Eternal Lord Jesus
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8. Eternal Lord Jesus
Revelation 1.7-11

"Look, he is coming with the clouds, and 'every eye will see him, even those who pierced him;' and all peoples on earth 'will mourn because of him.' So shall it be! Amen. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.' I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord's Day, I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: 'Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.'" (Revelation 1.7-11)✞

Alpha and Omega

Alpha Omega LettersLike John's Gospel, which starts with the words, "In the beginning was the Word," here John of Patmos begins his Revelation letter with the same truth that the Lord Jesus is the eternal Lord God. Here is one of only two places where the Lord God speaks directly. God uses the first letter in the Greek alphabet, "Alpha," and the last letter "Omega" as titles for the Lord Jesus, meaning the "first" and the "last." Jesus is the "Beginning" and the "End" in time. He is truly the eternal Lord Jesus. God describes Jesus as the constant, "Alpha" in the present, and the future, "Omega." Without Jesus, nothing eternal lasts beyond this life except for the believer's soul and the word of God.✞

All Will See Him

EyeJohn of Patmos continues, "Every eye will see" Jesus Christ. Every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, including all who reject him or persecute him and his servants. Similarly, at the end of Revelation, Jesus is called the "First" and the "Last." It is a fundamental truth that God controls the whole of time and our lives from beginning to end through Jesus Christ himself.✞

The Lord's Day

Pews in a churchJohn of Patmos sees the Savior in a vision on the Lord's Day. "the Lord's Day" is commemorated by the Early Church on the first day of the week, or Sunday, the day of Jesus' Resurrection. The Sabbath Day is the seventh day of the week commemorating the day of completion of Creation. Early Christians replaced the Jewish Sabbath on the seventh day with "the Lord's Day" on the week's first day. As important as the Sabbath is, the Day of Jesus' Resurrection is considered more meaningful and vital to Christians.

Apostle John's Icon

Apostle John IconIt is entirely appropriate that "the Beginning" and "the End," "the Alpha and the Omega," should be responsible for effecting such a significant transition in the weekly calendar. According to tradition, "John of Patmos" is the only one of the original twelve Apostles who dies a natural death and not martyred for his faith. "John" suffers, however, at the hands of the Romans and traditionally even survives being plunged into a cauldron of boiling oil during the persecution of the Roman Emperor, Domitian (51-96 AD). Legend has it that somebody placed poison in John's wine goblet, but he was alerted by a snake-like head that arose out of it.

Widespread Suffering

Image of JesusJohn of Patmos is not alone, for many other Christian believers suffer too during this empire-wide persecution, and large numbers martyred. John seeks to encourage them to persevere in their faith. Is the Lord Jesus, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha, and the Omega, in your life as he was for the Apostle John?✞

Patmos Island Prison

Patmos IslandJohn of Patmos is the same disciple whom Jesus loved. He saw the Lord, whom he knew as a friend, return as a triumphant King. At the end of his life, the Apostle John (6-c100 AD) was imprisoned on Patmos by the Romans. They banished John during the anti-Christian persecutions for being an Apostle. Patmos is a small Greek island situated about 50 miles offshore from Ephesus in the Aegean Sea. The author Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) in his book, "Natural History," reports that banishment was a regular punishment for many offenses, including magic and astrology. The Romans viewed Pagan, Jewish, or Christian prophecy in the same way. Prophecy with political implications, like that expressed by John of Patmos in the Book of Revelation, is perceived as a threat to Roman political power and order. Patmos is where John, under the Holy Spirit's direction, dictates to his scribe Procoros the Book of Revelation. Saint Procorus, as he came to be known, is one of seven deacons chosen to care for the poor in Jerusalem. Acts 6.5 records, "They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them." One of the seventy disciples sent out by Jesus was Saint Procorus, and he appears in Orthodox iconography as the scribe of John the Evangelist or John of Patmos. John and Procorus lived in a cave on Patmos Island situated about halfway up the mountain between Chora and Skala. Patmos is one of three islands on the coast of Greece to which the Romans banished political offenders. As time went on, many distinguished leaders, including kings and princes, visited John of Patmos to ask for his advice and blessing. John's "Cave of the Apocalypse" is visited by Christian pilgrims today.

Whom Jesus Loved

Letters Alpha and OmegaIn his vision in Revelation 1, John of Patmos recognizes Jesus immediately because he was close to him and a disciple of his for over three years. John walked and talked with him as a friend in Galilee. He saw the radiant Son of God at the Transfiguration. He even stood at the foot of Jesus' Cross and watched him die. John considered himself a special friend of Jesus and described himself touchingly as "the disciple whom Jesus loved." However, here Jesus is not just a humble earthly teacher, but the Lamb of God, the glorious King "par excellence." Jesus is worthy of all honor and power!

"Eternal Lord Jesus"
by Ron Meacock © 2020

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