Risen One: A Resurrection Day Message

The apostle John had a tremendous vision of Jesus Christ while he was banished on the island of Patmos. This vision of Christ as recorded in Revelation 1 was so powerful that he fell at the feet of Christ as dead. But then, Christ touched him with His right hand and said something to him that is also for others.
Risen One: A Resurrection Day Message
Source - Image owned, uploaded and copyrighted 2015 by the author, Peter P. Macinta (BrotherPete).

Around 2,000 years ago Patmos was one of the small islands Rome would send criminals to. The apostle John was banished to that desolate place for proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, because he had a direct relationship with God through Jesus Christ, he was “in the spirit on the Lord’s day" (Revelation 1:10). He even had a vision of the risen Christ. However, it was a frightening sight, and a powerfully holy sight, so much so that the apostle John was overwhelmed by it.

The apostle fell and laid at His feet. But then, in verses 17 and 18,

John records, “He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, ‘Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore; and have the keys of hell and of death.’”

Those words held no comfort to me before I turned to Christ, but once I surrendered my life to Him they became very comforting. The above is from the Authorized Version of the King James Bible (modified). While that is fine, knowing a little more as to what the Greek actually brings out will give us more enlightenment. So here are the words of Christ from John Nelson Darby’s translation:

“Fear not; *I* am the first and the last, and the living one: and I became dead, and behold, I am living to the ages of ages, and have the keys of death and of hades.”

In reality it would be good to do a message on that entire statement by Christ. However, I feel led at this time to concentrate only on verse 18, bringing out the four points listed below. However, we will briefly point out something from the words of Christ in verse 17.

I. Living One  “the living one"

Ralph Earle {1} points out “the Living One” is the correct literal rendering of the text. He states that this term is “a divine title, applied to God in both the Old and New Testaments.” An Old Testament example is Psalm 42:2, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” This truth that the verb shows about the deity of Christ is supported by the words of Christ in verse 17, “Fear not; I am the first and the last,” for only YHVH is the first and the last (Isaiah 44:6).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
In the Greek, the verb {2} for “the living one” is a present active participle. Although it does mean living presently, it means living all the time, even when He was physically dead, and always living with eternal life. The verb is {3} ζαω (zao pronounced dzah’-o) and means the following:

1) to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead) 
2) to enjoy real life 
2a) to have true life and worthy of the name 
2b) active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God 
3) to live i.e. pass life, in the manner of the living and acting 
3a) of mortals or character 
4) living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul 
5) metaph. to be in full vigor 
5a) to be fresh, strong, efficient, 
5b) as adj. active, powerful, efficacious 

It would be good to contrast zao with one of its synonyms, bioo (bee - short o long o). The only place in the New Testament (NT) where it is found is 1 Peter 4:2, “That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” Bioo means to spend life, live. It is akin to the idea of the noun bio, which means life,  life extensively, the period or course of life, that by which life is sustained, resources, wealth, goods. One place the noun “bio" is found is in Luke 18:14, “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.”

The main point here though is that Christ is “the Living One,” YHVH God Himself, the self-existing One, the self-sustaining One. The life of the Living One is pure, vibrant, life-giving, efficacious and much more.

II. Loving One “...I became dead...”

The Holy Scriptures are clear that

the Living One took our human nature and with it experienced physical death {4}. This was just one part of the plan of salvation for our lives. Physical death is a penalty for sin and if sin is left unchecked in one’s life then it leads to what the Word of God calls the second death. However, out of His vast love for us Christ fully experienced physical death.

John 10:15 --As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
John 10:17 --Therefore does my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
John  5:13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

III. Lifting One  “... and behold, I am living to the ages of ages,...”

Though everyone has sinned it is God’s desire that none should experience the second death (2 Peter 3:9). God has made the Way for any and all to avoid that second death. Jesus said He is that Way (John 14:6). To those that believe on Him (surrendering themselves to His will) He says (John 14:19d), “...because I live, you shall live also.”

Ah, the immense love of the Father to provide redemption through His Son for anyone! This makes Him the Lifting One, because, through the life of Christ He can raise anyone from the lowest abyss of sin and cause them to share in the glory of His Son (John 17:22). And the troubles that a redeemed child of God goes through prepares them for ministry in the ages to come. As it is written in 2 Corinthians 4:17 (Darby), “For our momentary and light affliction works for us in surpassing measure an eternal weight of glory.”

IV. Liberating One  “...and have the keys of death and of hades.”

I am of the opinion that “death” mentioned in this phrase speaks of both physical and spiritual death. Hades is that area in the spiritual realm where the disembodied unredeemed abide in gehenna (hell) until being cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20). Surrendering to Christ liberates a person from both.

In regard to physical death the redeemed can take great comfort in the words of Jesus (John 11:25) when He said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Our physical death will be like nothing if we latch onto Christ “the Living One” is this life.

And, of course, when one truly surrenders to Christ, making Him King in their life, He liberates them from spiritual death. If one remains in Christ they will not partake of the second death. 


{1} Earle, Ralph: Beacon Bible Commentary (Beacon Hill Press Of Kansas City: Kansas City, Missouri --1967) p485

{2} The Greek verb under discussion expresses both the subject and state of being.

{3} From an electronic version of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance by James Strong incorporated in the Online Bible program, and so throughout the article whenever the ancient language is referred to and no other authority is cited.

{4} For a full article on the fact that one still exists after death including how could Christ, being all man but also all God, die, please see my article You Still Exist After Death.

Visit my Biblical apologetics blog at http://thesureword.expertscolumn.com/.

This article was in the form of a sermon (message) outline with comments. God willing by April 30, 2015 (hopefully much sooner), you should be able to hear the actual message (sermon) by selecting a link at http://www.sapphirestreams.com/life/audioM.html#M358 .

Unless otherwise noted all Holy Scripture is from the 1769 Authorized Version with spelling of some words updated for our time in addition to changing LORD to YHVH as it rightly should be when the text so indicates. An * next to the abbreviation for another translation or version indicates the same for the text presented.

Not responsible for any advertisements appearing with this article nor am I necessarily in agreement with any of them. The statements of this paragraph hold true not only for this article, but for everything I have placed on the Internet.

Article Written By BrotherPete

I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having served over forty years as a pastor. I graduated from Northeast Bible College of Green Lane Pennsylvania and have a Bachelors Degree in Bible. I am enthused about the Word of God and how it can make a positive change in the life of anyone once it is teamed up with faith and the Holy Spirit. I am happily married. Visit www.sapphirestreams.com.

Last updated on 23-07-2016 214 1

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  • nbillett  28-12-2016
    On account of sin, every person is born and lives as if he or she were in a foreign land. Our own reality is hidden from us as long as we are not rooted in God and in communion with him. Our religions and ideologies, products of our culture, do not permit us to go beyond the limits of a world we make to suit ourselves. to become aware of our vocation we need God's call and we need to be willing to get out of this vicious circle.
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