“And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:”
King James Version (KJV)
1:17 And I fell at his feet as dead - Human nature not being able to sustain so glorious an appearance. Thus was he prepared (like Daniel of old, whom he peculiarly resembles) for receiving so weighty a prophecy. A great sinking of nature usually precedes a large communication of heavenly things. St. John, before our Lord suffered, was so intimate with him, as to lean on his breast, to lie in his bosom. Yet now, near seventy years after, the aged apostle is by one glance struck to the ground. What a glory must this be! Ye sinners, be afraid cleanse your hands: purify your hearts. Ye saints, be humble, prepare: rejoice. But rejoice unto him with reverence: an increase of reverence towards this awful majesty can be no prejudice to your faith. Let all petulancy, with all vain curiosity, be far away, while you are thinking or reading of these things. And he laid his right hand upon me - The same wherein he held the seven stars. What did St. John then feel in himself? Saying, Fear not - His look terrifies, his speech strengthens. He does not call John by his name, (as the angels did Zechariah and others,) but speaks as his well known master. What follows is also spoken to strengthen and encourage him. I am - When in his state of humiliation he spoke of his glory, he frequently spoke in the third person, as #Matt 26:64|. But he now speaks of his own glory, without any veil, in plain and direct terms. The first and the last - That is, the one, eternal God, who is from everlasting to everlasting, #Isaiah 41:4|.
Re 1:17 I fell at his feet as dead. Overcome with awe. No sinful man can stand before God and live; hence the impression made by the appearance of the Lord is that of terror. Fear not. But when the Lord spoke to the disciple it was with the old love. How often before had Jesus said "Fear not". I am the first and the last. See PNT "Re 1:8". The attributes claimed for Jehovah are also claimed for Christ.