Today's reading begins the last week of reading, in which we cover the Revelation to John. While exiled on the isle of Patmos, John had a most thrilling and terrifying vision, and to be honest, when I read it, one of the first things I think is, "Glad it was him, and not me!" He uses much apocalyptic language to describe things that there is just probably no good earthly way to describe. Also, keep in mind that this Revelation, though it speaks of some events still yet to come, was primarily written to the churches at the time, in order to encourage them as they were facing severe persecution.
I do think the power and majesty with which we now see Christ is wonderful! He is described as "someone 'like a son of man,' dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters." Notice John keeps saying that He is "like" this or that...which means He was probably indescribable. Whatever his appearance was, my minister once, in speaking about this passage, asked us to recall that John was "the disciple that Jesus loved." Probably his best earthly friend. The one Jesus asked to look after His mother. The one who was reclining upon his chest at the Last Supper. And now, just at the very sight of Him, John was terrified and "fell at his feet as though dead."
In the first day's reading, John includes seven messages from Christ, to seven different churches. I love the descriptions of Christ in each of these letters, and the promise each of these letters contains to him that overcomes.
Christ is described as:
--"Him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands."
--"Him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again."
--"Him who has the sharp, double-edged sword."
--"The Son of God, whose eyes are blazing like fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze."
--"Him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars"
--"Him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open."
--"The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation."
The promises that Christ offers are:
--"To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."
--"He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death."
--"To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it."
--"To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations--'He will rule them with an iron scepter, he will dash them to pieces like pottery'--just as I have received authority from my Father, I will also give him the morning star."
-"He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels."
--"Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name."
--"To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne."
At the end of the last letter, to the church in Laodicea, He says, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."