Questions From Readers
● Revelation 22:13 (NW) speaks of the “Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end”. At Revelation 1:17 (NW) Christ Jesus is spoken of as “the First and the Last”. So is not Revelation 22:13 also referring to Christ? The context sounds like it, yet the Watchtower publications say Jehovah is the “Alpha and the Omega”. Why?—J. J., New Jersey.
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and omega is the last; one is the beginning and the other the end of the Greek alphabet. So the expressions “the Alpha and the Omega” and “the first and the last” and “the beginning and the end” are parallel expressions and mean the same thing. They are applied to Jehovah God. Isaiah 44:6 (AS) reads: “Thus saith Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God.” Revelation 1:8 (NW) catches up this thought in Isaiah and adds to it the point that he is coming: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says Jehovah God, ‘the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.’”
So just because the verse preceding Revelation 22:13 speaks of that “Alpha and Omega” as coming does not necessarily mean it refers to Christ Jesus, whose second coming is frequently mentioned. Revelation 1:8 shows Jehovah as coming, and so Revelation 22:12 may do likewise. He comes representatively, through Christ Jesus. Revelation 4:8 speaks of Jehovah as coming, and Revelation 21 shows his presence with humankind. “Look! the tent of God is with humankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. . . . I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To anyone thirsting I will give from the fountain of the water of life free. Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I shall be his God and he will be my son.” (Re 21 Vss. 3, 6, 7) This reference is certainly to Jehovah God, for he is God to the anointed body members of Christ and they are his spiritual sons. They are Christ’s brothers, not sons, so the text is speaking of Jehovah, and it calls him “the Alpha and the Omega”. So when the Alpha and Omega is mentioned again in the very next chapter, why must the term suddenly shift to Christ Jesus instead of Jehovah God? It does not.
Some argue that it refers to Christ Jesus at Revelation 22:13 because verse 16 shows Jesus speaking. But that does not mean the speaker of the preceding verses must also be Jesus. The use of the single quotation marks in the New World Translation shows a change in speakers between verses 15 and 16. We must remember that the revelation God gave to Jesus Christ was passed on to the apostle John by one of Christ’s angels, and that this angel sometimes spoke for Jehovah God and sometimes for Christ Jesus; so we must watch for these changes and note them on the basis of content and context. It is true that when the angel speaks for Christ, at Revelation 1:17 (NW), he states: “I am the First and the Last.” But a check of the context shows this “First and Last” was with definite limitations, was relative to just the matter of Christ Jesus’ death and resurrection, as verse 18 shows. Christ was the first one raised in the first resurrection, and the last one that will be raised directly by Jehovah God. Others who follow in that resurrection will be raised by God through Christ. (John 6:40; 1 Cor. 6:14) In fact, this limitation is also shown by the footnote on “First” in Revelation 1:17 in the New World Translation, where “First” is shown to mean “Firstborn” by one ancient manuscript. Christ was the firstfruits of those asleep in death. (1 Cor. 15:20) When “First and Last” is again applied to Christ Jesus, at Revelation 2:8, note that again it is with respect to death and resurrection. But when it speaks thus of Jehovah no limitation is set on the meaning.
So we must be reasonable. When we see an expression that is applied to Jehovah several times in its unlimited sense, and then come across it again but not specifically indicated as applying to Jehovah, we cannot become flighty and switch the expression to Christ Jesus; and especially when we note that it is applied elsewhere, not in its unlimited sense, but only with definite limitation of meaning. Trinitarians try to capitalize on this expression to show it was used indiscriminately for either God or Christ, and in this way show God and Christ are the same. But logic and reason do not allow this, no more than do many other texts in the Bible.