“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. 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.”
Revelations 1:5-11 (all scripture is from the King James Version)
At the outset of this passage, St. John reveals that our Lord is Author of the contents of Revelations. John ads the profound (to us) aspects of the Life of the Lord Jesus – “the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.” Of course, Christ is all of this, but He is far more than this as well. But for John’s purposes, he reveals Christ for the greater meaning He has in our understanding. First of all, He is a Faithful Witness whose Word is absolute Truth and unchanging. He is the First Begotten of the Dead, so that we who belong to Him may follow in that resurrection. And His Sovereignty is above every earthly kingdom as the King of Kings. He has ordained each of us with particular roles to play in His Kingdom – some as subordinate kings to God the Father, and others as priests under the High Priest of Faith – Jesus Christ!
John makes the powerful point that Christ is coming again in the same manner in which He ascended – in the clouds. There have never been, nor ever will be, an eye that will not see Him returning in the clouds, even the blind eye. Those who nailed Him to the Cross at Cavalry will also see His return. How terrible may their sorrow and terror be to witness His return if they have not sought forgiveness for their terrible sin at the Throne of Grace.
The beginning and end of all Creation is personified in our Lord Jesus Christ. “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.” Being the I AM in the scope of the time-space-matter continuum, He is ever existent in an eternal presence – The past and future is likewise the present in the economy of Heaven.
John could take much pride in being the special recipient of the Words of this Book; but He is humble in his awesome role as transcriber for the Lord. He is our brother and companion in our sufferings and joys. He is One with us because we, too, are One with the Father. “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.” John was not present in some marbled temple, or Jewish synagogue when he received this Revelation. He was on the lonely island of Patmos to which he had been exiled for its desolation and barren terrain. God does not always choose the resplendent spheres and temples of man at which to begin His works – He sometimes chooses a stable or a lonely island at which to appear.
I wish to focus for the remainder of this devotion today in the Alpha and Omega nature of the GREAT I AM.
When was the beginning? I suppose it depends on your point of reference and perspective. Where does a straight line begin – we may truncate a straight line by superficially entering on it at a given point and call that the beginning, but it is not technically the beginning for a straight line ‘begins at infinity in one direction and ‘ends’ at infinity in the opposite direction. Or, you may consider the beginning to be the moment of your first conscious thoughts, but that simply gets back to the principle of the straight line being artificially shortened by your sudden entry on the space-time-matter continuum, doesn’t it? It is impossible for the human mind to grasp the fact of eternity and infinity. In the beginning, before there was you or me; or before there was an earth upon which to stand, there was simply a great void. And what was before the great void? When did time begin, and what was BEFORE its beginning?
There is not truly a beginning or an ending. Christ used those terms because it is the only terms our finite minds can comprehend – and even those terms escape any broad understanding on our part. The Triune God existed in eternity past – before the creation of time and matter. Time, matter, and space are simply created means by which our mortal lives can exist for a space of time expressed in physical terms. Time was conceived in the Mind of God before there was time. That which is created by Divine power is no less a product of Mind than an airplane or automobile. Every functioning system must have a Designer and a Creator. The worlds did not come into being by happenstance. The perfect balance in space and time of the heavenly bodies are so completely balanced and precise as to completely eliminate the possibility of accidental occurrence. The earth is (approx) 93 million miles from the sun. If it were 92, or 94, million miles from the sun, life could not exist here. Neither could life exist if the rotation of the earth on its axis were just a few minutes faster or slower than what it is now. Life is fragile and demands precision balance for survival.
The Lord our God transcends time and space. He is not bound by consideration of matter or mass. But He is comprehended by all matter, space, and time. He is greater than these, but also superintends them. His dimensions are measured in infinite terms – terms that, like light itself, we can describe but not define! The great scientists of the past (all of the major sciences were begun by Christian believers) accepted the fact that the Hand of God was at work at the foundation of all science; however, the modern so-called scientists of our day pooh-pooh the Hand of God in any science. They deny a Creator and appropriate to themselves the mysteries of life and physical science. Yet, for all modern science knows of life, and the constant counsel they give us of the meaninglessness of life, they are yet unable to create a single flea – AMAZING, is it not? “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.” (1 Timothy 6:20-21)
There did exist a great ‘Something’ before there was the world and expanse of universe. Before there was Time, there was Being. That Being was the Triune God – Creator of all things and even of angelic beings. That Triune God was the First Cause! Forget the Big Bang theory and the explosion of intensely compressed atoms into a tiny particle in the remote dawn of time. Before an explosion could occur, there had to be, even if compressed to the size of a grain of sand, matter. And if there was matter, it had to be created. So the circular argument always comes back to God.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:1-4 KJV) Our Lord Jesus Christ did not have a beginning, but He was IN the Beginning of all things. He was the executive agent of all Creation! He existed from Eternity Past in the heavenlies with His Father and the Holy Ghost. These comprised the Great Council of Heaven. All things were first conceived by God, then created by Him. Though you knew it not, even YOU were in the Mind of God at the moment of Creation. He knew you, and made account of you. He is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and, we might add, omnibenevolent. He is the ALMIGHTY ONE. In the Council of Heaven, before we needed a Savior, God made provision for a Savior. The only Begotten Son (begotten not made or adopted) assumed the responsibility to be that Savior. Though Adam had not yet sinned, God knew that Adam would, indeed, sin. The skins with which God covered the naked sin of Adam and Eve typified the blood of His Son which must come to cover the sins of those whom He knew. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21) Because Christ kept His promise and did, indeed, come as the only sinless One who could be our substitute on the cross, we have the privilege of approaching the Mercy Seat of God and find redemption for our sins.
Christ is not simply ‘a’ benefit to us; He is our All in All. “Christ is all, and in all.” (Col 3:11b) We have our beginning and our ending in Christ; and that ending is eternity. Jesus Christ is, in mystery, associated with Melchisedec who was a priest to Abraham and called a king of peace (which Christ is). “5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee (not spiritually, but in the flesh). 6 As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Heb 5:4-6 KJV) and “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” (Hebrews 7:1-3)
Christ is the Ancient of Days, and the Ancient Landmark (Logos or WORD). Christ was before the first light of day. He is the executive Creator of all things in consort with the Father and Holy Ghost. All three were present at the early dawn of Creation and all three are comprehended in the first verse of Genesis – “In the beginning, GOD!” The Hebrew word for God here is ‘Elohim’ which is a singular/plural. (a noun-meaning we lack in English). It means more than one, in One. The Spirit was there as a part of ‘Elohim’ as well. “…And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2) Do not forget that Christ is strongly mentioned in John 1:1-4 as being present at Creation and the very agent of Creation as well. He labored six days at the dawn of Creation, and rested on the Seventh Day (Sabbath). That was the physical Creation, but what of the spiritual Creation of His Church? Did Christ not labor all of His ministry on earth, and the six days prior to the Sabbath. Did He not die on the cross on the sixth day (Friday) at the very time of sacrificing of the Passover lamb – which Lamb He was – and did He not rest in the Garden Tomb over the Sabbath Day?
Is this Lord of Lords whom we call our Savior and Redeemer not every whit the Alpha and Omega? Is He not the Word, and the complete Word? He is the first Word (Alpha) and He is the last Word (Omega). And He is all words in between. It even works for us in the English as well as the Greek, and every other human language. “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” (Matthew 23:34-35) The prophets were bearers of the Word to us, and they began with Abel and end with Zechariah (Abel/Zecharias being our ‘A’ to ‘Z’) or Alpha Omega! Is He your beginning and ending, as well, friends?
In PART IV, we will begin our study of the Seven Candlesticks and the Seven Churches of Asia.
“Prenez en Gré”
In Christ Alone
† Jerry L. Ogles , D.D.
Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide & Chancellor, Faith Theological Seminary
“Metus improbo compescit, non clementia.” – Syrus, MAXIMS: Fear, not kindness, restrains the wicked!
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer – HOLY SCRIPTURE:
“If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God’s Word; and if we be uncertain of God’s Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he were in the true Church of Christ, or a synagogue of Satan.”