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. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ANNIHILATION OF BODY AND SOUL HEREAFTER. Then I ask you, are you living in this belief in the immortality of the soul? Are you educating your families for God? Are you founding a family in heaven? Are you working in the fear of Him who "has the keys of hell and of death?"
II. IF CHRIST HOLDS THE KEYS OF HELL, AND OF DEATH, WE KNOW NOT THE DURATION OF OUR LIFE. LET US, THEN, WORK WHILE WE MAY, AND NOT BE SLOTHFUL. Why does Christ hold the keys? In mercy to us, to keep us from agitation and despair. If the time of our death were not a secret, we should have no comfort, and we should be ill fitted for the discharge of our duties. What did God send you into the world for? Not merely to eat, and drink, and sleep and transact worldly business: a beast or bird could live almost as useful, as noble a life. This little span is the threshold of Hades, the prelude of millions of ages in a sphere fitted to your nature, where the soul's aspirations shall not be clogged and fettered, and often brought to nought, by the grossness of this present body; where the thirst for knowledge shall be fully and eternally gratified; where the heart shall drink ever most deeply into the felt love of God; where we shall, with the noble assembly of ransomed saints and preserved angels, find in the presence of God and of the Lamb employment for those vast powers of the soul, of the existence of which powers we are sometimes permitted to get faint ideas. Oh! live for this.
III. CHRIST, THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, HOLDS DOMINION OVER HADES AND DEATH; THEREFORE THE CHURCH NEED NOT FEAR DEATH. Glorious Captain of our salvation! who could withstand Thee? Thou hast abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel. Death was a curse; Thou has turned it into a blessing. What amazing power! Death was an enemy; Thou hast converted it into a friend. What admirable wisdom! So to baffle and disappoint the plotting spirit of evil.
IV. IF CHRIST HOLDS THE KEYS OF HADES AND OF DEATH, MEN DO NOT DIE BY CHANCE, BUT BY APPOINTMENT; THEREFORE WE SHOULD BE MODERATE IN OUR SORROW FOR DEPARTED FRIENDS.
(W. J. Chapman, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: