Jesus is Lord Over History
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” Rev. 1:11 (NKJV)
Who has performed and done it,
Calling the generations from the beginning? ‘ I, the Lord, am the first; and with the last I am He.’ ” Isaiah 41:4 (NKJV)
Five times in the Book of Revelation, Jesus, God the Son, says He is the “First and the Last.” What is Jesus claiming? The first time God uses this designation of Himself is in Isaiah 41:4. Whenever the New Testament uses a phrase, a name, a symbol, or any other figure that has its origins in the Old Testament, we should study to discover what the original intent of it is. In this case it is obvious from the context of Isaiah 41:4 that God is claiming Himself sovereign over history. In Revelation Jesus claims Himself the First and the Last, thus claiming to be the Sovereign Lord over history.
The most popular view of the Book of Revelation today is that which sees the prophecy as events still future to us in the twenty-first millennium. This however is not the most reasonable interpretation because the Apostle John begins the Book and essentially ends the Book by saying that the things in the Book will shortly come to pass. - “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants–things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.” (Revelation 1:1 (NKJV); See also Revelation 1:3; 22:6, 10.)
The more reasonable explanation of the Book of Revelation is that which Kenneth Gentry and Gary DeMar of American Vision and R.J. Rushdoony of Chalcedon Foundation set forth. In a nutshell Revelation is a prophecy that pertained to the Church of John’s day - “things which must shortly take place.” Revelation dovetails with Matthew 24 and Luke 21:20-33 which are prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem and the judgment upon the generation that crucified Jesus (Matthew 23:34-38; Luke 11:49-51; Revelation 1:7). Though Revelation contains elements of the future from our position in time (completion of new heavens and earth, final judgment, lake of fire), yet is primarily a prophecy of God’s vengeance on His enemies (the Church’s enemies) of the First Century.
When Jesus says in Revelation, “I am the First and the Last,” He is saying to the persecuted church of pre-A.D. 70 that He is Lord Sovereign over history and will turn the powerful forces of both Jewish and Roman persecution back. The Lord of History will deliver the Church from her enemies, but she herself will be delivered (Revelation 12:1-6).
What does the “First and the Last” mean? It means that Jesus Christ, to Whom all authority in heaven and earth is given, is Sovereign Lord over all things, working all things to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:3-14), and the good of His people (Romans 8:28). Glory be to the Holy One!
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Tags: Alpha and Omega, American Vision, book of revelation, Chalcedon Foundation, destruction of jerusalem, Ephesians 1:3-14, eugene clingman, first and the last, Gary DeMar, god judges his enemies, god's judgment in the first century, granola, Isaiah 41:4, jesus lord over history, Kenneth Gentry, Luke 11:49-51, Luke 21:20-33, Matthew 23:34-38, Matthew 24, must shortly come to pass, must shortly take place, old testament symbols, R.J. Rushdoony, Revelation 12:1-6, Revelation 1:1, Revelation 1:3; 22:6 & 10, Revelation 1:7, Romans 8:28