Books and movies often try to visualize the end of the world. Nuclear weapons are launched and destroy the planet. An epidemic wipes out life on Earth. Robots and artificial intelligence take over. People become virtual reality addicts. Zombies prowl. Space aliens conquer humanity. As fascinating as these scenarios are, there’s little hope to be found there.
Today’s reading demonstrates how Christians see the end of the world—and it’s a Person! Jesus Christ, the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega (v. 17; see Rev. 19:11–16). When John saw Him in a vision, he fell at His feet in worship.
Christ appeared as “someone like a son of man” (v. 13), a Messianic title from Daniel 7:13–14. His robe and golden sash identify Him as a priest or possibly a judge. His white hair indicates wisdom and dignity (v. 14). His “blazing” eyes see everything accurately, denoting both omni- science and justice. His “glowing” feet imply strength and stability; they will trample on His enemies (v. 15). His voice like “rushing waters” also suggests power (see Ezek. 1:24). The seven stars in His right hand are the angels of the seven churches (vv. 16, 20). The double-edged sword coming from His mouth symbolizes His word of judgment, and His shining face — His glory.
The titles Christ announces in verse 17 are highly significant. “The First and the Last” shows not only that He’s eternal but that He’s also supreme over all. The “Living One” has conquered death and thereby guaranteed our resurrection. He holds “the keys of death and Hades,” meaning that He is in sovereign control of the eternal destiny of every one of us. These descriptions and titles set the stage for the letters to the seven churches, in which pertinent titles will reoccur in messages to specific churches.
>> One way to pray in a fresh and meaningful manner is to use the alphabet. From A to Z, name an attribute of God and praise Him for it (Hint: A=Almighty, or Awesome).
“Almighty, infinite Father / Faithfully loving Your own / Here in our weakness You find us / Falling before Your throne / You are the One that we praise / You are the One we adore” You are the One we hunger for! (“Wonderful, Merciful Savior”).