This is the unrehearsed response of all who have been privileged to see the glory of the Lord (Isa. Isa. 6:4; Eze. Eze. 1:28; Eze. 3:23; Eze. 43:3; Eze. 44:4; Dan. Dan. 8:17; Dan. 10:8, Dan. 10:16-17; Mtt. Mat. 17:6; Acts Acts 9:4). It is as much in recognition of the power and might of God as in a realization of their utter unworthiness (Jdg. Jdg. 6:22; Jdg. 13:22; Isa. Isa. 6:5, Isa. 6:7). The beloved disciple, who had handled the Word of life, lain in his Lords bosom in the days of his flesh, can as little as any other endure the revelation of his majesty.1
laid His right hand on me
Daniel experienced a similar loss of all strength at the imposing presence of his visitor by the river Tigris (Dan. Dan. 10:8). He too was told not to be afraid and was touched in a similar act of restoration (Dan. Dan. 10:10). When Ezekiel was overcome by the glory of the Lord (Eze. Eze. 1:28), the Holy Spirit restored him to his feet (Eze. Eze. 2:1-2). Although years had passed, perhaps this brought to mind Johns previous experience on the Mount of Transfiguration where John had his first glimpse of the glory of Jesus and was similarly restored (Mtt. Mat. 17:6-7).
do not be afraid
The unavoidable response of those who saw even a glimpse of His glory is that of fear. Yet how cavalier we are today in our attitude toward the Maker of a myriad of galaxies! We, who dare not even touch a 60-watt light bulb without wearing protective gloves, often treat Him as our Genie on call.2 We havent the slightest notion or appreciation of His holiness, even daring to think that worship is about pleasing usexpressing our dislike if the music is not to our taste or we are unable to drink coffee during the worship service. How much we are in need of a glimpse of His glory that we might have a Scriptural fear of the Lord!3 A lack of fear for God is the characteristic of His enemies (Ps. Ps. 36:1; Jer. Jer. 2:19; Jer. 5:24; Rom. Rom. 3:18) and fear is one of His titles (Gen. Gen. 31:42, Gen. 31:53). Yet the fear that His children are to have is not the cowering response of a creature fearing retribution. It is the healthy, reverent, fear one would have toward a human father of perfect discipline and unconditional love, if one were to exist. Coupled with the recognition of power and great might is a deep comfort in the realization that God is also our Protector. As Paul observed, If God is for us, who can be against us (Rom. Rom. 8:31)? When we look into the face of the Judge of the Universe, it is our Saviors face we will see!
I am the First and the Last
See commentary on Revelation 1:11.
1 Richard Chenevix Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1861), 45.
2 The term Genie is derived from the Arabic word for demon: Jin.
3 The fear of God is a major theme of Scripture: Gen. Gen. 31:42, Gen. 31:53; Ex. Ex. 1:17; Ex. 15:11; Ex. 20:20; Jos. Jos. 4:24; 1K. 1K. 18:3; 2Chr. 2Chr. 19:7, 2Chr. 19:9; Job Job 9:34; Job 23:15-16; Job 25:1; Job 28:28; Ps. Ps. 5:7; Ps. 89:7; Ps. 111:10; Ps. 115:13; Ps. 119:38, Ps. 119:120; Ps. 128:4; Ps. 145:19; Pr. Pr. 2:5; Pr. 8:13; Pr. 9:10; Pr. 10:27; Pr. 14:26; Pr. 15:16, Pr. 15:33; Pr. 16:6; Pr. 19:23; Pr. 22:4; Pr. 23:17; Pr. 24:21; Pr. 31:30; Ecc. Ecc. 5:7; Ecc. 8:12; Ecc. 12:13; Isa. Isa. 8:13; Isa. 11:3; Isa. 33:5; Isa. 50:10; Isa. 57:11; Isa. 59:19; Jer. Jer. 5:22-24; Hab. Hab. 3:16; Luke Luke 12:5; Acts Acts 9:31; Acts 10:2, Acts 10:35; 2Cor. 2Cor. 5:13; 1Pe. 1Pe. 3:15; Rev. Rev. 19:5+.