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I agree that the phrase "Alpha and Omega" refers to the Father in the three verses of the book Revelation,namely Rev 1:8, 21:6 and 22:13, as in your discussion above. But in the King James version and Afrikaans 1938 Bible Rev 1:11 start with the words: "Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last" before telling John to write in a book what he had seen. Does the above quoted phrase also occur in the original Greek text? If it does, then in this case "Alpha and Omega" has to refer to Jesus. Other translations do not have this phrase in that specific verse.

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There are three separate questions involved in this one, so let me take them one at a time.

Alpha and Omega

"Alpha and Omega" is a phrase that occurs three or four times in the book of Revelation as follows:

  • Rev 22:13, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. This is spoken by Jesus to John, as V12 makes clear.
  • Rev 21:6, 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 cost from the spring of the water of life. Compare Isa 55:1; John 4:10-14; 7:37-38 for very similar declarations by Jesus.
  • Rev 1:8, "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

All these occurrences of "Alpha and Omega" are undisputed. However, there is another that is disputed in:

  • Rev 1:11, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: ...

This phrase does NOT occur in NA28, UBS5, W&H, Souter, Majority Text, THGNT, SBL, R&P Byzantine Text, Orthodox Text, Jerome's Latin Vulgate, & the Clementine Text. The phrase only occurs in the Textus Receptus.

This phrase is not even footnoted in UBS5 and UBS4. The only MSS listed as having this phrase in NA28 is the manuscript of the commentary on Revelation by Andreas of Caesarea. However, "I [am] the first and the last" occurs in P025.

Therefore, there appears to be very little dispute that "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last" is not part of the original text of Revelation at Rev 1:11.

First and Last

The other part of the disputed phrase above is "the first and the Last" (idiomatically equivalent to "Alpha and Omega") which occurs (undisputed) in Rev 22:13 and is spoken by, and is a title of, Jesus. It is also spoken by Jesus in Rev 2:8. It is a direct quote from two places in the OT:

  • Isa 44:6, This is what the LORD says-- Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.
  • Isa 48:12, Listen to me, Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last.

Thus, Jesus is effectively claiming one of the titles of the LORD, YHWH.

The Beginning and the End

Yet another phrase idiomatically equivalent to Alpha and Omega, First and Last, is "Beginning and End". Again, this is spoken by Jesus in Rev 22:13 and also by the Father, One who sits on the throne" in Rev 21:6 and Rev 1:8.

Thus, these three important, equivalent titles, "The Alpha and the Omega", "The beginning and the End", "The first and the Last" are all spoken by Jesus and the Father and are a direct allusion to titles spoken by the LORD in the OT. In both cases, the OT quotes are in the context of establishing that YHWH is the one and only true God.

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  • Dottard, your thorough information on Rev 1:11 brought peace to my whole being again. I would like to comment on the last 2 parts of your answer. First and Last – Madelaine Rawlings May 15 '20 at 11:57
  • Forgive me for being slow off the mark here. I understand that the only disputed text regarding the expression "Alpha and Omega" is in the KJAV at Revelation 1:11 but do all the other (undisputed) texts support the view that Jesus is also Alpha and Omega? – Lesley May 19 '20 at 16:23
  • @Lesley - only some of them do as the above makes clear. Rev 22:13 is spoken by Jesus (v16) and uses all three titles; Rev 21:6 is spoken by God; Rev 1:8 is spoken by God; Rev 1:17 Jesus uses one of the these titles. Thus both the Father and Jesus claim these titles. – Dottard May 31 '20 at 22:23
  • @Dottard - Thank you. Yes, these titles belong to both the Father and to the Son because they are both part of the One Being who is God. – Lesley Jun 1 '20 at 7:37
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As Lucian pointed out, the phrase "Alpha and Omega" does not appear in most Greek texts but it does appear in the Scrivener's Textus Receptus and in the Stephanus Textus Receptus. It must be understood that the speaker in Revelation 1 is Jesus and throughout chapters 1-3 he ascribes four divine titles to himself. He can only do this if he is God. If he is not, then this is blasphemy. He calls himself:

  1. The Alpha and the Omega,

  2. The Beginning and the End – This is equivalent to the Hebrew expression, “Yea and Amen” and simply designates the beginning and the end of a matter and everything that lies between the two points.

  3. The Eternal One – The one "who is, who was, and who is to come."

  4. The Almighty – This is the only time in scripture this term is ever ascribed to Jesus and he ascribes it to himself.

  5. And to certify that it is Jesus who is speaking, he identifies himself in verse 18 saying, "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen."

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  • +1 for point no. 5 – Lesley May 24 '20 at 14:39
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As has been pointed out, Jesus being called the A&W is based on a text that most textual critics agree is not original. More than that, it's not consistent with the rest of the passage.

As one answer says:

It must be understood that the speaker in Revelation 1 is Jesus and throughout chapters 1-3 he ascribes four divine titles to himself. (e.a)

If the speaker is not Jesus throughout then we must reach a different conclusion.

Revelation 1:4-11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Message to the Seven Churches

4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins ]by His blood—

[Note the title “Him who is and who was and who [is to come”. The one who has this title is distinguished from the 7 spirits and from Jesus Christ. So they are not the same person.]

6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

[Note that the speaker has one who is God and Father to him. Does the Alpha and Omega have a God?]

7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

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

[Note the same title here as in verse 4, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty. This cannot be Jesus.]

The Patmos Vision 9 I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and ]perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, 11 saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

[Note the absence of the title added later in the KJV manuscripts. Jesus cannot be the A&W.]

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These titles are just that - titles. Just as Immanuel was a title - 'God with us', as it was also ascribed to Isaiah's son Isaiah 7:14*. Jesus can rightly give himself the title of beginning and end or whatever he wants as he has earned the 'right' to those titles. He is the beginning of the new life in the spirit and the end of death, the firstborn of the (new) creation and the end of man's striving under the law.

Being called a certain name (or being given a title) the same as God has been called doesn't make them God. Clearly we can make more of these things that perhaps we ought.

  • Immanuel wasn't his 'name' either Is. 8:3 explains

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