h. Face like the sun shining in all its brilliance = Righteousness (Malachi 4:2; cf. Matthew 17:2).
7. His power and authority as the glorified Christ, 17-18 (Daniel 7:14; Matthew 28:18; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 2:10; Jude 1:25; Revelation 12:10).
This is what the LORD says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6).
Compare Christ’s declarations of His deity with Yahweh’s:
1. I am the First and the Last = The Eternal King
2. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever = The Redeemer
3. I hold the keys of death and Hades = The Judge
The keys are emblems of power and authority over life, death, and the grave as well as opening and shutting at will “the gates of Hades” (Psalm 9:13-14; Isaiah 38:10; Matthew 16:18; cf. Luke 16:19-31). The Greek “Hades” (‘adhv) and Hebrew “Sheol” (lwav) are not equivalent with “Hell,” which answers to a different Greek word, namely, “Gehenna” (geenna). Jesus is saying, “I can release from the unseen world of spirits and from death whomever I will.”
Christ secured His authority and power over death and Hades when He conquered death as the firstborn from the dead.
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him (John 5:21-23).
Christ will exercise His authority and power over death and Hades at the Rapture of the Church (1 Corinthians 15:51-56; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), over those raised in the first resurrection, and over those raised to second death (Revelation 20:4-15).
John’s description of Christ with symbolic terms reveals His glory, greatness, authority, power, eternal humanity, purity, wisdom, and the countenance of His majesty. His description of Christ resembles Ezekiel’s (1:26-28) and parallels Daniel’s (10:5-6). These descriptions unveil a different side of Christ than we read about in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. In the Gospels, Jesus is primarily tender, humble, loving, kind, compassionate, and longsuffering. In Revelation, His holiness blazes with wrath and judgment.
THE REACTION (1:17). Little wonder, fear (fobew phobeo, terrifying fright) that zaps all breath and strength is John’s response to seeing the glorified Christ, who he knew so well. Notice that the touch of the right hand of Christ and His words “fear not” revives and strengthens John. Prior to receiving revelation of the future, the prophet Daniel had a similar experience with Christ (Daniel 10:14-19). Wisdom, knowledge and understanding always originate with hary (yir’ah, an awesome or terrifying reverence) of the LORD.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (Proverbs 9:10).