John, the human author of the book entitled, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, had a shocking experience when He saw the Lord Jesus Christ. The experience was so shocking that John fell at Jesus’ feet as if he were dead (Revelation 1:17a). He saw Jesus who had eyes like a flame of fire (1:14), out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword (1:16), and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength (1:16). And when John saw Jesus in His glory he fell at Christ’s feet as dead!
John had every reason to be afraid. The image of Christ must have been blinding to him. And to see someone with a sharp two-edged sword would also be a reason to be afraid. But as John was lying at Jesus’ feet as dead, Jesus commanded him, “Do not be afraid.” So the question we want to ask is, ‘How can a person not be afraid when they are in the presence of the King of kings?’ This question is especially important as one continues through the book and sees the various judgments that the Lord will bring on the world, including when he comes in Revelation 19 and strikes the nations with the sharp double edged sword that is in His mouth. Some have commented that the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ is a scary book, and they are afraid to read it. Yet, the first command that Jesus gives to John after commanding Him to write the book and send it to the churches is, “Do not be afraid.”
For believers in Jesus Christ, called Christ’s servants in Revelation 1:1, the book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ is not designed to fright-en. Rather, it is written to encourage believers to walk by faith even as they face tribulation that could lead to death (Revelation 2:10). It is a book that begins with grace and peace from Jesus Christ to His servants. You see the reason why believers do not need to fear is because Jesus Christ holds the keys of Hades and of death. In other words, Jesus is the judge and can sentence people to eternal death. Man can kill the body, but man does not have control over the eternal state of the soul (Matthew 10:28). So as the King of Kings, Jesus Christ is the final judge. He can sentence people to eternal hell! That is why Revelation 1:5 is so important for believers to understand as they consider meeting their Lord. This verse declares that Jesus “loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” Jesus doesn’t just randomly send people to hell because He is a just judge. People will be sentenced to an eternal death because of their sins. But for believers in Jesus Christ, we have been washed from our sins by His own blood. In other words, we don’t need to fear because we stand before the Lord forgiven. Since Christ’s death satisfies the just demands of a holy God, Jesus doesn’t send the believer to hell. The believer is able to enter the eternal heavens because of the work of the Lamb of God (Revelation 22:3) on the cross and His victory over the grave (Revelation 1:18).
For those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, though, they ought to be greatly afraid at the coming judgment of God. This final judgment scene is found in Rev-elation 20:11-15, when the unbelievers stand before the Lord and the one who has the keys to Hades and death will cast them into the Lake of Fire. This takes place after the Lord comes and strikes the nations with the sharp sword that proceeds from His mouth (Revelation 19:15). The only hope for this world is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
When Jesus came the first time the angel announced, “do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people, for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord.” For the one who has been washed in the blood of Christ, Revelation announces in a similar manner, “do not be afraid.”