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. THE EFFECT PRODUCED UPON THE APOSTLE: "When I saw Him," he says, "I fell at His feet as dead." This is the natural effect of such a visitation upon the senses and sensibilities of the human frame. If an imaginary apparition has turned many cold and motionless with fear, no wonder that it should have been done by the reality. Our feeble natures cannot bear the lustre of heavenly things. How admirably our sight and all our sensations and powers are adapted to the precise distance of the world of our habitation from the sun l Upon the same principle, He who has adapted the light of nature to our senses has, by a still more elaborate process, and involving far higher dependencies, given us such discoveries of the methods of His grace as are fitted to our precise condition in this life, and will adapt them, with equal wisdom and grace, to our more exalted position hereafter.
II. THE MEANS BY WHICH THE APOSTLE WAS REVIVED: "He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not." It is evident from this circumstance that the vision was now close before him. The same hand which had been seen upon the seven lamps was now laid upon him. Here was a further evidence of the reality of the vision. How easily could that hand have crushed him! How well it knew the weight of a hand which distinguishes mercy from judgment! How familiar with the motions indicative of tenderness and aid! This friendly act is accompanied with the encouraging words, "Fear not!" It dispels at once all painful apprehensions from the mind of John, restores the vigour of his frame, and enables him calmly to survey the unearthly and irradiated image before him, and to receive instructions from His lips. Sudden changes, whether of a beneficial or of a disastrous kind, have their effect, first upon the old, and then upon the renovated part of our natures. The more, indeed, we are habituated to the contemplation and indulgence of spiritual motives, the more promptly will they come to our aid, and the nearer they will approach to the instinct of a new nature; but we can never expect to arrive at such a degree of refinement in the present state, in which the instinct of nature shall be surpassed by the promptitude of grace, for that would be to suppose their characteristic distinction to be destroyed.
III. A MORE FAMILIAR ANNOUNCEMENT OF HIS PERSON IS NOW GIVEN: "I am the first and the last," etc.
IV. THE COMMISSION IS RENEWED: "Write the things," etc.
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: