The Gospel Observer

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
March 2, 2014


1) I Am the Alpha and Omega (Keith Greer)
2) News & Notes


I Am the Alpha and Omega
by Keith Greer

As punishment for preaching about faith in Jesus Christ, the apostle John was exiled to the isle of Patmos (Rev. 1:9).  During John's exile, the Lord Jesus Christ revealed himself to him.  In the Bible book that contains that Revelation,  John described the Christ who "loved us and washed us from our own sins in His own blood" (Rev. 1:5).  Jesus told John that he is coming with clouds and that every eye will behold him. Then he made the affirmative statement, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Rev. 1:8).  What exactly does the phrase "the Alpha and Omega" reveal to us about Christ?

Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.  Jesus was making a powerful statement of fact concerning his eternal nature and his Deity.  Earlier, as he talked with the Pharisees during his earthly ministry, Jesus made a similar declaration.  He said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58).  The Jews who heard him accused Jesus of claiming to be equal with God, and they took up stones, intending to kill him.  Yet, when the apostle John began his gospel concerning Christ, he wrote: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:1-3).  

Following are some facts to consider about the "beginning and ending" nature of Jesus Christ.  

He was with God in the beginning.  "Then God said, let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth" (Gen. 1:26).  

All things were made for him and by him.  "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him" (Col. 1:15, 16).  

He was not a created being.  "Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bond-servant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:6-8).  Some religions, such as the Jehovah Witnesses, teach that Jesus was a created being.  Jesus became flesh to enable him to live life as men live it: to be tested, tried, and tempted; yet, to live without sin (Heb. 4:15).  He was both God and man.  We have difficulty grasping this concept, but the Scriptures make abundantly clear that he was both.  

He was the key to man's sin problem.  When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they set in motion the need for a Savior.  Fellowship between God and man was broken because of sin.  God knew that man would need something to enable restoration of that fellowship.  Jesus Christ was to be the means through which man's fellowship with God could again be a reality.  "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15).  

He fulfilled the prophecies.  The Scriptures contain more than 300 prophecies concerning the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ.  Let's look at a few of them:

* He would be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:18-25).  

* He would be born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:1).  

* His lineage would be through Abraham and David (Gen. 12:1-3; 2 Sam. 7:12-14; Matt. 1:1).  

* He would establish his kingdom in the days of the Roman Empire (Dan. 2:44, 45; Acts 2:41-47).  

All during Jewish history, the prophets looked ahead and foretold about the One who would be the centerpiece of God's plan.

He is the revealed mystery of godliness.  "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory" (1 Tim. 3:16).  The points listed show the development of God's Son as he began, fulfilled, and completed his mission here on earth.  He said, "I have glorified You on the earth.  I have finished the work which You have given Me to do" (John 17:4).  

He is the fullness of the Godhead.  "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power" (Col. 2:8-10).  Through Christ Jesus, man becomes complete.  Jesus was the one Deity whom man was permitted to see.  "Jesus said to him, Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip?  He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, Show us the Father?" (John 14:9).  

He was the payment for the world's sins.  "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21).  God stepped in and did for man what man could not do for himself.  Someone had to balance the scales and pay the ransom price.  Christ paid our bill.  "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him" (Rom. 5:8,9).  

He is head of the church -- his kingdom.  "And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.  And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all" (Eph. 1:19-23).  The kingdom was part of God's eternal plan.  The kingdom of heaven has only one head -- Christ (Matt. 16:18; Col. 1:18).  

He was declared to be God's Son with power.  "And declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Rom. 1:4).  The Scriptures contain many examples that demonstrate the truthfulness of Christ's deity.  But the culmination of all proofs is his resurrection from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion (Matt. 28:1-6).  Christ's resurrection was unlike any other resurrection.  He rose, never to die again!

He will call us from the grave.  "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation" (John 5:28,29).  When the last enemy -- death -- is destroyed, it will be Christ who calls us to come forth from our graves.  Finally and forever, all of God's enemies will have been subdued (1 Cor. 15:24- 26).  We expect this to happen because Christ overcame death and Hades, giving us assurance that we also will (Rev. 1:18).  

He will judge all men.  "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son" (John 5:22).  "Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.  He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31).
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10).  

When death has been forever defeated, men will give accounts of their lives.  The Lord himself will judge us.  He was present at the beginning; he will be present at the end.  

When we study the pages of God's sacred word, we observe overwhelming evidence of Christ's existence during all three time dispensations (periods).  God had an eternal purpose.  

"And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Eph. 3:9-11).  

In the beginning, this plan was hidden from man's full view.  But as the pages of history of God's people unfold, they afford glimpses of how God will bring his plan to fruition by sending his Son to this sinful world.  To me, the presence of Christ on every page of the sacred record is the greatest masterpiece of writing.  Through his work -- the inspiration of the Bible -- the Holy Spirit told the complete story of Christ.  

Surely, it is crystal clear that Christ has been present since time began, and he will be with us throughout eternity -- when it begins on Judgment Day.  The common thread woven throughout the pages of the sacred Scriptures is the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.  The Bible breaks down into three simple statements: He is Coming -- He is Here -- He will Return.  

On three other occasions in the book of Revelation, the apostle John referred to Christ's "Alpha-and-Omega" character (Rev. 1:11; 21:6; 22:13).  The book begins with that affirmation, and it ends in the same manner.  Truly, we are blessed and better because Christ has always been with us.  There's no doubt that all things begin and end with our Savior -- Jesus the Christ.  

-- Via Truth Magazine, November 17, 2005, Volume XLIX, Number 22: http:// www.truthmagazine.com/archives/volume49/ 22-november-17.pdf


News & Notes

Charles "Chucky" Calloway was able to return home from the hospital March 1.  However, it had been discovered that he had also suffered a heart attack and had a blockage in one of his arteries.  He will, therefore, have to soon return to the hospital so that the next procedure can be determined, which might possibly be the insertion of a stent.  Let those of us who are Christians be praying for him.

And let us also be praying for the following for their health conditions:
Virginia Fontenot, Shirley Young, Cheryl Crews, Peggy Lefort, and Terry and Pam MacDonald.

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

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