I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
13. I am Alpha &c.] Son 1:8 (not 11). There the Father speaks, here the Son.
the beginning &c.] The true order seems to be the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
Fuente: The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
I am Alpha and Omega … – See the notes on Rev 1:8, Rev 1:11. The idea here is, that he will thus show that he is the first and the last – the beginning and the end. He originated the whole plan of salvation, and he will determine its close; he formed the world, and he will wind up its affairs. In the beginning, the continuance, and the end, he will be recognized as the same being presiding over and controlling all.
Fuente: Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
Verse 13. I am Alpha and Omega] See Clarke on Re 1:8; “Re 1:18“.
Fuente: Adam Clarke’s Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible
See Poole on “Rev 1:8“. See Poole on “Rev 21:6“.
Fuente: English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole
13. I am AlphaGreek,“. . . the Alpha and the Omega.” A, B,Vulgate, Syriac, ORIGEN,and CYPRIAN transposethus, “the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”ANDREAS supports EnglishVersion. Compare with these divine titles assumed here by theLord Jesus, Rev 1:8; Rev 1:17;Rev 21:6. At the winding up ofthe whole scheme of revelation He announces Himself as the One beforewhom and after whom there is no God.
Fuente: Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
I am Alpha and Omega,…. [See comments on Re 1:8]. These characters are all put together here, which are before used in Re 1:8 and are very pertinently mentioned in this place, when all promises and prophecies, relating to the glorious kingdom of Christ, were just finishing, and that itself was ready to appear, in which Christ alone should be exalted, the mystery of God would be completed, and time itself be no more. The Ethiopic version adds, “the beginning and end of days”, or time. A testimony this, of the deity, eternity, infinity, and perfection of Christ.
Fuente: John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
I am the Alpha and the Omega ( ). Applied to God in Rev 1:8; Rev 21:6, and here alone to Christ, crowning proof in this book of Christ’s deity. So in 21:6 God is termed, as Christ is here, (the beginning and the end), while (the first and the last) is applied only to Christ (Rev 1:17; Rev 2:8). Solemn assurance is thus given that Christ is qualified to be the Judge of verse 12 (cf. Mt 25:31-46). In Heb 12:2 Jesus is the (the author and finisher of faith). Christ was the Creator of the universe for the Father. So now he is the Consummation of redemption.
Fuente: Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament
1) I am the Alpha and Omega,” (ego to alpha kai to O) “I am (exist as) the Alpha and the Omega; the speaker of this and the previous verse is Jesus Christ, the theme of the Word of God, and particular person of Revelation of this book, Rev 1:8; Rev 1:11.
2) “The beginning and the end,” (he arche kai to telos) “The beginning (origin) and the end (or completion);” Isa 41:4; Isa 44:6; Isa 48:12.
3) “The first and the last,” (ho protos kai ho eschatos) “The first (in order) and the last (in order or rank); Rev 1:17; Rev 21:6.
These terms of identity of the Lord Jesus Christ attribute to his eternality, almightiness, omniscience, omnipresence, and sufficiency, 2Co 3:4-5; 2Co 12:8-9.
Fuente: Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary
(13) I am Alpha . . .Here (as in Rev. 21:6) we should render, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (See Note as above, and comp. Joh. 1:1; Isa. 44:6.) The repetition of these glorious titles is not a mere idle repetition, or designed to give a rhetorical fulness to the peroration of the book: it is closely allied with the preceding thought. The warning has been given that men by continuing in sin (Rev. 22:11) are inviting against themselves the law by which act ripens to habit, and habit makes character, and character forms destiny. The moral laws set going by sin work thus:Retribution is no dream: it is a terrible fact: it is written large over nature. But the eternal laws of God, though righteously ordered, are not God: the refuge from the eternal laws which we invoke against ourselves by our sin is to be found in the Eternal God: I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. For those hunted by the wickedness of their own doings, God himself provides a refuge: underneath all laws are the everlasting arms (Deu. 33:27). The next verses set the way of refuge and safety before us.
Fuente: Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
13. I am Alpha Assuredly words spoken by no angel.
Fuente: Whedon’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments
The Central Messages of the Book.
‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’
Compare Rev 1:9; Rev 1:17; Rev 2:8; Rev 21:6. The book begins and ends with the fact that Father and Son sum up all things in themselves. All things come from them, all things proceed to them. God is all in all. The assumption must be, as with all first person statements in this epilogue (from Rev 22:10 to Rev 22:17), that these words are spoken by Jesus Christ. Note Rev 22:12, Rev 22:16 a, Rev 22:16 b. Thus Jesus is taking to Himself the divine title which indicates the all-encompassing nature of God.
Fuente: Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Ver. 13. I am Alpha and Omega ] And am therefore worthy to be believed in my predictions of future events, which I can easily bring about and effect, since to me all things are present.
Fuente: John Trapp’s Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)
Alpha, &c. See Rev 1:8.
Fuente: Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics
Rev 22:13. , , , I Alpha and O, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End) See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. The Lord Jesus plainly speaks here: and there are three clauses, the first of which we weighed at ch. Rev 1:8, where the Father speaks of Himself; the second we considered at ch. Rev 1:17, where the Lord Jesus speaks of Himself; the third, together with the first, we touched upon at ch. Rev 21:6, where again the Father speaks. Now, in the present passage, the three clauses are accumulated, a most manifest proof of the glory of the Lord Jesus; who testifies concerning Himself both those things which the Father had spoken concerning Himself, ch. Rev 21:6, and those things which He Himself had spoken concerning Himself, ch. Rev 1:17. Is it then one and the same sentiment which is expressed in a threefold form? Nay, something more is contained in it. The clause and is as it were the basis of those titles, which we have just noticed, of God and Christ; and it has a kind of general and as it were hieroglyphic force, to be determined by the other titles which follow. This is first spoken by the Father, ch. Rev 1:8; and the second answers to it, in which Christ calls Himself the First and the Last, ch. Rev 1:17. Artemonius, who is excellently refuted by Wolf, translates it, most excellent and most abject. He Himself by Isaiah explains it, as Him, before whom and after whom there is no other God, the Author of salvation. This is at the commencement of the book. At the close, He who sits upon the throne says, I am and : and He Himself explains it, the Beginning and the End, ch. Rev 21:6. Then the Lord Jesus says, I and : and He also adds the explanation, but a twofold one: for He both repeats that saying of His, the First and the Last, and now, when the throne of God and of the Lamb is in the new Jerusalem, speaking of Himself, He adds that, which the Father had spoken, the Beginning and the End. It is put without the article, , and that too in the primary copies; but with the article, , just as , which is a remarkable sign of a kind of gradation.
 AB Vulg. omit : but h Orig. 4,6c, 21b, Cypr. 294, and Rec. Text, support it. A and Clem. have . Bh Vulg. Orig. Cypr. have : so Rec. Text. A has -; B Orig. and Rec. Text, . . AB have, with Orig. 4,21b, . Rec. Text omits the articles.-E.
Fuente: Gnomon of the New Testament
The Alpha and the Omega
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.Rev 22:13.
There is one feature of the Apocalypse of St. John which must strike every thoughtful student of that wonderful book. Through all the majestic sequence of the symbolic visions in which it shadows forth the struggles, the defeats, and the victories of the Church of God, it views everything from above. Commencing with the charge to the Apostle, imprisoned in the mines of Patmos, to write down the things which he sees and send them to the seven Churches of Asia, that outlook is maintained to the end. It is human life seen in the light of the exalted Christ. As the mighty pageant of judgment and conflict unfolds itself before the Seers eye, he stands always above time and its changes; until at last the vision closes with the new heaven and the new earth, and the prayer, Amen, come, Lord Jesus, passes into the familiar benediction of the saints.
The reason is plain. St. John has ever before his spirit the vision of the Eternal Christ. St. Marks Gospel opens with the beginning of the earthly ministry. St. Matthew starts with the genealogy of Jesus, the Son of David, and the events which preceded His birth. St. Lukes Gospel of the Infancy commences earlier, yet even this sets out from the days of Herod the king. But St. John dips back into the eternity which was before the world was made, and there kneels in adoration before the Eternal Word, who in time became flesh and dwelt among men. His ear is full of the voices of the spiritual world which lies behind and above time and yet is immanent in it; and every voice that pierces the silence is eloquent of his Lord. To him was given an overwhelming sense of the eternal which transcends while it transforms the things which are nearest to us in the life of this present world. And so when the Apocalypse is finished and the pictured scroll of his vision is just about to be rolled up, as if to pledge once more and finally the truth and reality of the revelation that has been made, the Voice which is the undertone of all things speaks the tremendous words, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Upon Him, the eternal Jesus, rests the solemn sanction of the message; here lies its awful claim to be heard; these are its credentials. It is the testimony of Jesus; it is the word of the Eternal Word.
1. An alphabet! What a strange world of possibilities lies hid in those few rudiments! There they lie before our eyes, twenty-six odd signs from A to Z; so unmeaning in themselves, so artificial, so queer. Could anything be less suggestive, less rational? Their very shapes have long ceased to be intelligible, except to those who grope about in a remote past and follow their lives back to old-world pictures of houses and camels and water and snakes, through which by a fanciful transition they have come to stand for sounds which have no relation whatever to those which the signs represented. Yet, although they lie there covered by one glance of the eye, they are the materials out of which whole worlds of experience and of literature can find their expression. Everything that has ever been said or thought or written by entire families or nations has found, in some combination of those quaint signs, its adequate realization. How incredible that those few artificial signs can adapt themselves to such infinite needs, the unnumbered shades of fleeting experience! And, again, the melodious refrains, the fine and rare evolutions of metre, the play and counter-play of inwoven rhymes, all the craft of a thousand poets spent on giving to the intricacies of feeling their perfect form and soundall this has been wrung out of these twisted fragments. And this capacity is wholly unexhausted. Century after century will follow and still they will yield novel effects in prose and verse, and still there will be the endless delight of ever fresh combinations and complications to which the ear of man will delightedly respond, and in which the heart of man will discover itself anew.
2. As alpha is the first, so omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Now the first and last letters of the alphabet may be used to represent in brief the sum and substance of any subject; just as we call the elements of any study its A B C, so that which is the all-pervading idea, the centre, the substance of any treatise would be its alpha and omega. When Christ declares Himself the Alpha and Omega, He declares Himself the sum and substance of expressed thought. Of whose thought is He the expression? Of whose language is He the theme? There can be but one answer. It is Gods thought that He expresses, Gods language of which He is the utterance. This truth, then, is proclaimed in the textthat Christ is the sum and substance of Gods revealed thought.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. What means this language but that the Son of God, who became flesh in Jesus Christ, is so emphatically the revelation of Gods thought that He is called literally the Word of God, and that He has been so from the very beginning of all things? Christ is Gods utterance; He is all of Gods revealed thought; through Him the Father works; He created the world; He is the worlds spiritual light.
(1) Christ is the sum and substance of the Bible itself, and so the practical truth, the substance of truth to be believed. The book is a mosaic, made by different artists under the unknown direction of a greater than they. It is Gods word to manmanifold, complex, and prolonged; and yet when we receive it all, we discover that, of all this mass of revealed thought, Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the substance and the sum, the stone out of which each piece of the mosaic is taken, and the figure which all the pieces unite to portray. Looking back to the beginning we can see that though He was but seldom mentioned, He underlay all. In the earliest sacrifices, His sacrifice was implied. The ritual of the Tabernacle and the Temple anticipated His coming. All that God taught men of old time was part and parcel of Christ; so that, were it lost and He only retained, not one whit of Gods thought would perish for mankind.
(2) Christ is the sum and substance of Bible doctrine as well as of Bible history. Everything must be viewed in His light. Everything must be explained by its relation to Him. He is the text on which all else is the comment. He is the truth of which all else is the application. He is the centre from which all else radiates, and the foundation on which all else rests.
In a certain canvas belonging to the modern French School, The Repose in Egypt, by Oliver Merson, there is a piece of symbolism which fitly concludes the whole matter. Before our eyes stretches the limitless desert pervaded by mysterious halflights; above it, the monstrous basaltic Figure that was quarried and sculptured in the depths of antiquity; then left there in the sand as a monument alike to the plastic powers and superstitions of primitive man. Its stony stare fills the desert with a sense of frustration and ancient death. Yet what is that lying muffled in a cloak not many yards away from the mammoth feet?Joseph the carpenter perchance, who, flying southwards to escape the murderous frenzy of Herod, here rests awhile! But Mary and the Holy Childwhere are they? Yonderin the very lap of the Sphinx sleeps the Motherin her arms the Babe, a radiant spot of light in the deepening dark. Such is the artists dream, and now what is the interpretation thereof? Surely thisthat in the heart of the great Enigma sleeps its Key! For, if that amorphous Form with the inscrutable stare be but the emblem of blind yet questioning humanity, propounding riddles while unable itself to solve them, it shelters One who, when grown to mans estate, was to break the silence, appeasing all yearnings, confirming all hesitancies, reshaping all faithsOne who, through paradox and parable, through doctrine, deed, and death, was to inscribe over all altars erected to the Unknown God those words of infinite restJesus hominum Salvator.1 [Note: W. Aylmer-Stark, Mens Jesu Christi, 222.]
The text comprises Christs declaration of Himself; He asserts His own eternity. He is the beginning of all things and the end of all thingsan eternity of the past, an eternity of the future. His power for man resides in these, His two eternities, each of which, His life as Alpha and His life as Omega, has its peculiar benefits for us. Christ says, I am Eternal. That must mean not merely that He has existed and shall exist forever, but also that in the forever of the past and of the future He is eternally Christ, that the special nature in which He relates Himself to us as Saviour never had a beginning and shall never have an end.
Jesus sets Himself above all time-relations. His earthly life was but a brief onenot one half of the allotted space of man. He counted only thirty-three of our human years; and thirty of these were silent years. But somehow we feel as if our usual time-conditions did not fit in with His earthly lifeas if some element of the eternal had dropped into the problem, giving to the figures wider spaces and larger meanings. He says to the Pharisees, Before Abraham was, I amborrowing the language, and even the very name, of Jehovah. Again He says, as He dismisses His Apostles to their task, Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world, indicating that His I am is not as ours, shut in and narrowed by these brief moments, but spreading itself out to the farthest reaches of time, and over into the great eternities. So does Jesus set Himself above and outside our time-relations, and as He claims a conscious existence with the Father before the world wasthat is, before our earth had begun its revolutions round the sun, and so before days and years had begun to beJesus sets Himself clear of all earthly years, back in the silent eternity.
By this title God describeth His own being, and distinguisheth it from all other:I the Lord, the first, and the last; I am he (Isa 41:4). I am he; I am the first, I also am the last (Isa 48:12). I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God (Isa 44:6). But Christ is expressly called Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. This title is attributed unto Christ absolutely and universally, without any kind of restriction or limitation, without any assignation of any particular in respect of which He is the first or last; in the same latitude and eminence of expression, in which it is or can be attributed to the Supreme God. Wherefore seeing Christ hath so immediately, and with so great solemnity and frequency, taken the same style upon Him, by which the Father did express His Godhead, it followeth that He hath declared Himself to be the Supreme, Almighty, and Eternal God. And being thus the Alpha and the first, He was before any time assignable, and consequently before He was conceived of the Virgin; and the being which then He had was the Divine essence, by which He was truly and properly the Almighty and Eternal God.1 [Note: J. Pearson, An Exposition of the Creed.]
A great variety of objects have been found with A and inscribed upon them; it figures on tombstones, as well as on other monuments, on mosaics, frescoes, and bricks, also on vases, cups, lamps, and on rings; it appears also on coins, its earliest occurrence on these being of the time of Constans and Constantius, the sons of Constantine the Great. These all belong to different ages and different countries; in its earliest known form (Rome, a.d. 295) it appears as et A, but this is exceptional, and is perhaps of Gnostic origin. The symbol in its usual form is found on objects belonging to the 3rd cent. in Rome and N. Africa; on objects belonging to the 4th cent. It has been found in Asia Minor, Sicily, Upper and Lower Italy, and Gaul; by the beginning of the Middle Ages it must have become known in most of the countries of Central Europe.2 [Note: W. O. E. Oesterley, in the Encyclopdia of Religion and Ethics, i. 1.]
i. Christs Past Eternity
1. Are we not in the habit of talking as if the redemption which called for an anointed Redeemer were a late thought in the universal history? Untold ages after the dateless time when God began to be, His almighty word was spoken, and a new world with a new race to live on it shaped itself out from the void. In that new world a new experiment of moral life brought a catastrophe unknown before, to meet whose terrible demands the great Creator came Himself and took the nature of this last creature living in His last creation. God was made man, and Christ the God-man was made manifest before the worlds. Here we make man a late thing in the history of the universe; and how is it possible, then, that Christ, who is God with the element of human sympathy, should be eternal? And just here comes in one of the key-passages of the Bible, which we are always far too apt to overlook. It is that verse in Genesis, In the image of God created he man. God made man like Himself. Ages before the Incarnation made God so wonderfully in the image of man, the creation had made man in the image of God. Now, if we can comprehend that truth at all, it must be evident that before man was made the man-type existed in God. In some part of His perfect nature there was the image of what the new creation was to be. Already, before man trod the Garden in the high glory of his new Godlikeness, the pattern of the thing he was to be existed in the nature of Him who was to make him. Before the clay was fashioned and the breath was given, this humanity existed in the Divinity; already there was a union of the Divine and the human; and thus already there was the eternal Christ.
The coin of the realm is the creation of the sovereign; it proceeds from his authority and is called in by his authority, in token of which it bears his image and the inscription of his name. The soul of man is the spiritual creation of God, and, what is incomparably greater, the soul is created for union with God, of which she bears the sign in the image of God and in the inscription of His law, graved with light upon her spirit. The image and name of the sovereign are cast on perishable metal, but whilst the metal lasts it asserts his sovereign claim. The soul received from God bears His image and His law, the signet of His sovereign claim upon that soul. The coin of the sovereign bears his image on the surface; the image of God is in the inmost constitution of the soul, the soul herself is that image, and the light of Gods law sealed therein is the direction of the soul to her Divine Original.1 [Note: Bishop Ullathorne, The Endowments of Man, 27.]
2. Thus the Incarnation was Gods commentary on that verse in Genesis, In the image of God created he man. Yes, from the beginning there had been a second Person in the Trinitya Christ, whose nature included the man-type. In due time this man-type was copied and incorporated in the special exhibition of a race. There it degenerated and went off into sin. And then the Christ, who had been what He was for ever, came and brought the pattern and set it down beside the degenerate copy, and wrought mens hearts to shame and penitence when they saw the everlasting type of what they had been meant to be, walking among the miserable shows of what they were.
In Jesus Christ there is historically presented to us the actual realization of the Divine image in man. The resplendently glorious fact about Christ as man is that in Him we have the perfect realization of the moral image of the Father. Alone of all who have ever lived on earth, Jesus was absolutely and stainlessly holy. No flaw of imperfection marred His character; every moral and spiritual excellence existed in Him in the highest conceivable degree; His will was throughout in complete unison with the Fathers. While of every other it has to be confessed that out of the heart proceed evil thoughts and desires, the thoughts and affections that issued from His heart were wholly pure. In His spirit shone the light of a perfect knowledge of the Father; His life was the model of perfect love, trust, obedience, submission to Gods Fatherly will; the quality of everything He thought, said, and did, was what we call filial. He was the perfect realization of the spirit of sonship. In Him, therefore, as the central personage of historythe archetypal man, second Adam of the race, its new and saving headthere was given the perfect realization of the Divine image in human nature, and in that the revelation of the capability of humanity to bear that image.1 [Note: J. Orr, Gods Image in Man, 271.]
3. The highest importance of this truth of Christs past eternity must always be for the great Christian doctrine of the Atonement, which tells us that when man fell from holiness to sin there appeared in the whole universe only one nature which had in itself a fitness to undertake the work of reconciliation and restoration. Only one nature stood forth saying, Lo, I come! Christ, the incarnate God, assumed the work and manifested the one necessary fitness in His union of the Divine and the human natures. Then comes the question, When did that fitness of the Christ begin? Was it a nature given Him when He was born of Mary? Was it a new assumption of an element of life which had before been wholly unfamiliar? If so, the Atonement becomeswhat? A late expedient for patching up the breach in Gods experiment; a special provision for an unforeseen catastrophe. The precious element of Christs humanity becomes only the tardy and pitiful consequence of human sin. But take the deeper view. What if this fitness of nature were an everlasting thing in Christ, only coming to special utterance when He was born Jesus, the child of the Hebrew Virgin? What if He had borne for ever the human element in His Divinity, anointed Christ from all eternity? What if there had been for ever a Saviourhood in the Deity, an everlasting readiness which made it always certain that, if such a catastrophe as Eden ever came, such a remedy as Calvary must follow? Does not this deepen all our thoughts of our salvation? Does it not teach us what is meant by the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world?
Jesus Christ died according to the appointment of His Father. They do fatally misconceive the whole evangelical system who represent the heart of the Father toward man as different from the heart of Christ. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son. It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell, and that that fulness should be opened up in His death. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him. Christ is the Lamb which God Himself furnishes for sacrifice. The idea that God needed to be mollified or appeased by the sacrifice of His Son is a heathenish misconception. Whatever love dwelt in the heart of Christ was the love of the Father. Whatever fulness dwells in Him to forgive and to save is the fulness of the Father. He appeared to do the will of God when He came into the world to die.
Not only was He the Lamb appointed by GodHe was also God Himself. He took upon Him our humanity, but He took it into union with His Divine nature. It was through His eternal Divine nature that He offered Himself to be a sacrifice to God, and because it was so the sacrifice was efficacious. He took human nature at His incarnation into eternal union with the Divine. The blood which He shed on the tree was the blood not merely of the Son of Mary, but of the Infinite Being thus united to a created form.
Much of the misconception which has attended the orthodox theory of the atonement has arisen from the fact that it has been unconsciously discussed on the Unitarian theory of the person of Christ. The transcendent mystery which we cannot remove lies in the fact that we have in the atonement the love of the Three-one God working for man; or, as it has been expressed, the self-reconciling of the Godhead with itself, or an action of the Godhead within, and at unity with itself for our salvation.1 [Note: W. R. Nicoll, The Lamb of God, 24.]
ii. Christs Future Eternity
1. If the term Alpha asserts a past eternity for Christ, the other term Omega declares for Him an eternity in the future. There shall always be a Divine Human in the Godhead. This, too, is a truth which we are liable to forget. As we think that the marvellous nature of the Saviour began in the manger, so we sometimes feel as if its elements were sundered in the last agony of the cross. Practically a great many of us believe in a Trinity only for thirty-three years of history. Is not this the value of those passages in the New Testament which show us the ascended Saviour speaking or acting still in the same genuine humanity which He had worn on earth? While Stephen stood waiting for the crash of murderous stones, he looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. Saul, prostrate on the Damascus road, cried out to the rebuking voice, Who art thou, Lord? and the answer was, I am Jesus. And as the last Revelation closes, the last voice that comes forth is the voice of Christ, still wearing His human name and lineage, I Jesus have sent my angel. I am the root and offspring of David. What is all this for, but to assure us of the everlasting manhood in our Lord? The human hand still weighs; the human voice still speaks; the human heart still loves. He is not only Alpha, but also Omega. As all our hope shines from the truth that there ever has been, so it all centres in the truth that there for ever shall be, a Divine and human Christ.
No part of the New Testament is so decided as the Epistle to the Hebrews in its presentation of our Lords humanity. In this it is something like the Fourth Gospel, which opens with the statement that In the beginning was the Word, and continues with the statement that Jesus wept! Think of the exquisite picture of the sympathizing High Priest, made like in all things to His brethren, tempted in all things like His brethren, not ashamed to call them brethren. Think of the language in which the suffering of Christ is described, the strong crying and tears, to which there is no parallel except in the Gospel of Luke (again one of the most human of books); or if it should be held to be an insertion in Luke (though I do not think this view will be held much longer), then make your parallel with the soul sorrowful even unto death, without the vivid illustration from the suffering body. Indeed the whole of the passage about the offering of prayers to Him that was able to save His soul from death is so absolutely human that it even invites an apologetic treatment. Or take the passage in which the human evolution of Christs character is described as a learning of obedience by the way of suffering, and you will see where the Arians, even if unbelieving, or only half-believing, could be reverent and almost devout.
But when we quote words like learned obedience by the things which he suffered, we must not be satisfied that we have got at the writers whole meaning when we have pointed out the emphasis on our Lords humanity; for this is the same writer who had just before been saying:
Brightness of the Fathers glory,
which is not the description of you or me;
Express image of his person,
which is not my photograph or yours;
Upholding all things by the word of his power,
which is an Atlas task which our little arms have not even collectively undertaken;
By himself making purgation of sins,
which, to judge by the climax of the speech, is a more difficult task than the maintenance of the cosmic order, and therefore is not for you or me. Moreover, this is the very same writer who will presently be speaking of Jesus Christ under the strange and far from human terms of
Yesterday, to-day and forever,
which apply to no human creature and do not connote human nature.1 [Note: J. Rendel Harris, The Sufferings and the Glory (1914), 72.]
2. Because our life is in time and passes away, there is always a pathos about the end of anything which concerns us. An end will ever suggest a loss and a comparative failure, because it speaks of work done which must needs be seen to be lower than the highest. Apart from the faith which grasps the things eternal, the pathos becomes tragedy as each end points to the last enddeath. Why do we shrink from the end of ourselves? Because, since, man has forever, he can look before and after, and he feels, inevitably, after the eternal. We shudder at our endings because of our capacity for immortality, and it is by the law of our own nature that we refuse to drop head foremost into the abyss of nothingness. That is one of many reasons why this message from Him who is both beginning and end comes to the human soul as a voice from heaven. It leads man to find his final rest in the bosom of the Eternal Christ.
In his journal for 22nd December 1867the year after his wifes tragically sudden deathCarlyle wrote:
The last stage of lifes journey is necessarily dark, sad, and carried on under steadily increasing difficulties. We are alone; all our loved ones and cheering fellow-pilgrims gone. Our strength is failing, wasting more and more; day is sinking on us; night coming, not metaphorically only. The road, to our growing weakness, dimness, injurability of every kind, becomes more and more obstructed, intricate, difficult to feet and eyes; a road among brakes and brambles, swamps and stumbling places; no welcome shine of a human cottage with its hospitable candle now alight for us in these waste solitudes. Our eyes, if we have any light, rest only on the eternal stars. Thus we stagger on, impediments increasing, force diminishing, till at length there is equality between the terms, and we do all infallibly arrive. So it has been from the beginning; so it will be to the endforever a mystery and miracle before which human intellect falls dumb. Do we reach those stars then? Do we sink in those swamps amid the dance of dying dreams? Is the threshold we step over but the brink in that instance, and our home thenceforth an infinite Inane? God, our Eternal Maker, alone knows, and it shall be as He wills, not as we would. His mercy be upon us! What a natural human aspiration!1 [Note: J. A. Froude, Thomas Carlyle, 18341881, ii. 361.]
Earth breaks up, time drops away,
In flows heaven, with its new day
Of endless life, when He who trod,
Very man and very God,
This earth in weakness, shame and pain,
Dying the death whose signs remain
Up yonder on the accursd tree
Shall come again, no more to be
Of captivity the thrall,
But the one God, all in all,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
As His servant John received the words,
I died, and live for evermore.
1. There is nothing we can think of in God that we do not possess in Jesus. We say to Him, as the psalmist said to Jehovah, Thou art my Lord, I have no good beyond thee. We look at Jesus in all His relations with men, and supremely when He hangs on the cross, and we are compelled to confess, Behold our God! That is what we mean by the word God. In Jesus dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. What more can there be?
Thou, O Christ, art all I want;
More than all in Thee I find.
In the unveiling of the character, the purpose, the heart, the will of Him whom we adore as God over all, Jesus is our Alpha and our Omega.
All the great controversies which have raged round the Person of Jesus Christ have not been able to obscure His message or diminish His power over the hearts of men. He speaks to-day, as He spoke long ages ago, through the voice of a living religious experience. As men look, not back to Him as they are often urged to do, but up to Him, they find the beginning of a new life and the inspiration to a nobler service. The memory of His words and the example of His deeds remain an undying source of inspiration. But the true servant of Christ finds more in Him than this, precious and effective though it is. His living presence with the soul of man has become in the case of multitudes an experience which cannot be gainsaid. In the eyes of the Apostles Jesus claimed to fulfil the functions of the Old Testament Messiah, to judge the world, to forgive sins, and to be the Lord of life and death. These are the prerogatives of God Himself, and yet the modern Christian sees no incongruity in granting the claim. That the claim should be contested is natural enough, and the appeal in proof of it is still, as it was in the early days, to the experience of those who have known Christ for themselves, and to the effect which He has produced in and through them. In a sense which is true of no other personality in history, Jesus Christ still lives and still speaks to the hearts of men. The truth of His message each man may test for himself, not by the process of historical inquiry and criticism alone, but by those deeper and more subtle processes, obedience and faith. There is a charm about His demeanour and a simplicity about His words that will always appeal to the student. But to know Him in all His power and beauty it is necessary to become not merely a student, but a disciple. To the inner Sanctuary of His presence there is only one passwordMy Lord and my God.1 [Note: W. B. Selbie, Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ, 167.]
2. We have no hesitation in going to Jesus for the final solution of any problem which may arise in connexion with mans relations to the Unseen, or with his most practical relations with his fellows. We do not think of Jesus as tentative and temporary, as affording us the best guidance up to date, but ultimately to be surpassed or superseded. We take the most complicated questions of our agerace problems, industrial perplexities, political questions, social questionswe take them all to Jesus, certain that His spirit, if seriously and conscientiously applied to them, will infallibly lead to an ultimate solution. We do not expect to find our questions answered in so many words in the teaching of Jesus. But the principle, the controlling spirit, has been given in Him, and we are confident that the spirit of Jesus is adequate to guide us to such a solution that, if we obey, we shall find the Kingdom of God coming, and at length see His will done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Mr. Higginson reports an interesting conversation between Emerson and Whittier. The former had remarked that the world had not yet seen the highest development of manhood.
Does thee think so? said Whittier. I suppose thee would admit that Jesus Christ is the highest development our world has seen?
Yes, yes, but not the highest it will see.
Does thee think the world has yet reached the ideals the Christ has set for mankind?
No, no, I think not
Then is it not the part of wisdom to be content with what has been given us, till we have lived up to that ideal? And when we need something higher, Infinite Wisdom will supply our needs.1 [Note: H. S. Coffin, University Sermons, 43.]
Yea thro life, death, thro sorrow and thro sinning
He shall suffice me, for He hath sufficed:
Christ is the end, for Christ was the beginning,
Christ the beginning, for the end is Christ.2 [Note: F. W. H. Myers, Saint Paul.]
3. But Jesus is not only the unveiling of the ideal for ourselves and for all men; He is also the inspiration to achieve it. It is because we have discovered in Him the mightiest force of which we are aware, a force whose potencies we never seem to exhaust, that we are driven to confess that He is the Alpha and the Omega. Were Jesus any less to us than final He could not enlist all our loyalty and command our entire consecration. He draws from us all the reverence, all the confidence, all the adoration, all the self-dedication of which we are capable.
A soul enters on the higher life, passes by the doorway of conversion from disobedience to obedience. When does that soul find Christ? Is it after it has passed, by some power of its own, over the threshold, that there, on the inside, it finds the Lord waiting to be its leader? Oh no! it looks back and cannot tell the moment when it was not led by Him. It came, but He called. It answered, but first He spoke. Yes, we begin, but Christ always began before us. He is the Alpha of our religious life, antedating every act of mans obedience by the eternal promptings of His spirit and the eternal freeness of His grace. And then He is its Omega too. We may go far in the eternal developments of holiness, but we can never outgo Him. He will be present at the end of every period of everlasting progress, to round and close it for us and to introduce us to a new one as He introduced us to the first, for He is exhaustless.
The fault of our religion is that we do not know enough of Christ. May God grant that, if we have at all learned how He begins the Christian life in man, we may go on learning new lessons of His wondrous power every day, till some day, in the perfect world, we learn the perfect lesson of how He can glorify a poor, weak, human creature with Himself, and, gathering all its culture into Him, take our souls for His and be our Omega, our End as He has been our Beginning, the last complete fulfilment of the last prayer that we shall ever pray, when prayer ceases because need has ceased forever!1 [Note: Phillips Brooks, The Mystery of Iniquity, 326.]
The mystic union between Christ and His Church unfolded by St. Paul was the inspiration of Lord Radstocks life. St. Paul saw the Church of his vision without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, while the individual believer was declared to be complete in Christ. In that completeness Christ has perfected for ever them that are sanctified, although such completeness is not apparent in our present imperfect and temporary condition, our want of experience causing limitations in the apprehension of these divine truths.2 [Note: Mrs. E. Trotter, Lord Radstock (1894), 86.]
No imitation of Christ can be according to the Gospel if it is anything else than an aspect of the life of faith. The task of the disciple is not in the narrower sense to copy Jesus, but to receive His spirit, understand His mind, and let Him be formed within. Disciples are to preach, through a life of love, Christs life; and through faith He begets in His followers a likeness to Himself, so that in a relative and mediate sense, disciples are fitted to be examples founded on the Spirit of Jesus. Christ cannot be followed by imitating Him in externals. Christian ethics pre-suppose the Christian Gospelobedience follows from knowing Christ as our life and our hope, and the faultless fulfilment of daily vocation is founded on an inner principle of faith and love, not on that of external copying Him, who is the contemporary of all the ages, and is exhausted by none. Scripture exhorts men to exclusive loyalty toward the Master, to a possession of the mind of Christ, to a change by beholding Him, to strenuousness in following Him, to a putting on of Christ or the new man, to following in His steps, as well as to the retention of hope. But all these rest on inward faith and love as their root, arise from a heart touched by Christs Holy Spirit, and from the spiritual insight and purity of moral perception thereby created.1 [Note: D. Butler, Thomas Kempis, 57.]
The Alpha and the Omega
Aylmer-Stark (W.), Mens Jesu Christi, 195.
Bernard (J. H.), Via Domini, 216.
Bonar (H.), Light and Truth: The Revelation, 33.
Brooks (P.), The Mystery of Iniquity, 310.
Burton (H.), The Coming of the Kingdom, 191.
Cairns (J.), Christ the Morning Star, 18.
Coffin (H. S.), University Sermons, 36.
Cook (F. C.), Church Doctrine and Spiritual Life, 202.
Davies (T.), Sermons and Expositions, i. 358.
Dewhurst (E. M.), The King and His Servants, 145.
Gibbons (J.), Discourses and Sermons, 297.
Gough (E. J.), The Religion of the Son of Man, 155.
Hitchcock (F. R. M.), Harvest Thoughts, 7.
Houghton (C. A.), Problems of Life, 1.
Law (H.), Christ is All, 256.
McLeod (M. J.), The Unsearchable Riches, 31.
Macnutt (F. B.), Advent Certainties, 77.
Purves (G. T.), Faith and Life, 21.
Robinson (C. S.), Studies in the New Testament, 214.
Smellie (A.), In the Secret Place, 131.
Spurgeon (C. H.), Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, ix. (1863), No. 546.
Talmage (T. de W.), Fifty Sermons, i. 177.
Webster (F. S.), My Lord and I, 190.
Wells (J.), Bible Echoes, 203.
Wilberforce (B.), Inward Vision, 81.
Christian Commonwealth, xxxi. (1910) 121 (R. J. Campbell).
Christian World Pulpit, xxiii. 129 (W. Landels); lix. 29 (A. J. Mason); lxiii. 1 (H. S. Holland).
Church of England Pulpit, xlii. 28 (T. B. Naylor).
Churchmans Pulpit: Trinity Sunday, ix. 281 (F. C. Cook).
Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, i. 43 (B. W. Bacon).
Encyclopdia of Religion and Ethics, i. l (W. O. E. Oesterley).
Fuente: The Great Texts of the Bible
Rev 1:8, Rev 1:11, Rev 21:6, Isa 41:4, Isa 44:6, Isa 48:12
Reciprocal: Gen 1:1 – God Zec 12:8 – the house Zec 13:7 – the man Mal 3:6 – I change not Joh 1:1 – the beginning Joh 13:32 – shall Col 1:18 – the beginning Rev 1:17 – I am Rev 22:10 – he saith
Fuente: The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Rev 22:13. This is virtually the same as chapter 1:8; see those comments.
Comments by Foy E. Wallace
Verse 13: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
The title of this verse, Alpha and Omega, belonged to Christ alone in this connection, and represented the finality of the sayings of the vision–the first and the last, the beginning and the end, were the words of his authority–the yea and the amen from which there could be no appeal and for which there could be no repeal.
The vision, as previously shown, had closed and these words of Christ were being quoted by John to corroborate and verify his post-vision sayings of this last chapter, and to vindicate all of the claims of credibility. The worRev 1:3 erse thirteen meant–so be it, all in all as here recorded, for it came from Christ the All In All of divine jurisRev 14:13 and justice.
Fuente: Combined Bible Commentary
Rev 22:13. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. These words confirm the statement made in the previous verse (comp. chap. Rev 21:6). They take us back also to chap. Rev 1:8.
Fuente: A Popular Commentary on the New Testament
As if Christ had said, “I am the eternal God, the first cause and the last end of all things; I first made the world, and I will at last put a period to it; and when time shall be no more, they shall for ever be happy in the enjoyment of me, who have here obeyed me, and lived in conformity to my doctrine and example; they shall through holiness enter the gates of the New Jerusalem, that glorious city, having the tree of life in it; present blessedness, as well as future happiness, belongs to those that obey God’s will, and keep his commandments; blessed are they, and blessed for ever shall they be.”
Fuente: Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament
To say the Lord is the Alpha and Omega, is to say he is complete since these are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. To say he is first and last, is to say Jesus is eternal. (Note comments on Rev 1:17 ) Hailey says, “The ‘beginning’ (arche) indicates the first person in a series, one of foremost authority, one by whom all things commence. (ef. Isa 40:14 ; Isa 40:25 )
Fuente: Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books
Jesus Christ offered three titles for Himself that give assurance that He can and will fulfill His former promise to reward (cf. Rev 1:4; Rev 1:8; Rev 1:17; Rev 2:8; Rev 21:6). Jesus Christ, as well as God the Father, is the Alpha and Omega (cf. Rev 1:8; Rev 21:6). This title stresses His eternality and sovereignty. "The first and the last" is also a title for Christ (Rev 1:17; Rev 2:8) and the Father (Isa 44:6; Isa 48:12). It emphasizes that God is the cause and goal of history. "The beginning and the end" describes God in Rev 21:6 and Christ in Heb 12:2. It means that He finishes what He starts. [Note: Hughes, p. 238.]