How is Jesus the Alpha and the Omega?
Jesus calls Himself the Alpha and the Omega three times in the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:8; 21:6, 13). In the Greek language, the original language of the New Testament, alpha was the first letter of the alphabet and omega was the last letter. Calling oneself the Alpha and Omega, then, would be equivalent to an English speaker saying "I am the A to the Z." Jesus further elaborates the meaning in Revelation 22:13, where He refers to Himself as, "The Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (also mentioned in Revelation 21:6).
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Theologically, as the Alpha and the Omega, Jesus refers to Himself as eternal. From beginning to end, Jesus has always existed and always will exist. This is an attribute unique to God, meaning Jesus equates Himself with the eternal God the Father. Jesus did this in His earthly ministry as well, telling the religious leaders, "before Abraham was born, I am" (John 8:58 NIV). They understood His statement as a claim to be the Lord, the "I AM" of Exodus 3:14.
Further, as Alpha and Omega, Jesus connects Himself with statements of God from the Old Testament. Isaiah 44:6 says, "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no God." Isaiah 48:12 includes, "I am he; I am the first, and I am the last."
The Old Testament also highlights the use of first and last as marking the beginning and the end of something. For example, 1 Chronicles 29:29 states, "Now the acts of King David, from first to last, are written in the Chronicles of Samuel the seer." The context clearly indicates "from first to last" refers to "from beginning to end," a feature used seven times in 1 and 2 Chronicles.
Perhaps the first time this phrase is used summarizes it best. Revelation 1:8 reads, "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'" Jesus is the eternal One and the Almighty who will one day return to fulfill the remaining prophecies of Scripture.
Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega in His eternal nature, His role in creation, His sustaining of the universe, and in His fulfillment as the Messiah. Those who read the words of Jesus referring to Himself as the Alpha and the Omega in Revelation find One who refers to Himself as Lord who will One day make all things new (Revelation 22).
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