Revelation's Greetings III
The Deity of Jesus Christ, Revelation Series, VI
1:8 “I am Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending,” saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
“I am Alpha and the Omega.” ∼ This last verse of our introduction presents the first words spoken by Jesus directly. His first words are “I AM.” Then given are three affirmatives of His full and total deity. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the language in which the Revelation was written. The Revelator applies this title to God (21:6, see Isa 41:4)). It must be acknowledged that this idiom is meant to indicate the “first and the last” (v11); further, there can be only one first, and one last. If Jesus and God are separate persons (beings), it follows that it could not be allowed that both would be titled the “first and last”. Therefore it must be true that 1:8, 11 (which references Jesus) and 21:6 (which references God,) has one and the same person in view.
“The beginning and the ending.” ∼ This statement is an idiom. God does not have a beginning nor an ending. This is an idiomatic way of saying that God was before all things and will be after all things.
“Which is, and which was, and which is to come.” ∼ As if to underline this line of reasoning John adds “... saith the Lord, which is, and which was, which is to come,” As has already been discussed, from verse 4, this is a paraphrasing of the covenant name of God from Exodus 3:14-15. The scholars seem to be undecided concerning whether the words “which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” is John’s narration, or the actual words of the Lord. Although, they are most likely a continuation of John’s quote of Jesus from the first part of the verse, it really doesn’t matter if one accepts the inspiration of the writer. What does it matter if John said it about Christ, are if Christ say about Himself?
Though this paraphrasing of the name of God, from Exodus 3:14-15, has been mentioned in the commentary on verse 4, it would be proper to consider it closer at this point. Exodus chapter 3 records Moses’ encounter with the burning bush theophany. At this point in the Holy Scripture the covenant name of Israel’s God is revealed to them,
“And Moses said to God, Behold, when I came unto the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say into them? And God said to Moses, I am that I am: and he said, thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14-15).
In verse 12 the Lord God uses the future tense of this name, e.g. “certainly I will be with thee.” This name, the Lord proclaim to Israel again on the mountain of Sinai (Exodus 34:4-5). It was the name God wished to be called by His people, because it identifies His character as dependable and faithful, and expresses His desire to have the full trust of His children.
Jesus applied this name to Himself throughout His earthly ministry and aroused the ire of the Jews (see John 8:58-59). Just after Christ had said that He and the Father were one (John 10:30), we read, again, in verse 31, “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.” This word “again” implies this to have been a reoccurring event.
Now, back to Exodus chapter 3. In verse 15 God’s name is given as “Yahweh” (often spelled “Jehovah”). This is given in the Old Testament as YHWH (the tetragrammaton). This name means “he is” or “he will be” and it is the third person form of the verb translated “I AM” in verse 14. When God speaks of Himself He says “I AM” (Exodus 3:14 cf John 8:58), but when we speak of Him we say “he is,” i.e. “Yahweh.”
Jesus is the Almighty God, the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega
Jesus is the Almighty
“The Almighty.” ∼ The identifying of Jesus as the “Almighty” (Gk - pantokratōr) is a fulfillment of the promise given in verse 1; i.e. that this apocalypse would be the unveiling of Jesus Christ. Yahweh, had stepped from eternity into our world incognito. Paul writes of Jesus, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (or, thought His deity not a thing to be grasped or insisted upon): but made himself of no reputation (or laid aside His prerogatives as God) and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in the fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6-8, parentheses mine). Concerning this concealing of His true identity, Jesus said, “These things have I spoken to you in proverbs: but the time is coming when I shall no more speaking to you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father” (John 16:25). The Revelation is the fulfillment of this promise to “show you plainly of the Father.” Phillip’s request (John 14:8) “Lord, show us the Father,” if not fulfilled that day to his satisfaction, surely it is here, in our text. The prophet Isaiah had written of the Messiah, that He would be the “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6). Many, have accepted Isaiah’s testimony in a limited way, and said: Yes, Jesus, the Messiah, is “A” mighty God – along with two other mighty God’s. But, here in the Apocalypse (the unveiling) of the Messiah, the Messiah announces Himself to be not just “A” mighty God, but “THE ALMIGHTY.” There may be many that are “mighty;” but there could be but ONE “Almighty!”
The Holy Spirit, as a master artist, has worked for aeons on a sculptured masterpiece, and has now come to the day of unveiling what no human has ever fully seen. Humanity has gathered with all eyes riveted on the veiled figure; the breathing of the masses is momentarily suspended, as the veil ripples and flows, like a mystic wave, from the object of adoring anticipation. Now, finally, there for all to behold, stands the awesome Truth. From head to foot He is revealed: the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the Yahweh who is “the Almighty;” (Gk - pantokratōr; Heb - Shaddai), namely, the absolute and universal Sovereign, the Omnipotent One: Jesus!
☩ Jerry Hayes
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