Spiritual Meaning of REVELATION 1:17
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AR 54. Verse 17. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead, signifies that from such presence of the Lord there was a defect or deprivation of his own life. A man‘s own life cannot sustain the presence of the Lord, such as the Lord is in Himself, yea, such as He is in the inmosts of His Word; for His Divine love is altogether like the sun, which no one can bear as it is in itself, without being consumed. This is what is meant by saying that:--

No one can see God and live (Exod. 33:20; Judges 13:22).

This being the case, therefore the Lord appears to the angels in heaven as a sun, at a distance from them, as the sun of this world is from men; the reason is, because the Lord in Himself is in that sun. But yet the Lord so moderates and tempers His Divine that man can sustain His presence. This is effected by veilings. It was so done when He revealed Himself to many in the Word. Yea, by veilings He is present with everyone who worships Him; as He Himself says in John:--

He that doeth My commandments, with him I Will make My abode (John 14:21, 23).

That He will be in them, and they in Him (John 15:4, 5).

Hence it is evident why John, when he saw the Lord in such glory, fell at His feet as dead; and also, why the three disciples, when they saw the Lord in glory, were heavy with sleep, and a cloud covered them (Luke 9:32, 34).

AR 55. And He laid His right hand upon me, signifies life then inspired from Him. The reason why the Lord "laid His right hand upon him," is, because communication is effected by the touch of the hands. The reason is that the life of the mind, and thence of the body, puts itself forth into the arms, and through them into the hands. On this account:--

The Lord touched with His hands those whom He restored to life and healed (Mark 1:31, 41; 7:32, 33; 8:22-26; 10:13, 16; Luke 5:12, 13; 7:14; 18:15; 22:51).

And in like manner:--

After His disciples saw Jesus transfigured, and they fell on the face (Matt. 17:6, 7).

The origin of this is, because the presence of the Lord with man is adjunction, and thus conjunction by contiguity; and this contiguity is near and fuller in proportion as man loves the Lord, that is, does His commandments. From these few things it may appear, that by "laying His right had upon him," is signified inspiring him with His life.

AR 56. Saying unto me, Fear not, signifies resuscitation, and then adoration from the deepest humiliation. That it is resuscitation to life, is a consequence of what went before (n. 55); and that it is adoration from the deepest humiliation, is evident, for he fell at the Lord’s feet. And as a holy fear seized him, the Lord said, on his being resuscitated, "Fear not." Holy fear, which sometimes is joined with a sacred tremor of the interiors of the mind, and sometimes with horripilation, supervenes, when life enters from the Lord in place of one‘s own life. One’s own life is to look from one‘s self to the Lord, but life from the Lord is to look from the Lord to the Lord and yet as if from himself. When man is in this latter life, he sees that he himself is not anything, but the Lord only. Daniel also was in this holy fear, when:--

He saw the man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with gold of Uphaz, his body like the beryl, his face like lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet as the splendor of polished brass, upon seeing whom Daniel also became as dead, and a hand touched him, and it was said, Fear not, Daniel (Daniel 10:5-12).

Something similar occurred to Peter, James, and John, when the Lord was transfigured, and was seen:--

As to His face like the sun, and His garments as the light, upon which they also fell upon their faces, and feared for themselves greatly, and then Jesus coming near, touched them, saying, Fear not ye (Matt. 17:2, 6, 7).

The Lord also said unto the women who saw Him at the sepulchre, Fear not (Matt. 28:10).

Likewise the angel, whose face appeared like lightning, and his garment as snow, said unto those women, Fear not ye (Matt. 28:3-5).

The angel said to Zechariah also, Fear not (Luke 1:12, 13).

In like manner the angel said to Mary, Fear not (Luke 1:30).

The angels said to the shepherds also, when the glory of the Lord shone round about them, Fear not (Luke 2:9, 10).

A similar holy fear seized Simon, by reason of the draught of fishes; therefore he said:--

Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord; but Jesus said unto him, Fear not (Luke 5:8-10).

These are adduced that it may be known why the Lord said to John, "Fear not," and that by it is meant resuscitation, and then adoration from the deepest humiliation.

AR 57. I am the First and the Last, which signifies that He alone is infinite and eternal, thus the only God, may appear from the explanation in (n. 13, 29, 38).

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info