Summary: Revelation chapter one gives an interesting view of Jesus' death. He was born with a specific mission and vision which includes His early deathj

Easter Triumph

Revelation 1:12-20

Rev. Dr. Michael H. Koplitz

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw aseven golden lampstands; 13 and ain the middle of the lampstands I saw one blike 1a son of man, cclothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and dgirded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His ahair were white like white wool, like snow; and bHis eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His afeet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His bvoice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held aseven stars, and out of His mouth came a bsharp two-edged sword; and His cface was like dthe sun 1shining in its strength. 17 When I saw Him, I afell at His feet like a dead man. And He bplaced His right hand on me, saying, "cDo not be afraid; dI am the first and the last, 18 and the aliving One; and I 1bwas dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have cthe keys of death and of Hades. 19 "Therefore awrite bthe things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place cafter these things. 20 "As for the amystery of the bseven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the cseven golden lampstands: the bseven stars are the angels of dthe seven churches, and the seven elampstands are the seven churches.

An exciting way to explore the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is to say that He became dead. In this Revelation passage, Jesus said that he was dead, and behold, He was alive forever. Another way of saying this is that Jesus was born to die. Well, wait a moment because that is exactly what is going to happen to each of us. We were born, and we will die. As much as I don't want the second part of that statement to come true, I have to accept that it will happen. Perhaps the difference between our deaths and Jesus' death is that His death was a part of God's plan to bring salvation and forgiveness of sin into the world. As I noted to you a few weeks ago is that God knew that when He gave humankind free will that sin would be introduced into the world. Therefore, the creation of the Universe included a way for the forgiveness of sin.

What is the way? We know it because it is the foundational stone of our Christian faith. Jesus became dead, and today He is alive. He became dead can be explained as follows. Jesus was born with the specific mission to die in a manner and time that God had predetermined. Jesus' death was a part of the blueprint of the Universe.

Let's contemplate that for a moment. In the Near East, the concept of the separation of the body and spirit was unknown until around 250 BCE when the Greek armies invaded Judea. The Greeks brought the ideas of Hellenism with them. One significant concept from Hellenism is that the spirit separates from the body upon death. The spirit can then travel to Heaven. 250 or so years before Jesus' birth, this idea was not known in the Near East. If God sent Jesus to die and rise in that time, no one would have understood it and probably would not have accepted it. Therefore, the idea of the separation of body and spirit had to be known. God could not send Jesus until after the Greek armies entered the Near East.

Another problem with the ancient world was how information was spread. You need roads and boats to allow people to travel from one area of the world to another. Mountains, rivers, and seas created boundaries between peoples. The Near East people did not know about the people to the west of what we call Asia Minor 300 or so years before Jesus. The world for the Near Easterner person was limited to their homeland, Egypt, and the Empires in the north. They did not know about Greece, Rome, India, or China. Therefore, Jesus' birth had to wait until roads were built. The roads were necessary to spread the Gospel message to the world.

God picked the date and time of Jesus' birth and His death. Note that Jesus' death occurred at the time of the Passover sacrifice. The Passover was celebrated then and today so that the Hebrew people would never forget about their years of slavery and how God saved them. What a great time to expand salvation from the Hebrew people to the Gentile world. According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus' death corresponded to the sacrifice of the goat in the Temple for the remembrance of salvation.

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