Trinitarian Verses (part 4 of 4): Alpha and Omega
Description: A discussion of the various passages in which Christians seek to prove the Trinitarian nature of God. Part 4: Who is Alpha and Omega, God, Jesus or both?
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- Published on 13 Mar 2006
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Fourth, In the Book of Revelation 1:8, King James Version implies that Jesus said he was Alpha and Omega. Since God says He is Alpha and Omega in Isaiah 44:6, Jesus, according to Christians, is claiming divinity here. However, the wording of King James is inaccurate. Not only do all modern translations clarify it was God who said it, not Jesus, but the conveyor of the words is one of God’s angels.
NRSV “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near.”
With these corrections, it becomes evident that this was a statement of God and not a statement of Jesus, the Prophet of God.
KJV “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”
NIV “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
NASB “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
ASV “I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
RSV ‘“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’
New American Bible (Catholic) “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”
Fifth, Revelation 22:13 is part of the vision of an unknown John (not the author of the gospel) in which he claims a visitation by an angel, mentioned in Revelation 21:09.
NRSV “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’”
The angel is speaking from Revelation 22:10-13:
NRSV “And he said to me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy. See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’
Jesus did not say those words, not is there any indication they refer to him. Then passage continues in verses 14 and 15.
NRSV “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”
This does not appear to be Jesus Christ speaking because the appearance of the first person singular pronoun in 22:16 signals a shift in speaker. Therefore, Alpha and Omega in the passage refers to God Himself, speaking through the angel. This is born out by Revelation 21:5-7, which says:
NRSV “And the One Who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also He said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.’”
What Jesus is reported as saying is,
NRSV, Revelation 22:16; “‘It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.’”
Therefore, for the sake of argument, should the saying “I am the Alpha and the Omega” actually pertain to other than Jesus, can one gamble personal salvation on a vision claimed by an author whose identity is not clear, and whose book is disputed as being reliably canon?
Sixth, what is significant is not so much the use of this name, but the fact that God is always superior to Jesus when the Bible describes the relationship between God and Jesus as explained elsewhere.
We can see from this analysis that these verses which Christians use to prove that Jesus is the son of God cannot be used in proving the Trinity. Rather, an examination of the history of the theological development in Church philosophy will reveal that the Trinity was a concept developed much later in Christianity due to various socio-political factors, which later Christians sought to justify through various passages of the Bible.