First and Last

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Alpha and OmegaI have always found great comfort from Revelations 22:13. It reminds us that God existed in the beginning: nothing exits apart from his plan. And it reminds us that he will triumph in the end: all the sorrows we don’t understand now will be forgotten. Recently, though, the symmetry of Biblical beginnings and the endings has really caught my attention.

Here are a few of the beginnings and endings I’ve been thinking about:

1. The Garden. Life began in a garden (Gen 2:8), and the first act of sin took place there (Gen 3:6). Our redemption was assured in a garden when Jesus sweat drops of blood and said, “Not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42) in the Garden of Gethsemane.

2. The Tree. Eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden brought the curse (Gen 3:16-19).  Jesus hanging on a tree broke the curse (Gal 3:13). In the New Jerusalem, the tree of life is for the healing of the nations (Rev 22:2).

3. The thorns. Because of the curse, God said that the ground would produce thorns (Gen 3:18). Jesus was crowned with the very thorns representing the power of the curse that his death would break (Matt 27:29).

4. Eating brings death and life. The act of wrongful eating brought death to Adam and Eve. Satan whispered to Eve, “Take and eat,” (Gen 3:4-5) and she took the forbidden fruit, ate it, and give it to her husband to eat, and thus all men died.  Through Jesus, the act of eating breaks the curse. Jesus told his disciples on the night before he was crucified, “Take and eat,” (Matt 26:26) and now everyone who eats his flesh and drinks his blood lives forever.

5. First Signs. When Moses confronted Pharaoh, demanding that he let God’s people go, the first sign of God’s wrath was turning the water of the Nile into blood so that all the fish died (Exodus 7:20-21).  Jesus performed his first sign at a wedding where he turned water into wine, bringing joy and gladness to the guests (John 2:9).

6. Pentecost. In the Old Testament, pentecost (the feast of weeks) was celebrated 50 days (7 weeks and 1 day) after Passover (Deut 16:9). It was a time to rejoice with the firstfruits of the crops (Exodus 23:16). In the New Testament, Pentecost was the day the Holy Spirit was poured out and when Peter preached, 3000 were added to the church (Acts 2:41), a celebration of the firstfruits of a great harvest that continues until today.

There are just a few examples of beginnings and endings; the Bible is an inexhaustible treasury.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22:13

 

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