Rev. 22:13 – I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (HCSB)
I am the Alpha and the Omega
In verse 13, Jesus identifies Himself with three names that confirm His eternality and deity. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End,” He declares. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Jesus, or the Father, uses these words to describe Himself in other places in Revelation:
- “I am the Alpha and the Omega … the One who is, who was, and who is coming, the Almighty” (1:8 – usually understood to refer to the Father).
- “I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look – I am alive forever and ever” (1:17-18 – Jesus).
- “The First and the Last, the One who was dead and came to life …” (2:8 – Jesus).
- “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (21:6 – often understood to refer to the Father).
Throughout the Gospels and Revelation Jesus reminds us that He is both divine and eternal. In addition, this Almighty One was dead and is alive forever; in other words, the eternal Son of God has left the glory of heaven, come to earth, added to His deity sinless humanity through the virgin birth, lived a sinless life, offered up that life on the cross to bear our sins, was buried, rose physically from the dead on the third day, appeared to many people, ascended into heaven, sat down at the right hand of the Father to serve as our Mediator and Intercessor, and is coming back one day in power and great glory to fulfill all things.
Unlike the mighty angel in Rev. 22:9, who urges John not to bow before him, Jesus truly is worthy of worship as the Alpha and Omega.
Sovereign over all
In declaring Himself the Alpha and Omega, Jesus assures John that He is sovereign over all things, knows all things, and directs human history to its climax in His personal return, in which He will set all things right.
What a comfort to John’s first-century readers, who suffer greatly for their faith, to know that the Almighty One is with them through their sufferings and promises to reward them for their perseverance.
What a comfort it is to believers of all eras to know that the One who created all things will ensure His children are resurrected and glorified one day.
By His blood He has redeemed fallen people and purified the polluted world system in which they live. Only a sovereign God who is before all things and the end of all things can make such a claim with integrity and fulfill it with certainty.
Jesus quotes from Isa. 44:6, “This is what the Lord, the King of Israel and its Redeemer, the Lord of Hosts, says: I am the first and I am the last. There is no God but Me.” By applying the verse to Himself, Jesus clearly identifies Himself as Adonai, the Lord (see also Isa. 41:4; 48:12).
The Dictionary of Biblical Prophecy and End Times notes, “This interchange asserts not only the deity of Christ and his oneness with the Father, but also the Triune God’s complete control of history. He is both the origin and goal of history – quite literally, the first and last word…. The prophetic meaning of the title for the early church was to reinforce their faith in God as sovereign over their personal circumstances. He is Lord of creation and Lord of the new creation. He is victorious over every contender, and no rival power can keep him from accomplishing his purpose and plan. Knowing that God is in control of history encourages Christians who are being threatened by worldly powers. While economic, religious, and military powers such as Rome may seem invincible from a human perspective, they are in reality under the ultimate control of the Triune God, who holds all of time and eternity in his hands” (pp. 21-22).
Next: Outside are the dogs – Revelation 22:14