God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, whom alone can save to the uttermost (Acts 4:12 & Hebrews 7:25).
The phrase “alpha and omega” appears four times in the KJV. It is used of God (Revelation 1:8; 21:6), Jesus (Revelation 1:11), and an angel (Revelation 22:13).
I am Alpha and Omega, [first occurrence referring to God.] the beginning and the ending [not in mss], saith the Lord [title used of both God and Jesus as is “saviour” also], which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. [This title only always used of God as it is in the other seven places it occurs in Revelation.] 9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, [second occurrence referring to Jesus.] the first and the last: and, [This whole phrase is omitted in some texts. Many modern versions omit it, like NIV, NLN, HCS.] What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega [third occurrence referring to God.], the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
I am Alpha and Omega, [fourth occurrence referring to the angel delivering the message in verses 6-14.] the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
God also calls Himself the first and the last three times in Isaiah.
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. [See also 41:4 & 48:12.]
Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.
Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
All three of these idioms are combined in Revelation 22:13 not because they were names or titles of the angel, but to emphatically describe his function as the one and only messenger to bring John this important message (Revelation 22:8-14).
On the one occasion Alpha and Omega was used of Jesus (1:11), it was announced with a clear and penetrating voice, “a great voice as of a trumpet (v 10)”; and the speaker was “one like unto the Son of Man (v 13),” — like him whom John had formerly known, at whose feet he had sat, in whose bosom he had lain — like him, but how changed! Invested now with glory insufferably dazzling, when the Apostle saw him, he fell at his feet as dead (v 17). “I am ALPHA AND OMEGA,” said the voice, “the First and the Last.”
This is indeed a very interesting title. “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” Revelation 22:13 also adds “the beginning and the end.” We can understand the connection of all three titles. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. They are also the beginning and the end of it.
These phrases were commonly understood in the Bible lands in Bible times. They are synonymous. In Old Testament times, if a country in the East was about to be attacked, the king would send out messengers to all of the people. The messengers would warn the people of the coming danger. When the messengers came into town, as they were riding along on their horses (sort of like Paul Revere on his midnight ride), they had no time to stop and expound upon the matter with the people. They had only one message and a fleeting moment in which to say it. The king would not have time to send several groups of messengers to a town. Therefore, this one messenger was very important because he was the alpha and omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the one and only messenger.
In the East, when this messenger came riding through the town he would say, “I am the first and the last; take heed; take warning; prepare yourselves for the battle.” The messenger emphasized that “I am the first and the last.” This meant he was the only messenger. If you’re the first and the last to do something, then you are the only one; you are the only messenger. This is what this verse in Revelation refers to when it speaks of the angel as “the alpha and omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He is the one and only messenger.
Tomorrow we will look further into the similar expressions, “the first and the last” and “the beginning and the end.”