ALPHA AND OMEGA
These are the names of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and are used as a title three times in the book of Revelation. The additional occurrence of this phrase in the King James rendering of Revelation 1:11, however, does not receive support from some of the oldest Greek manuscripts, including the Alexandrine, Sinaitic, and Codex Ephraemi rescriptus. It is, therefore, omitted in many modern translations.
While many commentators apply this title both to God and to Christ, a more careful examination of its use restricts its application to Jehovah God. The first verse of Revelation shows that the revelation was given originally by God and through Jesus Christ, hence the one speaking (through an angelic representative) at times is God himself, and at other times it is Christ Jesus. (Re 22:8) Thus Revelation 1:8 (RS) says: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God [“Jehovah God,” NW], who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Although the preceding verse speaks of Christ Jesus, it is clear that in verse 8 the application of the title is to “the Almighty” God. In this regard Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament (1974) observes: “It cannot be absolutely certain that the writer meant to refer to the Lord Jesus specifically here . . . There is no real incongruity in supposing, also, that the writer here meant to refer to God as such.”
The title occurs again at Revelation 21:6, and the following verse identifies the speaker by saying: “Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I shall be his God and he will be my son.” Inasmuch as Jesus referred to those who are joint heirs with him in his Kingdom as “brothers,” not “sons,” the speaker must be Jesus’ heavenly Father, Jehovah God.
The final occurrence of the title is at Revelation 22:13, which states: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” It is evident that a number of persons are represented as speaking in this chapter of Revelation; verses 8 and 9 show that the angel spoke to John, verse 16 obviously applies to Jesus, the first part of verse 17 is credited to “the spirit and the bride,” and the one speaking in the latter part of verse 20 is manifestly John himself. “The Alpha and the Omega” of verses 12-15, therefore, may properly be identified as the same one who bears the title in the other two occurrences: Jehovah God. The expression, “Look! I am coming quickly,” in verse 12, does not require that these aforementioned verses apply to Jesus, inasmuch as God also speaks of himself as “coming” to execute judgment. (Compare Isa 26:21.) Malachi 3:1-6 speaks of a joint coming for judgment on the part of Jehovah and his “messenger of the covenant.”
The title “the Alpha and the Omega” carries the same thought as “the first and the last” and “the beginning and the end” when these terms are used with reference to Jehovah. Before him there was no Almighty God, and there will be none after him. He will bring to a successful conclusion the issue over Godship, forever vindicated as the one and only Almighty God.