February 12, 2017

The Glory of God: I Am Alpha and Omega

I Am Alpha and Omega
[source: Desiring God]
Revelation 21:1-8

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away."
And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." And 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 from the fountain of the water of life without payment. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death."
In Revelation 21:6 God identifies himself as "Alpha and Omega." Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and omega is the last letter of the alphabet. In other words God is "the beginning and the end."

But God isn't speaking about alphabets. He is speaking of reality. God is absolutely the beginning and absolutely the end. Everything that is originates ultimately in him. And everything will somehow end with him.

Isaiah puts it like this: "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god" (44:6). In other words, since everything comes from God and nothing will outlast God, therefore God has no final competitors. "Besides me there is no god!" God has the first word and the last word in history. All other attempts to have the last word will fail. The pottery has no beginning apart from the Potter, and in the end it will all serve the purposes of the Potter.

Alpha

I can't urge you too often to meditate on the staggering truth that God is the absolute Alpha. Find some serene moment of your life and let the truth take hold of you that God is the FIRST—the BEGINNING. Before him there was nothing. There was no "before him." Just think of it! For millions and billions and trillions of unending years God existed and never had a beginning. He is the beginning. From everlasting to everlasting, he is God (Psalm 90:2). There never was a time when he was not.

We might marvel that God is infinite, eternal, and unchanging in his justice, wisdom, power, goodness, and truth. But when you pause to think that he never chose to be this way, nor did anyone else choose to make him this way, it staggers the mind. The justice and wisdom and power and goodness and truth of God are eternal reality. The character of God is not what reality brought forth. It is reality. God did not emerge out of many possibilities. Everything emerged out of him. He determines all possibilities. God is not a piece of reality that you try to fit in with other pieces. He is the first and the last and the all-encompassing reality: "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

Omega

But the truth that I want us to focus on this morning is that God is Omega. I think that is the focus of our text in Revelation 21:6. The statement, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end," comes in a passage dealing with the end of history. So the special focus in this text is on God as the omega of all things.

What does it mean that God is Omega, or the end? Let's read verses 5–8. "And he who sat upon the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true,' And 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 without price from the fountain of the water of life. He who conquers shall have this heritage, and I will be his God and he shall be my son. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, as for murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their lot shall be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.'"
Spoke 1
Revelation 1 Alpha and Omega
[source: Bible Wheel]
"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." [Revelation 1.8]
It is here in Revelation 1 - the first chapter of the last book - that we meet the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The beginning and the end are united in the Alpha Omega as a symbol of the Everlasting God. The integration goes deeper with the verse index corresponding to the Katan (small) values (called the Reduction Class in the Gematria Reference) of the Letters Alpha and Omega. They are calculated by summing the digits of the Base Ten representation of the Number. These are also known as the digital roots. Thus, the Numbers 1 and 8 - the digital roots of Alpha and Omega - give the index of their debut in Scripture in Revelation 1.8, which means that the revelation of the divine title Alpha Omega is integrated with the numerical values of the letters (where RC indicates the Reduction Class value):

Revelation(1, 8) = Revelation(AlphaRC, OmegaRC)

The Alpha and Omega are intimately associated with the Creator. As discussed at length in the article called Gematria, these letters are numerically equivalent to the Greek phrase "The Creator." We have the identity:

Alpha + Omega = 801 = The Creator ()

Could there be any question that this is the work of God? "I am the Alpha and Omega" are the first words recorded from the mouth of the Creator here in the opening chapter of the Revelation of Jesus Christ! There are ten thousand converging lines of evidence - we have the Word of Almighty God revealed in Scripture!

The relations between the Letter Aleph/Alpha, the Number 1, the Almighty God and Creation are discussed in various articles linked from Spoke 1, in particular, the articles called Creation and The Everlasting God.

The Divine title Alpha and Omega is found three of four times in Revelation, depending on which textual tradition you follow (some traditions omit Alpha and Omega from Revelation 1.11). In any case, this title appears in three chapters - 1, 21, and 22 - so the first and last appearances of Alpha and Omega are found in the first and the last chapters of Revelation, and we see yet again the semantic content of Scripture is integrated with the geometric structure of the text. A similiar phenomenon is seen in the seven statements declaring God to be first and last, which are distributed on the first and the last Spokes in Isaiah and Revelation.

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