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:…
Philip said, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." He committed the supreme mistake of mankind in supposing that man could endure the sudden and perfect revelation of God. Moses said, "Show me Thy glory," but the Lord answered, "Thou canst not see My face: for there shall no man see Me and live." Isaiah caught a glimpse of the King, and exclaimed, "Woe is me! for I am undone." Job said, "Now mine eye seeth Thee: wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." When in the transfiguration the disciples saw Christ's face shine as the sun, and His raiment became white and glistening, "they fell on their face and were sore afraid." We think ourselves ready for any revelation, whereas the fact is that our capacity for receiving revelation is distinctly limited, and in this matter, as in every other, we are straitened in ourselves and not in God, and partial revelation is explained by the fact that God adapts the light to the vision which has to receive it.
1. This is open to illustration from the common events of human life.
(1) Doctor's report of child's health.
(2) A view of the next seven years' trials, etc.
(3) We value a friend for his discretion in such matters.And yet you, who cannot bear these revelations, ask to be shown the Infinite God! A child who cannot bear the twinkle of a candle demands to look upon the noonday sun!
2. This is gracious on the part of God. Child: all the books he has to learn, at once! See how many different languages he has to learn without ever going beyond English! Every new department has a language of its own. If he could hear them all at once, he would enter Babel at a step! Observe: If we could see the last from the first, it would make us impatient of all that lay between. Mark the unhappy effect of such impatience:
(1) Imperfect knowledge.
(2) Restless temper.
(3) Immature conclusions.A great part of the advantage is in the actual growing. We want breadth as well as height. The day dawns; the year develops; the harvest comes little by little. We are, then, in the line of the Divine movement in receiving revelation by degrees. This is the law. This is God's way.
3. Any unwillingness to submit to this method of revelation is proof of an unsound and presumptuous mind. It would be accounted so in the family, in business, in statesmanship. In all things it is well to serve an apprenticeship. Let us know that life is a continual revelation. We cannot see over the wall that separates to-morrow from to-day. But Christ says, "What is that to thee? follow thou Me." We are revealed to ourselves little by little. Another hint, another gleam, and so let knowledge come to us even as the sun shineth more and more unto the perfect day. John could recline on Christ's breast, yet was dazzled and overpowered by the suddenly revealed glory of his Lord. There is a familiar side of Christ, and a side unfamiliar. Some mountains are accessible on one side only.
(J. Parker, D. D.)
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: