Revelation 1:8, 9
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.…
I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, etc. Hero we have two objects arresting our attention and demanding thought.
I. A BEING WHOSE EXISTENCE IS TRANSCENDENT. "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come." Although these words are considered of doubtful authority, and probably an interpolation, they are a representation of the Infinite One. They not only agree with other declarations of him in sacred Writ, but they are repeated elsewhere. Here is:
1. Eternity. "I am Alpha and Omega."
(1) Eternity in relation to all the past. "I am Alpha" that is, the First, the Beginning. There is not a creature throughout immensity that had not a "beginning;" but there is no point in the past in which he was not. Go back through all the million ages and through all the million millennia, and you reach no point in which he did not exist. He occupied the boundlessness of immensity alone. No one thought or felt or moved but he. It was with him to determine as to whether there should be any other existence besides his own. The universes that have been, that are, and that are yet to be, were all in his eternal mind, in archetype and possibility.
(2) Eternity also in relation to the future. "The Beginning and the Ending." All that have had a beginning will peradventure have an end; yea, certainly so, unless he determines otherwise. Both the commencement and continuance of all things hang on his will; but he will never have an end. All life may be extinguished, the whole universe go back to chaos and be lost in the abysses of nonentity; but he will be.
"Even as darkness, self-impregned, brings forth
Creative light and silence, speech; so beams,
Known through all ages, hope and help of man,
One God omnific, sole, original,
Wise, wonder-working wielder of the whole,
Infinite, inconceivable, immense,
The Midst without beginning, and the First
From the beginning, and of all being Last."
2. Omnipotence. "The Almighty." There is nothing impossible for him to do but wrong. "It is impossible for God to lie," to deceive, or defraud. This moral weakness is his glory. "God is truth, and light is shadow," says Plato. "The Lord is great in power: ... he hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein."
II. A MAN WHOSE CHARACTER IS REMARKABLE. Here is:
1. A character of distinguished excellence described. "I, John, who also am your brother, and companion [partaker] in tribulation." John describes himself:
(1) As a "brother." His heart glows with a Christly fraternity for the good of all the Churches throughout all the world.
(2) As a sufferer. He is "in tribulation." The best men on earth are subject to suffering. He was a member of the kingdom of Christ, a loving, faithful, loyal subject of his spiritual empire. "The kingdom and patience of [which are in] Jesus Christ." In that kingdom he was a companion with all who suffered, a fellow partaker of their tribulations. There has always been suffering in connection with the kingdom of Christ, and all the sufferers feel a blessed companionship. During the first hundred years, persecutions in this kingdom were very sanguinary and severe.
2. A character of distinguished excellence banished by bloody persecutors. "In the isle that is called Patmos." This was the scene of his banishment: a rocky island in the Mediterranean, about fifteen miles in circumference - a most wild, barren spot; a convict settlement, whither the Romans banished all criminal wretches they deemed unfit for liberty. On this desolate island, amidst the greatest villains of the age, this great character was banished. Strange that the providence of Heaven should have allowed one of the most Christly men on the earth at that time to live for an hour in such a scene. But Patmos to John and Patmos to the other residents was a different place. To John it was a theatre of sublimest revelations, the very gate of heaven. He was not alone there; he felt himself surrounded by a great "multitude which no man could number," with countless thousands of angels; and there he wrote a book to bless humanity through every coming age.
3. A character of distinguished excellence banished by bloody persecutors for the cause of Christ. "For the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." He was there, not because he had perpetrated any crime, but because he had rendered the highest service to his age. He bore "testimony of Jesus," and preached the "Word of God." "John had now," says Dr. Vaughan, "reached a late point in his long pilgrimage. The storm of persecution had broken upon him in his gentle and steadfast ministry at Ephesus, and had driven him to the little island of Patmos for the testimony of the truth. In that solitude, however, he was not alone. Shut out as he was now from all Christian converse, he was only the more fitted for converse with Christ. Debarred by no fault of his own from all Christian ordinances, expelled from that congregation in which for so long, day after day, he had uttered the message of truth and the call of love, he was admitted now to worship m the very sanctuary above, and to receive, if he might no longer give, instruction from the lips of the Divine Master himself." - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.