First And Last

When two people are in a heated discussion, they will continue their exchange, back and forth, until one gives up. Each person wants to get in the “last word.” Often, these disputes can go on for quite some time as neither party is willing to let the other person get the final say in the dispute.

In the case of life and all the issues that concern mankind; God will have the final word—of this we can all be certain.

In various places throughout the Bible, the Lord is described as the “First and the Last.” In other words, everything begins with God, and all things will end with God. Man did not originate himself, and he will not determine his final destiny, only God has these rights. Man can, however, obey what God has commanded and believe what He has said, concerning salvation: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”

Here, Isaiah uses this term; First and Last, to reveal the true identity of the Messiah. He will be God, in human flesh—determining the final disposition of all events that will take place, concerning mankind.

Isaiah 48:12 “Listen to Me, O Jacob, And Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last.”

Jesus claimed that He is the First and the Last

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.”

Where this term originated:

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 that each human being is of much greater value to God than a tiny bird. If God cares for and watches over every small 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 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 innocent victims. 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 sinful individuals. The Lord has an appointed time at the end of this age in which He will make-right, all the wrongs that are done in this world. Our responsibility is to continue our trust in Him and believe in His goodness; knowing that justice will arrive, someday soon.