I love coming to the end of the Bible. In my case today it follows a two-year reading plan, two chapters per day, with the psalms read twice through alongside 300 other chapters. A new reading model for me, and one that I enjoyed enormously (more info below this post, for those interested).
I especially love the book of Revelation, its wonderful glimpses of the eternal life that awaits us with Jesus in Heaven, and the fact that the central activity of Heaven, and all the people, angels, living creatures, and so on, is worship! There is so much in the book, and in its glorious final chapter, to draw us into worship, but I want to look today at just one verse, Revelation 22:13:
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.Revelation 22:13, NIV
Superficially these pairs of titles appear repetitive, but in fact there are subtle differences between them, with each emphasizing different aspects of the attributes of God. The first pair of titles are the Alpha and the Omega, referring to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Our Lord is the first letter, the last letter, and every letter in between. We are reminded of John’s gospel, the first chapter and the first verse: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is God’s living Word, the Word made flesh, the first Word and the last Word. God is not looking down on us from Heaven, He is right here, Emmanuel, God with us, speaking and communicating His great love to us personally. We describe the Bible as the Word of God, and it is, but the glory of the Bible is its power to reveal the living Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, to our hearts.
The First and the Last. Here we are surely considering the eternity of God, His utter unchangeability, “Jesus the same yesterday and today and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). Revelation 13:8 speaks of “the Lamb Who was slain from the creation of the world”, revealing just a little of God’s awesomeness, existing before and continuing after the entirety of the vastness of the space and time of the physical universe as we know it.
And He is the Beginning and the End, here implying He is the Creator, the author and designer of everything in all creation, from galaxies to micro-organisms. He is of course also the Sustainer, the One Who supplies everything needed for life for trillions of plants and animals. And He is the Finisher, the One Who will call time on creation as the book of Revelation shows us, wrapping it up and ushering in the new heavens and the new earth, taking in everything good and excluding everything evil (Revelation 21:26,27).
As we think on these wonderful words, beautiful titles of honour of our glorious God, let’s end this year and begin the next with hearts full of worship of our eternal Father and our awesome Saviour, by the power of His Holy Spirit.
Reading Plan Info:
In January 2020 I started reading two chapters per day, working through from Genesis 1. But when I arrived at Psalm 1, I really wanted to prolong my enjoyment of the psalms. So I then read one psalm alongside one other chapter, eg Psalm 1 with Proverbs 1, then Psalm 2 with Proverbs 2, etc. And when I had done this through to Psalm 150/Jeremiah 33, I figured I would continue the pattern and go through the Psalms again (from Psalm 1/Jeremiah 34 onward), and calculated that with a few tweaks I could then finish the whole Bible by the end of 2021.
For 2022/23/24?, I’m considering a similar plan but possibly adding the gospels to the psalms, and reading alongside the rest of the Bible from Genesis 1.