1: 16-20 JESUS, OUR AWESOME HIGH PRIEST
“He had in His right hand seven stars, and out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword, and His countenance was as the sun shines in his strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, 'Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that lives, and was dead; and behold I am alive forever more, Amen; and I have the keys of Hades and of death” (Revelation 1:16-18).
Although John was so overwhelmed by the vision of Jesus in His glory that he 'fell at His feet as dead," he was able to remember some of the details of His appearance. John noticed that Jesus had seven stars in His hand. An angel explained that “The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand… the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches” (Revelation 1:20). Although the Greek word for angel (aggelo) is often used for heavenly beings, the basic meaning is “messenger, one who is sent” and can also refer to a person who has a message from God. This is obviously the meaning here, because in chapters two and three John is commanded to write “To the angel of the church of (Ephesus, Smyrna, etc.).” John was not addressing his letters to heavenly beings; but to the earthly “angels” (elders) of the churches who had the responsibility of bringing God’s messages to the church members.
The messages to the seven churches which are given in Revelation chapters two and three show that God’s people would pass through fearsome times of trial, temptation, persecution and often failure. But even though His people have often stumbled, they have not been defeated, because they are following their leader the Lord Jesus Christ, who symbolically represents Himself in these verses as the ultimate victor—“out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword”(Revelation 1:16).
We see this symbol of a sword in the mouth of Jesus again in chapter 19. There Jesus is portrayed at His Second Coming as a heavenly warrior riding a white horse, and “out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron” (Revelation 19:15). This image, taken from Psalm 2, emphasizes His permanent and complete victory over His enemies. Jesus here in the opening scene of His revelation of Himself assures His Church, which will face nearly two thousand years of trials and sometimes deadly persecution, that ultimately there will be victory and deliverance. John, who was suffering on an island prison, along with all of His followers throughout the ages who have been oppressed and sometimes felt abandoned are reassured, “Fear not; I am the first and the last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold I am alive forever more, Amen; and I have the keys of Hades and of death” (Revelation 1:17,18). Persecution, ridicule and defeat will not last forever, and the prison of death will be opened by the one who is "live forever more" and holds "the keys".
When John saw the face of Jesus in all its glory he “fell at His feet as dead” (Revelation 1:17). Jesus “laid His right hand on [John], saying to [him], ‘fear not” (Revelation 1:17). and John he was strengthened and was able to witness the greatest revelation of God, heaven, Jesus and His kingdom that had ever been seen by anyone.
Someday we too will see God as He is, but if we saw His glory and holiness now we would be so overwhelmed that His presence would be fatal..<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> God in His mercy has “veiled” himself from sinful humanity, revealing Himself to us through His word and through Jesus, who took on Himself humanity so that we could bear to see God. But the day is coming when “every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7) the day “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire” (2 Thessalonians 1:8).
That will be a terrifying day for those who have comforted themselves with the thought that they can ignore Jesus, live their lives as they please, or even worse mock God and His followers. With the stress of the final crisis they could unwittingly end up fighting against God; John saw that those who had persistently rejected God crying out “to the mountains and the rocks, ‘fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne” (Revelation 6:16).
On the other hand, those who have been seeking Him with all their hearts will know Him through His Spirit living in them, and will rejoice to see Him coming. “And it will be said in that day: 'Behold this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation” (Isaiah 25:9).
The Book of Revelation is the story of how God is preparing the world for the full revelation of His glory. “But truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord” (Numbers 14:21). “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him” (Revelation 1:7). God is doing everything He can now to prepare us for that day.
The rapid fulfillment of the prophecies found in the Book of Revelation indicate that "the Day of the Lord" is near; we are about to witness events more awesome than any that have ever happened, events that we could not imagine if they were not revealed to us in the symbolism of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The messages of Revelation have been given so that we can be ready. “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the word of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3).
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> See for example Daniel 8:18, 10:8-19, Isaiah :1-5, Ezekiel 1:1-28, 3:14,15