“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev. 1:8)
In Western culture we view time as linear. We are bound by the concepts of time and space. In other cultures, particularly in the Orient and Asia Pacific, time is viewed differently.
God is not of either time or space. He is the Creator of both. Therefore, time is meaningless to God.
It took mankind a long time to invent (or discover) the concept of “zero” in mathematics. In terms of a value, we understand “zero” to mean none, nil, emptiness. We use it as a numeral to hold a place.
But it is much more difficult for us to come to grips with the concept of nothingness! For both time and space, that’s what there was before God created… not only nothing, but total nothingness in the time/space dimensions.
Revelation 1:8 speaks strongly to this:
“who is, who was and who is to come…”
This is the isness of God (the Trinity). It explains how He can be all places at all times. This is how God (Father, Son and Spirit) can give 100% of His attention to all of us and each of us 100% of the time.
John the Apostle records this same message in John 16:12-33:
12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
The Disciples’ Grief Will Turn to Joy
16 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”17 At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” 18 They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”
19 Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’?20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father.26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf.27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.28 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
29 Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. 30 Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
31 “Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. 32 “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:12-33)
Contrast that with the is-ness of God. In all of time and space as we understand them, He IS!
This relates directly back to Exodus when Moses asked Who to say sent him:
God said to Moses, “IAM WHO IAM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘IAM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)
Jesus also spoke directly to this when He addressed the Sanhedrin:
57 “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
58 “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. (John 8:57-59)
As shown in the diagrams (click on image to enlarge), we humans have a defined beginning (conception). We live our lives, die and will rise to eternal life if we believe.
Jesus, on the other hand, has always been, is and will be as a deity. At the direction of the Father He became flesh, lived among us, died and was resurrected to life. This may take a bit of pondering, but it is crucial to John’s message and to Christianity’s very foundation.
There is much more to Revelation 1:8. We’ll continue in the next segment.
My thanks to my rabbi, Pastor Michael, and the Men on the Grow Bible study group.
This blog is part of an ongoing series based on my notes from a weekly Bible Study. For all of the blogs in this study, see: A Study of the Book of Revelation: Index of Blogs
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