September 9, 2008 on 1:46 pm | In REVELATION FOR BEGINNERS | Comments Off on SECURITY IN AN INSECURE WORLD–1:8

Do you feel secure? Do you have financial security? Job security? What about your marriage? Health? Your life? Your future? What about in the world? Is it realistic to think all things will continue in the world as they have indefinitely—that somehow we will muddle through? Or is some type of collapse inevitable? What are the prospects for our personal and family survival? Is God losing control? How can I have any realistic sense of security?

9-ll dramatically altered the world’s security consciousness. Since then, many have been more willing to give up personal freedoms and rights in exchange for greater physical security. At the 2008 Olympics in Bejing, security seemed to be job # 1. I was reading recently they had 100,000 police, 100,000 military personnel, plus 600,000 “volunteers,” not to mention the 300,000 surveillance cameras and microphones. “How might they be used after the Olympics?” some were asking.

The next verse in chapter 1 of Revelation (verse eight) relates to the underlying concerns from God’s viewpoint. Is He still in control? Can He handle everything that’s coming? In particular, will the world survive as we know it? Will the Christian church survive in a secular and religiously fractured world? What about me? Will I and my family survive what appears to be the end of time? Verse 8 states: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord. I like to label this verse, “Our God is Able.” This concept will be important to remember as Revelation unfolds future events.

God begins here with a proclamation—I am alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. What are we supposed to make of that statement? Why does it even crop up here? And so what? What does it have to do with me and my future? So let’s explore this verse. It doesn’t take long to discover that “alpha and omega” are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the language in which the New Testament was written. The next phrase, “beginning and end,” seems to fit well with that concept. It’s like saying the A and the Z, the beginning and the end of the alphabet (and everything in between).

There is another scripture which provides insight, I believe, into the concepts represented here. Hebrews 12:2 says Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith.” This says to me that what God begins He can finish—He is able. As the author and finisher of my faith personally, if I entrust my life to Him and leave it there, He will see to it that all that is necessary for my salvation will be accomplished. His part involves His sacrificial death and intercessory ministry. My part includes acceptance by faith of what He has done for me and allowing Him to transform my character. He doesn’t get half way through and say, “oops! I didn’t see that coming.” Or, “O, dear, I guess that’s too hard for me.” He doesn’t force the will, but as we cooperate with Him, he works such miracles of change in our lives that even angels must be amazed. It matters not then whether we live or die—our salvation is secure in Him. Remember the three young Hebrews in Daniel when confronted with death said, “Our God is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace. But if He chooses not to, it still doesn’t make any difference. We will trust Him anyway.” So it may be with us. It is an important issue in these end times of earth’s history as we shall see later in Revelation, as well as in Daniel.

Now how does this next phrase fit the picture? “Who was and is and is to come.” This expresses the eternal nature of God—He had no beginning, is now present, and has no end. I can sort of understand no ending, but trying to grasp the idea of no beginning blows all my circuits—it’s virtually incomprehensible to me. You also may be thinking, you just got through talking about beginning and ending (author and finisher), and now you say He has no beginning or ending. Actually, both are true. In terms of our lives, He is the beginning and end, but in the cosmic picture, He is much greater than that. He is before all things (as Creator of all) and is the source of eternal life for us. As the great Creator God, then, He is able to have ultimate control over this world—He will have the final say so in spite of what man seems to be getting away with right now. Thus I can have confidence that in the end His will will prevail. When we studied Daniel 2 briefly about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image, we noted that in the end God sets up His kingdom which destroys all others, but is not destroyed itself. So I can know this earth will not be totally destroyed by either man-made or natural catastrophes until Jesus physically comes. He is able to control that.

Finally, this verse describes God as “the Almighty.” The word is first used in the Old Testament in Hebrew as “El Shaddai.” A song has even been written with that title. In Genesis, when God comes to Abraham and makes a covenant with Him, He describes Himself as “El Shaddai,” “the Almighty”—the all-powerful one. It is used in connection with making a covenant treaty with Abraham and his descendants which includes specific promises. This implies to me that God is able to take care of His followers and His church down through the ages till He comes. Oh, they may suffer trials and be persecuted and die before then, but ultimately, as verse 7 describes, He will come again and take them to be with Him forever (see John 14:1-3).

Yes, our God is able to provide eternal security for us personally, to have ultimate control over the affairs of earth, to take care of His church, and to prepare an eternal home for His people. Don’t you want to serve a God like that and be with Him forever and ever and ever?

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