Revelation 1:17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.”
Today, the term I am the first and the last, has lost its original meaning. At the time that John penned these words in the Book of Revelation, anyone hearing this term spoken by an individual, understood that they were claiming to be the eternal God.
Isaiah 44:6 “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.’ ”
As Isaiah writes this prophecy of the coming Messiah, He defines Him as no ordinary man or a simple servant of God but God Himself. The Messiah will come out of eternity, to the earth, and take upon Himself the body of a man. A secondary meaning for the term I am the first and the last, is of a more practical importance to our daily lives. When Jesus said this of Himself He was claiming to be the beginning of all things in our life and He will be the end of all things for our life. Nothing happens to you each day that the Lord is not aware of. He spoke of the birds of the air as under the constant care of the Father. Having informed us of this fact, He also promised us that each human being is of much greater value to God than a tiny bird. If God cares for and watches over every tiny bird of the air, it certain that He watches over all the needs, concerns, hurts, and difficulties of your life.
Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
By Isaiah’s prophecy; the Messiah will be known as the first and the last, we are able to identify Jesus as the object of Isaiah’s 212th prophecy. In the Book of Revelation Chapter 2:8, Jesus tells His church at Smyrna that He is the first and the last, who was dead and came to life. This church endured intense persecution under ten Roman Emperors who put to death millions of followers of Jesus Christ. By Jesus stating that He is the first and the last, this church would understand that God has allowed this to happen according to His own purpose. Men might think that they have the last word in our life, but God always has the final say in all matters. Someone might try to take your life from you and perhaps be successful. What they do not realize is that death is not the final word from God. Those who place their trust in Jesus for their salvation will live forever and never die.
Though men may commit sin against others, God permits the free exercise of their will and the resulting suffering which comes from these decisions, during this brief period of man’s history. Not to be forgotten is the fact that Jesus will also be the last word spoken when all is said and done by evil men against other men. He will punish the wickedness of men in His own time and after exercising great grace and adequate time for all to repent.
We should never imagine that God does not care for us or is somehow disconnected from our lives just because it appears that He is allowing us to suffer under the hands of evil men. The Lord has an appointed time at the end of this age in which He will make right all the wrongs done against us. Our place is to continue to trust in and believe in His goodness and the fact that justice will come someday soon.