I am Alpha and Omega Rev. 22:13
C. J. Rolls
The greatness and majesty of Christ are utterly inconceivable. Though in the saintliest spiritual state, the most masterly minds have felt how impossible it is to conceive the grandeur of God and the glory of the Father as revealed in the character of Christ Jesus our Lord. our research in astronomy and anatomy is ever furnishing exceptional marvels in the material and physical realms by opening to the mind of man the illimitable fields in the handiwork of God that exist for human investigation. In such things we view but a tiny patch in the vast mosaic of the Maker's works. This Potter, however, is infinitely greater than the vessels He has fashioned and the design He has framed. Immensity and eternity cannot encompass Him; He is the product of neither, for how can there be pedigree or ancestry in the case of the Infinite One? The Scripture affirms "The heaven of heavens cannot contain thee" (I Kings 8:27). Yet withal we hear the wonderful declaration from above, Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy. I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isa. 57:15).
Our purpose is to occupy our minds in meditation on the range and renown of Christ's glory as set forth in this profound claim, "I am Alpha and Omega," encompassing as it does the whole alphabet, which is the key of all literature in any given language. The implication in the use Christ makes of it is, "I am the whole revelation of God." No aspect of Christ's life or ministry dims the luster of any single feature of the attributes of God, whom He resembles and represents completely. In Christ all the divine attributes are perfectly balanced, this being seen equally in His matchless kindness, His stainless pureness, His peerless loveliness, His blameless justness, His flawless righteousness, His faultless meekness, his fadeless faithfulness, His staunchless goodness, His priceless preciousness, His boundless blessedness, his taintless truthfulness, His spotless holiness, and the thirty remaining characteristics which we know are included in the character of Godhead. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself" (II Cor. 5:19). Everyone of the attributes expressed in the manifestation and ministry of Christ contributes to the glory of God. Not one of the perfections of God in Christ neutralizes or nullifies any other attribute. True it is that some stress His love as though it had a preponderance in His character and stood out most conspicuous of all; but far more space is given in Scripture to the description and declaration of His righteousness than of His love. Nor are these two features at variance; they blend beautifully and work harmoniously together.
I asked the Lord to show me something of the wonderful meaning incorporated in that astounding claim, "I am Alpha and Omega." I am convinced that no mind is big enough to comprehend the magnitude of the measureless range of dignity and glory embodied in such a stupendous claim. However, we may go through each letter of the Alphabet and make a selection of two or three hundred of Christ's titles, offices, vocations and names that appear on the surface.
I am Alpha and Omega Rev. 22:13
Not a single title advanced by Christ concerning Himself in the Word of God, not any other name by which He is addressed overestimates His transcendent majesty or overstrains His tremendous merit. He is never called by any one of His distinctive designations of honor, without richly deserving the same; and by virtue of His celestial comeliness engraces each with a heavier weight of dignity and a greater degree of excellence in every instance. his suitability as a Governor and His stability as a Guardian are both underived. His durability as a Shepherd and His desirability as a Saviour are not qualifications conferred by any human administration. He is the Lord, "which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."
Our Lord stated most definitely and clearly during the period of His earthly ministry that His real identity was altogether outside the realm of human observation: "No man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father" (Luke 10:22). This is at once a stately declaration and a startling disclosure. The word of God expresses the Son and the Son of God expressed the word. The truth reveals the Son, and the Son reveals the truth. The Scriptures interpret the Son, and the Son interprets the Scriptures. Wisdom unveils the Son and the Son unveils wisdom. The Father declares the Son and the Son declares the Father.
Of the creature it has been aptly said, "Self- commendation is no recommendation"; but that statement does not apply to the Creator. Creature self-commendation is vanity whereas Creator self-commendation is verity. The love of Christ is the only factor that can teach us Christ's loveliness. Nothing outside of His own personal portrayal of perfection can unveil His own perfectness. The Son Himself must initiate us into a knowledge of His Sonship. None other than the Messiah is able to make manifest Messiahship. The visible image of the invisible God verifies Godhead.
When our exalted and glorified Lord declared to John, "I am Alpha and Omega," He voiced a claim beyond the range of human comprehension; all we can do is to examine some of the obvious and surface features of this unfathomable utterance. Christians in general spend far too little time investigating the incomparable glories of this peerless Christ. There are many today who have but a poverty-stricken estimate of Him.
I and the Father are One Christ demonstrated this oneness:
In the priority of His authorship
Chapter Three ;
I am Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13).
Other than our Lord Jesus Christ, no person exists who is in possession of titles and designations beginning with every letter of the alphabet, and no one can truthfully say that His names are merely incidentals casually coined. Every title Christ bears is wisely selected with a set purpose in view, and the profound accumulation of so many such, which rank highest in renown, vouch for that famous unchallengeable declaration made in the Word of God that a name is given to Him, "which is above every name" (Phil. 2:9). No other person, so manifoldly potential in capacity and so many-sided in practical ability, exists.
In majesty of power, in dignity of grace, in beauty of virtue and in eternity of love, Christ is without compare. The expansive orbit of His incorruptible glory never diminishes, the high tide of His imperial authority never recedes and the floodlight of His immortal loveliness never declines. Age cannot palsy His perennial power, nor can the throes of time terminate His thoughtful tenderness, the years cannot compel Him to yield His youthful vigor, nor can the centuries circumscribe His complete control. Duration cannot disintegrate His dominion, nor can millenniums mutilate His matchless majesty or mar His mercy.
What a glorious luster environs His abiding love! What a gorgeous miter engraces His almighty hand! What a gracious scepter engages His almighty hand! What a generous nature expresses His heavenly mind! Yet, withal, the tender touches of his wondrous grace and the silken sympathies of His plenteous mercy are dispensed alike to all; for He is no respecter of persons.
Can anyone of us, or all of our capacities combined, ever expect to fully comprehend the Christ of God? How profitable it is to pause a moment and muse on His regal majesty and royal meekness. How edifying it is to think for a while on His replete might and resplendent mercy. How delightful the exercise tot contemplate for a time His renowned merit and resourceful ministry. Each of these features surpasses in value and virtue the noblest estimates of the most venerable minds. Appraisers and valuators are altogether out of place in this domain; for the only suitable attitude is reverent worship.
When we attentively consider Him, behold, His bountiful blessings are without boundary, His ocean-wide sufficiency is without trace of shore, His lustrous lovingkindness is without limit, His care and considerateness are without circumference and the fervor of His fragrant faithfulness is free from all faction or friction, formality or frustration. No artist, musician or poet can set forth Christ to perfection. If we attempt to portray His obvious qualities and virtues by the use of earthly analogies, we must needs utilize thousands of them. Should we venture to present His vocations and virtues even partially, we should require a whole host of types, symbols, memorials, images and figures of speech to depict the range of His renown and to voice the riches of His resource within the visible realm, to say nothing of those functions which still remain unrevealed. No other known Leader is so admirable, no other Ruler is so adaptable, no other Deliverer is so acceptable, no other Helper is so accessible and no other Lover is so adorable as He.
I am Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13).
Who is qualified to write a preface to One who stands in priority to all truth, who is both source and substance of all truth? How can anyone write a history of the Creator, who preceded the calendars of time and who holds precedence over all men whom He created? Journey back as far as you will, before the unnavigated ether had been stirred by angelic wing, or electro-magnetic waves were utilized (Job 38:35). Behold! He is there. Christ is the Author of the celestial fountains of mercy and the perennial springs of grace, which have flowed through the centuries for the welfare of mankind. Our blessed Lord is the Originator of the inscrutable purposes of righteousness and justice and the Counselor of the immortal principles of Godhead recorded in the Scriptures. He is also the Alpha and Omega of all divine revelation. His essential energies flow and flourish in unabating fullness and felicity, for He has the dew of His youth (Psa. 110:3). As the Alpha of the alphabet He is the initial expression of infinite perfection. He is the foremost link in the chain of history and the first criterion in the volume of prophecy (Rev. 19:10).
The alphabet is a unique group of signs which signify unending utility, and in its varied forms it is used universally. Likewise also our Lord Jesus Christ is not a national or parochial Saviour ever whom some select society or particular party holds exclusive claim. He is available to all. Christ is for everyone, everywhere; there is no limit to His saving power and no orbit to His proffered grace. Of this great fact His own words are very expressive, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish" (John 3:16). A similar far-reaching range of inclusion is rehearsed by Isaiah the prophet, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth" (Isa. 45:22), and again, "The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isa. 40:5). In His sovereignty and superiority, our God is no respecter of persons, no more than sun and star to which He is likened have respect for human ancestry or posterity, nobility or dignity, poverty or royalty.
The alphabet which is so concise, comprehensive and complete is a resource for compiling words and phrases to impart knowledge, to convey comfort for the sorrowing, cheer for the serving and songs for the victorious. Hereby every form of converse, communion, condolence and communication is cared for. Again in this manifold ministry also, the alphabet unequivocally typifies Christ, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of God head bodily (" and ye are filled up in Him"). Yea, the complete faculties for enabling faithfulness to be expressed in witness, worship, and work, and the complete fountain of supply and sufficiency to furnish strength, sympathy and stability are resident in Him. Little wonder that Christ claimed to be the whole alphabet and all that arises from it as a medium of revelation, a reservoir of literary resource and a repository of riches in wisdom and knowledge.
Our powers of mind are as yet only in their infancy. We know in part, but in the world to come our faculties are to be adjusted to new dimensions and valves. "We shall know even also as we are known," and "We shall see his face" ( I Cor. 13:12; Rev. 22:4). Of all experiences this one is most to be desired, that is, a sight of the blessed Saviour. One glimpse of His glorious face and all other loveliness lessens, all other beauty blushes and all other perfection pales. The blazing splendor of infinite glory and brilliant grandeur of immortal majesty radiate from His countenance, the light of which exceeds the sunshine in its strength. The vital fountains of friendship and the very springs of sympathy well up in His great heart of love; for He enshrines in His blessed person the solace of heaven, the sweetness of home and the sanctity of holiness. The realms where He rules reflect the riches of His replete righteousness.
I am Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22.13).
Christ is before language and beyond it; therefore the witness He bore personally to the Father, to Himself and to the Spirit of truth surpasses in word formation, sentence construction and symbolic representation every other testimony in existence. The majestic style that characterizes His words of witness, and with majestic style, both vividness and vitalizing energy, are not found in the speech of any other hearld: "Never man spake like this man" (John 7.46). What is more, the final declaration which Christ made to the Apostle John on Patmos concerning Himself is the most complete statement of claim He ever uttered and supplies a brighter and broader illustration of His own personal infinitude than is given elsewhere in Scriptures. The renowned range of its message assures us that in personality, in potentiality and in prerogative, He is infinite. The alphabet, to which Christ draws special attention by advancing this tide, is one of the illimitable things we make us of in this world. The inexhaustible resources, indestructible records and indispensable reasons attached to the alphabet defy all our explanations.
Firstly, the inexhaustiblility of resource, which is signified by the alphabetical signs, finds an irrefutable demonstration in the learning and literature handed down through the centuries. The letters themselves can never be outworn, outclassed, or outgrown. The alphabet is everlastingly important, and never becomes impotent or decrepit with age, nor does it become incompetent because of excessive demands made upon it.
Secondly, the indestructiblility of the records compiled from the letters of the alphabet is assured chiefly by the fact of revelation. Speech is the medium of communication in the celestial realms of abiding society. The son of Moses, the servant of God, sung at the time of the Red Sea deliverance, is to be sung by a host that no man can number beside the crystal sea (Rev. 15.2-3). We are also notified that the Word of God liveth and abideth forever: "Forever O Lord, They word is settled in heaven" (Psa. 119.89). This statement thoroughly confirms the fact that not one of the official and vocational titles of Christ can ever become obsolete and not a single name He bears can ever go into oblivion. Every letter of the alphabet is used repeatedly when enumerating His multiform titles and designations; wherefore we have the guarantee that its signs can never be destroyed. Speech survives the centuries, words abide the ages; for the eternal God speaks.
Thirdly, the indispensable reasons for the alphabet are surely apparent to all; it is inconceivable to us that anything else could serve as a substitute. In the light of these things we are confident that to a far greater degree that we have suggested, the Christ of god, who is the Alpha and Omega, is certainly indestructible; He is definitely inexhaustible and He is positively indispensable. How appropriately real and how absolutely true these three features become when applied to Him of whom the Apostle Paul wrote, "Which in His times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, not can see; to whom be honour and power everlasting, Amen" (I Tim. 6.15-16).
As the Alpha and Omega, Christ is the only way to the sacred splendor of spiritual secrets (Rev. 2.17); He is the solitary key to unlock the transcendent treasures of untarnished truth, Himself the Interpreter of all the intricacies and realities of the invisible (Rev. 3.7). Yea, He is the one exclusive Door of entrance to the exhaustless ecstasies of eternal enjoyment (Psa. 16.11; John 10.9). Furthermore, He is the sole "Heir of all things" (Heb. 1.2); therefore the only One with infinite merit that can impart to us the title to inherit unfading glories as joit heirs. The verities He bestows are the legacies of everlasting love. Our Savior is not only or steadfast security, He is the one incomparable portal to admit and promote our access to the perennial springs of abounding peace and abiding satisfaction (Eph. 2.18; Psa. 17-15). At this point our mediation directs us to the twelve of Christ's titles and offices beginning with the letter "E."
I am Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13).
Explorers who have ventured through virgin forests covering mountainous country never before penetrated by man have betimes reached a vantage point whence they caught a glimpse of a gorgeous valley of unsuspected splendor. The sight of stately trees with their masses of foliage draping the slopes is suddenly enhanced by virtue of the surroundings at the head of the gorge. The new discovery lends charm and character to the whole landscape.
Much more than the picturesque waters add to the scenic beauties of nature's magnificence, Christ supplies in the spiritual sphere celestial verities to all aspects of sacred virtue. He lends charm to contentment, beauty to beneficence, mercy to might, sympathy to strength, amibility to authority, meekness to majesty, glory to goodness and the pleasure of permanent peace to paradise.
After traversing the broad continent of revealed truth which spreads out before us in the great panorama of the Holy Scriptures, we arrive at the journey's end in Revelation, chapter twenty-two, and there the Master Himself crowns the whole experience of our investigation by submitting one final stupendous claim. The unusual utterance Christ makes includes and incorporates everyhigh light associated with the greatest discoveries we have made throughout the entire range of our research. Let us listen again most carefully to our Lord's culminating claim, "Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last" (Rev. 22:12-13).
Herein Christ states that the maximum of mystery is of Himself, who is the Revealer of the innermost of divine revelation. Also the mightiest witness of majesty is through Him the Creator of creation to the uttermost; and by the very nature of the munificence of mercy, we are directed to Him who is the Mediator of all mediation. "Of him, through him, and to him, are all things" (Rom. 11:36). This is true from start to finish in all revelation, form commencement to consummation in all creation and from first to last in all mediation. The more we examine these words and wiegh the meaning of this paramount claim of our Lord and Saviour, the more amazing and astounding they become in depth, breadth and height.
The purpose Christ had in view when making this superlative statement of claim was doubtless to remind us that behind the visible expression of His ministry, during the manifestation, lay inscrutable mysteries. Standing at the back of His might work in this material creation were infinite potentialities. Supporting and sustaining His matchless merit in mediation, imponderable prerogatives were secreted. The amplitude of capacity in wisdom and knowledge is focused in His person (Col. 2:3). The almightiness of ability in power and strength is likewise included; for in Him is vested all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). In addition, the abidingness of His ministry in grace and truth is in view; for He is all the fullness of Godhead bodily (John 1:16; Col. 2:9). These three lines of evidence assure us forever that His words are not an overstatement of claim, but the awe-inspiring trugh of His monumental magnificence. Let us ask ourselves whether such an One is in a position to answer prayer, affirm pardon, assure provision and administer protection.
In Christ the whole purpose of God is centered, the fullness of Godhead concentrated and the glory of the eternal Father condensed. When our blessed Lord signifies that He is Alpha and Omega, suggesting the whole alphabet, He is using a figure relative to unceasing resource. Truly His own abilities are all unending , for He himself is like a mine if inexhaustible wealth. He has a mind aof incorruptible wisdom and He exercises a ministry of indestructible witness. In His celestial character every feature of beauty merges in perfect harmony, and the signs and symbols are exquisitely portrayed in a balanced unity. Although we may pile up figure upon figure, form upon form, and feature upon feature, all attempts athat are made to adequatelydescribe Him fall far short of the aim. The greenest leaves of loveliness, the richest fruits of faithfulness, the choicest charms of comeliness, the purest powers of peacefulness, the grandest gems of gracefulness, the brightest beams of blessedness and the fairest flowers of thoughtfulness combine in Him.
In His divine domain we may trace the springs of propecy, whence flow the streams of history. He it is who spreads the trapestries of time athwart the august ages. He ever lives where beauty dwells in undefiled bliss, amid the undimmed brightness of glory. His workmanship is weighed with wondrous things from the tiniest mound of mercy to the towering Matterhorn of majesty. He smiles in the rainbow and laughs with the lightning. He testifies in the thunder as well as in the timy whisper of the still small voice of calm. His heavens are studded with sparkling stars and His hands are firm but friendly. His heart is true and tender and His help is always timell. In His presence is fullness of joy and that is where stingless pleasure knows no fag of foe or pang of fear. The fair and fragrant flowers of His fervent fidelity bud and bloom eternally.
O Christ divine, Thine is the greatest fame
That Truth's fair records have declared of old,
The witness of Thy deeds and glorious Name
Soars higher as the mounting years unfold.
O Christ divine, Thine is the greatest pow'r
That sways a scepter or displays a crown,
Controlling ages and the present hour,
Increasing daily in Thy famed renown.
O Christ divine, Thine is the greatest might,
No majesty nor strength compares with Thine.
To banish darkness and establish light,
The Light, of Truth, which evermore will shine.
I am Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13)
Whereever we contemplate our Lord in His manifold labors, the luster of His lovingkindness is never lacking, the burnish of His beauty is never dull, the resplendence of His radiance is never pale, the vigor of His vitality is never faint, the state of His strength is never stale, the wisdom of His will is never warped and the faithfulness of His fidelity never falters. Therefore, the prospect of His perfecting His Church according to His eternal purpose can never perish.
We are dealing with realities that are steadfast forevermore, inasmuch as standing behind the person of this indispensable and indestructible Christ we discover in the immutability of God the Father, the infallibility of the Spirit of truth and the incorruptibility of Holy Scripture. In the light of such things we require a capable witness, qualified with celestial credentials to set forth the distinctive qualities of the Redeemer of mankind. Who then is better suited to do this than the Lord Himself? For no human agent knows who the Son is, nor can he portray the capacities and capabilities of such a celebrity (Luke 10:22). Let us revere His testimony and review again and again the magnitude of His magnificent claim, "He that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new. And he said to me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of water of life freely" (Rev. 21:5,6).
What a portrayal this is of our Lord's divine potentiality! His words are unsurpassed as royal announcement and unparalleled in regal achievement. No declaration ever made by any national leader the world over throughout the historic ages is comparable to this statement uttered by the risen Christ. From the uppermost realm of His supreme power He announces the uttermost decree of His sublime purpose, and charges that it shall be written in black and white as a living, lasting record. Herein, by a glorious declaration, He crystallizes that which He visualizes when addressing His disciples (Matt. 19:28). His supreme declaration, "Behold I make all things new," leads to a special charge, "Write: for these words are true and faithful." Then follows a steadfast assurance "It is done," supported by His sublime claim, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end"; and all this is accompanied by His splendid offer, "I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." His words stand the test of time and abide the assizes of the ages.
Whenever we turn on earth to contemplate men of ability and dignity, we cannot help observing their limitations; but in Christ we meet limitlessness. Likewise the authority of all who wield administrative powers is marked by boundaries, but in Him we find One who is boundless. If we turn to consider the capability of those in national leadership, every one is circumscribed by the contingencies of the hour and by the confines of time; but the Lord Jesus is timeless. Even though the resources of every other celebrity in high command can be measured by material standards, the resources of this Claimant are measureless. Furthermore, when men of renown reach the borders of maturity, old age robs them of vitality, vision and venture; but the Son of God is ageless and wholly immune from mortality. Christ spans the centuries, and the accumulating ages take no toll of His everlasting strength.
We are familiar with the names of thousands of revered worthies whose records have been emblazoned on the pages of history and in the annals of national kingdoms. Each one in turn has brought honor to a household, fame to a family, splendor to a society, glory to a generation, praise to a people, renown to a race, notoriety to a nation and well- being to a world; but Christ exceeds and excels all such, for He gained glory for the Godhead and heaped honor upon heaven. He magnified the splendor of mediatorial mercy, glorified God's generous grace and beautified the bequests of blessedness. He furnished the foundations of faith and is the abiding Author of eternal salvation, the One who satisfies infinite justice and who justifies all who believe.
Messiah is never more radiant than when He reveals the resplendence of the divine mercy, the righteousness of the divine mastery and the regality of the divine majesty. He is never more precious than when He presents His celestial credentials of partnership with the Father in the prerogatives of eternal purpose and essential power (John 5:20-29). He is never more courtly than when He is commenting on His own comeliness of character and commending His infinitely inherent capabilities (Matt. 11:25-28). He is never more princely than when He recounts His own resolute righteousness and unveils to John on Patmos His own regal resources (Rev. 1:12-16).