Two or three days into a vacation, I begin to feel a twinge of sadness, knowing from experience how quickly the end will come. As each of my daughters approached her teenage years, I became melancholy, conceding that too few years would pass before they left the nest. As I review a life that has been filled with innumerable gifts and blessing, I must acknowledge that it, too, has gone by more swiftly than I would like. Funny, isn’t it, how the best things in life are most often crammed between two bookends called the beginning and the end?
So when I read the words of Jesus, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1: 8), I sit up and take notice. Jesus reinforces his claim a few verses later when he says, “I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!”
In Revelation 21, Jesus declares that he’s “… the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.” Then as if to emphasize his message, he recaps his various declarations in Revelation 22:13: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
I believe Jesus’ message to us is very clear. First, Jesus is confirming that he is eternal, one with God the Father. He’s in full agreement with what the author of Hebrews says about him:
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” — Hebrews 1: 3
Elsewhere in Scripture, the Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle Paul to deliver this portrait of the Christ:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things … ” — Colossians 1: 15 — 17b
When we teach that Jesus was present in the beginning, we do not mean that Jesus had a beginning–that is, he once was not, and then he was. The doctrine that is being revealed by Scripture is that Jesus always has been–he existed even before creation. He is eternal.
The second point that is being made in the Apocalypse is that Jesus is the Omega, the Last, the End.
In my opening, I confessed that two or three days into my vacation, I begin to feel a twinge of sadness, knowing that it must soon end. But this obviously is not the picture of the end that John is painting. He’s teaching us that Jesus is the author of salvation and the one who completes the work of redemption. Simon Kistemaker puts it this way: “Christ is the divine agent both in God’s creation in all things and in God’s eschatological fulfillment of all things.”
How is Christ the “divine agent” in God’s eschatological fulfillment of all things? Let me recap the pre-wrath rapture view of end-times events (read more athttp://www.brucebiller.com/laymans-guide-to-the-prewrath-rapture/).
The Seventieth Week of Daniel (the name the preeminent Jewish prophet named Daniel ascribed to the last seven years of the present age) will be launched by the opening of the first seal, signaling Antichrist’s march towards world dominance. The first half of this “week” will be grim as the first few seals are opened one by one. Earth will reap the consequences of the rebellious acts of sinful man: war, famine, and death. At the midpoint, the Antichrist, now indwelt by Satan himself, will launch his Great Tribulation, a brief period in which Christians and Jews are the targets of his wrath.
Suddenly cosmic disturbance, represented by the sixth seal, will signal the Lord’s return; Satan’s Great Tribulation will be cut short by the rapture of the church. Then, according to the Revelation, it will be God’s turn to pour out his wrath on earth’s inhabitants in a series of seven “trumpet” judgments. Finally, Daniel’s Seventieth Week comes to an end:
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.'” — Revelation 11: 15
One of the highlights of my year comes to a sad ending on the last day of my vacation. But there’s coming a day when the end is literally the beginning. The eschatological end marks the beginning of eternal life in the presence of God. John’s Omega, the Last, the End, Jesus Christ himself, is the King who reigns over our glorious future. Deceased followers of Jesus are resurrected; living saints are translated–all of us will be suddenly and supernaturally clothed in our resurrection bodies.
“The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” — 1 Corinthians 15: 42b — 44a
“Just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.” – 1 Corinthians 15:49
John understood this well. In painting his apocalyptic portrait of Christ, the Alpha and Omega, he was declaring the eternal existence of God the Son, while promising that in Christ, all the future promises of God will be fulfilled and then the “end”, a new beginning, will come.
Author of “The god-man: seed of Satan“
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This article was first published at http://www.brucebiller.com/blog/