Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Revelation 1:18b

Introduction

Recently, I have once again been reviewing my notes on the Book of Revelation, chapters 1-3, from my Greek Syntax and Exegesis class at SBTS. In this season, as we give special focus to the resurrection of Jesus, I've realized that there are a few verses in these opening chapters of Revelation that touch upon this subject. Below, I give special attention to one of these verses from Revelation concerning the resurrection of Jesus.

Revelation 1:18b

...and I was dead– but look!– I am living from forever into forever, and I hold the keys to death and to Hades.


Commentary

After comforting His servant John with a proclamation of who He is, this one "like a son of man"-- who is also "the First and Last, the Living One"-- gives another reason that John should not fear: by a proclamation of His work.

In this proclamation of His work, the One standing before John first says, "and I was dead." This certainly refers to the death of Jesus on the Cross. This death is recorded in the Gospel of John (and the reader will remember that John claimed to be an eyewitness to the crucifixion: John 19:35), as Jesus is quoted as saying, "Tetelestai!" ("it is/has been finished/completed/accomplished/canceled"), and John notes in his Gospel account, "... and he bowed his head, giving up his spirit" (John 19:30). The death of Jesus is clear and crucial in the Gospel message and in the Book of Revelation.

After saying, "I was dead," the One standing before John sets up a contrast for this phrase, saying, "But look!" (kai idou). This statement is intended to forcefully draw John's attention both to the Living speaker standing before him and to the statement he is about to hear.

This One who was dead says, "I am living from forever into forever" (eis tous aiônas tôn aiônôn). Literally, this phrase could be rendered something like, "into the ages from the ages." This indicates the eternality of the One speaking; it is a straightforward assertion of His deity.

This eternal One who has conquered death says, "I hold the keys to death and to Hades." This mention of death and Hades points forward to end-times events more fully discussed later in the Book of Revelation (see Rev 20:14). Here it may be noted that the resurrection of Jesus was not a one-time victory over death and the grave, which may later be lost. Instead, it was the decisive blow in a war against these great enemies of humanity. Jesus, the chief Victor, has all power over death and the realm of the dead. This truth would have been a great comfort to John, and it should be a great comfort to every follower of Jesus today.




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