He Who Is The Beginning and The Ending

“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.
‘I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,’ saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.’”  Revelation 1:4-8  (KJB)

Alive For Evermore

“I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. 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: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; the mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in My right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” Revelation 1:9-20 (KJV)

This chapter describes John and his exile, to whom the book is written, John’s vision of the glorious Christ, a description of Christ’s characteristics as the risen Lord, an outline of the book (v. 19), and an explanation of the stars and lampstands, in order that we may know, that it is God’s will that we understand.

The glory of Jesus is certainly seen by John and will eventually be seen by all who believe and are not fearful of this prophecy.

This book is seen clearly in this first chapter as being for the sole purpose of revealing Jesus Christ in His glory. No longer a slaughtered and dead Lamb, but a resurrected Lord, God and Sovereign King.

He is Lord of His Church and He will ultimately be viewed by all people and nations as Lord of all.

Peter Marshall said, “It is better to fail at a task which will ultimately succeed, than to succeed at a task which will ultimately fail.”

As we look at verse nine John identifies himself with those to whom he is writing. He is involved in the same persecutions and trials. He is also one of the kingdom and enduring in the “Patience of Christ”.

John, a faithful and powerful preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, was exiled by Domitian to the Isle of Patmos. Patmos was a prison island off the coast of Ephesus. It is said to have been an island where they used these prisoners as slaves for mining the mines on the island. Notice, John is not ashamed to write why he is being persecuted.

In verses ten and eleven we see John hearing from Jesus. John probably took every opportunity to hear God. “In the Spirit” simply means that he was caught up in Him in awe and adoration.
According to John Walvoord…

“There is no solid evidence, … , that the expression used by John (The Lord’s Day) was ever intended to refer to the first day of the week. It is rather a reference to the day of the Lord of the Old Testament, an extended period of time in which God deals in judgment and sovereign rule over the earth. The adjectival form can be explained on the ground that in the Old Testament there was no adjectival form for “Lord,” and therefore the noun had to be used. The New Testament term is therefore the equivalent to the Old Testament expression ‘the day of the Lord’.” (From The Revelation of Jesus Christ by John Walvoord).

I take it in the same way our brother in the Lord did. Most other times, in the New Testament, when they refer to Sunday, it is called “the first day of the week”. In Ezekiel 30:3 we have an example of “The day of the Lord”, “For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.” John, being in the Spirit was ushered into the future to see the ultimate “day of the Lord” when God’s judgment will flow upon all the world.

This Revelation could have seemed like a nightmare were it not for the appearance of the glorified Jesus. John heard “A great voice, as of a trumpet” (SEE PSALM 29). What a voice he must have heard. One of confidence and power. One of conviction and authority. One in which he found comfort.

The voice spoke of the eternalness of Himself. “The first and the last” the “beginning and the end”. He is everything in between. The A to Z. The voice commands John to write what he sees in a book (biblion GK), and send it to the seven churches of Asia.

John turns to see Him from whom the voice is coming and is overcome by His glory.

John sees seven golden “Lampstands” and standing in their midst was “One like unto the Son of man”. “Son of man” was a favorite title Jesus used for Himself. It was also used by Ezekiel very often. It denotes a prophet called and chosen by God. For Jesus, it was the title that identified Him as being human and subservient to God the Father. John clearly recognizes Him as being the resurrected Jesus.

Jesus in His glorified state. In these descriptions, we see the character of Jesus; 1. In the midst of the “lampstands” as a priest (Exodus 28:2), the “golden girdle” showing freedom of movement by tucking up the garment when needed; 2. He is seen as is the “Ancient of Days” (Daniel 7:9), He is the wise and eternal God; 3. John then identifies Him as having “Eyes… as a flame of fire” – He is Judge, seeking out the motives and desires of man to judge the righteous judgment; 4. Brass or bronze are seen as symbols of judgment, and they are on His feet. Remember Ephesians 1:22. Look at Daniel 7:9 again; 5. He is Sovereign and authority. His voice was in the creation; 6. He is Protector, Caretaker, and Provider for the “stars”; 7. He is the Giver of the Word of God, Wielder of truth; 8. He is the Light of the world. Look at Ephesians 1:18.

John’s response was to fall down as dead, thus being similar to Daniel’s experience in Daniel 10 (vv. 17 – 18). Daniel declares, “I retained no strength” (Daniel 10:8). The touch of Jesus must have been an inspiring assurance. The very Word of God that brings conviction also brings comfort (v. 17), when there is submission to the conviction of the Word.

Here Jesus is again speaking the words “Fear not” to one of His beloved followers. This is in all probability the first time John has seen Jesus since He ascended into Heaven. To hear those words again. What joy, what peace they must have brought to his heart during this horrible persecution. “John, I am going to work my plan and bring it to pass; fear not”. Those are words of comfort to us as well.

In Matthew 22:31-32 Jesus said, “But as touching the resurrection of the dead…God says, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

Jesus’ words here tell of His life as man, as becoming dead, and rising from the grave living forever more. He lived in eternity past before He became man.

Having the keys is a symbol of authority. Jesus has the keys to eternity. He has the power, the authority to deliver from sins bondage of Hell. There is no death apart from His authority. By His resurrection, He took the keys and has them for all eternity

In verses 19 -20 John is commanded to write, once again the things which he has seen. He is also given the outline of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Chapter one is the things which John has seen [past]. “The things which are” [present] are chapters two and three. Chapters four through 22 then are “The things which shall be hereafter [future]. As far as the prophecy of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we are still in the “Present” stage of chapters two and three which is the “Church age”.

In verse twenty Jesus gives us understanding of the “Candlesticks” or “Lampstands” and the “Seven stars”. If the “Lampstands” are the seven churches, then it stands to reason that the “Seven stars” being angels, means the angels to the seven churches are the pastors of each church. “Angel” means ‘Messenger’. The messenger to each church is its God-called pastor. It is the pastor who would stand before his congregation each Sunday morning reading and expounding the Word of God. He would be doing the same with this new letter sent from John. It does not seem at all likely, that an angel of Heaven would be the one reading these words to the local congregation.

Notice, John said earlier that Jesus was in the midst of the “Lampstands”. He is the central character of the Church (Matthew 18:20). He is to be found glorified in His Church.

In conclusion, we can see in the verses of this chapter that Jesus is the glorified One. He is the One who is, and shall be glorified in and through His Body, the Church.

We can see it is also His will that His people [the Church] understand the words of this prophecy. Only the wicked and unbelieving will be and are afraid and tremble before its teaching. It is a prophecy of comfort and encouragement to those who know Jesus.

He is Unchanging and Glorious

“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:4-8

In this article, we see words of encouragement through the reminder that God is immutable – unchanging. The whole of the Revelation is for the encouragement of believers of all ages. To the Christians who are enduring trial, and persecutions in our day it is truly encouraging to know that God is unchanging, and is the true source of courage, hope, and ultimate fulfillment of His promises.

Is there anything in life which we can count on? Clothing fashions change from day to day. The economy flourishes or we suffer depression, or somewhere in between. People’s attitudes change, about situations and other people. Even the planet earth on which we live is unstable. Think of the hurricanes, tsunami’s, earthquakes – you get the picture.

We can trust in the immutability of God. He never changes. Since He never changes His laws are still the same, His expections of His people are still the same as they have always been, and His character is flawless, so He is fully trustworthy. We may not be able to trust kings and leaders of our state and community, and even of our churches, at times, but we can have the utmost confidence and trust in the One who never changes. The Lord Jesus Christ.

His grace has always been abundant. His peace one of the greatest of experiences. Apart from His unchangingness these would be flippant and He would be just as untrustworthy as the word of a liar.

According to verse 4, the Revelation is written “To the seven churches which are in Asia.” This does not mean that there were only seven churches in Asia. It is probably symbolic and representative of the total Church. Not only for John’s age, but for all ages to come. That is not to take away from the Revelation’s immediate message and intent.

John’s salutation is similar to that of the apostle Paul’s. Both of these men realized the importance of “Grace” and “Peace”. “Grace” being the ‘unmerited’ or ‘undeserved’ favor of God, and without which, we would all be eternally condemned. “Peace” being made clean before God, without guilt or condemnation. Grace is our standing or position before God. Peace is our experience with God.
“Which is,… which was, and which is to come” reveals to us the eternalness of God. These words are written again in verse eight, chapter 4; 11:17; and in 16:5. There could be no grace or peace if God is not eternal or unchanging [immutable]. If God changed with every generation, fad, or grievance of people He would be even less dependable than our fellowman.

It is because of His immutability that He is able to save us (Hebrews 7:24-25). In Exodus 3:14 God tells Moses to tell the people, “I Am hath sent me unto you”. This name means, “Self-Existent One”. If He is Self-Existent He needs nothing to sustain Him, therefore, He is unchanging. He is, He was, and He always will be God.

“Seven Spirits” has been a troubling statement to some. When we think of the number seven (7) in the symbolic way which John meant, we can only come to the conclusion of fulness, completion. The fulness of the Holy Spirit is certainly in the giving of this Revelation of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit before the throne. If He is before the throne, and He abides in us, then, where are we who are in Christ Jesus?

In verses five and six we find Jesus revealed as a Prophet [“Faithful witness”], Priest [“First begotten of the dead”], and King [“The prince of the kings of the earth”].

As the Prophet He called people to the Father by His words and by His life. The prophet is hated while he lives and calls people to righteousness, thus, Jesus was crucified. He became Priest by His death, burial and resurrection. He became Priest, “After the power of an endless life ” (Hebrews 7:16). “The first begotten of the dead” has more to do with His power and position than His being the first to rise from death. However, He was the first to have “…the power of an endless life”. By His death and resurrection He became our High Priest. This High Priest is truly a priest. He has been “Touched with the fellings of our infirmities” (Hebrews 4:15). A priest is one who approaches God on behalf of men and communicates to man on God’s behalf. Certainly, this is Jesus. He is King by His power over kings and Nations. He rules supremely. Here the word is “Prince”. The prince is one who will be king. but has not began his position of rule and authority. With Jesus this is by choice of His Father, until His set time.

This is the One who loved us, and loves us, washed us and loosed us from the slavery of sin by shedding His own blood. He gave His life. He took the condemnation that was mine and yours. By doing this for us He has made us “…a kingdom of priests unto God”, or “Kings and priests”. The Scriptures are full of doxologies unto God. Is it any wonder? When we truly begin to see God in His glory how can we be silent any longer. He is glory. He is worthy of blessing, power and dominion forever. SO BE IT.

Verse seven has Him coming in power and great glory. This event takes place chronologically in Revelation 19:11-21. This event follows the Rapture of the Church by at least seven years.
When Jesus comes for the Church no one will see Him. He is coming then as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4). People will be snatched from their homes, cars, places of employment and chaos will prevail upon the earth.

In this verse “Every eye shall see Him” and they will mourn and weep over His appearance. They will even cry out to the rocks and hills to fall on them (6:16; Hosea 10:8). “They also which pierced him: “, then, would refer to the people who condemned Jesus to die. That, of course, being the Jewish nation, and they will believe in Him; “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” Romans 11:26-27 (KJV).

John’s response to this may seem; to some anyway;  cold and heartless, but he says “A-MEN” out of anticipation and exhilaration, and faith that the Lord Jesus will be ultimately victorious. So, it is more a cry of victory than of vengeance.

Finally in this study we get to verse eight. “Alpha and Omega” are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. It is interesting when you think of Jesus as the “Word of God”. Words are made of letters. If He is the First and Last, the Beginning [Genesis] and the end [The Revelation], then, He is also everything in between.

He is, He was, and He forever shall be. He is unchanging [Immutable]. Because of that He is our A to Z. From beginning to end the Immutable One. A-Men.

In conclusion, let me readdress the fact that He is unchanging. There is not much, if anything, in this world that does not change.

It should cause us to be bold and brave to serve our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ knowing He never changes. He is “…The same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Because He is unchanging He is a worthy, Prophet, Priest, and King. Worship Him. He is revealing Himself to a changing world.

Alpha and Omega: Who is He?

There are some sects of Christianity which do not believe that Jesus Christ is God Incarnate – God in flesh. Yet much of what Jesus says confirms to us that He is exactly that.  The works that He performed in miracles and signs confirm who He is as well.  I am not going to take up a lot of time defending this but even Jesus said, “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.” John 14:11.  We also hear Him speak in the Revelation…

“I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending,’ saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Revelation 1:8 (KJV)

“Saying, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” Revelation 1:11

“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: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.'” Revelation 1:17b-18

Now let us compare those Scriptures with Scripture found in the prophecy of Isaiah…

“Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and His Redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the First, and I am the Last; and beside me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6

“Hearken unto Me, O Jacob and Israel, My called; I am He; I am the First, I also am the Last.” Isaiah 48:12

If the words of God from Isaiah is God speaking, and Jesus speaks these same words in the Revelation, then let us answer the question honestly.  Jesus the Christ, the Son of God is God the Son.

The Great Invitation to Blessing

And he saith unto me, ‘Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.  He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.’  ‘And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.‘  Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.  ‘I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.‘  And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let him that heareth say, ‘Come.’  And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”  Revelation 22:10-17 (KJV)

Within these verses are the final Beatitude of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  Also within these few verses is the final invitation of Scripture.

The Spirit and the bride say “Come.”  And those who hear say, “Come”.  It is a double invitation to all who will hear to come to the One who can give blessing and peace.  Jesus, the Christ; Son of God.

-T.A.

Who Jesus says He Is

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”  Revelation 1:8 (KJV)

In Matthew 16 Jesus asked His disciples, “Who do men say that I am?”  The disciples gave many various answers, including Elijah, or one of the prophets,  then Jesus asked them, “Who do you say that I am?”  Peter jumped in with, “You are the Christ, Son of the living God.”  Jesus told him, “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father which is in Heaven.”  He was applauding Peter for his answer, for it was the correct one.

Some say that Jesus never said that He is the Son of God.  He has, He did, and He is.

Yet, He is much more than the Son of God.  He too is eternal; from Alpha [Beginning] and Omega [Ending].  That is not the beginning and/or ending of God, but of all that He has made.  Who did Jesus say that He is?

Alpha and Omega.  See Jesus for who He says he is; for who the Father says He is; for who His works say that He is.  He is the Incarnate God; crucified, buried, and bodily resurrected, and returning King.  He is the Saviour and King of the universe.

-T.A.

Day 90 – The Beginning and the End

It is amazing how days seem to “fly by”.  It is another reminder how short life can be.  On February 01, 2012 I began this 90 day adventure reading through the Bible in the shortest period of time I have ever done so.  I was not sure that it was something I wanted to do.  It was going to require that I get up a bit earlier, and especially since I committed myself to writing about it everyday for that ninety days.

It was, however, a journey and adventure well worth the time and the reading.  Let me challenge you to do it; the reading.  It will be a blessing to you.  Even if you have read the Bible through 100 times or a 1,000 times, there is something about moving through it quickly that gives you a new insight into the Scriptures.  Whether you read it through in ninety days or 365 read it through.

My reading for the final morning of the 90 days was The Revelation of Jesus Christ chapters 13 – 22.  The title comes from Jesus speaking this in the first chapter verses 8 and 11, then again in 21:6 and 22:13.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”  Revelation 22:13 (KJV)

Life for man, according to the Bible, began in the Garden of Eden.  Let me say that I believe what the Bible says, because it is the very Word of God.  It has not failed, it will never fail.  Not one jot or title will pass away.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but the Word of God will never pass away.  From the Garden of Eden in Genesis Adam and Eve were cast out because of sin.  They were cast out to keep them from the Tree of Life which was in the midst of the garden, and was the source of eternal life.

From Genesis we see God’s call of a man, Abraham, who believed God; God counted it to him for righteousness; and through Abraham all the earth has been blessed.  In the Old Testament we find a journey of the seed of Abraham.  We see their victories, their faults, failures, and their sins; most of all we see God in His grace and mercy preparing a people, for a Saviour, for the whole world.  In the New Testament that Saviour comes, dies on the cross, giving His life as atonement for the sins of mankind, making it possible for those who will believe to partake of the Tree of Life and live forever.

I mentioned yesterday on Day 89 that “Inhabiters of the earth”, “All that dwell upon the earth” is used to show those whose hearts and lives find their treasure in this world.  That phrase is mentioned again in chapter 13 four more times; in verses 8, 12, and twice in verse 14.  It is used again in 14 verse 6 and chapter 17 verse 8.  If I have not counted wrong or missed one that is eight times the phrase is used.  Every time it is used it has to do with those who will be judged because of their rejection of Jesus Christ.

There may be some who will say, “Well, I have never rejected Jesus Christ.”  If you have not received Him as your Lord and Saviour you are in a state of rejection.   What must you  do to be condemned?  Nothing.  You are already condemned.  What must you do to be saved from your condemned state?  Trust the Lord Jesus Christ, and His finished work on the cross, His death, burial and bodily resurrection.  Depend solely on the grace given you through faith in Him.

It is mentioned in the Revelation of a “First resurrection”,

“But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”  Revelation 20:5-6

Just what is this “First Resurrection”?  First, let me say that we all want to be in the first resurrection; at least we should want to be.  Jesus is the “first fruits” of the first resurrection, making it possible for the dead in Christ to be raised to life again (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  Then at the end of God’s judgment upon the earth dwellers, and the redemption of Israel, those who died for their faith in Him during the judgment will also be raised, and counted in the first resurrection.  Those who do not have their names written in the Lamb’s book of life will have part in what is called the “Second death”.  At the great white throne (20:11-15) all the dead of all the ages of those who were not written in the book of life will be cast alive into the lake of fire.

When you read the Bible keep your eyes and heart tuned in to seeing Jesus, because it is about Him.  We human beings need to realize that this life is not about us, or even for us, but it is for God and for His glory.

The invitation is given.  The life of man began in the Garden of Eden.  When we believe God through His Son Jesus Christ we can live in the Heavenly Garden forever.

“And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’  And let him that heareth say, ‘Come.’  And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17 (KJV)

Hear the invitation.  Come to Jesus and receive eternal life.

Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  He is where new life begins.

-Tim A. Blankenship