The Foundation of Wisdom and Knowledge—The Book of Revelation
The next verse in our study is Revelation 1:17:
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last” (NKJV).
At the time John received this revelation, he was the only one of the twelve still alive. Therefore, he had walked with the Lord Jesus more than any other apostle. The most intimate of the apostles with Jesus, John would lean his head up against the Lord’s breast as they reclined for their last meal together. Even with this remarkable history, when John saw the Lord in His glory, he fell at His feet like a dead man!
One of the biggest sources of spiritual delusion and false doctrine in the church today is the lack of the fear of the Lord. He is an awesome God not to be trifled with. Psalm 111:10 and Proverbs 9:10 tells us that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”Proverbs 1:7 says that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” So the fear of the Lord is the foundation of both wisdom and knowledge.
A foundation holds up an entire building. If you remove it, everything built upon it collapses. So it is with foundational doctrines like the fear of the Lord—we never leave them.
Some modern translations of the Scriptures have been diluted or corrupted by seemingly trying to be politically correct, or more afraid of offending readers than adhering to strict translations of the Word of God. Some have translated the Hebrew and Greek words for “fear” in these texts into a milder “respect.” If you search out these words in the original translation, you’ll find that a more accurate translation than “fear” would have been “terror.” John experienced this when he beheld the Lord. When you fall on the ground “like a dead man,” it is not a mild form of fear.
The Lord also wants to relate to His people as a loving bridegroom to His bride. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote that we must “behold then the kindness and severity of God” (see Romans 11:22). To know God as He is, we must relate to both His kindness and severity. There are times and places for both, but in John’s revelation, He is mostly revealed as the awesome and terrifying God. If we cannot handle this, we do not have a proper foundation in the fear of the Lord and do not fully know Him as He is.
He wants to give this revelation of Himself to His bondservants, and we must embrace it. As we will see, this is mostly how He will reveal Himself during the church age. This is the foundation of wisdom and knowledge, and without a solid foundation nothing of significance can be safely built. A gentler revelation of Him is given at the end of Revelation, and we will rightly understand it when it is built upon the foundation of the pure and holy fear of the Lord.
God is our loving Heavenly Father, and you can crawl up on His lap and feel His gentle touch of deep affection. We need this, but we also need to keep in mind that He is an awesome Almighty God. Those who only see His kindness are at least half deceived. Those who only see His severity are also at least half deceived. It takes knowing and walking in the tension of both that keeps us on the path of life.