The New Jerusalem
Chapter 4: Alpha and Omega
Part 2 of 2
Give us souls lest we die;
Give us souls lest we die;
Give us souls lest we die;
That the Lamb Who was slain might receive the reward of His suffering, as the Glory perfects the Unity, and the Unity proclaims the Glory!
The Second Coming
“And I saw heaven opened (records the final prophetic hour regarding the Second Coming, without a doubt, the greatest moment in human history), and behold a white horse (in effect, proclaims a war horse [Zechariah 14:3]); and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True (Faithful to his promises and True to his judgements. He contrasts with the false messiah of Revelation 6:2, who was neither faithful nor true), and in righteousness he doth judge and make war (refers to the manner of His Second Coming). His eyes were as a flame of fire (represents judgement), and on his head were many crowns (represents the fact that He will not be Lord of just one realm, He will be Lord of all realms); and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself (not meaning that it is unknown, but rather, it is unknowable; it will be unreachable to man, meaning that its depths cannot fully be plumbed). And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood (speaks of The Cross where Jesus shed his life’s blood, which gives Him the right to judge the world): and his name is called The Word of God (His revealed Name is The Word of God, for He revealed God in His grace and power to make Him known, so the believer can say ‘I know Him.’). And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses (these armies are the saints of God, in fact, all the saints who ever lived, meaning we will be with Him at the Second Coming), clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Revelation 19:11-14). Incidentally, the Second Coming will take place during the Battle of Armageddon, which will defeat the antichrist. Christ will then set up a Kingdom that will rule the world for a thousand years and then forever. He will rule from Jerusalem and will restore Israel to her rightful place, position, and power as the leading nation in the world.
The phrase, “and my reward is with me,” refers to the fact that it is The Lord who does the doing. As well, the word reward can either be positive or negative. Every man will be rewarded according to his conduct, and the eternal destiny of each will either be fixed as holiness or vileness. This is the spirit of the text. Jesus Christ is either Savior or Judge. It is all in Him. If men do not deal with Christ now as Savior, they will deal with him tomorrow as Judge, but deal with Him they shall. One way or another, all will deal with Him.
The phrase, “to give every man according as his work shall be,” tells us emphatically that our lifestyles will definitely produce a certain type of works. Let the following be clearly understood, good works will never produce proper faith, but proper faith will always produce proper works. Now, that is one of the most important statements that you, as a believer, will ever read. Let’s explain it further; most of the church world attempts to produce righteousness (that is addressed in verse 11) by works. That cannot be done. In fact, it is impossible for it to be done in this manner. What do I mean when I say that the church world attempts to produce righteousness and holiness by works? I mean that we do religious things, and we think that by the doing of those things, such will make us righteous and holy. That means that we have faith in those things, whatever they might be. Now, more than likely, the things of which we speak are not wrong but rather, right. In other words, they are good things. Please notice what Paul said, “Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good;…” (Romans 7:13).
What was Paul Talking About?
In this case, he’s speaking of the Ten Commandments as given in the law of Moses (Romans 7:10-12). Now, many Christians may read that statement and automatically dismiss it because they would say that the law of Moses has nothing to do with us today, etc. In a sense, that’s right, but in another sense, it’s wrong. Paul was writing here more so to the Gentiles than to Jews. So, if what he was saying was apropos for Gentiles then, and it definitely was, then it’s necessary for us presently. The apostle asks the question, “Was then that which is good (and he’s continuing to speak of the commandments) made death unto me?” His answer was instant, “God forbid.” In other words, he was saying that the commandments of God are not sinful, wicked, or wrong. So, I’ll say the following: The good things that we do, such as faithfulness to church, reading so many chapters each day in the Bible, paying our tithes, witnessing to souls, or setting aside so much time each day for prayer, are not bad things. In fact, they are right and are things that Christians should do. They are things that good Christians definitely will do; therefore, these things are good and not made death to us. So, the question becomes, what is happening here? Paul is saying that, even though the commandments do not bring death, if the believer thinks his efforts in trying to keep the commandments will make him righteous and holy, then his faith is misplaced, and spiritual death will definitely be the result. We can say the same thing as it regards the disciplines that I have just given. If our faith is placed in those things, even though the things are good within themselves, we will find that sin, that it might appear sin, will work death in us by that which is good (Romans 7:13). The problem is not the things we are doing that are good. But the problem is our misplaced faith. In other words, we are placing faith in those things, thinking that the doing of them makes us holy, when that is not the case at all. So, the result is failure, i.e., sin. Now, the Christian is left very confused.
This is the reason that Paul said, “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I” (Romans 7:15). The word allow should have been translated understand, for that is what it actually means. It would then read, “For that which I do I understand not.” What was it that the apostle didn’t understand? He didn’t understand why he was failing, considering that he was trying so hard not to fail. The believer must understand that Romans Chapter 7 is Paul’s experience before he was given the understanding of The Cross. In other words, out of this desperation The Lord would show him the meaning of the New Covenant, which was actually the meaning of The Cross. Paul gives us the meaning of the New Covenant, which was actually the meaning of The Cross. Paul gives us the meaning of the New Covenant in the entirety of his 14 epistles but especially in Romans Chapters 6 and 8. So, before he understood the message of The Cross, which brings victory within one’s life, he was trying to live for God by his own efforts. In other words, he was trying to keep the law by his strength and willpower, which he was unable to do. In fact, no one else can either.
That is why Paul said, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24). So, we have Christians doing all types of good things, thinking that the doing of these things makes them righteous and holy. It does not! While The Lord will most definitely bless any believer for all the good things done, whatever they might be, still, that will not make anyone any more righteous or holy. So, we are not condemning the doing of good things, but rather, we are condemning faith placed in those good things. Without fail, our faith must be anchored squarely in Christ and what Christ did at The Cross. It doesn’t matter how much the Christian claims to have faith in Christ if he doesn’t understand that it is The Cross that makes possible everything we have from God. Then, in reality, his faith is in “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4). If our good works are produced by righteousness and holiness, then our reward will be great. If we are trying to produce righteousness and holiness by good works, then we will be on the short end of that proverbial stick. In other words, there will not be any proper reward.
Alpha and Omega
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13). The phrase, “I am Alpha and Omega,” presents the first letter in the Greek alphabet (alpha) and the last letter in the Greek alphabet (omega). It is another way of saying “the first and the last,” which includes all in between.
The Beginning and the End
The phrase, “the beginning and the end,” says the same thing as, “Alpha and Omega.” It doesn’t mean that Christ, as God, had a beginning, for He didn’t. Christ, as God, has always been, always is, and always shall be. When it uses these terms, such as “the beginning and the end,” it is speaking of whatever it is in question. In this case, it would be addressing itself to the great salvation process. Salvation began with Christ, and it will end with Christ, so that means that there is salvation in nothing else, which means that all the religions of the world are bogus.
The First and the Last
The phrase, “the first and the last,” is the same as the other two phrases. All of this is said for effect so that the reader will have absolutely no misunderstanding of Who Jesus actually is. The repetition of these glorious titles is not a mere idle repetition or designed to give a rhetorical fullness to the proceedings of this book. In fact, the repetition is closely allied with the preceding thought. Men will answer to Christ, to be sure, and irrespective of whether the world believes it or not, He is coming back to this earth. His reward being with Him signifies that it is to Him that the world will answer. As well, the term, “every man” guarantees that all will answer. In other words, it means exactly what it says.
“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14). The phrase, “Blessed are they,” presents the seventh and last beatitude in the entirety of the Book of Revelation. Those seven are as follows:
We will find here that the blessing promised as it regards this last beatitude is glorious beyond compare. In fact, the blessings of The Lord are always of infinite value. Understanding that, we should want and desire those blessings more than anything else. Blessed in the Greek is makarius and means “fortunate, well off, happy.”
The Blood of The Lamb
The phrase, “that do his commandments,” should have been translated, “who wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb.” The Greek text used for the King James version of the Bible was the Textus Receptus and is the text that Erasmus, the famous renaissance scholar, published in AD 1516. It was the first New Testament Greek text ever published. It contains the statement, “Blessed are they that do his commandments.” But that is not the way that John originally wrote it. He originally said, “Blessed are they who wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb.” Query: So, why has it changed? It was evidently changed by a particular scribe, whomever he may have been because he said to himself that no man can be saved just by trusting Jesus. One cannot go to heaven and enter through those beautiful gates just by washing his robes in the blood of the Lamb. “A man has to earn heaven,” said that particular scribe to himself. So, the scribe took upon himself the authority to change the statement.
Scholarship and Archeology
Since 1516, the world of scholarship and archeology has discovered thousands of earlier Greek texts. In fact, there are presently over 4,000 Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, with each manuscript containing all the books of the New Testament or portions of the books. Besides this overwhelming collection in Greek, scholars have discovered more than 8,000 Latin versions and more than 1,000 other versions of the New Testament, with some of them going back to as early as AD 300. By comparing these thousands and thousands of manuscripts, scholars can easily find the original text the apostle wrote. The overwhelming evidence is that, in this particular passage, he said, “Blessed are they who wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” So, once again, we come back to the question of ,why did this particular scribe change the Gospel message from one of faith and trust to one of obedience and works? The answer is simple, there is the everlasting tendency in a man to try to merit, to try to achieve, or to try, by self-advancement, to find his way into Heaven. That is a weakness of human nature, and it is seen everywhere in religion.
The Doctrine of Merit
Regarding the following, I quote W.A. Criswell. This system of merit represents the great religions of the world. It represents much of Christianity. Many churches in Christendom believe that we are saved by works, that a man toils his way into the Kingdom of Heaven, that he deserves Heaven as a reward after he has done certain things that he thinks are acceptable unto God. Certainly, the great religions like the hindu, the confucian, and the buddhists, are religions of works. The hindu will keep his hand raised up toward heaven until it becomes stiff, or he will lie on a bed of coals or spikes, or he will crawl on his knees from one city to a shrine miles away, seeking to deserve the pardon of God. This same kind of merit system is seen in the Christian faith as well. So much of Christianity is built around the doctrine of trying to deserve the favor of Heaven. A man is saved, says one preacher, by trusting in Jesus and by being baptized. Another preacher says a man is saved by trusting Jesus and doing all kinds of good works. Another says a man is saved by believing in Jesus and taking The Lord’s Supper. Yet another says a man is saved by trusting in The Lord Jesus and becoming a member of the church and by being obedient to all of the commandments of the church. The doctrine of merit is a reflection of human pride. The falsely proud, conceited man says ‘I can do this assignment myself. I can merit heaven myself. I can work out the problem of sin by myself, and when I am saved, it is because I have done it. Look at me. Here I am walking golden streets, going through gates of pearl, mingling with the saints of God because I did good. I obeyed commandments. I kept laws, and I did great things. Therefore, I am here in the presence of God.’ That is the religion of the flesh. That is the religion of human pride, and that was the religion of the scribe, who, when he found this passage in Revelation, changed the text from one of washing robes in the blood of the Lamb to one of doing commandments.
Keeping the commandments, or at least our thinking that we keep them, can never cleanse one single sin. In fact, all the good things we might do, as helpful as they might be and as commendable as they might be, can never cleanse from sin. If one thinks about it just a moment, it becomes crystal clear that works cannot cleanse from sin. The idea behind a works religion is that we owe a debt, and the works that we perform pay the debt. Unfortunately, our way of thinking is way off. It’s like trying to pay a billion-dollar debt with a few pennies. It simply cannot be done. Sin cannot be cleansed in that manner and cannot be cleansed at all. While sin is definitely a debt, it is far more than a debt. It is a bondage and an enslavement, and it carries with it a power that must be addressed, which cannot be done merely by payment. For instance, all the money in the world cannot cure cancer or AIDS. You could stack $100 bills all over a person afflicted with these diseases, and it would do no good. You could, in fact, pay any amount of money, and the payment of such would have no effect on these diseases. For these diseases to be affected in a positive way, which means to be cured, there has to be a medicine that is stronger than the disease, which will kill the germs that are causing the affliction. Money cannot do that or any type of works, for that matter.
It is the same with sin. It is definitely true that Jesus paid the price. The price that He paid made it possible not only for God to wipe the slate clean, in other words, to erase the debt, but it also made it possible for The Holy Spirit to attack the very source of sin. That’s why Paul said, “But if the Spirit (Holy Spirit) of him (God The Father) that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:11). Sin is a spiritual problem and has to be addressed by spiritual means, which is The Cross of Christ and The Holy Spirit. The cause of sin is a diseased, polluted, unregenerate, blasphemous, wicked, and ungodly heart. I realize that most people do not like to think of themselves in that vein, but what I have said is correct; that can only be changed by regeneration, and regeneration can only be brought about by what Jesus did at The Cross and our faith in that finished work (John 3:16; Romans 5:1-2; Romans 6:3-14; Romans 8:1-2, 11; Colossians 2:14-15; Ephesians 2:8-9, 12-18). The forgiveness and cleansing of sin lie strictly in the mercy, goodness, love, compassion, and forbearance of God. All the burnt offerings in the world and all the commandments that a man can keep can never suffice to blot out the stain of sin in his soul. The prophet said, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, (is thirsty) come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live;…” (Isaiah 55:1, 3)
How was Abraham justified? If Abraham was justified by works, he then would have room to boast in that event. The patriarch could say, “Look what I have done. I have merited salvation, and I deserve Heaven.” However, Paul answered that Abraham could not boast before God. For, God knew his heart, and He knows our hearts. Listen to this, you can take the sweetest, purest, and finest girl in the world and put on a screen all the secrets of her heart and of her life, and she will blush with indescribable shame. That is the same with every human being. That’s the reason the scripture says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. No person, that is, if he is in his right mind, can boast before God. So, how was Abraham justified? The scripture plainly says, “…Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3). Then, the Holy Spirit, through Paul, said, “But to him that worketh not (depends not on works), but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5). This is the only way the human being can be saved. It is altogether by faith and, more particularly, faith in Christ and what Christ has done for us at The Cross. If we try to come any other way, we automatically shoot ourselves down, so to speak. In fact, our works of righteousness, in God’s sight, are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). It is, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration,…” (Titus 3:5)
The great Protestant Reformation came about over this very thing, this doctrinal difference. There was a monk by the name of Martin Luther, who attended the services of Saint John Lateran’s Church in Rome. In front of the church of Saint John Lateran is a building housing what is called, “scala santa”, the holy stairs. It is supposed to be the same set of stairs up which The Lord Jesus walked into the judgment hall of Pontius Pilot. On the stairway are supposed to be the blood drops of The Lord Jesus. In order to preserve the stairs and the blood drops, the stairs are covered with wood, with little glass holes to exhibit the blood drops. As people climb the stairway on their knees, they kiss those little glass holes where the blood drops of Jesus are supposed to be. This is supposed to merit them something as it regards salvation. So, in order to achieve salvation or whatever it is that they desire, the people climb up those steps hour after hour trying to work their way into the Kingdom of God by penance. Martin Luther was doing that. He was climbing those same stairs, kissing those same spots when, about halfway up, something happened in his heart. He recalled the great text of Habakkuk 2:4, “…the just shall live by his faith.” It is said that Martin Luther stood up, turned around, and walked down the steps. He went to Whittenburg, Germany, and there, on the door of the church, he nailed his 95 Theses, and that was the beginning of the Reformation. No, the words that John wrote are, “Blessed are they who wash their robes in the blood of The Lamb, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city” (Revelation 22:14). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Tree of Life
The phrase, “that they may have right to the tree of life,” proclaims the fact that this right can be attained in only one way, and that is by washing their robes in the blood of The Lamb, i.e., trusting in Christ and what He did for us at The Cross. What we are addressing here is the very heart of the Gospel. What is it that gives us the right to claim Christ, to claim salvation, or to claim a home in Heaven? We maintain that there is only one thing that gives us that right, and that is what Our Lord did at The Cross and our faith in that finished work. What He did on The Cross was all done on our behalf. We believe this and this alone is the passport to the great privilege of being born again (John 3:3). It is the blood of Jesus Christ alone that cleanses from all sin (1 John 1:7). It has been said the best who have striven and conquered were victors, not by their own might, but by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11).
The Gates into the City
The phrase, “and may enter in through the gates into the city,” proclaims the eternal abode of the redeemed. The right to live in this city and to live there forever is strictly because of the grace of God. The means of this grace is The Cross of Christ. It is attained by faith. In retrospect, the commandments of God are definitely to be kept. However, if we set out to keep the commandments by using any tactic at our disposal, we will fail every single time. The Lord Jesus Christ has already kept all the commandments and did so perfectly. In fact, He did this in His earthly life simply because we could not do it for ourselves. He also addressed the commandments that had been broken by every single human being, and He did so by paying the full penalty by giving His life on The Cross. When we come to Christ and make Him our Lord and Savior, in the mind of God, we are literally placed “in Christ” (Romans 8:1). Consequently, His victory become our victory. His perfect obedience becomes our perfect obedience. Listen to what Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). In this one passage, Paul tells us that he lives this life by the faith of the Son of God, which refers to what Christ did for us at The Cross and our faith in that sacrifice. In essence, he said that if he does not try to live his life in that manner, which refers to all the commandments being kept but tries to do so another way, he will “frustrate the grace of God” (Galatians 2:21). Most definitely, we are supposed to keep all of the commandments. However, the only way this can be done is by Christ living through us and in us. He does this through the power and person of The Holy Spirit. He functions in our lives totally and completely within the parameters of what Christ did at The Cross and in our faith in that finished work. The Bible definitely demands obedience, but it’s obedience in the realm of Christ and never obedience in the sense of our own works, etc.
“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Revelation 22:15). From all of this, we learn that Jesus saves from sin and not in sin. In fact, the basic foundation of The Gospel is the changed life. Claiming that we are saved but then continuing on in these types of sins listed here makes bogus such claims. Those who practice such sins will not have the right to the tree of life or to enter in through the gates into the city. Incidentally, the “dogs” listed here are not the canine variety but rather, homosexuals.
The phrase, “For without are dogs,” refers to homosexuals. “Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog (homosexual), into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God” (Deuteronomy 23:18). In Hebrew, the word dog is keleb. It means a male prostitute, homosexual, or sodomite.
The phrase, “and sorcerers,” has to do with all types of witchcraft, incantations, spirits and fortune telling.
The phrase, “and whoremongers,” pertains to all types of immorality. Actually, this is the great sin of the present age. Immortality is rampant. It is so rampant, in fact, that almost half of the babies born in this nation are born out of wedlock.
The phrase, “and murderers,” pertains not only to killing in cold blood but as well murdering one’s reputation through gossip, etc.
The phrase, “and idolaters,” pertains to placing anything above God or on a par with God. To be frank, idolatry is one of the most oft committed sins. Millions claim that in order to be saved, one has to belong to his or her particular church. This is idolatry. Others claim that water baptism must be joined to faith in Christ. This is idolatry. As one can see, the list is long. To escape this sin, we must place our faith exclusively in Christ and what Christ has done for us at The Cross (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 2:2).
The phrase, “and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie,” refers to anything that is untrue. We are being told here that we cannot live a life of sin and expect to gain the rewards of salvation.
The term “without” is meant to refer to eternal hell. The idea is that the person is not merely outside the New Jerusalem. He is confined to eternal hell and confined there forever and forever.
Never be sad or desponding
If you have faith to believe
Grace for the duties before thee
Ask of your God and receive.
What if your burdens oppress thee?
What, tho your life may be drear?
Look on the side that is brightest;
Pray and your path will be clear.
Never be sad or desponding;
There is a morrow for thee;
Soon you shall dwell in its brightness,
There with The Lord you shall be.
Never be sad or desponding;
Lean on the arm of your Lord;
Dwell in the depths of His mercy,
You shall receive your reward.
The continuation and extension of the ministry of our Lord, Jesus Christ
***Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Pastor Michael has been conducting Bible Studies with the congregation since early 2020, which we have transcribed and placed on this site. We started with End Times Prophecy with a Spirit-filled study on The Book of Revelation, moved on to The Book of Daniel, The Rapture of the Church, and returned to Ezekiel Chapters 40 to 48. We took a brief break from End Times Prophecy to study Divine Healing. Now, we're returning to End Times teaching with an in-depth study on The New Jerusalem.
As a faithful servant in Christ, we urge you to read and study these revelations, which were fully inspired by The Holy Spirit and will bless you abundantly.
Please note that the audio and video clips have been moved to the bottom of this page***
Kenya Prison Ministry
Conquerors for Christ ministry is the continuation and extension of the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. As the kings and priests of Messiah (Revelation 1:6; 5:10), our Vision/Mission is to preach the finished the work of the Cross of Christ Jesus, thereby advancing and fulfilling our Great Commission (John 4:34; Mark 16:15-20).
In/with the Person, Power and Presence of God The Holy Spirit, in the fullness of the Apostolic Anointing, we evangelize, preach, teach, testify and witness Messiah and His Gospel (Christ and Him Crucified and the Power of His Resurrection) unto the nations, with mighty works, signs, wonders and miracles following, bringing many sons and daughters to eternal Glory as they confess Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives! What is more, we disciple, equip and send out into the nations these saved of Christ as anointed preachers and teachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ -- thereby replicating the ministry of Messiah worldwide in/with the Anointing, Authority, Power, Strength, Wisdom, Dominion, Love, Fire, Brilliance, Radiance and Glory of The Holy Spirit of the Living God (Acts 1:8)!
Conquerors for Christ ministries include Crusades for Christ, Revivals for Christ, Five Published Volumes of our book series -- Conquerors for Christ -- sold via the Internet and other marketing venues, Television and Internet Evangelism ministries, Conquerors for Christ Bible Institute, Personal and Telephone Evangelism ministries, and on the ground Evangelism missions and ministries in Africa and India.
We invite you to join us and become a mighty "Conqueror for Christ"! Contact us @ email@example.com.