What does the expression “Alpha and Omega” mean? Why is it important for Christians to know?
The Greek alphabet
The Greek alphabet has been around since around the 8th century BC and is derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet. The first letter of the Greek alphabet is the letter Alpha or sometimes seen as a capital A and as the English letter and it sounds exactly the same as our letter “A”. Omega can be an uppercase and lowercase “Ω ω”, just as we have an uppercase A and a lowercase a. All ancient Greek knowledge is contained in this alphabet, just like in the English alphabet where all knowledge is contained from A to Z. If you had a dictionary or an encyclopedia, think about the fact that all our knowledge is basically found in these pages, beginning with the letter A through Z. This is the first clue as to what this verse means in relation to Jesus Christ.
Who is Alpha and Omega?
Who is this “Alpha and Omega” mentioned in the scriptures? This phrase is only mentioned three times in the entire Bible, but it is clearly about Jesus Christ. We find these three sentences in the book of Revelation where Jesus Christ says of himself:I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end(Rev 22:13) meaning he is the beginning of all things and the end of all things. He is everything from A to Z and all things in between, which is why he says he is the Alpha and Omega When Jesus said He is Alpha and Omega, He is saying He is the consummation of the entire Greek alphabet, which means He is all and in all and Creator. The references Alpha (A) and Omega (to Z) were used in the New Testament because it was written in Greek and therefore Jesus is actually the Beginner, as the Creator, and He is the end of all things, which means He will bring everything under His judgment (Rev 20:12-15) God has placed Jesus as Judge of all, living and dead.
Who was, is and is to come
Jesus, as God, has always existed. The Gospel of John states that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. Everything was done by him, and nothing that was done was done without him” (John 1:1-3) thus He was before all things and the Creator of all things and was with God in the beginning as the Word. The “Word” is of course Jesus Christ”And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw his glory, glory as the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth(John 1:14). We say this in his incarnation as being born of a virgin, coming in the flesh to save the flesh he created by living a sinless life and laying down his own life for our sins, so we can make sense of Jesus saying of himself:I am Alpha and Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 1:8). This verse tells us that Jesus was, and always is, and always will be. He is compared to Melchizedek Who “is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever(Heb 7:3).
The beginning of the end
After Jesus’ return and having judged the world with justice (Rev 20:12-15), He will finally say:It is done! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment“(Rev 21:6) but no one knows the day or hour of Jesus’ return as he said”concerning this day and this hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone(Matt 24:36). He told His disciples just before His ascension:It is not for you to know the times or dates that the Father has set on his own authority(Acts 1:7) so we don’t have to guess or try to predict when He will return; we are simply told to be ready before He returns. I plead with you, if you are not already saved, to repent and trust in Christ. The psalmist writes,do not harden your hearts, like in Meriba, like the day of Massa in the desert” (95:8) and “As it is said, “Today if you hear his voice, harden not your hearts as in the rebellion(Heb 3:15). The fact is, though he is still called today, put your trust in Christ because”In a favorable time I listened to you and in a day of salvation I helped you” so “now is the favorable moment; Behold, now is the day of salvation(2 Cor 6, 2) because tomorrow may be too late.
Jesus is most certainly coming back and when He does come He will either be your King and your Lord or He will be your Judge and your executioner. Today is the right time to repent and trust in Christ because he could return today or you could die because “as it is reserved for man to die once, after which comes judgment(Heb 9:27) and by then it will be much too late.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is pastor of Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Editor of What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage and energize Christians and answer questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.