The Unveiling of Jesus Christ # 8
(2) "Faithful and True Witness"
"Witness" is the same as "Martyr," "Faithful unto death." His testimony - "the testimony of Jesus" - is forever sealed with His Own Blood. A vast amount of the Bible is gathered into this.
(3) "The Firstborn of the dead"
This is position and relationship. Priority to be followed by others in resurrection. There could be no resurrection for any until Jesus was raised, but then "a new and living hope' sprang to birth for all born-anew believers.
(4) "The Ruler of the kings of the earth"
By His resurrection He won universal Lordship. What satan offered Him on the ground of compromise, and he refused and declined, He has gained through no compromise, but obedience unto death.
This brings us to the all-inclusive issue - the issue which is greater than Caesar and satan - His victory.
(5) "The First and the Last"
Note the particular use of this title in relation to this book. This is the end! The end is to see everything where, and as, God - at the beginning - intended it to be. 'All things summed up in Christ' (Colossians 1:16-20). Pause here with your New Testament open at Ephesians, Colossians, Hebrews.
(6) "The Living One"
"I became dead" - not 'I was killed.' The Roman Empire, the Jewish nation, the kingdom of satan, all conspired to kill Him, but "No one taketh it from Me. I lay it down of Myself. I have authority to lay it down, and to take it again. This commandment received I from My Father" (John 10:18).
"I am alive unto the ages of the ages, and I have the keys of death and of hades." Here we have two things:
(a) The purpose of His becoming dead," His voluntary death. This is in verse five, and it is summed up in a mighty "US" - "Loveth us" - Loosed us" - Made us."
"Christ loved the Church"
Christ loosed the Church from
Christ made the Church a "Kingdom and Priests."
"The keys of death and hades." The right and authority to deliver from the sum of human sin and satan's power thereby, which is death. Read in here First Corinthians fifteen.
Death, and subsequent captivity - imprisonment - cannot prevail against the Living Lord and His Church. Death is the power, and hades is the realm in which the system of death operates. Christ has plundered both, and taken their power into His Own hands.
"He plunged in his imperial strength
To gulfs of darkness down;
He brought His trophy up at length;
The foiled usurper's crown."
Again, we have to place the Cross over the whole book!
The Throne is the Throne of the Lamb!
(b) The second thing intimated here is the one which relates to the final issue in a primary way. It is going to be the ground of the real controversy, connected with everything. Because it requires so much consideration, we shall do no more than mention it now. It is just what is the meaning of our Risen Lord's exultant cry: "I am alive for ever, more." Yes, that is it!
The Life of the Ages,
You may be sorry that we break off there for the present, but this is enough to bring us face to face with the mighty issue of this book - even that of God's eternal counsels.