Alpha And Omega
In establishing that Jesus is in fact the Son of God, what does Scripture reveal?
People use the phrases in the Book of Revelation, "Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, first and last,"to try to indicate that the Bible infers that Jesus is God. Do they?
Over and over again, clearly and concisely, Scripture reveals Jesus is indeed the Son, the offspring of God.
Jesus said of himself that he is the Son of God: "Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?" John 10:36
God said at least three times in a voice from Heaven, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
That is the testimony of God and of His Son, Jesus. Perhaps if we want to claim adherence to the Bible, we should believe them.
But when we as people get an idea in our heads, sometimes we tend to translate our understanding of related things accordingly.
We should keep in mind that in Scripture, titles and phrases that are used of our God are not always used Biblically exclusively of God. Even the title "god" is not exclusive, being used of the judges of Israel, of David the King, even of the "god" of this world.
Yes, "god" (Elohim, theos etc.) is a title of position, not exclusively a name.
We have only One True God, Creator Jehovah Elohim, but there are many in positions of extreme power and authority over others.
Understanding this, we look at Isaiah 44:
"Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God." Isaiah 44:6
Beside this One True God, beside Whom there is no other God, (which we know means "no other literal God,") is this phrase "first and last" therefore synonymous with God?
Some would like to tell you this.
But if we have to even consider the associated nouns used with the words "theos" and "elohim" to be sure it means the Creator, we should do the same with the phrase "first and last," with the phrase "Alpha and Omega," with the phrase "beginning and end."
We will let the Scriptures tell us via nouns and pronouns exactly of whom they speak, and we will study exactly what it does say to let the Scriptures define the meaning.
After all, we don't want to use our preconceptions to define Scripture, we want Scripture to define our faith.
We turn to Revelation:
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
"Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw." Rev. 1:1-2
John said this testimony, this revelation, was the word of God, but he also said it was the testimony of Jesus Christ. So we want to understand what was meant when John received it.
"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth." Rev. 1:4-5
During this time of "things which must shortly come to pass," grace and peace: From he Who is, was, and is to come, from the seven spirits before His throne, and from Jesus Christ.
Unlike the epistles to us today, there are nine who are actively involved in dealing with the "Revelation" or "end times" Church. One of these nine is He who is, was, and is to come; one is Jesus Christ.
Now, should we be surprised if Jesus, who is the image of God, should share many characteristics with He Who he is in the image of?
Of course not, or the word "image" would not apply.
But as much as some of us would like, things are not synonymous unless they really mean the same thing. We need be careful that we are not confusing similar things with identical things.
But Scripture is very clear which is which, when one takes time to discover what Scripture really means.
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty." Rev. 1:8
We see this verse uses the address of He who is the first of the nine addressing the Church of this time in this book. He is Alpha and Omega and beginning and ending, the Almighty.
Let us read the next account of "first and last," and of "Alpha and Omega."
"I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
"Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia…" Rev. 1:10-11a
There is little question that this second verse refers to Jesus. In the context following, John looks at the voice:
"And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
"And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle." Rev. 1:12-13
So Jesus is also called "Alpha and Omega," and "first and last."
In the next few verses, he is again called "first and last."
"And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
"I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death" Rev. 1:17-18
So we see similarities in that used to address the Almighty, and that used of Jesus Christ the Lord.
Both are referred to as "Alpha and Omega."
Both seem to be addressed as "first and last."
There are differences.
In the end, the only true identical address is "Alpha and Omega."
He Who is the Almighty in verse 8 is "Alpha and Omega, arche and telos." He is the chief and the finality. Most texts read "o kurios o theos," "O Lord O God." It is He Who is and who was and who is to come, with no interruptions.
"Alpha and Omega" uninterrupted. "Alpha and Omega" Almighty.
In Rabbanic literature, the word "truth" (emet) is composed of the first and last symbols of the Hebrew alphabet and connotes the seal of God, and is similar to the Greek "Alpha and Omega."
Being born again of God we have the seal of God, but our gift "pnuema hagion," being the seal of God and being similar to God in nature, does not make us equal to God.
So it is with Alpha and Omega.
God is Alpha and Omega in His class, which is being the chief and final, the Lord God, the Almighty. This is sealed, this is truth.
Jesus is likewise Alpha and Omega in his class, which is as "protos and eskatos," (first and last in verses 11 and 16), of those who were alive, died, and then would live again forevermore. Alive but with interruption. Remember, God from ever to ever, but Jesus the same only from yesterday, then today and forever.
Similar but not identical.
You see, God is "first and last," "arche" and "telos," chief and final, but Jesus is "protos" and "eschatos" in comparison. Jesus is first and foremost ("protos") of his type, but God is alone in His class.
As we often discover when we examine Scripture that some use to say "Jesus is the same as God," we realize these similar verses actually accentuate their differences as well.
God Almighty is the Alpha and Omega archtype, first of only one. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega prototype, first of many.
God is the Alpha and Omega of finality, Jesus is the Alpha and Omega of "eschatos," of "extreme end," of "extreme destination." That is the literal meaning of these two usages.
Today our young are into "extreme," be it sports or soft drinks.
Jesus the the true extreme, he is the seal, the end of extreme.
It is true that what this really tells us does not agree with our common Church theology, but God did not reveal the Word in order to agree with our theology.
"Alpha and Omega" is not a phrase used exclusively of God. We still use "A to Z" to connote totality. God connotes totality in He Whom we worship. Jesus is "A to Z" as well, but in a different way.
We've seen God as Alpha and Omega, Who addressed this book with grace and peace.
We've seen Jesus as Alpha and Omega of those raised, who also addressed this Church with grace and peace.
When Jesus is no longer compared to God directly, however, we see this:
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
"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…
"…I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." Rev. 22:14-15,17
Of those who are God Almighty, the One True Theos is the Alpha and Omega.
Of those who were raised from the dead, Jesus is the Alpha and Omega.
Of those keeping the commandments of God, having right to the tree of life, to the gates of the city, Jesus is not just the protos and eschatos, he is also the arche and telos.
For Jesus, the root and offspring of David, Son of God and Son of Man, is Alpha and Omega of those who would do the will of God.
He is our leader, our King, our example, our prototype…Jesus is the extreme and final demonstration of obedience.
It therefore behooves us as his followers to recognize that "Alpha and Omega" is in Scripture a title used of two, and to recognize that it has specific, not broad and vague, application that can be readily understood only in context.
God is God. Jesus is the Son of God.
If we ever want to understand Scripture as a cohesive logos, we need to keep these very simple concepts straight.