Jesus is the first and the last. Is He is the Almighty God?

Summary of this article

Purpose

Jesus Christ identified Himself as “the first and the last” (Rev 1:17). Does that mean that He is “the Almighty?”

The phrases, “the first and the last“ and “the Alpha and the Omega” are found only in the book of Revelation. And, of the ten times that the title “the Almighty” appears in the New Testament, nine are in Revelation. For this reason, this article focuses on the book of Revelation.

Introduction to Revelation

The very first two verses of Revelation twice make a distinction between God and Jesus (Rev 1:1-2). The point is not only, as the Trinity doctrine claims, that Jesus is distinct from the Father. Rather, the point is that Jesus is distinct from “God,” which implies that the Father is “God” and that Jesus is not “God.” The entire Revelation maintains this distinction (e.g. Rev 3:14; 5:9, 10, 7:10).

Revelation 1:1 also shows that Jesus is subordinate to God, for He received the contents of the book from God. This is also a consistent pattern in Revelation, which refers to the Father as Jesus’ God  (Rev 1:6; 3:2, 12).

In John’s greeting in Revelation 1:4-5, He refers:

      • To Jesus Christ as “the faithful witness,
      • To the Spirit as “the seven Spirits,” and
      • To the Father, as “Him who is and who was and who is to come.

The Almighty

Therefore, “the Almighty,” when we find this title for the first time in Revelation (Rev 1:8), refers to the Father, for it also describes Him:

(1) As “God;” a title which Revelation uses only for the Father.

(This pattern continues throughout Revelation. Every time that Revelation uses the title “the Almighty,” it also describes Him as “God” (Rev 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:2-3; 16:7; 16:14; cf. 19:6, 13-15; 21:22).)

(2) As Him “who is and who was and who is to come;” a title which Revelation uses only for the Father (Rev 1:4-5).

Explicit Distinction

In three passages, Revelation, make the distinction between “the Almighty” and Jesus explicit:

In Revelation 19:6-7 “a great multitude” speaks about “the Lord our God, the Almighty” and about “the Lamb.”

In Revelation 19:13-15, “the Word of God” (Jesus Christ) “treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”

Lastly, the phrase, “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Rev 21:22) makes a distinction between “the Almighty” and Jesus.

The first and the last

Then the question is; how could Jesus be “the first and the last” (Rev 1:17; 2:8) but not “the Almighty?

Revelation describes both the Father and Jesus as “the first and the last” (Rev 1:8; 21:5-7; 22:13).

Jesus is “the first and the last” because God created all things through Him (John 1:3; Col 1:16; Heb 1:1-2). The word “through” identifies God as the Creator and indicates that Jesus is the Means through whom God creates (cf. 1 Cor 8:6). For a more detailed discussion, see the article – Creation.

The Son is not a created being, for He has been begotten, (John 1:14, 18; 3:16), which means that He came forth from the being of the Father.

God exists beyond time, space and matter and has created all things in this universe through the Son. Both the Father and the Son, therefore, have existed for as long as time existed. Consequently, both are “the first and the last.

But the Bible makes it abundantly clear that the Son is not “the Almighty” or equal to “the Almighty.” In the incomprehensible infinity beyond time, the Father is the Great Source that begat the Son.

– END OF SUMMARY –


Purpose

Because Jesus Christ identified Himself as “the first and the last” (Rev 1:17), one reader claimed that He is “the Almighty.” The purpose of this article is to determine whether Jesus is “the Almighty” and, if not, what it means that He is “the first and the last.

The phrases, “the first and the last“ and “the Alpha and the Omega” are found only in the book of Revelation.

Furthermore, of the ten times that the title “the Almighty” appears in the New Testament, nine are in Revelation. The other instance is a quote from the Old Testament (2 Cor 6:16-18) and does not help us to distinguish between the Father and His Son. For this reason, this article focuses on the book of Revelation. The reader may also want to consult the more comprehensive article – Does the book of Revelation present Jesus as God Almighty?

Introduction to Revelation

The very first verse of Revelation makes a distinction between God and Jesus:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ,
which God gave Him” (Rev 1:1)

This introduces a theme that we find throughout Revelation and the New Testament, namely:

(a) That Jesus is a different Person from God. The point is not only, as the Trinity doctrine claims, that Jesus is distinct from the Father. Rather, the point is that Jesus is distinct from “God,” which implies that the Father is “God” and that Jesus is not “God.”  The entire Revelation maintains this distinction.

(b) That Jesus is subordinate to God, for He received the contents of the book from God.

The next verse continues the distinction between God and Jesus:

John “who testified to the word of God
and to the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:2).

This distinction between God and Jesus is a consistent pattern in the New Testament and in Revelation. See the articles:

Does the book of Revelation present Jesus as God? or
The NT distinguishes between God and Jesus.

Two verses later, John greets his readers as follows:

Grace to you and peace,
from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and
from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and
from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness” (Rev 1:4-5).

This triadic greeting does not use the title “God,” but since “the seven Spirits” and “Jesus Christ” are explicitly mentioned, the phrase “Him who is and who was and who is to come” refers to the Father, also referred to as “God” in verses 1 and 2.

The next three verses explain more about Jesus and God:

He (Jesus) has made us to be a kingdom, priests
to His God and Father
” (Rev 1:6).

This verse not only continues the distinction between God and Jesus, but also describes that God as Jesus’ God. We also find this stated explicitly later in Revelation when Jesus says:

I have not found your deeds completed
in the sight of My God
” (Rev 3:2).

I will make him a pillar
in the temple of My God
” (Rev 3:12).

The Almighty

Verse 8 continues:

I am the Alpha and the Omega,”
says the Lord God,
“who is and who was and who is to come,
the Almighty” (Rev 1:8).

This profound verse uses four titles, including the first use of the title “the Almighty” in Revelation. That it refers to God, as opposed to Jesus, is indicated by the following:

He is called “the Lord God.

He is also called the One “who is and who was and who is to come,” and this title was already used above for God, the Father (Rev 1:4-5). The Father is also identified by this title is Revelation 4:8 and 11:17).

This analysis shows that Revelation makes a distinction between God and Jesus, identifies God alone as “the Almighty” and describes Jesus as subordinate to Him. This pattern continues throughout Revelation. Every time that Revelation uses the title “the Almighty,” it describes “God:”

Notice that all instances of “the Almighty” in Revelation describe Him as “God:”

“’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’
says the
Lord God,
‘who is and who was and who is to come,
the
Almighty‘” (Rev 1:8).

The Lord God, the Almighty,
who was and who is and who is to come
” (Rev 4:8);

Lord God, the Almighty,
who are and who were
” (Rev 11:17);

O Lord God, the Almighty” (Rev 15:2-3).

O Lord God, the Almighty” (Rev 16:7).

God, the Almighty” (Rev 16:14; cf. 19:6, 13-15; 21:22)

For a more detailed discussion of the titles of God in Revelation, see the article – Does the book of Revelation present Jesus as God Almighty?

Explicit Distinction

Above, we saw that Revelation 1:1, 2, and 6 make a distinction between God and Jesus and that Revelation always identifies only God as “the Almighty.” The last three verses in Revelation, where we find the title “the Almighty,” make the distinction between “the Almighty” and Jesus explicit:

In Revelation 19:6-7 “a great multitude” speaks about “the Lord our God, the Almighty” and about “the Lamb.”

In Revelation 19:13-15, “the Word of God” (Jesus Christ) “treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.”

Lastly, the phrase, “the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Rev 21:22) makes a distinction between “the Almighty” and Jesus.

These verses, therefore, confirm that Jesus is not the Almighty.

The first and the last

Then the question is; how could Jesus be “the first and the last” (Rev 1:17; 2:8) but not “the Almighty?

Both the Father and the Son are the first and the last.

This title – “the first and the last” – is never used for the Father but a similar phrase – “the Alpha and the Omega” describes the Father (Rev 1:8; cf. 21:5-7).

In Revelation 22:13, Somebody says:

I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the first and the last,
the beginning and the end.”

For the following reasons, this could be Jesus:

The same Person also said, “I am coming quickly” (Rev 22:12), which is what Jesus said in Revelation 3:11.

One of the titles of this Person is – “the first and the last” – and Jesus is described as such (Rev 1:17 and 2:8).

Revelation, therefore, applies these titles to both the Father and to Jesus. This is explained as follows:

God created all things through Jesus. 

John, who wrote the Revelation, also wrote:

All things came into being through Him (Jesus),
and apart from Him nothing came into being
that has come into being
” (John 1:3; cf. Col 1:16).

This is repeated in Hebrews 1:1-2:

God … in these last days
has spoken to us in His Son …
through whom also He made the world.

The word “through” identifies God as the Creator and indicates that Jesus is the Means through whom God creates (cf. 1 Cor 8:6). For a more detailed discussion, see the article – Creation.

Jesus is the Beginning. 

While Revelation identifies the Father as the Creator (Rev 4:11; cf. 21:5), it describes Jesus as “the Beginning of the creation of God” (Rev 3:14).

This does not mean that He is a created being, for He has been begotten. He is “the only begotten” (John 1:14, 18; 3:16). “Begotten” describes the origin of the Son in human language, saying that He came forth from the being of the Father.

The description of His Son as “the Beginning of the creation of God” means that He was the first being to exist, but it means more than that. It means that the Son Himself is “the Beginning.” It will probably not be right to say it this way, but what I have in mind is that the Son is the Seed from which the entire universe grew. In other words, God created all things by begetting Him. In Colossians 1:18, we also read, “He is the beginning” and Justin Martyr described Him as “a Beginning.” 

Therefore, He is the Alpha and the Omega.

God exists beyond time, space and matter. He has created everything in this universe through the Son. The Son is Himself the Beginning of time and of everything else in this universe. And since the Son “upholds all things by the word of” God’s power (Heb 1:3; Col 1:17 – see the discussion in the article – Creation), His Son is the entire existence of the Creation.

Both the Father and the Son, therefore, have existed for as long as time existed. Consequently, both are “the first and the last” of the creation.

But the Bible makes it abundantly clear that the Son is not “the Almighty” or equal to “the Almighty.” It is still God, who exists beyond time, space, and matter, who created and upholds all things “through” Him. In the incomprehensible infinity beyond time, the Father is the Great Source that begat the Son.

Christology – Available Articles

Summary Articles

Specific Bible Books

Specific Bible Passages

The origin of the Son

Christ and God

Jesus is called God.

      • Overview – Overview of the verses that refer to Jesus as theos.
      • Theos – The meaning of theos – the word translated “God.”
      • John 1:18 – The original text of this verse is in dispute.
      • John 20:28 – Did Thomas say that Jesus is God?
      • John’s gospel – Discussion of theos in this gospel.
      • Romans 9:5 – The translation depends on punctuation.
      • Hebrews 1:8 – The next verse says that God is His theos.

The translation of John 1:1

Trinity Doctrine

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Daniel

Revelation

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