And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things said the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;…
What is meant by Christ being "the First and the Last"? The words are quoted from Isaiah 44:6, 7, where God supports His claim as the declarer of truth on the fact that He was before all, and continues through all, standing alone as acquainted with all. When our Lord uses this phrase for Himself, He makes Himself the Eternal Jehovah. He uses a title which belongs only to the Most High God. And yet in close connection with the title which best marks His Deity is the title which best marks His humanity — "which was dead, and lived again." The Cross is seen on the background of the Divine. The suffering Man is one with the saving God. The two titles together form a compendium of the great salvation, and lift the mind to the contemplation of the grand scheme of the Divine mercy and love, as against any earthly trial of whatever kind.
Parallel VersesKJV: And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;