Revelation 1:17-20 When we practice self-mastery, we obtain the key to destroy the devil and his works
Revelation 1:17-20 When we practice self-mastery, we obtain the key to destroy the devil and his works.
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things. As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Jesus obtained the key of death and Hades not by the use of power, but by self-mastery. Here, He humbled Himself under God and forgave His persecutors! God was pleased with Jesus and poured His fullness into Him. Jesus became the first and the last by obtaining full authority over all things: time, space and matter. Likewise, when we achieve mastery over ourselves, we will obtain authority over all things to reign with God. Today’s devotion teaches us: When we practice self-mastery, we obtain the key to destroy the devil and his works.
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,
What was Jesus alluding to when He said, “Do not be afraid”? Jesus was alluding to the series of ominous and catastrophic visions that John was about to see. What does it mean when Jesus said, “I am the first and the last”? It means that He sees at one glance the beginning of time to eternity. He is the Creator and beginning of all things (see Colossians 1:15). And He sovereignly brings all things to a perfect conclusion. How did He gain authority over all things? It is by His blood that He acquired authority over all things: time, space and matter (see Colossians 1:20). In so doing, He predestines our paths and the circumstances (both favourable and unfavourable) that result in our progress towards glorification.
and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
To live is to possess the God-life and reign with Him. To die is to be estranged from God, and become a slave of darkness. Jesus was the only one who was cut off and thereafter reconciled with God by His own merit. Although He was surrounded by darkness, He did not allow the darkness to enter Him. Therefore, there is no one above Him other than the Father.
Adam was cut off from God (see Genesis 2:17) because after receiving the authority to rule the earth, He wanted to live independently of God. But Jesus, after receiving all authority humbled Himself under God’s rule (see John 13:3). If Jesus did not succumb to the temptation of power, why was He cut off from God? He was cut off because He gave Himself over to be unjustly executed on the cross (see Galatians 3:13, Deuteronomy 21:23). But if Jesus resisted them by His power, they would have perished without an opportunity for repentance. As soon as Jesus discovered that He was cut off, He cried out with a loud voice,
“ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” which is translated, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” – Mark 15:34
How did Jesus reconcile with God and return to God’s presence? By His undying trust in God’s wisdom and faithfulness towards Him. The psalmist wrote concerning Jesus’s attitude when He is cut off.
I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God. – Psalm 42:9-10
God was fully satisfied, having witnessed Jesus’s relentless hope amid His suffering. And God exalted Jesus giving Him authority over death and Hades.
Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things. As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
The seven churches represent the seven categories of churches and their peculiarities. Each category with their distinct characteristics will multiply after their kind. As birds of a feather flock together, people will gravitate towards churches that resonate with their ideals and values.
The archangels are appointed to serve, to guide and protect the churches. Each of the seven high ranking angels and their armies are specialised in dealing with their respective category of churches.
When we practice self-mastery, we obtain the key to destroy the devil and his works.
Not every churchgoer possesses authority over the devil and his dominion. But those who love God by doing His will are given authority to destroy them. But even among the faithfuls, there are differing levels of authority. Jesus’s disciples failed to cast out the demon from the boy because their faith was small (see Matthew 17:20). Thereafter, Jesus encouraged them to practice self-mastery through prayer and fasting (see Matthew 17:21).
At the beginning of Jesus’s ministry, He practiced self-mastery by praying and fasting in the wilderness. For 40 days, the devil came to tempt Jesus with suggestions that appealed to the lust of humanity. The devil left after failing to move Jesus in every temptation. And God gave Jesus divine authority over the devil and his dominion. Jesus, having completed His fast in the wilderness, the scripture says,
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district. – Luke 4:14
Indeed, Jesus possessed the power of the Spirit because He resisted the devil’s temptations through self-mastery. Towards the end of Jesus’s ministry, the devil tempted Him to destroy His persecutors. But Jesus overcame the devil’s temptation by forgiving the people. What Jesus did pleased the Father and He gave Jesus the keys of death and Hades.
Many believers preface their prayers with “In Jesus’s name…”, a kind of magical incantation. They fasted for days and wondered why their prayers did not work. Until they learn to reign in their sinful inclinations and reject temptations, they will not have authority to move mountains, heal sicknesses and destroy the devil.
What then is Jesus’s role in the lives of believers? Christ, having mastered Himself against temptations is able to help us cleanse the lustful desires and negative emotions within (see Hebrews 2:18). The more we let the Christ-Self master our soul to overcome temptations, the more we gain authority to possess the key of death and Hades.
God’s life in us expresses itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly.
Although Jesus was surrounded by darkness, but darkness could not enter His soul. In the depths of His suffering, Jesus looked to God for deliverance and forgave His persecutors. God was pleased with His Son and gave Him His life, the God-life. From then on, all the fullness of the God-life is found in Christ. Paul said,
For in Him (Christ) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete. – Colossians 2:9-10a
When we are baptised in the Holy Spirit, Christ unites Himself with our human self giving birth to the Christ-Self. Thus, the living One within us is not dead, but alive forevermore. Indeed, through us, all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form and we have been made complete. Our identity is transformed from mere human beings to sons of God to live the God-life. As sons of God, we are equal with God becoming co-heirs with Christ (see John 5:18). In fact, the psalmist called the sons of Israel “gods” (Elohim in Hebrew. See Psalm 82:6). Therefore, we are no longer humans trying to be godly, but “infant” gods trying to mature in godliness.
As gods, it is our first nature to manifest divine love, wisdom and power continually and consistently. Here, the supernatural is manifested in the natural through practical things of daily life, not just in times of communion with God. Jesus faced an unexpected need at Cana and He turned water into wine without fanfare. At the feeding of the 5000, Jesus multiplied the fish and bread after giving thanks. Jesus did not preface His miracles with prayers, He did supernatural works in a natural manner. In another incident, Jesus called Peter to walk on the water. Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water just like he did on land. That said, Peter could not complete the journey because he was distracted by the raging waters. Therefore, it is pertinent that we keep our thoughts, feelings and words harmonised with the Christ-Self. We must keep fear, anger and anxiety from interrupting the flow of the God-life.
However, many constantly vacillate between two states or personalities: the natural and the supernatural. They suppose they enter into the supernatural state when they are praying, worshiping or exercising the spiritual gifts. At other times, they function at the default state, which is the natural state. This habit of living in two supposedly distinct states or personalities is likened to a mental condition where a person harbours two or more separate personalities. Such habitually speak in tongues to facilitate a transition into a supernatural state perhaps to exercise spiritual gifts. They use terms like “tapping” into the Spirit or “bring down the anointing” through praise and worship. But we don’t see any semblance of that in the life of Jesus. For Jesus, He is consistently living the God-life, and nothing else. Therefore, God’s life in us should express itself as God’s life, not as human life trying to be godly.
Be mindful to maintain harmony in your thoughts, emotions and actions with your Christ-Self. Practice the presence of God by communing with Him continually through your intuition. Honour your Christ-Self by living the God-life through your daily endeavours. Do not justify yourself in times of weakness by saying, “I am only human”. For you are no long living a human life, but a God-life.
Dear Lord, I thank you for pouring out the fullness of your Deity within me. Cause me to be more sensitive to your presence and your thoughts. Give me wisdom to gain authority over all things. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.