The First and the Last

Key Texts: Revelation 1:17-18

When 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.  I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

I think most anyone who looks at it would agree – the Book of Revelation is not easy reading.

It’s filled with complicated imagery, dazzling symbolism, hints of heaven and glimpses of hell, angels, demons, martyrs – you name it – it’s got it.

So, people react to it in a number of ways.

Some see it as a “mystery” book – where only careful analysis and study will lead to understanding.

Others see it as an interesting example of ancient apocalyptic writing – but dismiss it as irrelevant as a guide for spiritual life today.

Still others glance at it, say “Ugh” and simply walk away.

I see it as an amazing book; not one to spend 24 hours a day studying, but not one to dismiss out of hand either.

And, in its deep, mystical way – I find it brings hope.

John’s vision of Christ is, for me, summed up in this one, brief powerful phrase from the lips of the Lord:

“I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

There it is: “And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”

You can’t read the Book of Revelation, take it seriously on faith, and decide that Jesus of Nazareth is just a good man or a talented rabbi of long ago.

You must accept, again on faith, that He actually is “the First and the Last.”

Otherwise, you might as well set aside the Book of Revelation as interesting, but irrelevant.

I for one, take it on faith.  I may not fully understand its deepest mysteries completely, and doubt that I will, this side of heaven.

But I take it – and Christ – on faith.

How about you?

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