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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"?

9 Answers 9

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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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  • 1
    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. Dec 4, 2012 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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From what I see alpha and omega in revelation is always Father God before chapter 22 is clear to me. Chapter 22 is definitely problematic. The opening of chapter one brings clarity. Rev 1:1-2 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John.” So we see God gave Jesus this revelation to show his bond servants through an Angel. The revelation is from God, given to Jesus, communicated through an angel. So when the angel speaks to John, sometimes the angel speaks as himself (Rev 22:9). Then sometimes the Angel is speaking to John in the first person as though he was Jesus (Rev1:17-20). Also he speaks as God the Father in the first person (Rev 1:8). There are other examples but this makes the point.

Therefore I want to make the point that it could be that the Angel speaks as himself in 22:9, as God in 22:12, and as Jesus in vs. 22:16. The reason I am bent toward God the Father saying He is the Alpha and Omega in verse 12 is because every other reference to that title alpha and omega in the book of Revelation it is referring to the Father. Another possibility is since Jesus stands in the authority and power of the Father, and that the Father placed his name on the son, that Jesus stands in the position of God because he has been exalted by the Father to His right hand above ALL powers and principalities - speaks and functions in the position of God and God himself speaks through Jesus as mediator. My point- God spoke v 12 through Jesus.

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Referring to Rev 1:8 you asked "Who is speaking? Is Jesus referred to here as "Lord God"?"

Well it's not a coincidence that the previous verse (Rev 1:7) speaks of Jesus: "Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him." This is a quote from Daniel 7:14 which shows Jesus (the son of man) being worhsipped. Jesus identifies himself as that person (who comes with the clouds) by calling himself the Alpha and Omega.

Further, the Lamb is worshipped in Rev 5:12. But how could this be if God will not "share His glory with another"? (Isaiah 42:8) and keeping with God's commandment to "have no other god before Him, nor to worship idols" (Exodus 20:3,4).

The simple answer is that Jesus is God.

So answering your question, the one speaking in Rev 1:8 is Jesus Christ.

My translation has Him referring to himself as "the Almighty" and rightly so because He is God.

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Verses 5 and 6 are about Jesus, then it says amen.

Then verse 7 is about Jesus, and it says amen. The point is it does not end and go into a new topic about someone else. It continues with Christ because the Father was not pierced.

Now in verse 8, there is no reason unless stated otherwise that it is not Jesus.

It even says the lord god. (Who is the lord?) In Greek kyrios, which is used in the New Testament to describe Jesus Christ, is not used for the Father. It's as simple as that who is the lord of verse 8 and that is who is speaking. The top comment in this thread is misleading because it shows a bunch of quotes but does say who the lord is.

To address what they say about verses 4 and 5 together showing it can't be Christ. It can if it says so. Here is their point:

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.

You are right about verse 4 being about the Father but your conclusion is wrong. Remember it says he who is... and Jesus. It does not separate them. This is why their thrones are together. Plus it does not conclude that the Father was speaking that is just you putting that there.

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    – agarza
    Jul 10, 2023 at 0:51
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I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

While Ozzie has provided evidence from scripture for the title, we also see in Revelations 1:1 that Jesus cannot be God, thus eliminating Jesus as the subject.

‘This is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants...’

Can we maintain a construct of Jesus being God if God is giving Jesus anything? Or, do we persist with a God who is Father, Son, Spirit who is giving Jesus, the only son, now exalted, glorified, something he didn’t have before?

3:12 - four times Jesus refers to 'my God'. We know God has no God,

To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb 5:13, 6:16, 7:9,10

these clear distinctions between the God and His born, dead, raised, exalted, heir to all that God had made son Jesus - the Lamb, is consistently expressed throughout the text.

So the one who is talking is the Lord God and is none other than the Almighty, the Father of Jesus, and is not Jesus - who is never called the Lord God. Alpha and Omega IS applied to both God and Jesus - but for different reasons. God is obviously the beginning and the end of all things. Christ is the beginning and the end because he is the firstborn from the dead, the author and finisher of faith for a couple of examples.

+++++++++++++

Alpha and Omega are two Greek letters! We know nothing more about this from other texts - it's just an expression signifying uniqueness and special role. Deducing anything else is pure speculation. A cursory glance at Revelation reveals the Lamb is NOT GOD, so why would this title make ANY difference to our understanding of who Jesus is relative to his God and Father?

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    "we also see in Revelations 1:1 that Jesus cannot be God, thus eliminating Jesus as the subject" You have asserted this, sure, but you have not provided any logical or scriptural argument for it.
    – curiousdannii
    Oct 31, 2020 at 6:57
  • 2
    +1 "Can we maintain a construct of Jesus being God if God is giving Jesus anything?" Right. This would have to say 'the Father' to support a trinitarian interpretation. As you note, this sort of distinction is in many places in Revelation. But how do you respond to 1:17 (Jesus seems to be saying he is the 'first and the last') or 22:13 (Jesus seems to be saying he is the alpha and omega, and the first and the last)? Feb 25, 2021 at 6:57
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    @Anthony pls see christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/81011/… maybe I'll pop the summary over here too
    – Steve
    Feb 25, 2021 at 7:07
  • @user48152 Ya, thanks for that link - I have an answer up there already. :) But trying to take a thorough look at this from a non-trinitarian perspective. Feb 25, 2021 at 17:34
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Revelation 2:8 is clearly about Jesus being the first and the last, showing that he and the Father are one.

And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: "The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life."

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  1. Jesus is the son of God; He says nothing and does nothing without the approval and instructions of the Father. (John 8:26-30)
  2. All judgment is given unto the son. (John 5:22)
  3. All authority in Heaven and Earth is given to Jesus. (Matthew 28:18)
  4. If we honor the Son we honor the Father. (John 5:23)

Jesus is the emissary of the Father and when he (Jesus) speaks, it is as though the Father is speaking. That is to say, he has the seal of God's authority whenever he speaks or acts. This means he can speak and act as though he is God, (even though he is not God), for he is God's representative. Jesus can operate in the office of God and still be the son. While executing the office of God Jesus can hold the titles that belong to God and God alone.

Therefore in Revelation 1:8, it is acceptable for Jesus to say that he is the Alpha, the Omega, and the Almighty, for he is speaking on behalf of God, just like Joseph operated in the office of Pharaoh but was not Pharaoh.

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You are right about Revelation 22:13 that it was Jesus who said he is the Alpha and Omega. Verse 12 says "Behold, I come quickly" and this person says in verse 13 that he is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Verse 20 tells us who was speaking in verses 12-13, and it is Jesus. This is very clear. Vs 20 "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus". See also Revelation 3:16 where Jesus says "I come quickly". The words "come quickly" are only used in the book of Revelation. You will not find them anywhere else in the Bible, just four times in Revelation. In each instance in Revelation, it is Christ who says these words. In Revelation 2:5 and 2:16, Jesus says to specific churches if they don't repent he would "come unto thee quickly", but this is a slightly different language than "I come quickly". Since Jesus is speaking in Revelation 22:13, we know he is the Alpha and Omega, beginning and the end, first and last. These are three different ways to say he is eternal. These three eternal titles can be said of the Father, Son, and Spirit. One God in three persons; coequal and eternal. Now there is order within the Godhead, just like my wife is subject to me, but we both are humans and coequal with respect to our relation to God - "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female" Galatians 3:28.

In fact, Revelation 22:12 is a quote from Isaiah 40:10 which says "Behold, the Lord God will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him And His recompense before Him". So, Jesus is the fulfillment of Is 40:10. He is the Lord God of Isaiah 40:10. Note that the Father judges no one; all judgment is done by the Son - John 5:22 "For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son". So, any reference to judging men and giving rewards is talking about the Son. This is because he became man and went through all the suffering to pay for our sins. There are many such references in the NT applied to Jesus that are quotes of God/YHWH in the OT. There are several within the book of Revelation - the one I pointed out above is such a case. Another one is the use of "first and last". The phrase "first and last" is only used 7 times in the Bible. You cannot be first if you are created. Jesus use of "first and last" and applying it to himself shows he is God, the God referred to in Isaiah 44:6, 41:4, 48:12. He gives these clues in Revelation and other parts of the Bible to reveal who he is, and his deity.

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

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 48:12

Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.

Revelation 1:17

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.

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.

Another clue he gives to his deity is in Revelation 2:23 where he says "I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works". Jesus says he is the one who searches our minds and hearts. This is only something God can do. We read in 1 Kings 8:39 Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men".

But as to your question about Revelation 1:8. This probably refers to the Father but is equally true of the Son and Spirit since they are eternal and coequal. If you compare the phrases "Lord God" and "who is and was and is to come" where it is used in other parts of the NT, it seems like this is the Father. We know that the terms "Alpha and Omega" and "beginning and end" are used by Christ in Revelation 22:13, so these terms can be applied to all members of the Trinity as they are all eternal. But, I would venture Revelation 1:8 is speaking of the Father.

Revelation 22:6-20

6 And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.
7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.
8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. 9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.
10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. 13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.
17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. 18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

1
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    Dec 25, 2023 at 4:29

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