Sunday School Lesson – Sunday, November 27, 2016 – Alpha and Omega
To follow along, visit your local Christian bookstore, and ask for the Bible Expositor and Illuminator
Time: A.D. 96 – Place: Patmos
Revelation 22:12 – And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Jesus has declared that He will return quickly, therefore, there will be no further opportunity for change when His coming occurs. Whatever spiritual state we’re in at His return is what we will receive according to our works. According to the Greek definition for work [ergon] is toil, as an effort or occupation, an act or deed, labor. Many people do good deeds, but their submission to the Word of God has been rejected. This is why Jesus told His followers doing good deeds wouldn’t get them into heaven because their iniquity has kept them from entering heaven (Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity – Matthew 7:22-23). A genuinely saved person is one that does the will of the Father, he or she is continually living in obedience to the will of God as the normal course of his or her life. His declaration of “And behold, I come quickly” doesn’t mean that He would return soon after John completed his writing, but once the end time events begin, His return will be swiftly, and will take many people by surprise. Salvation is a free gift, it’s not by works, but believers works will be tested to see which are of lasting value and worthy of reward (Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward – 1st Corinthians 3:13-14). Believers have been given an instruction manual, it’s our responsibility to read the Bible, and adhere to its instructions, that’s if we have a desire to live with Jesus forever. “According to his works shall be” indicating the rewards which is due, and its connotation can be either favorable or unfavorable.
Revelation 22:13 – I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Alpha and omega are the letters that begin and end the Greek alphabet. Applied figuratively, they stand for whatever is first and last in any situation. It would normally be impossible for any one thing to be both alpha and omega, for they stand at opposite ends of a series. Jesus can accurately be described as both, for He is infinite in relation to time. Jesus declared Himself to be the Alpha and Omega, citing the span between the first and the last of the Greek alphabet to symbolize that He is the Sovereign over all things and that He is complete within Himself and needs nothing from any other source.
Revelation 22:14 – Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Those who washed their robes, who have been cleansed by Jesus’ blood are blessed and have a right to the tree of life. They may enter the New Jerusalem. In contrast, unrepentant sinners are outside the city and will never gain entrance. Since the tree of life is literal but it also viewed figuratively, it suggests a quality of life involving an intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ based upon a persevering obedience. Since no one can enter into the city unless their name is written in the Lamb’s Book of life, are those who have been justified by faith ( For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them – Ephesians 2:8-10). Who also express their faith in obedience to the Word of God which is the instructions for those who are professing Christianity.
Revelation 22:15 – For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. The evil persons left outside. “Dogs” is a particularly offensive designation, as animals that frequented the slums of cities, they became the symbol of all that is unclean and impure. Also excluded from the holy city are sorcerers, those who practice magical arts by use of drugs, spells, and witchcraft. Whoremongers are strictly speaking of those who practice prostitution, but the term also refers generally to sexually immoral persons. God will not tolerate the presence of those who violate His goodness and love. Idolaters also will be excluded, those who give their worship to another. Finally, anyone who loves and practices a lie will be banned, this includes the attitude as well as the action. One who loves lying engages in it habitually and does so not just in words but in deceitful actions. In order to live in the city, the believer will have been rejected the world’s way of thinking and actions.
Revelation 22:16 – I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. Jesus is both the Source and Son of David, echoing the wording of Isaiah 11:1(And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots). Jesus is greater than David and the rightful heir to the throne of David. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament hope for a Messiah and came at a dark period in Israel’s history. Jesus is a descendant of David, but calling Himself the root of David implies He is much more than this. He is also David’s Creator and Lord. While Jesus is David’s heir to the throne on the human level, He also is the eternal God.”Bright and Morning Star” means that for the Christian, Jesus is the comforting light in a dark world until the dawn of His return.
Revelation 22:17 – And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. This invitation by the Spirit remains open to anyone who will come by faith to Christ to accept the Lord’s gracious offer of eternal life. The first invite the thirsty to come are the Spirit and the bride. These are the Holy Spirit and the church, speaking as one. Secondly, one who hears echoes their invitation, this could be either an individual church member or an unbeliever answering the invitation himself and urging others to join him. Salvation is free, but it only comes to those who are willing to accept it. The Lord doesn’t give a mandate for salvation, it has to be willingly accepted. Salvation isn’t just for the Jewish nation, but for every nation in the world.
Revelation 22:18 – For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto the plagues that are written in this book. The book of Revelation ends with a solemn warning not to tamper with the words God that have been given. The warning is addressed to “any that heareth the word of the prophecy of this book”, and then either add to or subtract from them. This warning could also be for those who attend church, and they make the Word of God with legalism or making the Word of God none effective by accepting people’s lifestyle that contradicts the Word of God and believes they can live opposite of the instructions of the Bible and will still go to heaven, this too can be adding or subtracting from the Word of God.
Revelation 22:19- And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. The Book of Revelation was intended to be heard and obeyed (Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the saying of the prophecy of this book – Revelation 22:7) and (Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand – Revelation 1:3). In order to adhere to the Word of God, the professing Christian must read the Bible, then come subject to its instructions. Every professing Christian is held responsible for knowing what God has instructed the believer by His written instruction. The Bible is to be read continually, not just when we attend church, but on our personal time with worship through prayer and reading the Bible.
Revelation 22:20 – He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The fact that Jesus is coming quickly within the scope of God’s overall plan for this creation is a repeated theme in Revelation. For the third time in this chapter, Jesus declares “I come quickly”. This doesn’t mean after these words were written, Jesus is coming, but once the events foretold begin to occur, He could come at any time. John adds the hope of all believers to the declaration of Christ by praying “Come, Lord Jesus”. Amen is a Hebrew expression that gives assent to what had just been spoken.
Revelation 22:21 – The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen. John’s final words to his readers are a benediction: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen”. The book was written as a letter to a group of churches under John’s care, but it can also imply for today’s believers. We all need the grace of God to continue in the faith, to continue to pray and fast, continue to look to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith as well as our Savior and God.