Bible Study Commentary on Jesus the Great I AM
I AM the Alpha and Omega - The sum of all revelation
By I Gordon
In the last message we looked at the 8th of the 7 I AM statements of Jesus. We saw that there was a hidden prophetic I AM from Psalm 22 that is not recorded in the gospels but is likely to have been spoken by Jesus on the cross. That is, I am a worm – the scarlet worm willing to die and shed its blood so that it may have many offspring. So that’s it. We have run out of I AM’s. We’ve hit a dead end. We have drunk from the I AM stream for the last time. Well, not so soon! It’s true... we have squeezed this lemon quite a few times but there is still some more juice to give. Argh, actually, a ‘lemon’ possibly isn’t the best metaphor of this I AM series... I hope! But if we have exhausted the gospels where else are we going to find Jesus speaking and even giving more I AM’s? Yep, let’s turn to the last chapter of the last book in the Bible.
Rev 22:12-13 "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. (13) "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."
I initially was going to skip ‘the Alpha and Omega’ but as I started studying it I soon realised that it was more prominent than I had understood before. All the other I AM’s Jesus said once and once only. "I am the Alpha and Omega", or some close variation, He repeated 5 times in Revelation alone. So it is an important I AM and not one to skip!
Examining the Alpha and Omega Term
So what does the Alpha and Omega mean? I know what you are thinking –“Oh, it’s all Greek to me!’ You are a clever reader! ‘Alpha’ and ‘Omega’ are obviously letters in the Greek alphabet. To be more exact, they are the first and the last letters in the Greek Alphabet. So that is why Jesus clarifies what He means by saying ‘I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’ In Hebrew it is the Aleph and the Tav. In English He is saying I am the A and the Z... and everything in between. We use this term today. You might see a book that is ‘The A to Z of potatoe harvesting’. Or ‘The complete A-Z recycling guide.’ It means that it is giving all that there is to know about the subject. So when we speak of Jesus as the Alpha and the Omega, we are speaking of the One who spans time and eternity... the One who was before all things, created all things and upholds all things by His power... We are speaking of Almighty eternal God!
This title goes far beyond what our little brains can comprehend. We are talking about the essence of who Jesus is, and as such we soon hit a brick wall which our comprehension, and even imagination, cannot travel past. So before looking at this term let me clearly say that this message is DEFINITELY not the Alpha and Omega of messages on the Alpha and Omega. It is just scrapping the sides, going out and fetching a little manna for today.So what will we look at today? Well I started by looking at the context of the passages in Revelation where Jesus says He is the Alpha and Omega and you soon see that He is the:
• Alpha and Omega of
• Alpha and Omega of Salvation
• Alpha and Omega of Revelation
We’ll look at this last aspect today – that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega of Revelation. Now you are probably thinking ‘yeah, great, cool...um what does that mean? Do you mean Revelation as in the book of revelation? Or that He is the sum of all of God’s revelation? Or are you talking about how it all ends with His coming revelation?’ And to that I would say ‘Yes... We will touch on all of that!’
The Alpha and Omega of Revelation
Looking first at the book of Revelation itself, we’ve seen already that in the very last chapter Jesus states that He is the Alpha and the Omega. But we also see it in the very first chapter.
Rev 1:7-8 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."
So He is saying that I am the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega, the sum and true focus of Revelation… and to emphasize that point He says it in the beginning and the end of the book. It’s in the first chapter and it’s in the last chapter. The book of Revelation starts with these words – ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’.1 The essence of the book is both a singular unveiling or revelation from a person, and about a person, Jesus Christ. The gospels presented Jesus in the days of His humiliation when He came, as Isaiah tells us, as the suffering servant. Revelation is an unveiling of Jesus Christ in glory! It reveals Him as the King of kings and Lord of lords… the One whose face shines like the sun in all its strength. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of God’s revelation in the book of Revelation. It is an unveiling of who He truly is. Yes, there are many other things that it talks about - there is a seven headed beast, a woman that rides the beast and a mark of the beast. There are seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls bringing destruction upon the earth. But all of these are there as pointers to the main act – the revelation or unveiling of Jesus Christ, the Alpha and Omega. Revelation is about Jesus. That’s why we read:
Rev 19:10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, "Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
John, overawed by the revelation he had been given, went to worship the angel that was showing him these things. And the angel said in effect ‘Argh! No! Stop it! Don’t do that! The whole purpose and intent of prophecy is to bring glory, honour, majesty, worship and praise to JESUS CHRIST’. No one else! Worthy is the lamb. No one else!’ So Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the book of Revelation. But what of the whole Bible?
The Alpha and Omega of God’s revelation in the Bible
Jesus Christ is the theme of the last book of the Bible but what about the first? Or the second? It is a wonderful thing to find that He is the Alpha and Omega of God’s revelation throughout the entire word of God. He is the essence of the whole Bible. Miss that and you’ve missed the main the main point – you’ve missed everything.2 The other day I was looking something up online and came across a blog site of someone who is a professor of Hebrew and the Old Testament at a small liberal university. They wrote:
“It was Sunday morning, and I was seated behind the pulpit along with the other choir members. We had done all the typical Baptist preliminaries of worship in preparation for the highlight of the service: the sermon. As we sat down, the pastor arose, walked to the pulpit, and announced that he was going to preach a series of sermons called “Jesus in Genesis.” I groaned inwardly, because I knew that meant he would be christologizing the OT (i.e. inserting Christian ideas into the OT text in order to make it seem more relevant).”
She groaned when she heard that the Pastor was going to speak about Christ in Genesis. That someone would groan at that lead me to groan when I read it! Is seeing Jesus in Genesis just inserting Christian ideas to make the Old Testament seem more relevant? Goodness! She may be a professor of the Old Testament but I couldn’t help but think of what Jesus Himself said scholars of His day:
Joh 5:39-40 You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.
Luk 24:25-27 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
Heb 10:6-7 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. (7) Then I said, 'Behold, I have come-- In the volume of the book it is written of Me-- To do Your will, O God.' "
"Jesus found himself in the Old
Testament, a thing that some modern scholars do not seem able to do."
(Dr A.T Robertson, Word Pictures, vol. 2, p. 294)
An example from Genesis
If Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the End, and the end (Revelation) is about Him, shouldn’t the first book be about Him as well? The first book is obviously “Genesis” which means “beginning.” So is Christ in Genesis? On your travels back to Genesis from Revelation, please pull over and stop about half way through your journey. Have a look at Isa 46:10:
"Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. "Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; (Isa 46:8-10)
He who is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and Omega, says here that He will proof that by declaring the end from the beginning. He tells us to remember the former things long past because they teach about the end. They teach about His purpose which will be established. What purpose is God going to disclose right from the beginning? His purpose in Christ. It’s all there in the book of beginnings – Genesis. Who are some of the main characters in Genesis?
Some of the main characters and their type of Christ in Genesis
|Characters||Type of Christ|
|Adam & Eve||This was the first marriage. Adam was created from the earth and Eve was created from him – Adam. She was hidden in him and taken from him. She was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. It is a picture of Christ and His bride, the Church. Like Eve, she is ‘hidden’ ‘in Him’. Once fully revealed she will be seen to be just like Him, just as Eve was from Adam and a perfect counterpart for Adam.|
|Cain & Abel||The first two men born on this earth. They brought two different offerings to God. Cain brought produce, the work of his hands. Abel, brought the firstborn of the flock, a blood offering based on a blood substitutionary sacrifice. Cain’s offering was a type of the masses who expect to come to God on the basis of their own good works. Abel speaks of those who come to God through Christ.|
|Noah & the Ark||Because of great sin and wickedness, God had to judge the earth. There was one place of safety... the Ark. All outside the Ark were judged. God Himself closed the door of the Ark and ensured that all inside the Ark were safe and secure! The Ark is a picture of Christ – the ONLY place of safety from the judgement of God.|
|Abraham & Melchizedek||After a great victory Abraham meets and communes (with bread and wine) with Melchizedek – a priest and king! Melchizedek means ‘the king of righteousness’. He was the king of Salem which means the ‘king of peace’. Another pointer to the coming King and Priest, the true king of righteousness and peace, Jesus Christ!|
|Abraham & Isaac||Abraham is asked to sacrifice him ‘only son’ on Mount Moriah. At the last minute God stops Abraham and says that He will provide Himself as a lamb. The Lord is telling us in advance that God the Father will provide His only begotten Son to be a sacrifice on our behalf. He will provide Himself as the sacrifice we need!|
|Isaac & Rebekah||After the near sacrifice of the son Isaac, Sarah dies and Abraham sends His servant out to find a bride for his son Isaac. Isaac himself is not seen again until he goes out to meet His bride Rebekah and take her to his home (Gen 24). After the death of God’s Son Jesus, the wife of the Father, Israel, dies (or is laid aside), while the servant, the Holy Spirit, is sent out to find a bride for His Son Jesus. And like Isaac, Jesus is not seen again after His ascension until He comes out to meet His bride and take her to His home just as Isaac did with Rebekah.|
|Esau & Jacob||The firstborn Esau was of the flesh and despised and forfeited his own birthright and blessing. The promises and blessing were taken by second born, Jacob. Picture of the first man Adam, despising his position of blessing and them being taken up by the second man, Jesus Christ.|
|Joseph & his brothers||More space is given to the story of Joseph in Genesis that any other. Joseph was despised and rejected by his Jewish brothers. Left for dead by his own brothers, he rose to the right hand of Pharaoh in Egypt and then takes a Gentile bride. During an extreme 7 year famine and hardship his brothers are forced to seek help. Feeling guilty about what they did to Joseph years ago they are eventually reconciled to Joseph amongst great weeping. This lays out the whole prophetic plan in advance of Jesus’ rejection by His Jewish brothers. It foretells His ascension to the right hand of God from where He takes a Gentile bride, the Church. It also foretells the coming 7 year tribulation, the day of Jacob’s trouble, within which the Jews will be forced to cry out and be finally reconciled to Jesus once again!|
Why say all this? Jesus is the Alpha and Omega of God’s revelation. He is God’s story and the greatest joy when reading your Bible, no matter where you are, is looking for Him. He is the essence of the first book, He is the essence of the last, and the essence of all in between. Just imagine for a moment a Bible without Jesus. Imagine what would be left of the gospels with Christ. You’d be left with a bunch of twelve misfits goofing around as they trip around Israel. When I read the Bible for the first time it was Jesus that captured my attention. His words convicted me. Imagine the epistles without Jesus... they would just be left with a bunch of rules by which you try clean your up life in your own strength. The book of Revelation without Jesus would be bleak! Death, destruction without any return of the King or eternal hope. All I am trying to say is that He is ESSENTIAL to all that we do. He is the Alpha and Omega...The first and the last.
Does He have that position, which is His by right but one He won't force upon you, in your life?
The two greatest revelations to come – the Alpha and Omega Revelations!
To conclude, I want to change tack a little and look at how it all ends. We have seen that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega of God’s revelation to mankind. He is God’s single essential message to mankind. And He is God’s Revelation to mankind in the last days in a very dramatic way. When we look again at our two scriptures from the book of Revelation we see that the context of both concern the two greatest revelations in the history of mankind… which are still to come.
"Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end…The Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." (Rev 22:12-13, 17)
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. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (Rev 1:7-8)
You will note that both times when Jesus says ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’ it is in the context of the greatest revelation ever… His return! To be more accurate it concerns the two greatest revelations that will ever occur and are soon to occur. The first we could call the Alpha revelation – It is a return and revealing unto His bride.
Alpha revelation - for the bride
Jesus hasn’t been seen for a long time but He is coming for His bride. We spoke briefly about Isaac and Rebekah from Genesis earlier which is an incredible picture of Christ, the Son, and His bride. Think about it from Rebekah’s angle for a moment. A messenger comes to her informing her of someone that would like to marry her in another country. She has to believe a message from a man she has never met before which will cause her to leave her family and go a country she has never visited before, to marry a man she has never even seen before. Man! What a decision!
Yet you are asked the same! Rebekah said ‘I am willing’ and left within a day. And the first glimpse of Isaac she got was when he met them out in a field and took her back to his father’s home to be his wife. Isaac, in Genesis, hadn’t been seen since his near sacrifice up until this point. And it says Isaac loved Rebekah. Imagine seeing Jesus for the first time! What a revelation that will be! The Bible says ‘and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.’ (1Pe 1:8) Like Isaac Jesus has not been seen for some time but He is coming to meet His bride and take her back to His father’s house soon just as Isaac did. And then, marvel of marvels, like Eve coming forth from Adam, the bride in all her glory will be revealed. That is why it says:
When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. (Col 3:4)
That is the Alpha and next revelation in these last days. The revealing of Jesus for His bride! But there is another revelation - The Omega revelation.
The Omega revelation - for the world
The Omega or last revelation of Christ is for the entire world. We’ve seen that Revelation 1:7 says that every eye will see Him. If I read Bible prophecy correctly, the lead up events to this are going to be incredible. To put it simply, God is set the stage by first turning off the all lights. Then, with all eyes fixed, He will peel back the curtain that separates heaven and earth. No sun will shine. No moon either. The current heavens will be peeled back, rolled up like a scroll, revealing… HIM... the One who sits in all authority upon the throne. I was reading this passage from Revelation the other day when a thought a struck me (it only happens occasionally!)
Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?" (Rev 6:15-17)
My thought was ‘what do unbelievers know about the face of Him who sites on the throne? What do unbelievers know about the lamb or His wrath?’ And then it dawned on me as I read the whole passage again… they will see Him. This becomes clearer as we read the whole passage:
I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! (Rev 6:12-16)
Revelation 6:12-13 tell us that God is going to turn all the lights off. The whole world will be darkened. No sun, no moon, not even any stars. Revelation 6:14 tells us that that which separates heaven and earth will be rolled back like a scroll. So what will they see when the current heavens are pealed back? I believe they will see the throne and the One who sits on the throne. The mystery of God will be finished as Revelation 10:7 says. And then He will come. Every eye will see Him. To some it will be great joy. To others, utter terror. He is the Alpha and Omega of God revelation and this show is going to end with one spectacular event! Are you ready?
Wrapping it all up...
So what have we seen in this I AM?
• He is the Alpha and Omega of God’s revelation. It is all about Him. The Bible is about Him. World history is about Him. Future events will be about Him. He is the Alpha and the Omega. The beginning and the End. Is He in His right place in your life?
• He is about to be revealed… God’s purpose and plan outlined right from the beginning is playing out in our generation. I’m not just saying that… it literally is! Are you ready?
• If you are a born again believer you are
not those that mourn at His coming but rejoice. Like Eve, the bride is about
to be revealed. Like Rebekah, we are about to see the groom!
• His revelation for His bride is also tied in with the rewarding of the saints. 'Behold I am coming quickly and my reward is with Me to render to all according to what they have done.' Live today with tomorrow in view!
To get one pet-hate out of the way, note that the book is not ‘Revelations’ and the opening lines are not ‘The Revelations of Jesus Christ’. It is singular – ‘Revelation’. Full stop. ↩
I remember when I first started seeing this. As a young Christian I went off to Bible College and while there I went into something I had not been in for a long time... a library. I can’t say libraries excited me at all before becoming a Christian but this one was different... it was a library of Christian books! It was like being a child in a candy store! “Um, I’ll have two of those, and three of those... No, wait, one of those, four of those and...” And as I looked through a few walls full of books there was one that stood out. I’m not sure why. I didn’t know the title, I hadn’t heard of the author. But I pulled out this book called ‘The Saving Life of Christ’. And I remember ringing home and asking Mum ‘Mum, have you ever heard of someone called Major Ian Thomas’? She said ‘Yes! He came out to Tauranga in the 60’s well before you were born and I went to hear him. And I knew that what he was saying was the truth, it was something I had never heard before but I also knew that I didn’t have what he had spoke about.’
As I read the ‘The Saving Life of Christ’ and others like it I soon saw that the whole Bible, and the whole Christian life, is about Jesus Christ. And it brings so much of the Bible, especially the Old Testament, alive. On my website Jesus Plus Nothing, I recently noticed that 70-80% of the studies are from the Old Testament! It’s a site called JesusPlusNothing and it’s mainly based in the Old Testament! : ) But it is still all about Jesus. Sadly, we live in an age when we make it about so many other things. People promote themselves; they put too much focus on a particular Pastor or teacher. They focus on the latest side issue teaching or ‘sure thing’ experience sweeping through a carnal Christianity, always looking for the ‘next’ thing because He is not enough. He is the Alpha and Omega of God’s revelation to mankind. Without Him we are nothing. ↩