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)
Today’s congregational reading takes us to the first chapter of the book of Revelation. Recently, we finished nearly four years of study in this book which is one of the most interesting in the Bible. Previous to our study, I had more questions about Revelation and more interest in beginning a study in this book than in any other. At that time, I warned everyone that usually more people are interested in the Antichrist and what he will do rather than in the real Christ who is the subject of the book.
The first chapter piques the interest of God’s people almost immediately as John writes there is a blessing for everyone that reads and hears the words of this prophecy (v. 3). Despite this promised blessing, many Bible teachers have avoided Revelation because it seems so mysterious. As we learned, much of Revelation is demystified by taking a literal approach to the material rather than making nearly every verse a symbol for something else. For example, the climax of the book is in the 19th chapter in which Jesus Christ appears as the rider on a white horse. He is called faithful and true (19:11) and the name written on His garments is KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (19:16). This appearance of Jesus is the beginning of His millennial kingdom on the earth.
This kingdom is a literal kingdom that will be a golden age in which Christ will reign over the entire earth in perfect righteousness. He will sit on the throne of David as Israel’s last and greatest King. This is the kingdom promised in the Old Testament and is not to be confused with the church, or the time we are living in now. It is a real future event and cannot be explained away as being merely a spiritual kingdom.
As redeemed, born again believers in Christ, we live in anticipation of this kingdom. If we are living when Christ returns, we shall be immediately changed to receive a glorified body (1 Cor. 15:51-53). If we have died and our spirit is in heaven, our bodies will be resurrected to rejoin our spirit in a glorified body (1 Thess. 4:14-17). At that time, we can accurately predict the beginning of Christ’s kingdom on earth. After seven years of purging the earth through a terrible time of tribulation, Jesus will establish His authority as the Almighty King.
We love to read and study Revelation because it comforts us in the assurance that God has a predetermined plan for the final exaltation of Christ. There is no need to fear the wickedness of the world or be distraught when it seems the demons of hell have control. Revelation tells us how all believers will triumph in the victory of Christ. The earth is His and the fullness thereof (Psalm 24). He is the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending…which is, which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
Pastor V. Mark Smith