WHAT DOES GOD MEAN, “I AM ALPHA AND OMEGA?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
Surely, dear friend, if you are a diligent Bible student, you have encountered the phrase, “I am Alpha and Omega,” at least once. Maybe you have never read the Bible, but you have at least heard the expression spoken in “Christian” circles. Have you ever wondered what it means? Let us take the Bible and look! “For what saith the Scriptures?”
The title “Alpha and Omega” is unique to the Book of the Revelation. Jesus Christ says it on four occasions in these following verses in King James Bible:
- Revelation 1:8: “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 1:11: “Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”
- Revelation 21:6: “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”
- Revelation 22:13: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
Alpha (Α,α) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet—Greek being the original language of the “New Testament” Scriptures (including Revelation). Omega (Ω,ω) is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. If we were using English, it would be, “I am A and Z.” Or, in Hebrew, “I am Aleph and Tav.” When the God of the Bible says He is “Alpha and Omega,” He is literally saying that He is “the beginning and the end,” “the first and the last” (refer to the verses above). Now, what does this expression mean exactly?
“I am Alpha and Omega” means that, whatever God starts, He will be there to finish. As the Psalmist extolled, “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:2). From “everlasting to everlasting”—going back in time forever to going forward in time forever—He is God. Before creation was, He was. Now that He has formed creation, He will always remain to see that creation serves His intended purpose. The God of the Bible has unlimited power to fulfill His will, to do of His good pleasure. He does not need to ask anyone’s permission, or seek outside advice before acting. He is completely outside of time and space. Nothing is hidden from Him. He reads hearts. He knows the future. It is guaranteed that He will always fulfill His will and ensure creation is governed most carefully.
Friend, we are finite, weakly creatures. We are not “Alpha and Omega.” Our physical strength is limited; therefore, we cannot do everything we want to do. Our mind is puny; therefore, we cannot know everything there is to know. Our material wealth can be reduced to a number (very small in the grand scheme of things!); therefore, we cannot do everything there is to do. Our home is this oblate spheroid of rock and water, Earth; therefore, we cannot see everything there is to see. Time limits us, as we are only here for a short time in this life. Age limits us, as physical death comes to all of us. We cannot leave the universe, so space limits us. While we can and may plan all we want, there is no guarantee we will even be around to see those ideas brought to fruition. There is no certainty that we will live to be elderly. The money we have in the bank right now may be gone in the next hour. We may be perfectly healthy today, and lying on sickbed (or dying on a deathbed!) tomorrow! There is no guarantee that a storm will not pass through your neighborhood and destroy your house in the coming months. Later this week, you may be paralyzed in an automobile accident. We know not what the future holds in this life.
On the other hand, God knows all possible outcomes, and He understands what to do to achieve His desired end. No event will ever catch Him by surprise. He never ages; His life had no beginning and it will never end. For Him, sleep is unnecessary. There is no limit to His resources—He is all-knowing (omniscient), all-powerful (omnipotent), and all-over (omnipresent). He owns everything material and immaterial there is, and no disaster can take away what He has. He never has to be concerned with sickness, injury, or death hindering Him. His spoken words caused the heaven and the earth to appear out of “thin air:” yea, there is nothing too hard for Him to do. We have to stop here and exclaim, “Wow! The God of the Christian Bible, the God of the Hebrew Bible, what a God! What a God indeed! Wow!”
As mentioned earlier, “Alpha and Omega” appears only in the last Bible Book, the Revelation (1:8; 1:11; 21:6; 22:13). Revelation is the Book of Genesis brought to complete fruition, some 6000 years later. What God started in Genesis, He has accomplished in Revelation. He was there to see creation arise to existence; He is there to see creation bring glory to His Son throughout the endless ages to come. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” (Sin entered and delayed God’s plans. God, through the crosswork of His Son, Jesus Christ, brought those plans to completion.) Revelation 21:1 thus reads, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” Moreover, the Holy Spirit did not only strategically place “Alpha and Omega” in the Bible’s last book, God declaring how He is at the end to see the beginning concluded. He also placed it at the beginning and the end of that same book! What started at the beginning of Revelation, God brought it to completion at the end. His Son, Jesus Christ, has been appointed Head of all creation, the Ruler of Heaven and Earth. What sin delayed, God resumed!
Synonymous to the title “Alpha and Omega” is “the First and the Last.” It too is found in the Revelation, as well as in the Prophet Isaiah.
- Isaiah 48:11-12: “ For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.  Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.”
- Isaiah 41:4: “Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.”
- Isaiah 44:6: “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
- Revelation 1:17-18: “ And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”
- Revelation 2:8: “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;”
- Revelation 22:13: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (This last verse is special, as it equates all three expressions. In other words, they are three different ways of conveying the same truth. God was the first Person in existence, and if all of creation passed away, He would still remain.)
Remember, those “Alpha and Omega” and “First and Last” titles/declarations in Revelation are the Lord Jesus Christ speaking to the Apostle John. JEHOVAH God used these same words to describe Himself in the “Old Testament” writings of the Prophet Isaiah! It could not be more obvious—Jesus Christ and JEHOVAH God are one and the same Person. JEHOVAH God claimed to be “the First and the Last,” or “the Beginning and the End,” or “Alpha and Omega.” Likewise, Jesus Christ also claimed to be “the First and the Last,” or “the Beginning and the End,” or “Alpha and Omega.” Again, JEHOVAH God and the Lord Jesus Christ are one and the same Person. We would have to not want to see it not to see it, friends! Unless we have an agenda to rob Jesus Christ of His title of JEHOVAH God the Son, unless we have a theological speculation or church tradition to uphold, we will simply say “Amen” to these Bible verses!
» Is the Trinity/Godhead a Scriptural teaching?
» The Holy Spirit—a Person, or a force?
» How do God’s foreknowledge and our free will work together?