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The Alpha and Omega

November 19, 2018

’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’” Revelation 1:8.

Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.  Next Sunday is the last Sunday of the church year, so it is fitting that the Scripture texts this week refer to God as the beginning and the end:[1]“’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” Revelation 1: 8.[2] We began the church year on November 28, 2017, with Jesus riding into Jerusalem to the cheers of crowds in the last week of his life leading to his death and resurrection, upon which our faith is based (See Saved!  At the end of the church year we are reminded that a day will come when he will return.

When we think of beginnings and endings in human terms we think of things that begin and end in our everyday lives—a book, a movie, a relationship, a job, a project, a case, a school term, a day, a year, a season, a life.  We come to the end of things when we run out of money, energy, gas, milk, and when our heart stops beating.  Speaking in God’s voice, Isaiah writes, “The earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies, but my salvation will last forever, and my righteousness will never fail” (Isaiah 51: 6b).  When God says that he is the Alpha and Omega, he means that he is God forever—always has been God, always will be—“from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2). God is saying that everything on earth and in the heavens started or will start with him, and somehow, it will all end with him.

There was never a time in history when God was not, nor will there ever be a time in the future when he is not.  He promises to the faithful that he will always be there for us—even after the curtain falls on human history.

John saw much the same end times or judgment vision that Daniel recorded seeing: “As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat.  His clothing was white as snow; the hair on his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze . . . the court was seated, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9; seealso Revelation 1:14-15). The psalmist echoes Daniel: “The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength . . . your throne was established long ago; you are from all eternity” (Psalm 93: 1-2).

God revealed himself to Daniel, to the psalmist, to John, to the apostles and to others long ago so that we might have a picture of who God is.  The picture recorded in Scripture over the millennia from these people is consistent, confirming that, “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

God never changes. He has ultimate power and authority over all things: “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory majesty, power, and authority through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!” (Jude 24-25).

During this Thanksgiving week, we give God thanks that we can depend on him because his power and authority is eternal; he never changes. We are thankful that he catches us when we stumble or fall.  We are thankful that he has led us through another year of challenges.  We are thankful that he will carry us into the presence of our advocate, Jesus Christ, when our time on earth is over.  Even though we do not know the day or hour when Jesus will return, Jesus warned us to be vigilant: “But about that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard!  Be alert!  You do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13: 32-33).

We have come to the last Sunday of the church year, but it is not the end of the story.  God existed before he created the world, and he will continue to exist after the end of this world.  The good news for believers is that our story does not end when our time on earth comes to a close.   We will continue to live with the great I Am forever.  That’s a promise from the one who has always existed.

 Prayer:  Lord, we honor and praise you for who you are—the beginning and the end. We praise and honor you for creating us and all things in the world, and for being faithful through the ages. We honor and praise you for being everywhere at all times with us.  We thank you for being the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  We thank you for guiding us as you have guided all believers throughout history.  Keep us on the right path as we stumble out of darkness and toward your light.  Amen

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1][1]The Scripture texts for the last Sunday in the church year are Isaiah 51: 4-6; Daniel 7: 9-10, 13-14; Psalm 93; Jude 20-25; Revelation 1:4-8; Mark 13: 24-37.

[2]Isaiah recorded the same statement: “This is what the Lord says– . . . ‘I am the first and I am the last . . .” Isaiah 44:6.

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