Ellet J. Waggoner
The Present Truth : September 3, 1903
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Revelation 22.13. Four times in the Revelation, Christ speaks of Himself in these words. It must be that they contain a lesson of deep importance for His church.
Like sheep among wolves, Christ was sending forth His disciples. When these words were written, the time was close at hand when learned philosophers, partly converted from heathenism, would join the church in large numbers and corrupt it with their worldly wisdom. At such a time these words would be a bulwark to the believer testing the teachings of philosophy, and making known whether they were of God, or of anti-Christ.
Jesus Christ comprises all truth, all wisdom, all power, for His disciples. Whatever is not of Him is not for them; He is the beginning and the end. There is no possibility of outgrowing Him, or His Word, and remaining Christian. Human wisdom is very anxious to advance, and in this anxiety, it is not always careful to make progress in the right direction. It sometimes departs from the beginning, but when it does this, it loses all hope of ever reaching the end, for He who is the end is also the beginning.
Paul was very emphatic on this point in his epistles. “I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11.3. The believer must continue steadfastly in the beginning. “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him. . . . Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. . . . Ye are complete in Him.” Colossians 2.6-10
The danger is very great still. In these last days when the end is at hand, Satan is doing his utmost to obscure the beginning, that men may not understand the end. This is why the Scriptures have been the object of his fierce attacks. On the other hand, God is calling the minds of men back to the beginning. He is calling for a return to the Sabbath of the Lord, which a church, spoiled through philosophy and vain deceit, thought to do away with and replace by a day of its own appointment. The true Sabbath takes us back to the beginning, and when we get to the beginning, we find there the ending of God’s work, and the Sabbath, which means rest, given to man as a reminder that God’s works were finished, that there remaineth a rest for the people of God. Read Genesis 2.1-3; Hebrews 4.3, 4. Man cannot complete what God has begun. He finishes His own work, and our part is to rest “complete in Him.”
There is great comfort in this truth to the believer. God has not given us a partial or incomplete salvation. He has given us the end as well as the beginning. In Christ we have the final victory, just as surely as we have the first awakening of repentance. All that is required is that we abide in Him. “We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” Hebrews 3.14
When we were created in Christ Jesus, preparation was made for our entire future, from beginning to end. Good works were prepared for us to walk in. Ephesians 2.10. These were the life of Christ, who is the Way. If the good works that meet us seem too hard for us, we only need to inquire if they are a part of the life of Christ. If they are, we may walk in them confidently, for Christ is the end as well as the beginning, and we are partakers of Him as long as we hold the beginning steadfastly. “All things are yours; whether . . . the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come . . . and ye are Christ’s.” 1 Corinthians 3.21-23
We shall never rightly appreciate how much is given to us in the beginning until we get to the end. But we may be “confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1.6