|I am He that liveth, and was dead| (i.18). (...) (ho zon), THE LIVING ONE. Like the previous title, it is used as a special designation of the One whose unveiling is about to be shewn to John.
Its use is peculiar to Daniel and Revelation. The two books thus linked together by it are linked as to their character and subject matter in a very special manner.
It is used twice in Daniel:- Dan. iv.34 (31 ) and xii.7; and six time in Revelation:- Rev. i.18; iv.9,10; v.14; x.6; and xv.7.
In Dan. iv.34 (the first occurrence), we read of Nebuchadnezzer, |I praised and honoured HIM THAT LIVETH for ever; whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation; and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.|
That exactly expresses what He who reveals Himself by the title, |He that liveth,| in Rev. i.18, has there come to do.
He is coming with the armies of heaven (Rev. xix.14) to take the kingdom and the dominion, and to do his will among the inhabitants of the earth (not the church or the churches).
Dan. xii.7 and Rev. x.6 are so similar that we put them side by side. Both refer to and contrast Christ's relation to eternity and to time:
|He (the angel) held up his right hand and his left to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that is shall be for a time, times, and a half, and ... all these things shall be finished| (Dan. xii.7).
|And the angel... lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever and ever... that there should be time (R.V. marg., delay) no longer| (Rev. x.5,6).
Who can doubt that Daniel and Revelation are identical as to their scope; and that they relate, not to this present church period at all, but to the time when |he that liveth,| or the Living One, shall come to exercise dominion in the earth, and this in connection, not with the grace of God, but with |the wrath of God| (Rev. xv.7)? The double testimony of two witnesses, in Daniel and Revelation, bespeak the fact that this title relates entirely to the earth, and to man.
The church is heavenly in its calling, its standing, its hope, and its destiny. But here, everything relates to the execution of judgment on the earth, and upon man.
There is a related title which is also very significant, |the living God.| This is used in both Testaments, and indiscriminately, because it has no special reference either to Israel or to the church; but because of a latent reference it always has, to idols, and to judgment on idolaters. This is often expressed in the context; but where it is not actually expressed in words, the thought of idols and idolatry and idolaters has to be supplied mentally.
The title (|the living God|) occurs 13 times in the Old Testament (Hebrew), and twice in the Chaldee (Dan. vi.20,26), fifteen times in all. It begins in connection with apostasy (13), but ends in grace and blessing (15=3X5).
In the New Testament it occurs sixteen times (4X4), the square of four, four being the number specially associated with the earth.
The whole matter is so important and full of interest, that we venture to give all the references.
The first, Deut. v.26 (23) gives the key (as usual) to the whole. It is in connection with the giving of the Ten Commandments (with special reference to the second, iv.19), when they |heard the voice of the living God (Elohim) speaking out of the midst of the fire.|
We say that the title here used is in connection with idolatry; and especially in its most ancient and universal form, sun-worship.
A few verses before (Deut. iv.19), we read, |Lest thou lift up thine eyes to heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and to serve them,| etc.
The whole heathen world worshipped the sun and the host of heaven; because they |associated with them certain human characters who had really performed the actions which were thence ascribed to the celestial bodies. The sun had various attributes; and one was |the living one.| The sun has a conspicuous place in freemasonry; and sun-worship has its ramifications throughout the whole world. We cannot impede our argument by giving further details here. We have put them together in an Appendix, where our readers may see the evidence for themselves.
Our point is this; that the first use of the title |the living God| has to do with the voice out of the midst of the fire; and the last use of it (in Rev. vii.2) is where God's servants are sealed with |the seal of the living God,| so as to be kept from the then coming most awful phase of idolatry the world has ever seen, even the worship of the Beast; and to be preserved from and through the consequent judgments which shall come on those worshippers.
In Deut. xxii.40,41, we have (not the title, but) words which connect the thought contained in it with that time of judgment.
Deut. xxxii. contains that |Song of Moses,| of which Rev. xv.3 speaks, and the time referred to is Apocalyptic time. |For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me| (Deut. xxxii.40,41).
Ps. xviii.46-48 (47-49). |The Lord liveth...It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. He delivereth me from mine enemies:| etc.
The title also has to do with Israel's restoration and deliverance. See Jer. xvi.14,15; xxiii.7,8.
The judgment on those who use this title of idols is described in Amos viii.14.
If our readers will compare all the occurrences which we now give of this title, |the living God,| they will see how (as a whole) they refer to Israel, to Gentiles, to the earth, to idolaters, and to idols.
Deut. v.26 (23). Josh. iii.10. I Sam. xvii.26,36, where David uses it against the defiance of Goliath.2 Kings xix.4,16. Isa. xxxvii.4,17, where it is used against the reproach of Sennacherib. Ps. xlii.2 (3); lxxxiv.2 (3), where it is used with a latent reference to the false gods which others worship and seek. So Jer. x.10; xxiii.36, and Hos. i.10 (ii.1).
In the New Testament the usage is the same. Matt. xvi.16; xxvi.63. John vi.69. Acts xiv.15. Rom. ix.26.2 Cor. iii.3; vi.16.1 Thess. i.9 (idols).1 Tim. iii.15; iv.10; vi.17. Heb. iii.12; ix.14; x.31; xii.22; and Rev. vii.2. Sixteen in all (4 in the Gospels and Acts, 4 in the Church Epistles, 3 in the Pastoral Epistles, 4 in Hebrews, and once in Revelation).
Enough has been said on this particular title, and upon the seven as a whole, to show that they all link on the book of Revelation to the Old Testament and the Gospels, and not to the Church; and that their cumulative testimony is that Christ is revealed in this book, not in the character in which He is presented to the Church of God, but in that character in which He is revealed in the Old Testament in relation to Israel and the Earth, which is again taken up in the Apocalypse.
There are other titles of Christ in this book which all add their own testimony; but these we can leave for the present, till we come to them in their own place. Enough has been said to show that these titles assumed by the Lord Jesus in the first chapter of this book shut it entirely off, by way of interpretation, from the Church, which is His Body.