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The Authority For Revelation

Revelation 1:8
'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.' (NIVUK)

This book was written down by John, having been revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ on the authority of God the Father (Revelation 1:1). At the end of this prologue (Revelation 1:1-8), the Revealer identifies Himself. He declares Himself to be the I AM. This was the Name by which God was known to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14). Jesus called Himself 'I AM' – the Jews knew exactly what He was claiming and so they tried to stone Him to death (John 8:58). So this verse is from the mouth of God, applying to both the Father and the Son.

Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, but also another Name of God echoing Isaiah 44:6 and Isaiah 48:12. It means that, although God is eternal, He intentionally started the cosmos – a time-space environment which had a beginning and will have an end. The book of Revelation is focussed on the final battle with evil, along with the end of the geophysical universe, and what will happen after the end. However, the end is not a random event, or the natural decay of entropy, but a cosmic event resulting from God's command (1 Thessalonians 4:16). He was in charge of the beginning of all we know (Isaiah 41:4), and He will end it all (2 Peter 3:10-12). He will do it because He is Almighty.

But God Himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, has neither beginning nor end. The I AM Name means 'the one who was and is and is to come'. It does not just apply to His continuity through eternity but also that He is unchangeable. That characteristic is applied to the Lord Jesus in Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever." That is why we can see God's unchanged character through both covenants of the Bible, and in the Lord Jesus.

Why does this matter? This Revelation from Jesus, written down by John, has the full authority of the eternal, unchanging God. He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Being outside of time, the future events are already done – so that Paul can talk about the future in the past tense: "… God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6). What God has planned about the future cannot be undone: the Lord is coming back, evil will be vanquished, rebels will be punished, Satan will have no more power, and God's kingdom will be established for ever through Jesus. This verse is the end of the prologue. The end of the epilogue says, "He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen." (Revelation 22:20-21). Is that what your heart longs for? If so, the Revelation will thrill you. If not, it will chill you. Get right with God today, through Jesus Christ, don't delay (www.crosscheck.org.uk).

Almighty and ever-living God. Thank You for knowing my future as clearly as my past, and for weaving my life into Your eternal purposes. Forgive me for being so preoccupied with what I am doing now that I forget that Your plans for the future are already done. Help me to cooperate with You so that I will long for the return of Jesus and live each day in anticipation of Your return. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams