"I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last."
There is portrayed to us in this short, yet striking verse that which commands our attention, calls forth our praise and bows us in worship.
These things are mentioned as descriptive of some of the glories of Him who has captivated our hearts and won them for God — Jesus. Precious name! embracing as it does His down-stooping grace and path of infinite perfection, of complete submission to and concert with, the will of God, of devotion to the Father and superlative grace to men. Well said were those adoring words: —
"Thy name encircles every grace
Which God as man could shew;
There only could He fully trace
A life divine below."
We may rejoice in the fragrance of that name which "is as ointment poured forth," and delight to contemplate some of the higher mysteries of the fame of Him who bore it.
"Alpha and Omega" the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet indicate the speaking of God, bringing before us the Glory of the Lord as the Word. In the beginning He was with God — a distinct Person, and was God: thus He was fully competent to give expression to all the mind of God.
Every communication of God to the creature was through the Word. When the prophets in times past spoke, it was by the Spirit of Christ which was in them (1 Pet. 1:11). And in these last days God has fully spoken in Him. So we see that as the "Alpha and Omega" Christ is the One in whom God is declared.
The Lord Jesus it is by whom God has been revealed in the fulness of His nature as Light and Love. The eternal life too into which believers are introduced — that life which has this distinctive character that it is with the Father, has been manifested in Him. All this blessedness has been brought to man as revealed by Him.
If we contemplate the holiness of God which necessitates the removal in judgment of everything that is contrary to it, this too finds its expression in the Alpha and the Omega, for Revelation 19:11-20 gives us a glimpse of heaven opened that we might behold One who is faithful and true, who judges and makes war in righteousness, who comes out to smite the nations and to tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty, and His name is called the Word of God.
Whether then God is expressed in grace or judgment He is so in Him who is the Eternal Word, the Alpha and Omega, the first word and the last word of all that He has to say.
"The Beginning and the End." This conveys the thought of activity or work. The work of Creation is ascribed to the Son. The universe sprang into being by the word of His power. "For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him" (Col. 1:16).
He is the beginning, the Originator of every created thing. The creation of man was the outcome of divine counsel. God, Elohim — Father, Son and Holy Ghost — equally participated therein, but the act of creating is attributed to the Son. He is the Beginning and He is the End. He is the object for whom all are created — He is yet going to be honoured throughout the bounds of the creation.
As to the new creation He is the Beginning who is the First-born from among the dead and the end in view is that in all things He might have the pre-eminence.
Hear Him in John 4, "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me and to finish His work." In John 17 anticipative of the work of redemption being accomplished . . . "I have finished the work that Thou gayest Me to do." On the Cross "It is finished." Creation, Redemption and Judgment are the work of Him who is the Son — the Beginning and the End.
"The First and the Last." The work of God, the speaking of God, have come to fruition in Him; but here we come to that which sets Him forth in all the glory and majesty of His Being. He is the great "I Am" of Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6, and John 8:58. What He is in His own Person, is conveyed to us in the expression "the First and the Last." As the One who entered man's estate in lowly guise, the One in whom God has acted and spoken, the devil has attacked Him and has sought to bring Him, in the estimation of the creature, to the level of the creature.
But no — He is the Christ who is over all God blessed for evermore. He is the self-existent Almighty and Eternal one. In Manhood He is addressed in terms of equality by the Father. "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever" (Heb. 1:8). The Holy Spirit through the apostle John quotes Isaiah 6 as being directly fulfilled by Him. "These things said Esaias when he saw His glory and spake of Him" (John 12:41). This testimony is given to the glory of the Person whom men despise and slight — The Lord Jesus Christ — The Son become man — The First and the Last."
And while this was true of Him, as to the glory of His Person, His work and His Word, did He meet with united acclamation? Not at all. John 7:43, John 9:16 and John 10:19 witness that they divided on what He said, what He did, and who He was.
But our eyes being opened, like the man in John 9, being introduced to Him who is the Son of God, we believe and prostrate ourselves in worship at His feet: The Alpha and Omega, The Beginning and the Ehd, The First and the Last.
"The mention of Thy name shall bow
Our hearts to worship Thee;
The chiefest of ten thousand Thou,
Whose love has set us free."