Q. In Revelation 22, why Jesus is referenced as three things that sound like three ways of saying the same thing: the first and the last, Alpha and Omega, and the beginning and the end.
I would greatly appreciate getting some insight on the above. Thank you and may God bless you.
A. Here’s an excerpt from my study on Rev. 22 that should help.
Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (Rev. 22:12-13)
This passage makes three sets of claims about The Lord. He is Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, and the First and the Last. These aren’t just repetitive thoughts.
Variations on the phrase Alpha and Omega have autographed God’s greatest work from the beginning. The first letter of the Greek alphabet is Alpha and the last is Omega. It’s like saying, “From A to Z” in English, meaning that the person or thing being referenced is the sum total, encompassing everything that can be known on the subject.
The Hebrew equivalents are Aleph and Tau. These two letters appear un-translated in a couple of interesting places in the Hebrew Scripture. One is in Genesis 1:1 right after the phrase “In the beginning God …” making the Hebrew version read, “In the beginning God, the Aleph and the Tau, created the Heavens and the Earth.” You have to get a Hebrew interlinear Bible to find it but it’s there.
The other place is in Zechariah 12:10 where the Hebrew reads, “They will look upon me, the Aleph and the Tau, the one they have pierced …” It’s a prophecy of Israel finally recognizing the true identity of the Messiah at the End of the Age.
The Greek word translated beginning is “arche” and denotes an order of time, place or rank. End comes from “telos”, which means the ultimate result or purpose; the upper limit. And so Jesus is the first in order of time, place and rank (Col 1:18), and represents the ultimate result or purpose of man; to be one with God (John 17:20-23).
The word translated first is “protos” and means the foremost or best. We get prototype from this one. In manufacturing, the prototype is the original model and serves as the standard of comparison to which all subsequent models must conform. And last comes from “eschatos” a superlative meaning farthest or uttermost. The term eschatology (the study of the end times) originates here. He is the prototype, to whom all believers will conform (Rom 8:29), the uttermost or perfect example of the race, (Hebr 1:3) the only one ever born.