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Revelation 1:8 (NIV):

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

In the NASB, the quote above appears in red letters (i.e. words spoken by Jesus), while in the ESV they are not red letters. The phrase "Alpha and Omega" doesn't seem to help, since in 21:6, the one who is seated on the throne says "I am the Alpha and Omega", while in Revelation 22:13 it seems pretty clear that it is Jesus who declares, "I am the Alpha and Omega."

Who is speaking? Is Jesus referred to here as "Lord God"?

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For the record, I am a Trinitarian.

Textual variants

Textus Receptus: Ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ Α καὶ τὸ Ω ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος, λέγει ὁ κύριος ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος ὁ παντοκράτωρ

NA27: Ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ ἄλφα καὶ τὸ ὦ, λέγει κύριος ὁ θεός, ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, ὁ παντοκράτωρ.

There is a difference between the Textus Receptus and NA27. I searched Constantine Tischendorf's critical apparatus on Revelation 1:8 to identify the significant textual variants and witnesses.

Notes:

  • NA27 omits ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος ("[the] beginning and [the] end"). Witnesses that include the phrase are:

List of witnesses that include the phrase ἀρχὴ καὶ τέλος in Revelation 1:8

Novum Testamentum graece. 1869-94 (C. v. Tischendorf, C. R. Gregory & E. Abbot, Ed.) (Re 1:8). Lipsiae: Giesecke & Devrient.

  • NA27 has κύριος ὁ θεός ("Lord God") which is the equivalent of the Hebrew יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים. cp. LXX Gen. 2:15. Textus Receptus has ὁ κύριος ("the Lord") but omits ὁ θεός ("God"). Most witnesses appear to include ὁ θεός like the NA27:

List of witnesses that have the entire phrase κύριος ὁ θεός in Revelation 1:8.

Now, the answer to your question. Who is referred to as the Alpha and the Omega in Revelation 1:8?

Exegesis

Beginning with Rev. 1:4 (KJV),

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Notice in v. 4 that it refers to "Him who is, and who was, and who is to come." In the Greek, it is ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος. This is a very important clue to who is talking in v. 8.

Now, in Rev. 1:5 (KJV),

And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Put vv. 4-5 together:

John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Observe that "He who was, and who is, and who is to come" is distinguished from "Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth."

Therefore, "He who was, and who is, and who is to come" is God the Father, not Jesus Christ.

John Gill on Rev. 1:4:

But rather this is to be understood of the first Person, of God the Father; and the phrases are expressive both of his eternity, he being God from everlasting to everlasting; and of his immutability, he being now what he always was, and will be what he now is, and ever was, without any variableness, or shadow of turning: they are a periphrasis, and an explanation of the word "Jehovah", which includes all tenses, past, present, and to come.

Rev. 1:6 is John referring to Jesus who "made us kings and priests to God and his Father":

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Rev. 1:7 is John describing Jesus coming upon the clouds of heaven (cp. Dan. 7:13-14):

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Finally, in Rev. 1:8 (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.

But, Rev. 1:8 (NA27):

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," said the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Now, it really doesn't matter which translation you use. Rev. 1:4 already distinguished between "He who is, and who was, and who is to come" and "Jesus Christ." Thus, the person speaking is God the Father, not Jesus Christ.

Elsewhere in Revelation (e.g. Rev. 22:13), Jesus Christ is identified as the Alpha and the Omega, but not here in Rev. 1:8.

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    Well done. Thanks for the last paragraph, since I was going crazy trying to figure out why I was so certain that Jesus said it. Presumably that's why some editions color that section red; it maintains a false consistency. – Jon Ericson Dec 4 '12 at 17:44
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ALPHA AND OMEGA

The Question is: Who is talking at Revelation 1:8 ?.

OR

"Alpha and Omega": To whom does this title belong?.

In the Greek speaking world of the time, people new that "Alpha" (A) and "Omega" (Ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In Revelation God the Father speaks three times: 1:8; 21:5-8 and 22:12-15.

FIRST OCCURRENCE:

Revelation 1:8 (Darby):

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God, he who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

Notice, that the one known as the "Alpha and the Omega" applies the title"Almighty" to Himself . A word search of the Darby translation on "BibleGateway " revealed 58 occurrences of the title "Almighty", all are applied to God the Father , none is applied to Jesus, and Jesus never applies this title to himself.

SO IT IS GOD THE FATHER TALKING IN REVELATION 1:8.

Some verses on the use of the title "Almighty":

God applies the title "Almighty" to himself when making his promise to Abraham about his seed, Isaac.

Genesis 17:1 (Darby):

"And Abram was ninety-nine years old, when Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said to him, I [am] the Almighty God: walk before my face, and be perfect." God blesses Jacob,

Genesis 48:3 (Darby):

"And Jacob said to Joseph, The Almighty God appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me."

Exodus 6:3 ,"(DARBY):

" And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as the Almighty God; but by my name Jehovah I was not made known to them."

SECOND OCCURRENCE :

Revelation 21:5-8 (DARBY):

"5 And he that sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he says [to me], Write, for these words are true and faithful."

6 And he said to me, It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to him that thirsts of the fountain of the water of life freely.

"7 He that overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be to him God, and he shall be to me SON."

"8 But to the fearful and unbelieving, [and sinners], and those who make themselves abominable, and murderers, and fornicators, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part [is] in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.

In the above verses God promises those that overcome (victorious) ,and remain faithful to the end, that He will give them the water of life, (John 4:14) and shall inherit these things,(Rev.2:11; 26-28; 3:12,21) and are to be "SONS" of the one known as "Alpha and Omega."

Jesus spoke of his disciples, as his " BROTHERS".

Matthew 12:50 (NASB) :

" For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

Luke 8:21 (DARBY):

" But he answering said to them, My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do [it]."

IN VERSE SEVEN WE READ THAT GOD CALLS THE "BROTHERS" OF CHRIST HIS "SONS",SO IT IS GOD TALKING IN REVELATION 21:5-8.

Some applications of "Sons" and " brothers and sisters and mothers;"

2 Corinthians.6:18 (NASB):

“ And I will be a father to you,And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”Says the Lord Almighty."

Galatians 3:26.(NASB) . Paul wrote :

"For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." Galatians 4:6 (NASB)

" Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!"

THIRD OCCURRENCE:

Revelation 22:12-15 (Darby):

"12 Behold, I come quickly, and my reward with me, to render to every one as his work shall be."

"13 I [am] the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."

"14 Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have right to the tree of life, and that they should go in by the gates into the city."

"15 Without [are] the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and the idolaters, and every one that loves and makes a lie."

In the above verses God is "coming" to pass judgement and to reward everyone according to his deeds , and those that follow in the footsteps of Christ and stay faithful to the end, will have the right to the tree of life, that is live for ever.(John 11:25-26)

Isaiah also prophesied that God is coming to execute judgment:

Isaiah 26:21 (DARBY):

" For behold, Jehovah" cometh" out of his place to visit the iniquity of the inhabitants of the earth upon them; and the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain."

Although this may not be conclusive, the previous two occurrences are , and it follows reason, that it is God the Father who is also speaking in Revelation 22:12-15.

CONCLUSION:

God is talking in Revelation: 1:8; 21:5-8 and 22:12-15. and

The Title "Alpha and Omega" belongs to God the Father.

Since the one known as "Alpha and Omega" calls himself "Almighty" a title used exclusively in the Bible for God the Father, and the fact that God calls the "Brothers " of Christ His "Sons", it is God talking in Revelation : 1:8; 21:5-8 and 22:12-15.

The terms "Alpha and Omega",the "first and the last" and "the beginning and the end", used in reference to God, all mean the same thing - "That there is no God before him and that there will be no God after him."

Isaiah 44:6 (DARBY):

" Thus saith Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts: I [am] the first, and I [am] the last, and beside me there is no God." (See also 48:12)

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