02 November 2016

Who Can Be "First" & "Last" At The Same Time?

Isaiah 55: 11, Luke 1: 37

Notice the similar thread mentioned in these three sources:
For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; 
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants. 
They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. 
Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord’; others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’and will take the name Israel. 
This is what the Lord says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: 
I Am the first and I Am the last; apart from Me there is no God. 
- Isaiah 44: 3-6 (~700 B.C.)
“I Am the first and I Am the last; apart from Me there is no God.”
“Look, I Am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I Am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. 
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 
“I, Yeshua, have sent My angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I Am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” 
- Revelation 22: 12-16 (~90 A.D.)
“I Am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
Whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth halloweth Allah [God]; and He is the Mighty, the Wise. 
His is the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He giveth life and He causeth to die; and He is over everything Potent. 
He is the First and the Last, and the outward and the inward, and He is of everything the Knower. 
He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in six days; then He established Himself on the Throne. He knoweth whatsoever plungeth into the earth and whatsoever cometh forth therefrom, and whatsoever descendeth from the heaven and whatsoever ascendeth thereto; and He is with you wheresoever ye be. And Allah [God] is of whatsoever ye work a Beholder. 
Al Hadid 1-4 (Daryabadi translation, Quran ~700 A.D.)
“He is the First and the Last, and the outward and the inward, and He is of everything the Knower.”

People identifying as descendants of Abraham, specifically people of Jewish ancestry, who believe in God, accept the Hebrew Bible (the Torah) and consider Isaiah to have been a prophet from a long line of Hebrew prophets God spoke through.

Those descendants of all other peoples the world over, who have heard / learned and believed the testimony of Yeshua as Lord, identify with the adoption of sonship that Yeshua revealed in the testimony of the Gospel.

Those people who identify with the religion of Islam, or who identify with the culture the religion of Islam has developed, accept the testimony mentioned in the Quran.

The unifying message is quite obvious to the reader's eye, and this is the single item I'd like to bring attention to:

“I Am the first and I Am the last; apart from Me there is no God.”

“I Am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

“He is the First and the Last, and the outward and the inward, and He is of everything the Knower.”

The precise definitions of the term / title “Messiah” originated from the Jewish Scriptures, and it is from these early thoughts that the idea of Messiah should first be understood in discovering what 'Messiah' means, while also considering what God can or cannot do (if there is anything God can 'not' do).

I don't personally believe nothing is impossible for God to do, even manifesting Himself in the body of a man while never vacating heaven not one iota... is something possible for God, but perhaps impossible for some people to believe.

When it comes to the belief that God became a man, or the belief that the body of Yeshua did in fact die physically and later resurrected, these are beliefs that can only be initially accepted and understood in the hearts of mankind, while they perhaps may be articulated outside of quoting the God-inspired writings.

Whether the Messiah did in fact appear in the flesh (speaking to Jewish believers), or whether the Messiah is a simple title of Yeshua but not God's physical manifestation on earth (speaking to Muslim believers), are issues to be discussed in honest dialogue, not heated debate.

For my Jewish audience / friends / brothers / sisters, I'd like to point out:

Jewish prophecy stated the Messiah would be revealed while the Jerusalem temple was standing, yet that temple has been destroyed since 70 A.D..

I'd also like to point further to the spiritual 'temple worship' that is mentioned; the temple of God's Spirit being our physical bodies, and our worship being a daily process of righteousness whether seen by men or only by God Himself, not an outward ritual.

For my Muslim audience / friends / brothers / sisters, I'd like to point out:

The earliest testimonies from Muhammad's peers, and subsequent Islamic scholars, have attested to the historical account of Yeshua having died on the cross from Islamic sources, not being substituted by another man:
"The Quran, as we have already argued, does not deny the death of Christ. Rather, it challenges human beings who in their folly have deluded themselves into believing that they would vanquish the divine Word, Jesus Christ the Messenger of God. The death of Jesus is asserted several times and in various contexts." (3:55; 5:117; 19:33.) 
- Mahmoud M. Ayoub, Muslim scholar of Islam

I hope with this article to encourage dialogue, research and prayers to God Almighty in revealing what He has established and accomplished... to His honor, glory and thanks-giving.

Amen.

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