Friday, February 22, 2008

Portraits of Jesus: Alpha & Omega as the conqueror of evil

We like to paint Jesus as a pretty nice guy. And I’m sure He was – and is – in many ways. He was nice enough that the unclean of the day – prostitutes, tax collectors, and the rest – loved being with Him. Children loved Him – and vice-versa – so there had to be a tenderness, kindness to Him. But that’s not all of Jesus. He was also a warrior.

The evil Jesus most railed against in Scripture was religious hypocrisy that kept up a good front while keeping people from God – read Matthew 23 if you want to see what really makes Jesus mad. But now we’re skimming through Revelation and skipping to the end of the book to see the judgment of the forces of evil that stand behind anything and anyone opposed to God. You think He was tough on the Pharisees? Listen to this. Depending on where you stand with Jesus, it is either a place of glorious hope or it is a place of terror – to be blunt.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. 17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, 18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great." 19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20 But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Revelation 19.11-20
That’s a long ways from the manger, isn’t it? In the next chapter evil’s reign ends: “And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20.10). Amen to that!

Satan’s day is coming. And not a day too soon. Think of the damage he’s done.
1. He’s been wreaking havoc in heaven before he started messing with Adam & Eve.
2. He tempted Eve, leading to the Fall in the Garden.
3. He pulls the strings in a world system that is set against God.
4. He has messed with your mind and heart, telling you to doubt God and trust yourself.
5. He has sown discord in your marriage, in your family, at work.
6. He works among the powers of the world to create war and injustice.

As much trouble as he’s caused, though, Satan is just a created being. As great as he is, he’s finite. There’s an end to his trouble – and Jesus is going to bring it to an end. Satan came around after the Alpha and he isn’t going to make it to the Omega. Jesus is the sovereign, the King of King, the Lord of Lords – the Alpha & Omega – to be worshipped as the only sovereign. Satan’s toast.

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