“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Revelation 1:8
I have determined in my heart and mind to try to post something each day for 2014 involving the names of God. Fitting for the first day of the year is Alpha – the first.
I can’t urge you too often to meditate on the staggering truth that God is the absolute Alpha. Find some serene moment of your life and let the truth take hold of you that God is the FIRST—the BEGINNING. Before him there was nothing. There was no “before him.” Just think of it! For millions and billions and trillions of unending years God existed and never had a beginning. He is the beginning. From everlasting to everlasting, he is God (Psalm 90:2). There never was a time when he was not. – John Piper
Alpha is the first letter of the greek alphabet. It is the start of everything. Jesus could pick no better way of describing himself than to say Alpha because He created everything. He is the artist who hung the stars in space, and set the planets in their orbits. He designed each and every life form on our planet, including us. He began before we can understand beginning. He has always been.
The verse I used above to illustrate this name of God is quite a remarkable one. If you remember in the context it is written that John is exiled to the island of Patmos, where he witnesses this vision of the Lord walking among 7 candlesticks, declaring who he is. He is the beginning and he is the end. It is quite a vision. The passage goes on to say that John fell as a dead man at his feet. No doubt – the image of the risen Christ, the God who came down to visit man would drop any of us to our face.
I must tell you a story about this passage. It still overwhelms me to this day, yet i understand that it was God’s timing. In the mid 90s Steve and I were junior high leaders. Our small band of kids met on Sunday evenings. It was a small, but growing serious, group of kids. One Sunday in later winter we gathered, and it was the kick off of a new series. The book of Revelation was one that interested them, so we decided to spend a few months working through the highlights of the book. That Sunday the group was eager to hear and learn. One girl, Diana, a Spanish girl that lived next door to the church asked to read the first half of chapter 1. She read slowly, enunciating the words in a reflective way, as though this was the first time she had heard this. The discussion was one of awe and wonder… the description of Jesus – hair white as wool, eyes of fire, feet like bronze, gird about with a belt of gold… wow. Everyone agreed that this would be quite the life changing encounter to witness. Little did we know, that night Diana would get up in the middle of the night to get a drink of water, slip on her brother’s toy, and suffer life threatening head injuries. After three days on life support, the doctors were gentle, but firm. Her life was ebbing away, and the damage was too seviere. Diana passed away. As we gathered for the wake the entire junior high group had one reaction…. “Barb, you know when she read that passage sunday it was like she was preparing to meet Jesus. He had allowed her a glimpse of who he is. She was ready for Him.” One kid after another told me that same thought. Oddly, Steve and I felt exactly that same thought about that time, and that passage. God ordained timing. God used his word to breathe hope and life into a very tragic event.
Alpha tells us that God is the chief being of all! God is the pre-eminent one. (Colossians 1:18-19) Because He is pre-eminent, His name is above all other names. (Philippians 2:9-11) As a result of being pre-eminent, God has all power and authority over everything. (Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:19-22) God knew the path Diana’s life would take, and that her faith, her hunger for God, and her death would bring others to a deeper faith. It was a hard lesson to learn of the authority and power of God, yet there was a deep abiding comfort in knowing that as she slipped from the bonds of this earth into heaven that she would meet The Alpha, and she would know the love in his eyes, the peace in his care, and the mercy of his love. Diana, we miss you here, but we are praising God that your eternity is with The Alpha.
“Alpha, the beginning of all things, the one who holds all things in your hands, we worship you on this first day of the new year. We thank you that you are the beginning, that you are before all things. Reign soverign in our lives, and lead us through this life with your grace and truth. This new year is a fresh opportunity to learn and grow with you. Thank you for being pre-eminemt, God Almighty. Amen”