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Jesus as the Alpha and the Omega (The Almighty)

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  • Jesus as the Alpha and the Omega (The Almighty)

    I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end (Revelation 22:13, NASB).
    When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last (Revelation 1:17, NASB)

    A. The fact that the Lord Jesus refers to Himself as "the Alpha and the Omega" proves that He is God (Revelation 22:13).
    1. TDNT: The juxtaposition of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet peculiar to Rev. It is used on the lips of God in 1:8 and also in 21:6; and on the lips of Christ in 22:13. It is also applied to Christ in 1:17: and 2:8. The meaning of a/w is fixed by its conjunction with arche/telos and prwtos/eschatos. It shows us that God or Christ is the One who begins and the One who ends, the Creator and Consummator, the One from whom and to whom are all things (1:1, AW, Kittel).
    2. The Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible: Concerning "the Alpha and the Omega" as used in Revelation 22:13:
    ...the meaning plainly is not merely chronological or taxonomic, but ontological and metaphysical; it concerns not merely when Jesus Christ exists or where he is to be ranked among existences, but who and what he is in his essential being or nature. The implication includes his eternity, preexistence, and essential deity. For any created being, however exalted, to claim to be the Alpha and the Omega, as these terms are used of Jesus Christ in Scripture, would be blasphemy (1:128-129, alpha and omega, J.G. Vos).
    3. G.K. Beale: The Apocalypse has already called God "the Alpha and the Omega" (1:8; 21:6) and "the Beginning and the End" (21:6), and Christ has been called "the First and the Last" (1:17; 2:8). Now all these titles, which are used in the OT of God, are combined and applied to Christ to highlight his deity. The titles figuratively connote the totality of polarity: Christ's presence at and sovereignty over the beginning of creation and over the end of creation are boldly stated in order to indicate that he is also present at and sovereign over all events in between. The emphasis of the bipolar names here at the end of the book is to underscore Christ's divine ability to conclude history at his coming (The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, page 264).

    B. The fact that the Lord Jesus refers to Himself as "the first and the last" proves that He is God (Revelation 1:17).
    1. NIDOTTE: Occasionally used with its antonym ("last"), this adj. forms a merism typical in Sem. languages, in which polar extremes describe totality. In Isaiah's expression of monotheism, Yahweh is both "the first" and "the last", meaning the only (probably an enumeration in which he is the only number, Isa 44:6, and see also 41:4; Neh 8:18; Rev 1:8) (3:1027, rishown, Bill T. Arnold)
    2. TDNT: "I am the First and the Last."
    This, too, serves to describe the eternity of God (-> AW). As the Creator and Consummator God is the eternal One. His eternal being stretches beyond the time of the world. He is from eternity to eternity. Before the world was created, He was; and when heaven and earth have vanished, He will be. Thus the unending eternity of God and the time of the world, which is limited by its creation and conclusion, are contrasted with one another. Eternity is thought of as unending time - for how else can human thought picture it? - and the eternal being of God is represented as pre-existence and post-existence (1:201-202, aiwn, Sasse).
    3. NIDNTT: The formula "the first and the last" is only found as a self-designation of the exalted Christ (1:17; 2:8; 22:13). This goes back to the Heb. wording of the divine predicates in Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12. In the Gk. translation of this expression the LXX has avoided the divine title of eschatos and uses a paraphrase instead, perhaps because of negative undertones. The formula belongs essentially to the synonymous phrases "the Alpha and the Omega" (Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13; Alpha being the first, and Omega the last letter of the Gk. alphabet), and "the beginning and the end" (22:13). The application of these divine predicates to the exalted Christ means the ascription to him of a rank equal with God's with the attribution of the functions of Creator and Perfecter (2:58-59, Goal, H.G. Link).
    4. NIDNTT: The most complete identification of Christ and God is expressed at the end of Rev. The subject of the sentence in Rev. 21:6, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end," is God; in Rev. 22:13 it is Jesus (2:282, I Am, H.G. Link).

    C. The fact that the Lord Jesus refers to Himself as "the beginning and the end" proves He is God (Revelation 22:13).
    1. NIDNTT: The formula "beginning and end" (cf. Isa. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12) expresses the power of God (21:6) and Christ (22:13) which embraces time and creation. Just as God is the beginning and end (cf. 1:8), the creator and perfecter of all things, so also is the exalted Christ (cf. 1:17; 2:8) (2:64, Goal, R. Schippers)
    2. Mounce: The word appears in Revelation in the phrase "beginning and end." This theologically rich phrase articulates the power of God (Rev. 21:6) and Christ (22:13), denoting both extremes of beginning and end along with everything temporally and spatially in between (Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, End, page 212).
    3. TDNT: The self-designation of God in Rev. 21:6 (cf. 1:8) or Christ in Rev. 22:13: 'I am the beginning and the end' primarily denotes His eternity but then His absolute majesty (8:55, telos, Delling).

    D. The Jehovah's Witness Response
    1. At Revelation 22:13, the Alpha and Omega is also said to be “the first and the last,” which expression is applied to Jesus at Revelation 1:17, 18. Similarly, the expression “apostle” is applied both to Jesus Christ and to certain ones of his followers. But that does not prove that they are the same person or are of equal rank, does it? (Heb. 3:1) So the evidence points to the conclusion that the title “Alpha and Omega” applies to Almighty God, the Father, not to the Son.

    E. Answering the Jehovah's Witness Response
    1. The term "apostle" does not carry with it the same weight in meaning as "the first and the last". Unlike "apostle" (which can apply to more than one person) the appellation "the first and the last" is due only to God (See A2, last sentence). Furthermore, the fact that the Lord Jesus is "the first and the last" as well as an "apostle" demonstrates both His Deity and humanity.
    Last edited by foudroyant; 07-29-2014, 04:05 AM.
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