Revelation 1:8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega”
(Revelation 1:8)

The words ‘“Alpha”’ and ‘“Omega”’ represent the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet (like A & Z), Greek being the original language of the New Testament. It’s how God describes Himself here: ‘“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty”(Revelation 1:8). So the ‘“I am”’ is likely significant too, echoing what God said to Moses: ‘“tell the children of Israel this: ‘I AM has sent me to you’”’(Exodus 3:14).

God just is, ‘from everlasting to everlasting’(Psalm 90:2), ‘before’(1 Corinthians 2:7) and outside of time even – and all the way through it – the be all and end all of life, the universe, and everything, for ‘of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory for ever!’(Romans 11:36). So right from when in ‘the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth’(Genesis 1:1), through to ‘the new heaven and… new earth’(Revelation 21:1ff.) described at the end of this book of Revelation, God declares: ‘“Listen… I am He. I am the first. I am also the last”’(Isaiah 48:12), ‘“the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End”’(Revelation 21:6). So let’s ‘“hear”’(Revelation 2:11&7), and reflect on this further.

The most significant thing for us to understand is that all of this applies to Jesus too, because He’s God. Later in this chapter the risen Jesus describes Himself as ‘“the first and the last… the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forever and ever”’(Revelation 1:17-18), i.e. the ‘“killed”’(Revelation 5:12) and risen ‘“Lamb… in the middle of the throne’(Revelation 7:17) – God’s throne, because He’s united and ‘“one”’(John 10:30, cf. John 12:44-45 & 14:8-11) with ‘Him who sits on the throne, and… lives forever and ever… “… our Lord and God”’(Revelation 4:10-11). So this book of Revelation concludes with, ‘“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End… Jesus”’(Revelation 22:13&16). Paul could even say that ‘by Him all things were created in the heavens and on the earth… through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things are held together’(Colossians 1:16-17)!

This reality lies behind all of our personal beginnings and endings too. We were planned from ‘before the foundation of the world’(Ephesians 1:4), then ‘knit… together’(Psalm 139:13), with all of our ‘days… ordained… when as yet there were none of them’(Psalm 139:16), God ‘“having determined”’(Acts 17:26) everything in advance, including who would be ‘“born of the Spirit”’(John 3:8), ‘justified’(Romans 8:30) by ‘grace’(Ephesians 2:8) and ‘appointed to eternal life’(Acts 13:48) with Him. Once our eyes, ears and ‘hearts’(2 Corinthians 4:6) have been ‘opened’(Acts 16:14) in this way, to scattered gospel ‘light’(Acts 26:18), it should change everything, like finding priceless hidden ‘“treasure”’(Matthew 13:44). Our minds should forevermore become set on these ‘Christ… things’(Colossians 3:1ff.), understanding that our ‘citizenship is in heaven’(Philippians 3:20) and that ‘to live is Christ…to die… gain’(Philippians 1:21) – our personal Alpha and Omega, the be all and end all of our lives, such that our identity ‘in Christ’(2 Corinthians 5:17) dominates, permeates and colours all that we are and all that we do, becoming our absolute joy and delight. So what should this look like?

First there will be worship, as we’re ‘filled with the Spirit… making melody… to the Lord; giving thanks always concerning all things’(Ephesians 5:18-20), as our souls, ‘satisfied… with the richest food… praise… with joyful lips’(Psalm 63:5). The joy and richness of such times become a taste of heaven itself, where there’s a continual chorus of ‘“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come!”’(Revelation 4:8).

Fired up by the wonder of this we’ll worship and glorify God with our lives too, each like ‘a living sacrifice’(Romans 12:1), consumed for the glory of God, ‘heartily’(Colossians 3:23) serving in ‘whatever’(1 Corinthians 10:31) we do, ‘in word or… deed’(Colossians 3:17), with ‘the strength… God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever’(1 Peter 4:11).

As such, we’ll become like ‘ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God’(2 Corinthians 5:20) were reaching out through us, always in tune with and ‘on duty’(2 Timothy 2:4) for our Lord, ‘ready’(1 Peter 3:15) to be ‘“salt… light”’(Matthew 5:13-16) and ‘the sweet aroma… of Christ’(2 Corinthians 2:14-15) to the world.

So let’s aspire to become such thin veils to heaven, so absorbed by our Alpha and Omega that the world can taste, see and smell eternity though us.

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