************ Sermon on Revelation 22:13,16 ************
By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman
This sermon was preached on June 27, 2010
"The Judge's Credentials"
Topic: Second Coming of Christ
Subtopic: Time of Unknown
Title: Humor: Ready for the Rapture
After church, where she had been taught about the Second Coming, a little girl was quizzing her mother.
"Mommy, do you believe Jesus will come back?"
"Could he come this week?"
"Could he come in the next hour?"
"In a few minutes?"
"Mommy, would you comb my hair?"
-- Don Hussong, East Wenatchee, Washington. Leadership, Vol. 4, no. 3.
Will you be ready to meet the Lord when He comes? Will you be ready to meet the Lord when He comes as Judge? If Jesus were to come at the end of this service, will you be ready?
Think about the events of the past week. Do they show that you are you ready to meet the Lord? Let me sharpen the question: what will Jesus see when you stand before His judgment throne: a boy with a filthy mouth, a girl who dresses immodestly, a rebellious teen, a promiscuous single adult, an adulterous husband, an abusive and domineering father, a contentious wife, a dishonest businessman, a lover of money, someone with alcohol or drug problems, someone hooked on pornography, a bitter complaining church member, a weak Christian who rarely attends worship or reads the Bible?
I hope you all shudder at the thought of Jesus the Judge finding you to be any of these. The fact of the matter is, congregation, that the return of Jesus as Judge should be your incentive to be pure, righteous, and holy. I read, earlier, from Leviticus 19. Do you remember its continual call to be holy because the Lord is holy? The return of Jesus as Judge is another reason to strive for holiness, righteousness, and purity.
We are approaching the final words of the final page of the final chapter of the final book of the Bible. The heading in your pew Bible identifies the theme: "Jesus Is Coming." To be more accurate, the word "quickly" or "soon" should be added. "Jesus is coming quickly." "Jesus is coming soon." This theme is so important that Jesus repeats it three times (Rev 22:7,12,20).
So far, in looking at this theme, we've looked at verse 7: Jesus is coming soon, therefore keep the words of the prophecy in this book; that is, persevere in the faith. Our next message looked at verses 8-11: Jesus is coming soon, therefore worship God and repent of your idolatry. Last week we looked at verses 12-15: Jesus is coming soon with His reward; which means, He is coming as Judge. Today, we continue to look at the return of Jesus. I want to answer one simple question: "Why is Jesus the Judge? What gives Him the right, the authority, to be Judge? What qualifies Him to be the Judge of the entire human race? Who is He to decide on the positive or negative reward given to every single person?"
Let's start with a civics lesson. What is unique about the American system of government? We believe in checks and balances, a division of power. We don't trust any one person or organization with too much power. Like no other culture or society on earth, we Americans hate sovereignty and authority. We get our hackles up if someone tries to tell us what to do or where to go. We prize the individual's independence and rights. In this light, we have to admit that the sovereignty, authority, and power that belongs to Jesus as Judge is most un-American. Furthermore, His sovereignty, authority, and power as Judge makes a mockery of our claims to independence and individual rights.
Regardless of what we prefer or think, Jesus is the Judge Who has the right and authority and power to give to everyone the award or the punishment He decides to give them.
Which brings us back to our question: "Why? Why is Jesus the Judge? What qualifies Him?" We will see two answers – one in verse 13, the other in verse 16.
I Jesus is God
A First, Jesus declares His qualifications to be Judge by what He says in verse 12:
(Rev 22:13) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
This is not the first time we have seen these names. "Alpha and Omega" and "Beginning and End" are found earlier in the Revelation (Rev 1:8; 21:6). "First and Last" is found three times in Isaiah (Is 41:4; 44:6; 48:12). All three sets of names are used by God about God. They are how God talks about Himself.
What's the point? Jesus is claiming God's names for Himself. Jesus is claiming divinity for Himself. Jesus is claiming to be part of the triune Godhead. Jesus is claiming to be God Himself.
Do you remember from the Gospels how angrily the Pharisees responded to these sorts of claims? One day, in a discussion with the Pharisees, Jesus declared "before Abraham was born, I am!" (Jn 8:58). At this, they picked up stones to stone Him. Why? Because Jesus was claiming divinity for Himself! Jesus does the same thing in our Bible reading – He claims divinity.
Now, with this in mind, look at the first part of verse 16. It does not look like much, but what Jesus says is highly significant:
(Rev 22:16) "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches."Who is speaking here? "Jesus." What does He do? He "sent" an angel. Whose angel? "My angel." Obviously, Jesus must be greater than the angels. They do His bidding. They deliver His message.
Do you have the power to send angels? Do they listen to you? Do they belong to you? Of course not! So, why can Jesus talk this way? Because He is God. Because He is "the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Rev 22:13).
B Did you notice the little phrase that ends the first sentence of verse 16: "for the churches." "I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches" (Rev 22:16). I am getting off subject for a moment, but this little phrase tells us how to read and understand the Revelation. The Revelation is testimony "for the churches." Which means the church at the time of John. Which means the church today. Which means the church after you and I are gone (unless Jesus comes first). I've been telling you all along that the Revelation concerns events that happen in the Last Days – which is a technical Greek phrase for the whole time between the first and second comings of Jesus Christ. The Revelation is Jesus' testimony "for the churches." Which means it is not an evangelistic tract for unbelievers. It is a book "for the churches." For the benefit of believers. For the comfort of believers. For the encouragment of believers.
C Let's go back to what Jesus says about His qualifications as Judge in verse 13:
(Rev 22:13) "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."Each group of two names are polar opposites of each other. Alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet; and Omega, the last letter of the Greek alphabet. First, Last. Beginning, End. They are the opposites of each other. "That is me," says Jesus. Implying His authority over them all and over everything that lies between them. He has authority over Alpha, He has authority over Omega, and He has authority over everything that lies between them. He has authority over First, He has authority over Last, and He has authority over everything that lies between them. He has authority over Beginning, He has authority over End, and He has authority over everything that lies between them. Is there anything that is not covered by this? Do you see what Jesus is claiming? Jesus is claiming authority over all of time. Jesus is claiming authority over all of history. Jesus is claiming authority over all of creation.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Rev 22:13). What does this mean for humanity? He is above and beyond human time. He is above and beyond human history. He is above and beyond human creation. So – here is the important point – He is more than qualified to be the Judge of we humans.
D "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me ... I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Rev 22:12-13). No one can escape His coming and His reward (remember, the reward can be either positive or negative). This Judge is inescapable. Why inescapable? Because every single person lives within the boundaries of time, history, and creation. Therefore, every single person lives under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega ..." Can you possibly evade such a Judge? Can you possibly escape His judgment? Can you hide from His judgment? Can you stop His judgment? Can you overturn His judgment? Can you appeal to a higher Judge, a higher court? NO. NO. NO. A thousand times NO.
The Alpha and Omega is coming soon/quickly, my brothers and sisters. His reward is with Him. If you are a stubborn unbeliever, He will say, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Mt 25:41). If you are a believer, He will say, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world" (Mt 25:34).
He is "the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" and, as such, has the right and authority to judge you and give you the reward of His choosing.
II Jesus is Messiah
A Why is Jesus the Judge? What gives Him the right, the authority, to be Judge? What qualifies Him to be the Judge of the entire human race? Who is He to decide on the positive or negative reward given to every single person? Here is the second answer:
(Rev 22:16) "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."Notice that we have, again, a set of three names to describe Jesus: the Root of David, the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star. All three names tell us Jesus is qualified to be Judge because He is the Messiah.
Let's start with the second name: "Offspring of David," or, as Isaiah puts it, the "shoot" of Jesse (Is 11:1). What is an often-repeated title for Jesus in the Gospels? The "Son of David." Listen to the following examples:
-Matthew starts his Gospel with "a record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham" (Mt 1:1).
-Two blind men followed Jesus, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" (Mt 9:27; cf Mt 15:22; 20:30-31).
-After Jesus healed a demon- possessed man who was blind and mute, the crowds were astonished and asked, "Could this be the Son of David?" (Mt 12:23).
-On Palm Sunday, the crowds welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem with the cry, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" (Mt 21:9,15).
What is a promise concerning David repeated throughout the Old Testament? That the Messiah would come from the line of David; in other words, He would be the "Son of David." Jesus not only accepted the Messianic title, the "Son of David," He also claimed to be the fulfilment of the promise.
B The first name in verse 16 is "Root of David." By this name, Jesus claims to be the source, the root, the stock from which David came. So, Jesus is both the "Root of David" and the "Offspring of David." That is like me saying I am both my father's son and my father's father. That doesn't make sense. So, how can this be? How can Jesus be both before David and after David? Is He David's son or David's father? Yes! Yes to an either-or question? Yes! Yes, because the Messiah is also the eternal Son of God.
C Notice the third name, the "bright Morning Star." Do you remember the story of Balaam in Numbers? Balaam was a false prophet commissioned to pronounce curses on the children of Israel. Five times Balaam tried to curse Israel, and five times words of blessing rather than curse came out of his mouth. Listen to what Balaam said in his fourth blessing:
(Num 24:17) "A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth."Balaam speaks of a ruler, the Messiah, who would crush all the enemies of God's people. Balaam refers to this ruler as a star out of Jacob.
What do stars do? What is their job? You know the children's ditty: "Twinkle, twinkle, little star ..." It is the job of stars to twinkle, to give light. Jesus is the light that shines in the darkness. He is a light so great and so bright and so brilliant that in the new creation there is no need for the light of the sun and the moon (Rev 21:23).
This glory of Jesus was mostly hidden when He lived and walked on this earth. After all, He made Himself nothing, took the nature of a servant, was made in human likeness, and was laid in a manger. There was no glory when He faced the temptations of the devil. There was no glory when He prayed in Gethsemane. There was no glory when He suffered, died, and was buried. But three days later His glory was unveiled. It was a glorious resurrection. It was a glorious appearance to Mary and John at the grave and to the disciples in the Upper Room. It was a glorious ascension into heaven. He was gloriously enthroned at God's right hand. All of His glory provoked and provokes worship, fear, and awe.
He is the Messiah! As such, He is the coming Judge!
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done." Why should we believe this? And, what gives Him the authority? Here is the answer:
(Rev 22:13,16) "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End ... (16) I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."He is God! He is the Messiah!
Isn't Jesus great and awesome and glorious and wonderful? Isn't He beyond all thoughts and imaginings? Isn't He worthy to be the Judge of the living and the dead?
The Revelation is a book that we need to see or imagine in our minds.
So I am going to show you children some pictures.
Show them the following pictures/letters/words:
-Alpha, Omega, First, Last, Beginning, End
-Shoot, Root, bright Morning Star
Listen to two verses from Revelation:
(Rev 22:13) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
(Rev 22:16) "I am the Root and the Offspring (stem/ shoot) of David, and the bright Morning Star."
Show them the pictures/letters/words again:
-alpha, omega, first, last, beginning, end
-shoot, root, bright morning star
According to the Bible, Whom do these pictures represent? They all represent Jesus.
Someone to hold up Alpha – first letter of Greek alphabet.
Someone to hold up Omega – last letter of Greek alphabet.
Jesus is the Alpha, the Omega, and everything in between.
Someone to hold up First, Last.
Jesus is the First, the Last, and everything in between.
Someone to hold up Beginning, End.
Jesus the Beginning, the End, and everything in between.
Do you see how great Jesus is? Everything is in His hands!
Pray with Children
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