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The Alpha and Omega

A Word for Today | Revelation 1:8

The question of the sovereignty of God is essential to all Christians but especially to those who are going through hard times.  James Boice asks: “Is God sovereign?  Is he regulating affairs on earth today and at all times?  Or are things somehow out of his control?  Or in man’s hands?  Or even controlled by the devil?”[1]  The evidence suggests to many that God is not in control and, indeed, perhaps no one is.  Yet Revelation 1:8 reveals a God who is sovereign over all things because of who and what He is: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”

Revelation 1:8 supports God’s sovereignty with three statements, the first of which expresses the eternity of God: “I am the Alpha and the Omega.”  God reigns over all, since He is before and after all things.  “The Alpha and the Omega” is a figure of speech called a merism, which states polar opposites to include all things in between.  As the Alpha and Omega, God is in control of everything.  This statement echoes Isaiah 41:4, where God says: “Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning?  I, the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.” 

Second, God reveals Himself as One “who is and who was and who is to come.”  These words declare God’s self-existence.  He is the God “who is.”  The self-existence God has is self-sufficient, having no source of life or needs outside Himself.  His will, like Himself, is immutable and not subject to the vagaries of this world.  Our plans change, simply because we do not know the future until it arrives and we often lack the ability to do what we intended.  Not so with God!  Isaiah 46:9-10 says: “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times thing not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” 

We might think there is nothing more to say on the matter, but God points out one more essential attribute that makes him sovereign over all things.  Verse 8 adds an assertion of God’s omnipotence, concluding, “the Almighty.”  God is able to do all His holy will, accomplishing His purpose in all things, despite all appearances to the contrary.

Knowing the truth of God’s almighty and sovereign rule over all things brings the greatest comfort to suffering Christians like John’s audience in Revelation.  How are we, in our turn, to meet the uncertainty, unfairness, and sorrows of this world of sin?  Knowing that God is sovereign – and that His sovereign purpose is the salvation of those who believe in His Son – gives life a great purpose beyond our trials.  Our knowledge of God’s eternal, unchanging, and almighty love fills us with comfort and joy.  We look up from God’s Word with praise to Him, our sovereign God, and we join the host of heaven in saying: “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign” (Rev. 11:17). 

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Phillips

[1] James Montgomery Boice, Revelation, unpublished manuscript, ch. 4:p.3.

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