“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
Revelation 22:13 mentions 3 attributes of God.
It says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Originally there was neither a “beginning” nor an “end” to God.
God exists before and after eternity; He Himself is limitless space.
For Him neither the limit of time nor of space exists.
Then, what is the reason He says He is “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end”?
Without knowing the spiritual meanings, they all seem to be the same.
However, “the Alpha and the Omega,” “the first and the last,” “the beginning and the end” have all different meanings.
First of all, He says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.”
Alpha and Omega are the first and the last characters of the Greek alphabet.
They correspond to A and Z in English. (In Korean, they are like “ㄱ” and “ㅎ”.)
At the time Apostle John was writing this “Book of Revelation,” the Hellenic civilization was in full flourish.
However, “the Alpha and the Omega” doesn’t only refer to Greek language, but also all the languages that mankind uses.
Thanks to languages, human beings have been able to express their thoughts, to pass on knowledge, and to develop civilizations.
In this sense, “the Alpha and the Omega” refers to the beginning and the end of knowledge.
There is a close connection between human civilization and language.
In order to develop and pass on civilization, there had to have been a literary form of language.
Even though a generation has outstanding knowledge and skills, if there is no literary language to record it, it’s difficult to pass it on to its future generations.
Languages played a great role in rapid development of the great civilizations throughout human history.
Therefore, the expression “the Alpha and the Omega,” which refer to the first and the last of the alphabet, is the beginning and the end of all the knowledge of the civilizations of the earth.
Then, what does it mean by saying that God is “the Alpha and the Omega,” that is the beginning and the end of knowledge and civilization?
While a man is growing up, he amasses various kinds of knowledge through his parents, teachers, books, and other materials.
Seeing this kind of progress people may think that it is human beings themselves that started civilization by the means of acquiring and piling up knowledge upon knowledge.
The beginning of this knowledge and civilization, however, is originally God the Creator.
Most of all, when God created a man, He gave him the ability to store knowledge.
After God created Adam, the first man, bit-by-bit God put the knowledge of truth into Adam over a long period of time.
God also gave him wisdom so that he could fully use and take advantage of the knowledge.
When Adam lived in the Garden of Eden, he developed a highly advanced civilization by applying this superior knowledge and wisdom.
(I explained about this civilization in the “Lectures on Genesis”.)
After he committed sin and was driven out to this earth, he wasn’t able to develop the remarkable civilization that he had enjoyed in the Garden of Eden.
Unlike the commonly accepted thought today, the primitive Stone Age didn’t last for millions of years and advanced to the Bronze Age, and to the Iron Age.
As written in Genesis 4, in the days of Cain, the son of Adam, people had knowledge that was sufficient to build a city.
The Bible also records that a few generations later, in the days of Tubal-cain, people forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron.
From the time of Adam, people have amassed knowledge and developed civilizations.
A civilization is an intensive accumulation of human history.
Civilization is fruit of all kinds of accumulated knowledge and faculty that countless people have developed.
Thanks to the development of such civilizations, things that were impossible in the past have become possible now, and people have come to take pride in their capabilities.
People tend to believe that civilization will continue to develop, and that the quality of life will also continue to improve as well.
They also expect that developments will be also make it possible to do things that is in the province of God; things which they wouldn’t even have thought previously possible.
For example, people anticipate being able to give life to a living being, to overcome aging and achieve eternal life.
However, the knowledge and civilization of mankind won’t develop without limit.
Just as the beginning of civilization was set already in the plan of God who created Adam, its end is surely set as well
The course of human history actually began and will end under the sovereignty of God.
Then, when will the end of the civilization come?
As you heard during this Lecture on Revelation, at the end of the 7 Year Great Tribulation, all the civilizations will be destroyed due to wars and natural disasters.
When it is time to begin the Millennium Kingdom, mankind will regress into a primitive environment.
All the knowledge and technology that had been stored up for ages will have been destroyed.
Then, why did God the Creator give knowledge to people and allow them to develop civilizations?
The reason is that it was necessary for the providence of Human Cultivation.
God knew precisely how long the history of mankind should last to get the maximum number of true children.
That’s why God set a period of 6,000 years after Adam.
In order to preach the Gospel to all the people who multiplied on the earth for these long years, literary language and development of civilization were mandatory.
Only when there was literary language could the Word of God be recorded and correctly passed on to following generations.
Also, only when there is development of civilization can this Gospel can be preached to every corner of the world.
Through this, people can understand who God is, and how they can seek and meet God.
In this providence of cultivation, God allowed for the development of civilizations and literary language.
Foolish people don’t realize this, and attempt to deny the existence of God based on their inferior knowledge and experience.
They idolize their knowledge and try to cross over into the domain that is God’s.
But this kind of thing is impossible.
For a moment consider the incident of the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11.
From the days of Adam until this incident of the Tower of the Babel, there was only one language in the world.
When the descendants of Ham built the Tower of Babel to stand against God, they could easily assemble people because all the people spoke the same language.
To prevent it, God confused the language and made it different from people to people.
Since they couldn’t communicate, the construction stopped. Those who spoke the same language gathered together and people spread all over the face of the earth.
Mankind initially all lived together in one place. Forcing them to scatter over the earth was also in the providence of God.
No matter how much knowledge and ability human beings can utilize, they cannot avoid the will of God; they cannot stand against God, either.
Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
And, Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
You’ve already heard through many sermons why fearing God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.
To the extent you fear God and become sanctified, God gives you wisdom from Heaven.
Of course, it is not the case that God gives evil wisdom because God is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom.
Even though God gives good wisdom to people, people receive the work of the enemy devil and Satan, and turn it into evil wisdom.
For example, if the knowledge of gunpowder is used in good way, it can benefit building construction or mining work.
However, when it is used in evil way, weapons can be made that kill.
There are many ways to utilize the knowledge of drugs.
Whether it is used to make a medicine to heal diseases, or a poison to kill people; it is up to people who utilize the knowledge of drugs.
Even though knowledge was given to be utilized in goodness according to the truth, people accepted the work of Satan and eventually knowledge went in the wrong direction.
Now, the scripture says, “I am the first and the last.”
Previously, when God said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” it specifically refers to the attribute of God the Holy Father in God the Trinity.
It is to express God the Father who allowed for all the knowledge and civilization of mankind from beginning to end.
Of course, “the Alpha and the Omega,” “the first and the last,” and “the beginning and the end” can be commonly applicable to God the Trinity.
It is because The Three are originally one, and they work with the same, one, heart.
However, God the Father divided Himself into the Three, because there are fields to which each attends…
Therefore, according to the characteristics of the ministries of God the Trinity, the beginning and the end of knowledge and civilization refer to the field of God the Holy Father.
Next, “the first and the last” is for God the Holy Son, Jesus Christ.
Why is the Lord “the first and the last”?
It is related to the providence of the salvation of cross, which is the secret hidden before the ages.
The Lord is the first and the last in the ministry of the salvation of human beings, who were sinners, and leading them to eternal life.
After the first man, Adam, disobeyed the word of God and committed sin, mankind went to the way of death.
Adam’s descendants, who were born after Adam, committed sin. They were sinners with original sin and also sinners with self-committed sin. They were all destined to death.
In order to save such sinners, Jesus died on the cross.
Even though He took the sins of sinners and died, however, since He didn’t have any sin, He came back to life and broke the authority of death.
1 Corinthians 15:20 says, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.”
In this way Jesus came back to life and became the first fruit of resurrection. This is the meaning of “the first.”
By the way, when a fruit is first borne, it contains a seed of life.
The seed falls down to the ground, grows, and bear fruit of 30, 60, or 100 times or more.
Jesus Christ came to this earth and died. But He resurrected as the first fruit of resurrection and He has yielded countless fruit.
Colossians 1:6 says, “[The Gospel] which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth.”
Those of you who heard the Gospel of Sanctification and received life, you are the beautiful fruit of the Lord.
You then become the seeds of life that are planted in the ground, and bear many other fruit.
Therefore, “the first” in tonight’s scripture means that the Lord is the first fruit of resurrection.
It shows the fact that, since the Lord resurrected into life, countless souls can receive salvation in the Lord and join the resurrection.
Then, what does it mean by saying Jesus Christ is “the last”?
It is to mean that the providence of human redemption comes to an end as the Lord comes back in the air.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 gives very detailed explanation on this.
It says, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”
Those who died and are now in the grave who believed in the Lord will rise to meet the Lord in air.
Then those who are alive and welcome the Groom, the Lord, will be changed into a spiritual body in a moment, to be embraced arms of the Lord.
This is the time our salvation is accomplished completely, and when all the providence of human cultivation comes to an end.
Just as a farmer plants seeds, cultivates them, and harvests all the crops, it is the day the Lord gathers the souls who are good grains.
Like this, regarding the Lord who will end the providence of redemption by the Second Advent, the scripture describes Him as “the last.”
Now, the scripture says that He is “the beginning and the end.”
It explains God the Holy Spirit among God the Trinity.
Then, of what does the Holy Spirit become “the beginning and the end”?
It refers to the beginning and the end of “Human Cultivation.”
A farmer works to cultivate the seed because he has a hope that he will gather grain at harvest time.
The reason God created mankind and governs the history of human beings is to gather the souls who are good grains.
It is to gain true children who resemble the good and holy God, and to gain true children who love God.
How can He receive such true children?
After the sin of Adam, human beings became servants who are obedient to sin and became servants of the enemy devil and Satan.
Originally, their hearts were clean without sin and evil. To the extent they accepted the work of the enemy devil and Satan, their hearts were more and more stained with sin and evil.
Hatred, hot temper, envy, jealousy, adulterous mind, greed, and arrogance; these fleshly attributes were planted in their hearts.
In order to become true children who God wants, you should cast off these fleshly attributes and sinful nature, and recover the original clean heart.
You should accomplish a clean heart, and plant into the heart the spiritual attributes that resemble God.
You should fill your heart with love, goodness, service, humility, honesty, sacrifice, devotion, and the like.
In other words, all you have to do is not to do what the bible tells you not to, and throw away what you should throw away.
Then, the sinful attributes will be cast off, and you will accomplish the clean heart.
In addition, you should do what God tells you to do, and keep what He tells you to keep.
Then, you will gradually resemble the heart of God and recover the image of Christ.
It’s so easy.
Just do what you are told to do.
And don’t do what you are told not to do!
In most cases, however, people can’t do it.
It is because they have an attribute to continue to stay in their old self as they used to do when they were sinners.
When it is said that the nature of a man doesn’t change, it is due to these attributes.
However, it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that changes what couldn’t change.
Zachariah 4:6 says, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
Something that cannot be done by men’s power can be done by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit, first, dwells in the children who open their hearts and accept the Lord, and gives them faith to be saved.
It is opening up to and receiving the Holy Spirit, that it is the beginning of being born again as God’s children.
Once having received the Holy Spirit, people can pray in the work of the Holy Spirit and they can also understand the Word of God.
They also receive the power to live by the Word you hear.
When they disobey the word of God, they are afflicted in their hearts because they can feel the Holy Spirit mourning.
On other hand, the Holy Spirit rejoices when they obey, and so, joy and grace overflow in their hearts.
Also, Romans 8:26 says, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Likewise, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and make us put on the grace and power to change.
He allows us to listen to the voice of the truth and to understand the love of God so that we can cast off the things of the darkness that we used to do in the darkness
And finally, He helps us to reach complete sanctification.
From the time that the Holy Spirit came down into the upper room of Mark as the Fire, He has continuously managed such ministries of human Cultivation.
Of course, from the day God began the Human Cultivation, the Holy Spirit was with Him.
He also did many works in the Old Testament days.
However, more important works in the ministry of the Holy Spirit began in earnest as the era of the New Testament began.
It is to help people circumcise and cultivate their hearts so that they can become true children who are sanctified.
However, the works of the Holy Spirit who help people become sanctified do not last indefinitely.
As the Lord comes back in the air, the work of the Holy Spirit, who cultivates humans, ends.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Even though it looks so simple, you just heard how deep the meaning is, contained in this word.
All the providence of human history, cultivation, and salvation, and the ministries of God the Trinity are all contained in this verse.
Until now, the enemy and devil have unceasingly tried to hinder the providence of God.
They deceived Adam, the first man, to betray God.
They tried to destroy Israel, the chosen people. They tried to kill Jesus who came to the earth as the Messiah.
Even today, they prevent people from having faith, and instigate evil people to hinder the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
However, no matter how much Satan tries to slander, the will of God cannot be stopped.
In His precise justice and immeasurable wisdom, He accomplishes the providence of Salvation.
He has done it till now, and He will accomplish everything without the slightest error till the last moment.
He will completely accomplish His will to acquire the true children.
As this cultivation comes to an end, the Holy Spirit shows even greater fiery works.
No matter how dark the darkness of the world is, and no matter how much sin and evil is rampant, the work of the Holy Spirit becomes all the more powerful to help people accept the gospel, believe the Lord, and change to become holy.
The reason God established this church in the end time is to accomplish the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Who is the end of the Cultivation.
The Holy Spirit Who is the beginning and the end of the Human Cultivation manifests fiery works to call for all the souls who will receive salvation.
The works that you have seen, heard, and experienced are far greater and more amazing than in any other generation or place.
Now, you should become true sanctified children before the end since you have experienced such works.
And you should become the instruments of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 2:4 says, “And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”
Just as written, I hope that every one of you will manifest the work of the Holy Spirit and of power to save countless souls.
May you shine forever like the stars in the sky by doing so, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, I pray!