Saturday, April 13, 2024

Morning Message: The Alpha and Omega Speaks


Bobservations' Column
Titled - "The Alpha and Omega Speaks"
Written by:  Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Today’s re
ading in Daniel leads directly to today’s study in the Book of Revelation. Daniel 10:3 introduced the Prophet to the pre-incarnate Second Person of the Trinity. Among other things, it was Him that was in the fiery furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar with Daniel and his friends. Daniel’s description of Him is identical to that of Revelation 1:13 as John turns to see the voice that was speaking to him and had already identified Himself as “Alpha and Omega” in Rev. 1:9-11. And in our reading of Daniel 12:7-9 today, this Man’s message to Daniel was that the book was “sealed up till the time of the end.” Daniel did not seal it up, God did.

Back into Revelation 22 – Our study today reveals “the time of the end,” The entire Book of Revelation is chronological, and this chapter being the last written record of God revealing His plans for us and knowing that we are in the end-times if not the “last days,” is a fitting conclusion in this chapter. In other words, the Bible contains all the information necessary to assure mankind’s eternal destination as Believers, AND that also of non-believers. Things get very black-and-white as we get closer, and closer to the Lord’s return. There will be none that will be able to claim that they never knew, only the voice of Jesus saying, “I never knew you.”

Everything we need to know about God, about His will for us, and about His plan of Salvation is in His Holy Word: IT’S IN THERE! All that we need for a fulfilling and holy life that is pleasing to the Lord is within the pages of the Bible. It is written of in 66 books. 40 scribes have recorded God’s words for us, and each scribe is guided by the Holy Spirit.

It may take a little personal study to learn it, but the truth of God is like the parable of a treasure buried in a field, and the wise man buys the field so the treasure will be his. Or the parable of the woman who sweeps her whole house to recover a highly valued pearl that was lost.

The chapter even comes with warnings of pitfalls; pitfalls that many men have made already, and caused their names to be wiped from the Lambs’ Book of Life, or suffered through the plagues of Egypt. God’s warnings, and His love are evident throughout the Bible.

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15

Bobservations' Column: Audio Version

Sunday Morning's Audio Message:
Revelation 22:8-21 - "The Alpha and Omega Speaks"

Summary/Additional Commentary and Definitions:  

This week we come to the end of the book of Revelation.  This is part two of chapter 22, and the great themes of Revelation have already unfolded, and the doors have been opened. The rebellion of angels and man is over.  The kingdom of God has already been ushered in; all of God's enemies are in the lake of fire. The King of kings is on the eternal throne, assuming His sovereign right as King of the earth, and King over ALL.

Absolute holiness characters everything within God's kingdom. Sin has been obliterated. The redeemed, bought by the blood of the Lamb, are now in eternal glory. Everything is over that ever dealt with man, except for the permanency of eternity. 

The earth and the heavens have been recreated by chapter 22. The blazing prism of diamond transparent light, the glory city Jerusalem, has settled down into the eternal state. Light, beauty, holiness, joy, and the presence of God and the Lamb, worship and praise to God in the Lamb’s service and likeness to Christ are all eternal realities.

And as we enter into chapter 22, life is everywhere, because here we find infinite and eternal life.  The chapter begins by talking about the river of water of life. And we see ourselves in heaven in the eternal place.

In these final closing verses, the emphasis is that everything that we've read in this book is going to happen. And because it’s going to happen, you better do something about it. You better take it to heart.  You better respond to the Holy Spirit.  You better respond to God's final invitation to come to faith in Christ.   The Bible has come full circle:  It starts with the promise of a coming Savior who would redeem His people from their sins (Genesis 3).  Just as the Bible opens with the promise of Christ's first coming, it ends with the promise of His second coming.   

Jesus speaks in verse 7, "Behold, I come quickly..." Then you see it in verse 12, “Behold, I come quickly.” And you get over in verse 20, and you read, “Surely I come quickly.” There’s a kind of urgency here it’s pressing the Christian to respond and take care of some very important things. And it’s also pressed with the urgency of warning to the unbeliever.

In this final portion of the book of Revelation, there is a tremendous emphasis on the suddenness of the coming of Jesus. We know that the Bible has much to say about the fact that Jesus will come quickly, that He will come suddenly, that He will come in a moment, in an hour that you think not, that it’ll all happen in the twinkling of an eye, that it’ll be sudden, that it’ll be swift, and that it’ll be final.

The book of Revelation began with the words of Jesus to the seven churches. It concludes with the penetrating words of Christ, the Alpha and Omega, the Morning Star. The Lord of life and King of eternity is coming soon! May our earnest and sincere prayer be the same as John's: "Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

Key Words and Definitions with Reference:

Quickly (22:7) - "Quickly" means suddenly, imminently, without delay.  The knowledge we have of Jesus soon return should not lead us to a life of idleness. Rather it should produce a life of diligence, obedience and worshipful service to God with an urgent proclamation of the gospel to unbelievers. 

Blessed is He Who Heeds... (22:7) - "Heed" means "guard." Believers are to guard and protect the book of Revelation against those who deny its relevance, its authority, and against those interpreters who obscure its meaning.  In fact, all of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation is to be guarded (1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 1:13-14). 

Heard and Saw (22:8) - John resumes speaking for the first time since chapter 1 and confirms the veracity of the revelation with his own eyewitness testimony - the basis of any reliable witness.

Do Not Seal the Words (22:10) - See 10:11 - 
The prophet Daniel was informed that his "words [were] shut up and sealed until the time of the end" (Daniel 12:9), but John was told not to seal the words of the prophecy of Revelation (Revelation 22:10). For Daniel, innumerable events needed to transpire before his prophecy would be fully meaningful. For John's Revelation, no events needed to occur because the time was near. He had seen or heard everything relevant which would take place in the end time. Even if specific details were unclear, or yet to be fully realized, the message was ready for mankind to hear and understand. Previous prophecies were sealed up. These prophecies are to be proclaimed so they can produce obedience and worship.

The Time is at Hand (22:10) - This refers to imminency, which means that the end is next.  
No one knows when the Lord will return (Matthew 24:36), but the doctrine of imminence (Revelation 22:7) teaches the rapture could occur at any moment (1 Thessalonians 4:13–18). We don't have to wait for any signs to be fulfilled to recognize this as the next major event in God's timeline. The signs Jesus mentioned in Matthew 24 primarily occur after the rapture, in the tribulation, before Jesus returns to earth in a blaze of glory (Revelation 19:11–16).

According to His Work (22:12) - 
God will recompense each person according to his deeds. Faithful believers may anticipate rewards, but unbelievers must face punishment. When the apostle Paul neared execution, he looked forward to receiving the crown of righteousness that the Lord would award to him. He added that he would not be the only one to receive this reward. He said all who have loved Jesus' appearing will also receive the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8). Other crowns (James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4) are promised to faithful believers that will likely be awarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Only those works which survive God's testing fire have eternal value and are worthy of reward.

Blessed Are Those Who Do His Commandments (22:14) - See 1:3 - 
Doing His commandments does not earn us eternal life, but it is evidence that we have been granted eternal life. Besides, there is an inherent blessing in doing His commandments, because they are good and right for us.  

Regarding the phrase "those who do His commandments," some translations interpret this to "those who have washed their robes" instead, symbolizing those who have been forgiven of their sins - who have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.  The difference is between two ancient Greek words:

HOIPLUNONTESTASSTOLAS (washed their robes) or


Dogs (22:15) - Whereas the righteous may enter New Jerusalem, the unrighteous are barred from entering the city. They are described as dogs and sorcerers, sexually immoral and murderers, idolaters, and lovers and doers of falsehood.  Dogs were considered despicable creatures in New Testament times.  They were seen as scavengers that mill around garbage. When applied to people, the term referred to anyone of low moral character. Unfaithful leaders (Isaiah 56:10) and homosexual prostitutes (Deuteronomy 23:18) are among those who received such a designation.

Sorcerers (22:15) - Those engaged in occult practices and drug abuse.

Whoremongers (22:15) - Immoral persons engaged in illicit sexual activities.

Murderers (22:15) - those who commit criminal intentional homicide.

Idolaters (22:15) - Idolaters worship false gods, including material objects and even human beings. Those who bore the mark of the beast were idolaters because they worshiped the beast. Colossians 3:5 cites covetousness as idolatry, thereby identifying as idolaters those who worship money and what it can buy.

The Churches (22:16) - The seven churches of Asia Minor which were the book's original recipients (1:11). 
Jesus had sent His angel to deliver the message of Revelation to the apostle John. He said the message of Revelation is "for the churches." Presumably, churches should be teaching and heeding the contents of this last book of the Bible. To ignore the book of Revelation is tantamount to rejecting the gift Jesus has presented to the churches.

The Root and Offspring of David (22:16) - Christ is the source (root) of David's life and line of descendants, which establishes His deity. He is also a descendant of David (offspring), which establishes His humanity. This phrase gives powerful testimony to Christ as the God-Man (see 2 Timothy 2:8). 
Jesus was born as a descendant of King David (Matthew 1:1, 6–16) He is the rightful heir to the kingdom God promised to David (2 Samuel 7:12–16). The angel Gabriel prophesied that Jesus would reign over His kingdom from the throne of His father David (Luke 1:31–33).

Bright and Morning Star (22:16) - This is the brightest star announcing the arrival of the day. When Jesus comes, He will be the brightest star who will shatter the darkness of man's night and herald the dawn of God's glorious day (see 2:28).  
 Malachi 4:2 promises Israel that the sun of righteousness will arise with healing in its wings. Revelation 22:16 identifies Jesus as "the bright morning star." Just as the morning star appears before the sun rises, so Jesus will come for the church before he returns to restore Israel to himself.

Come! (22:17) - This is the Spirit's and church's answer to the promise of His coming. There are 2 distinct invitations in this verse.  The first part of the verse is a prayer addressed to Christ.  "The Spirit and the Bride say come."  The Spirit longs to see Jesus exalted in beauty and splendor, power and majesty.  The Church, the Bride of Christ also longs for Christs return and echos the Spirits plea for Christ to come.  The church has awaited Jesus' return for centuries.  They long for Him, long to live with him (2 Timothy 4:8).  The second part is the last call for unbelievers to come to faith in Christ. Those who hear, who thirst and who wishes can take the water of life without cost, because the price has been paid through Jesus sacrificial death. 

Whosoever Will (22:17) - The final invitation in the Bible to come to Christ! The water of everlasting life is freely available to all who thirst for God and His righteousness. Salvation is given only to those who will come.

Let Him (22:17) - This is an unlimited offer of grace and salvation to all who desire to have their thirsty souls quenched.

The Words (22:18) - God's Word is Infallible, Inerrant, Complete, Authoritative, Sufficient, Effective and Determinative. The importance of the words in the Revelation are precise thoughts using precise words inspired by the Holy Spirit.

This Book (22:18) - the prophecies given in the Book of Revelation, and in a broader sense, he entire Bible itself. The "foundation" of divine revelation has been laid in the apostolic era and thus need not be laid again. Any new revelation is repeatedly warned against.

Take Away From the Words (22:19) - A very serious warning to those who dare to take away from God's prophetic word. Those who attempt to take away from, diminish, dismantle and pervert God's Word will be met with their own destruction.

Surely I Am Coming Quickly (22:20) - (See 3:11) 
In this verse we read Jesus' affirmation that He is surely coming "soon." As with similar statements in Revelation, this is translated from the Greek word tachys, which most literally means "quickly." This is more a statement on the way Jesus will return than a claim about when He will return. While there are no more major events left preceding His return, we cannot claim to know exactly when that moment will arrive (Matthew 24:36).

His coming may be soon—today or tomorrow, but the time of Jesus' return is locked up in the counsels of God. Whenever He comes, the event will occur quickly. First Corinthians 15:52 describes the event as occurring "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." John and the other disciples heard Jesus promise: "I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also" (John 14:3).

In light of this future expectation, what is now required of believers is outline by Peter (see 2 Peter 3:11-18).

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