THE BEGINNING AND THE END
Revelation 1:8, “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.”
Isaiah 46:9, Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.'
1). In His Word, God has declared the end from the beginning and He has declared from ancient times things that are not yet done.
a). Revelation is a book of the end. Genesis is the book of beginnings, and the opening thirty-four verses (Genesis 1:1-2:3) outlines the foundation, revealing an overall picture of Scripture ----
I// The Material Creation:
Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (rf. Isaiah 45:18),
Genesis 1:2, The earth was [meaning “became” or “to be”--from the Hebrew word “hayah,” Strong’s #H1961] without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. -- The material creation became ruined because of Satan’s sin (rf. Isaiah 14:12-17, Ezekiel 28:13-19— Satan’s rebellion concerned rulership, ascending above God; and as a result of this rebellion, the material creation of Genesis 1:1 under the rule of Satan, became ruined).
It is at this point in time that God spends six days restoring the ruined material creation, so as to establish it in preparation for an entirely new group of rulers who would be created for that specific purpose, to replace the incumbent ruler, Satan.
Genesis 1:3-2:3 --- God restored the ruined creation in six days, and rested on the seventh day: 3Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it [set it apart from any other day], because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
Everything in Scripture from this point forward is regal. And all of Scripture is patterned after this foundation in Genesis 1:1-2:3. Therefore, the restoration of the material creation forms a pattern for the restoration of man:
II// Man’s Creation:
Genesis 1:26 -- Man was created,
Genesis 3:6 -- Man fell into a state of ruin because of his sin, resulting from Satan’s intervention,
2 Peter 3:5-9 -- God is taking six days [6,000 years] to restore man, and God will rest on the seventh day, [The seventh 1,000-year period].
Each day for God is equivalent to a thousand years for man, as we see in 2 Peter 3:8:
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
Genesis 1:26, Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness, let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
b). This is God’s purpose for man --- to have dominion over all the earth. But because of man’s fall into sin in the Garden, he failed to take on a position of rulership. He now had to labor in the field to prove his worthiness. Therefore, Satan, who was given rule over the original creation, continued to have rulership over the earth, even in his fallen condition, and he will hold this position until Christ is ready to ascend the throne and bring Satan down.
c). The Lord declared Satan’s fate in Genesis 3:15,
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed (Christ); He (Christ) shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
d). In God’s set time, Man will rule the earth in the stead of Satan and his angels. God’s purpose is to redeem the earth and redeem man, placing him in a regal position on the Seventh Day. God is presently working six days, 6,000 years, to bring about the restoration of both man and the material creation. Then, at the conclusion of His work, man will be in a position to realize the purpose for his creation in the beginning.
3). And so God created man in a unique and exceptional way. God made man in His "image," in His "likeness" ----
And God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness ..." (Genesis 1:26a)
a). In this verse, God refers to the formation of man in a plural sense, using the words "Us" and "Our." In addition, the Hebrew word translated as God is Elohim, a word that is plural, revealing that God is a tripartite being (three parts). The number "three" in Scripture means "divine perfection and completion; manifested Deity; Resurrection."
b). Although God as a Trinity is One, He is revealed in three different Persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. And since God is a tripartite Being and made man in His image, then man is also a tripartite being. In the "likeness" of God, man is composed of a spirit, a soul and a body.
c). This is clearly seen when Paul prays for the members of the Church of Thessalonica, that every part of their being (spirit, soul and body) may be preserved blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ ---
1 Thessalonians 5:23, Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; And may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
d). All three parts of man must be saved at the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
e). In Genesis, we find that man was not made to rule alone. God established the marriage relationship between a man and a woman as a type (example). God made a “helper” for man, a woman. The Woman was taken out of the body of Adam. God caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and then He opened his side, took a small portion of his body, a rib, out of which He formed Eve, Adam's bride. The Woman, who was bone of man’s bones, and flesh of his flesh, had to rule with the man. When Eve sinned, having been deceived by Satan in accordance to her disobedience to God’s Word, Adam cleaved unto his wife as one flesh, as one complete being.
f). At this juncture, it would be correct to say that Adam partook of sin to effect Eve’s redemption, with a view to both one day partaking of the tree of life together (1Timothy 2:14). Adam, as a type of Christ (Romans 5:14), was obedient to the commands of God, who remained with his bride and took on her sin. In the antitype, Jesus Christ was put to sleep (died on the Cross and took on our sins) before His side was also pierced to form the bride.
g). All of the Church make-up the body of Christ, but only a certain few who will be found worthy will be taken out of the body (Church) to form the bride of Christ. And this follows the pattern of Eve being taken out of the body of Adam and becoming his bride. It presents a clear picture that only a selected group out of the body of the Church will qualify to be the bride of Christ. Therefore, Christ will also have a “helper” to rule with Him (Hebrews 3:14), as He would have to pattern the very thing that God established in the beginning, before the foundation of the world. This is the manner in which man is to rule in the future – Christ and His bride (those selected from the Church) [rf. Ephesians 5:22-32; Revelation 19:7-9]; and God and His wife, Israel [Jeremiah 3:14]. And this reveals more of God’s purpose for man, having to do with three things --- Redemption, Marriage and Regality, within the Kingdom of Christ.
Matthew 6:33, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.
4). Before Adam and the Woman fell into sin, they were covered with the glory of God, created in His likeness. But after their fall they found themselves naked, no longer having the covering of glory and therefore disqualified from one day exercising their dominion over the earth. And the consequence of their fall was that they now existed in a state of death.
Genesis 2:17, "... but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat; for in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die."
a). The death they experienced by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was multifaceted. The day that man sinned in the Garden of Eden, his complete being— spirit, soul and body — became in a fallen state, a state of death. Their spirits died immediately, which put their souls and bodies in a state of regressive and eventual death. Their souls were corrupted, since they now had a sinful nature and their bodies began to age, since they were no longer immortal.
b). Therefore, since the fall of Adam, man no longer possessed the image and likeness of God, an image and likeness that is without sin - from that day man was born dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). And to free man from this sentence of death and slavery to sin, God sent His Son to shed His blood, signifying His spiritual death (separation from the Father), thus paying the price, to the satisfaction of the Father, for the sins of man (Isaiah 53: 4-6, 11, 1 Peter 2: 24a).
Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death...
c). It would be prudent at this point to understand that the consequence (price) of man’s sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:17) was primarily spiritual death, even though physical death was a component. And to understand death contextually within Scripture is to understand that it is a state of separation. Just as a person is separated from the connection to life (the animation of the body upon physical death), he becomes separated from his connection to God upon spiritual death. Upon man’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden both Adam and Eve became separated from God (i.e., the death of their spirits); and, as well, their physical bodies (i.e., the animation of each body, their souls), became subject to a dying state.
d). And it was the shedding of blood, represented by the clothing of skin (Genesis 3:21) that God provided to cover their nakedness, the complete nakedness from the covering of glory that they enjoyed upon their creation. And this covering, as a type, looked forward to and represented the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross, a death that, when accepted by faith, is the covering for a person’s spiritual nakedness (i.e., his separation [spiritual death] from God).
e). For it was on the Cross that God the Son experienced spiritual death by becoming separated from God the Father for a period of three hours (“from the six hour [noon] until the ninth hour [3:00 p.m.] — Matthew 27:45), in which He cried, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’” (Matthew 27:46). This spiritual separation was the price [which satisfied God the Father (Romans 3:25, 26; 1 John 2:2; 4:10)] that God, in the Person of His Son, paid for the sins of mankind — a price that may only be accepted by faith for man to be eternally saved (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
Hebrews 9:22, And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.
f). In Christ’s physical death upon the Cross we see the distribution of all three parts of His composition, as His soul went to Hades/Paradise (Luke 23:43; Acts 2:27: Ephesians 4:9), His spirit went to God the Father (Luke 23:46) and His body to the tomb (Matthew 27:57-60). Upon His resurrection on the third day, all three (spirit, soul, and body) were then re-united.
g). Likewise, upon physical death, the believer's soul will go up to Paradise, (its location having been relocated from the center of the earth [Luke 16:22] to the “third heaven” [2 Corinthians 12:2-4] when Christ rose from the dead [Ephesians 4:8-10]), his spirit will go into the presence of God (Acts 7:59; 2 Corinthians 5:6-8) and his body will go to the grave until he is resurrected. Then, at his resurrection, all three components will be re-united to stand before Christ at His judgment seat. And those believers who remain alive will be raptured to heaven to the Judgment seat of Christ as well (1 Thessalonians 4:13ff; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
5). So the first component of man to be saved is the spirit. The Greek word pneuma (Strong’s concordance #G4151) is translated both “breath” and “spirit” in the New Testament. The Spirit of God (Breath of God) is the One who gave life to man upon creation, and who gave the living Word to man. From the day that Adam sinned in the Garden and his spirit died, everyone born thereafter possessed a dead spirit. However, Jesus Christ paid the price for the sins of the world and made it possible for man’s redemption.
a). The moment one believes in Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells in
that person and brings his spirit to life.
Acts 16:30, And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…”
b). It is at the moment of belief that the person who was “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) passes from “death into life” (John 5:24). And from that moment on, it is now possible for the Spirit of God to guide him “into all truth...and show him things to come” (John 16:13) by and through the Word, which is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrew 4:12), and which will transform him by the renewing of his mind that he may “prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). So the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is a prominent aspect of salvation of the spirit (John 7:39; 14:16, 17; Romans 5:5; 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 5:5; Galatians 4:6; 1 John 2:27).
c). The believer is now able to commune with God by means of his living spirit as it is inalterably linked to God by and through the Spirit of God, and he is now able to understand spiritual things and to grow from immaturity to maturity. And if the Christian, the new man in Christ, will diligently seek God through the assimilation of His Word, he will be given “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” as his eyes of understanding are enlightened and he understands what is the hope of God‘s calling and the riches of the glory of God’s inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:17, 18).
John 14:26, But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.
d). Salvation in Scripture is also spoken of in three tenses — past, present and future. This has been done to point out a beginning with an end in view. The Spirit can take the one who now has spiritual life and perform a work in the life of that individual, with a view to an inheritance that will be realized at a future time.
Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved [past tense salvation] through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
f). This aspect of salvation is the gospel of grace, which is the good news of the free gift of eternal life ---
Romans 6:23, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
g). Once we are eternally saved, we can never again be unsaved,
irrespective of what we do ---
Romans 11:29, For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
h). Furthermore, there was nothing that we did to be eternally saved, for the work was completed in the past by the Lord, and therefore there is nothing we can do to become unsaved again. Once we become saved, we become a family member of God and that family relationship is permanent. Eternal salvation for fallen man is both free and apart from works, as God’s Son provided this salvation through the sacrifice of Himself. Fallen man can do no more than receive that which has been provided.
6). This takes us into the second component to be saved: the soul. The Greek word psyche (Strong’s # G5590, also spelled “psuche”) throughout the New Testament is translated "soul" or "life." Therefore, both soul and life mean the same thing and is used interchangeably in Scripture. This word defines the natural/soulical life of a person. The soul is the foundation of a person's emotions, feelings, desires, likes and dislikes. It is the animating principle of the body of flesh.
a). By means of the salvation of the spirit, a person is then in a position to realize the purpose of his salvation -- the salvation of his soul. This aspect of salvation is called the gospel of glory, which is the good news of the reward of the inheritance during the Millennial Kingdom. It is not a free gift, but a reward that requires works of faithful obedience, allowing the Spirit to guide our lives.
b). The guidance of one’s life by the Holy Spirit, referred to in Scripture as being “filled with the Spirit,” may be seen by comparing the following two companion passages of Scripture:
Ephesians 5:18, And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:16, Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
c). A proper comparison of these two companion passages clearly indicates that being filled with the Holy Spirit is proportionate to letting the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. It requires study and faithful obedience to the Scriptures. One must study the living Word of God in order to have the Spirit’s truth, understanding and direction. Then, one must act upon the Spirit’s truth, understanding and direction, being a doer and not just a hearer of the Word (James 1:22). This requires laying aside our thoughts and desires, and our preconceived notions. It will require overcoming the flesh, the world and the devil as there is an existing, ongoing warfare between Satan and his angels, and Christians. The warfare centers on the salvation of the soul. Yet God has provided everything we need to be victorious. Our hope and faith should inspire us to set our fleshly desires aside and walk according to the Spirit in order to attain the salvation of our souls.
James 1:21, Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
1 Peter 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness [testing] of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
d). All Christians will be judged on their “works” [whether they were works of faithfulness or unfaithfulness; works of the Spirit or works of the flesh (Matthew 25:14-30; 1 Corinthians 3:9-17; Ephesians 2:10; 2 Timothy 2:15; Revelation 2:2, 9, 13, 19; 3:1, 8, 15)] following their rapture or resurrection to the Judgment seat of Christ in heaven to determine whether they will obtain soul salvation. There will be rewards for those whose works are found worthy, which enables them entrance into the kingdom [Matthew 25:10, 21]. There will also be great loss for those who are found unworthy, who will not be able to enter the kingdom, but who will be cast outside into “outer darkness” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (an Eastern expression showing deep grief [Matthew 22:13; 25:30]).
2 Corinthians 5:10, Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each may receive things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men….
e). The salvation of the soul constitutes an active, continuing work
of salvation accomplished by the Christian by and through the power
of the Holy Spirit. It is a present act with a future fulfillment.
In writing to the Christians in the Grecian city of Corinth, the
Apostle Paul uses the present tense in expressing this salvation as
a present, continuous work:
1 Corinthians 1:18, For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
f). This ever-abiding work of the salvation of the soul deals strictly with Millennial life, not Eternal life. Our judgment as well has to do with the 7th Day, not with the Eternal Ages. Everything in Scripture moves towards the 7th Day of Rest.
7). Last, the third component to be saved is the body. Salvation of the body will occur following the Judgment seat of Christ. During the rapture, all Christians will be raised in spiritual bodies in order to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ. Furthermore, those Christians who are found worthy at the Judgment seat, who received the salvation of their souls, will automatically be awarded glorified bodies. This is God’s purpose for man, to bring man back into a glorified state as he was before the fall in the Garden. A glorified body means he is able to rule and reign as kings and priests, as co-heirs with Christ. However, those Christians who are found unworthy at His judgment seat will not receive their glorified bodies until after the Millennium, when the Eternal Ages begin.
Romans 8:18, For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God....23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
Philippians 3:20, For our
citizenship is in heaven, for which we also eagerly wait for the
Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body
that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the
working by which he is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
a). The salvation of the body is a future tense salvation. In Hebrews 1:14, salvation is presented as a future, inherited possession:
Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those [Christians] who will inherit salvation?
b). This future aspect of salvation marks the final realization of the Christian’s redemption. Therefore, if a Christian overcomes this present life with divine good works, then at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, he will be clothed with the “wedding garment” — the “white garment” of “fine linen clean and bright (Revelation 19:8), which is the “righteous acts of the saints”. Being properly clothed will allow him to rule and reign with Christ in the Millennial Kingdom as His bride. This wedding garment may indeed be that “covering of light” which covered man at his creation, a covering unique to God (Psalm 104:1, 2) and which is a facet of His “image” and “likeness.”
8). God’s unchanging nature is very clear regarding His purpose. He loves His creation and He desires all to be saved and to take part with His Son in the most glorious Day, a Day set apart from any other time (John 3:16, 17). No greater expectation can we possess than this --- to be companions with Christ in His Kingdom! We were saved by His blood in this hope and therefore we should eagerly wait for that Day with perseverance. Man was created for a purpose and man was saved for a purpose. And the end of God’s timeline is fast approaching; Man’s Day of 6,000 years is coming to its fulfillment very soon. Be ready, Christ is coming. Anticipate His appearing and His kingdom. Christ is returning not only to take us out of this dark world, but to place us by His side, to live in His sight, and to exalt and bless us beyond measure, If....
9). Next time, if the Lord is willing, we will continue from here. Any questions, thoughts, or comments?