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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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  • Some Greek manuscripts have it, while others don't. Thus, it appears in Stephanus' Textus Receptus and Scrivener's New Testament, but it is absent from Westcott-Hort or Nestle-Aland.
    – Lucian
    Commented May 8, 2020 at 12:24
  • 1
    I’m voting to close this question because Low quality. Basic facts about "Missing verses" in the New versions should be found from Bible footnotes and duckduckgo web search or wikipedia
    – Michael16
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 5:21
  • 3
    Textual criticism is in scope for this site; I'm voting to keep this question open Commented Jul 31, 2022 at 2:34
  • 2
    This ought to be a question about the Textus Receptus/W&H-Nestle Aland division. Not about the specific translation.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 12:52

6 Answers 6

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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 Commented May 15, 2020 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
    Commented May 19, 2020 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
    Commented May 31, 2020 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
    Commented Jun 1, 2020 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
    Commented May 24, 2020 at 14:39
  • --1 for point no. 5. The Almighty is immortal. Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 11:24
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These titles are just that - titles. Just as 'Immanuel' was ascribed to Isaiah's son (Is 7:14) meaning 'God with us', it is also given to Jesus. Jesus can rightly be given the title of 'beginning and end' or whatever is appropriate as he has the 'right' to such titles. He is the beginning of the new life in the spirit and the end of death, the firstborn of the (new) creation (Col 1:15) and the end of man's striving under the law.

Being called a certain name or title as God has been called doesn't make them God. Clearly more can be made of these titles as many might imagine.

Just as Isaiah's Immanuel (Is. 8:3 reveals the child's name) wasn't somehow God because of his title, Jesus is not God either simply because of one of his many titles of which Alpha and Omega is also given him.

As it turns out, many of God's titles are ascribed to Jesus in this new age. But one would have to dismiss most of the NT to suddenly think Jesus is God because of a title he shares with his God and his Father. Unfortunately, some quite readily jump to their own conclusions regardless of scripture, and claim such titles support unsound doctrines.

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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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There are a few translations that include the first and the last, in Greek the Alpha and Omega, in the Hebrew it would be the Aleph and the Taw. Revelation is recorded / written by John, and is a very Hebrew book using many of the OT prophesies. Jesus said He was the Aleph and the Taw.

Youngs, "`I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last;'"

Also in the NLV, NMB, JUB, GNV, BRG, and the AMPC.

The OJB has it as "Saying, Ani Hu the Aleph and the Tav, HaRishon (The first) and HaAcharon (The last):"

"saying, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last..." (Rev. 1:11, Interlinear)

And where do we find it?

>"bə·rê·šîṯ bā·rā ’ĕ·lō·hîm; ’êṯ haš·šā·ma·yim wə·’êṯ hā·’ā·reṣ." (Gen. 1:1, Interlinear)

Right in middle of the first verse of Genesis, and it is not translated. It is just there, the ’êṯ, the aleph and the tau.

Aleph means Master, teacher, wondrous. (Here)

Taw means truth, sign, life or death. (Here)

The very first verse of the very first book of the Tanak (the OT). Jesus was there.

ADDENDUM:

Excerpt from "Jesus Said, "I Am the Aleph and the Tav"':

"However, Jesus never said I am the Alpha and the Omega. Jesus didn't speak Greek. He spoke Hebrew and Aramaic. What He actually said was, "I am the Aleph and the Tav."

The Aleph and the Tav are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. Because of that, the translators automatically assumed that Jesus was referring to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In fact, there are Bibles that say Jesus said He was the A and the Z.

But Jesus did not say He was the A and the Z, nor did He say He was the Alpha and the Omega, again because He did not speak English or Greek. He spoke Hebrew and Aramaic. And what He was referring to is this.

In the first line of Genesis, in the first line of the Torah that every Jew knew well, were these words—"b'rasheet bara Elohim et HaShamayim v'et HaEretz."

The opening verses of Genesis in the original Hebrew!

B'rasheet is translated "in the beginning." Bara is translated "created." Elohim is rendered as God. HaShamayim is translated "heavens." V'et HaEretz is translated "and the earth."

You may notice we skipped a word. The word we skipped was et. The reason it was not translated is because the rabbis and scribes have never known the meaning of this word. The reason it was not eliminated out of the text is because the Hebrew text is also a complicated mathematical formula and nothing can be added or taken away.

In the Hebrew language the word et, that has been untranslatable for thousands of years, is spelled Aleph Tav.

When Jesus said, "I am the Aleph and the Tav," He was saying I am the Word, (or logos, written Word) that was in the beginning. In the first line of the Torah, in the first line of the first verse in Genesis, He was there with God! He was in the beginning and all things were created through Him.

So when John wrote the first line of his Gospel, He said in the beginning was the Word (Word of God) and the Word of God created everything, came to earth, and became the salvation of man.

So you can see that Jesus was not just referring to Himself as letters in the alphabet, but He specifically was saying that He was the written Word of God Who was in the beginning with God!" (source: here)

Excerpt from "I Am the Aleph-Tav: Unveiling Jesus in the Old Testament" book summary:

Most people will be shocked to know that Jesus appears ten times (1000%) more in the Old Testament than he does in the New Testament. In fact Jesus the Aleph-Tav appears 9612 times (uninterpreted) in the Old Testament but only 983 times in the New Testament. The Aleph-Tav is comprised of the first and last characters of the Hebrew language, just as the alpha and the omega are the first and last characters of the Greek language. The Aleph-Tav is also the Hebrew character symbol believed to be the signature of Christ found only in the Hebrew Bible, represented by the head of a bull and the sign of a cross. Both character symbols clearly point us to Christ, the Lamb of God who died for humanity on the cross of Calvary.

I AM the Aleph-Tav unveils the presence of Jesus in the Old Testament, first by taking a deep dive into the mystery of the Aleph-Tav. Although this symbol appears almost ten thousand times in the Old Testament, it was never interpreted into any other language, and author Samuel Koiki shows how there are parallels between the Old Testament and the statements Jesus made to John in the book of Revelation, where Jesus proclaimed that he was the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the endor, in a different way, the Aleph-Tav.

Was Jesus telling John that he was there all along when the universe was created in Genesis? Perhaps he was telling John that he indeed is the Creator. Was he the one who split the Red Sea, as told in Exodus? Was he the Passover lamb in Leviticus, the high priest in Numbers, the rock that brought forth water in Deuteronomy, or the commander of the Lords army in Judges? Was he telling John that he is on every page of the Old Testament, all the way to Malachi, where he is the Son of righteousness who brings healing? " (Source: here)

Excerpt from "Yeshua and the Hebrew Alphabet":

Yeshua the Divine Direct Object...

Interestingly, Aleph and Tav form a unique word that functions as a "direct object marker" in the both Biblical and modern Hebrew:

As it is written in Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God (ALEPH/TAV) created the heavens and the earth."

Considered this way, Jesus is the Direct Object of the Universe, the End (sof) of all of creation. And not only is Jesus the End of all creation, but He is the "Beginning of the Creation of God," the Creator and Sustainer of all things: "For by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him: And he is before all things and by him all things consist." (Colossians 1:16-17)" Source: here)

Excerpt from "The Aleph-Tav":

B-re'shiyt bara Elohim 'et hashamayim v'et ha'aretz.

"In beginning created Elohim (*) the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1

In the center of this verse of these seven Hebrew words, after B-re'shiyt bara Elohim there is a fourth untranslatable word. That fourth word is actually two Hebrew letters: the aleph and the tav. The aleph-tav (aleph-tav) expression serves a grammatical purpose in that it points to the direct object of the sentence, but these two letters do not actually form a word - rather, they express an understanding. This is the basic difference found between Greek based languages, such as English, and the Hebrew language. Whereas Greek and English form a static, rigid architecture; Hebrew is more fluid - promoting understanding rather than a definitive, straight line presentation (see My Big, Fat Greek Mindset PART 1, and PART 2 for a full explanation.). The aleph-tav aleph-tav character symbol has been hidden in plain sight from the beginning, starting with the original Paleo-Hebrew scrolls written by the hand of Moses and the Prophets, then copied by scribes for thousands of years thereafter into modern Hebrew - but not translated by the Greek Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, the King James or subsequent English bible translations because it was not considered a word. However, as we shall see, the placement of these two Hebrew letters throughout scripture has far reaching implications.

The aleph (aleph) is the first letter of the Hebrew alephbet (alphabet), and the tav (tav) is the last letter of the alephbet. It is in the placement of these two very significant letters at strategic locations within many verses of Hebrew scripture that express the understanding of a total completeness. It is equivalent to saying "from alpha to omega, from a to z, from first to last, from beginning to end." We see the aleph-tav (aleph-tav) symbol, in association with YHVH (YHVH), used in hundreds of places in the Original Writings. ...

In English, Genesis 1:1 should be understood as "In the beginning Elohim created A to Z." The Prophet Isaiah confirmed the same about YHVH (YHVH) being the first and the last in Isaiah 41:4, 44:6 and 48:12. The English expression that parallels this one is, "He finished everything from A to Z, or from beginning to end."... Source: The Aleph-Tav)

I could add many more, but this should be enough for readers to consider. The Aleph-Tav(w), the first and the last, Jesus Christ (Yeshua) is the very center of the first line of Genesis.

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  • Strange, Jesus wasn’t born yet. Nor Mary, nor Abraham or David, who Jesus is descended from..
    – Steve
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 6:37
  • Steveowen 4 - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God;" John 1:1. Study more.
    – Gina
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 10:46
  • Correct - the word was in the beginning. Jesus is the word made flesh 2000 years ago. That's why it says 'logos' NOT Jesus. We cannot simply put our own words in wherever we like. Until Jesus, the logos was not flesh. In Jesus it became flesh ~2000 years ago.
    – Steve
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 11:32
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    John 8:58, "Jesus said to them, `Verily, verily, I say to you, Before Abraham's coming -- I am;'" Jesus, or Yeshua is the Hebrew name, but the Son of God whether before His incarnation or after His incarnation is still the same "I AM".
    – Gina
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 12:05
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    The blind man said the same "I am", Paul said "I am". There you go again, reading in what you want to see. The Gospels state when and how Jesus began - if you choose to ignore that to maintain the traditional mythology, that is up to you. Jesus never said he "existed" before Abraham - Gal 3:16 tells us what it means. Let scripture interpret scripture, not tradition. 'Incarnation' - just a made up fable not of the bible - God's true word.
    – Steve
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 12:16
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When the Bible was translated to the Septuagint from Hebrew to Greek the “builders” (translators) chose to leave out the two letter word combination. To my understanding, it would be like translating cat from Spanish to English, you would not say “the cat” as you do “el gato” in Spanish. The combination is seen throughout the Hebrew Scriptures as stated. Understanding this makes verses like

“And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask My name, seeing it is wonderful?”” (‭‭Judges‬ ‭13:18 NKJV)

“Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’?” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭21:42‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭25:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

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  • Welcome to the site, Twhi. Just to say that the Rev.11:1 verse the OP asks about was originally written in koine Greek, hundreds of years after the Septuagint had translated the Hebrew scriptures into Greek. The LXX has no bearing on the verse in question. The need is to identify various Greek manuscripts that have this statement, thus justifying the K.J. & the N.K.J. putting that statement in.
    – Anne
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 15:31

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