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Alpha & Omega Argument for Trinitarianism

Issue Presented

Can God be the Alpha and Omega, and Jesus be the Alpha and Omega, and Jesus not necessarily be God? In other words, can the same title be used for Jesus and God, without signifying Jesus is God too?

Let's Address Another Familiar Title Used for Both Jesus and God   

When God is called Lord, and Jesus is called Lord, does this mean Jesus is God?

No, unless the word Lord necessarily means God.

This is because the word Lord in the NT - the Greek word KYRIOS -- equally applies to humans such as lords over servants, lords over nations, and lords over slaves. See the article Trinitarian Fouls to the Bible Text on our website.

Hence, just because God has the attribute of Lord does not mean Jesus being called Lord means Jesus is God. The attribute Lord equally applies in the NT to land owners, slave owners, and the Emperor of Rome. Hence, this attribute of Lord can be shared in common by God and Jesus without necessarily implying Jesus is God.


Why Does This Answer The Alph Omega Argument?

The same issue comes up about God affirming He is the Alpha and Omega, and Jesus equally affirming he is Alpha and Omega. (Rev. 1:8, the "Lord God" says he is the Alpha and Omega; Rev. 2:13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Rev. 22:12, Jesus says "I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.")

The first problem with this argument that Jesus is God apart from the Father is this time, unlike with the word LORD, we do not know for sure what is meant by Alpha and Omega. Many theories abound but none are decisive. See the excellent article on Revelation 1:8 at Biblican Unitarian at this link.

I personally believe the Alpha and Omega means one who speaks Prophecy. This is based upon Isaiah 46:10. For Alpha is the beginning of the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the end of the Greek alphabet. The spirit of prophecy is described in Isaiah 46:10 in the same manner: "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'" Jesus was not just any prophet, but the Prophet of Deuteronomy 18:16-19 whose every word comes from Yahweh. Peter explains this in his speech in Acts chapter three. This title of Word of Prophecy is likely described by the Metaphor of Alpha and Omega.

Regardless, even if this is not convincing, one can see that the solution, whatever it is, proves one cannot claim this title proves Jesus is God unless one knows what Alpha and Omega means. And no one has a convincing answer.

As a result, rather than Alpha and Omega meaning Jesus is God apart from the Father, it is as equally likely that Alpha and Omega means an attribute that two different beings can share without being the same being, in particular God, just as the attribute Lord can apply to both God and Jesus without implying Jesus is God. Trinitarians suppose incessantly this is not possible about the words Alpha and Omega, but this relies upon using the mysteriousness of the words Alpha and Omega to their naive readers' disadvantage. 

However, it turns out we can exclude as a possibility for Alpha and Omega that it could mean Jesus was God. For Jesus clearly says in Revelation 1:18 that he, the "first and the last" -- which is equated in Revelation 2:13  and 22:12 with the Alpha and Omega, died.

As a result, because we know from Deuteronomy 32:40 ("I live forever") and many other passages that God is immortal (incapable of dying), that Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, is inconsistent with a meaning that necessarily means one is God Apart from the Father.  Here is Revelation 1:17-18:

Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Rev 1:18 NIV.)

In Genesis 3:22 et seq., God said he had to keep man from eating the fruit of the tree of life, or otherwise, man would become like God - immortal. In Deuteronomy 32:40, God says "I live forever."

Furthermore, God revealed His nature always was permanent life eternally, incapable of death when Moses revealed: "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms....” (Deuteronomy 33:27). God cannot die. God is eternal - both in the past, present and future. (Psalm 90:2.)

Paul even said so. Paul, familiar with Jewish prayers that always addressed the father as "Eternal King," wrote Timothy about the unseen invisible one and only God:

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17 NASV.)

Cf. Col.1:15 (Paul says Jesus is the "image of the invisible God").

The New Living Translation is more emphatic on what it means to say the "only God" is "immortal." This God is one who can "never die."

All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen  (1 Timothy 1:17 NLT.)

Even if you had no passages to read, please imagine if God truly died at any point. Who then would resurrect God? He would be dead. So immortality of God is not only in the Bible, but no other outcome makes sense. Hence, when Jesus said he was the Alpha and Omega, and says in the same context that He died, then Jesus could not be claiming in context that "I am God, and I died and now am alive again." That would be nonsense.

Trinitarians avert this problem by saying God "willingly subjected himself to death" but "his spirit never ceased to exist." (E. Lyon's Apologetics Press.) This is a contradiction. If God was alive the entire time, then God never died. Jesus the man died, but God himself never could have died. God is eternal, immortal (as even Paul recognizes), and incapable of death. The universe is held together by an everlasting eternal God.

Trinitarians' solutions to dilemmas always end up in self-contradictions yet they accept them due to the compulsion of their erroneous assumption that God is three persons of separate minds and wills who each are God yet are one Being.

The Angel Says "I am Alpha and Omega" Too

However, there is one more problem saying that "I am Alpha and Omega" means one is proclaiming they are God. For it is clear at the outset that Apostle John has met and sees an Angel who reveals the words and message of Jesus to John. In Revelation 1:1-2, we read:

1 and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

This means that the angel may be quoting Jesus, but sometimes is speaking on its own. This is what we find clearly in Revelation 22. First, we need to read Revelation 22:6-9 to see the angel is clearly speaking words that if you didn't know better, you would think are Jesus speaking:

And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.

Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

So the Angel said "I come quickly." And that is meaningful for earlier various angels come with cups of God that have different judgments. But at first, we might think it is Jesus speaking. Yet, it is clear from verse 9, it was the angel speaking, and not differentiating itself from Jesus.

The angel then tells John not to worship him, but worship God alone. In this passage, the Angel speaking of himself next says "I am the Alpha and the Omega":

10 And he [the Angel who is a fellow-servant and not God] saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

12 And, behold, I come quickly [i.e., the Angel]; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. [NOTE: Still the angel, who previously is depicted among angels bringing 'rewards' in the process of judgment on mankind. The IVP Commentary notes: "This angel is 'one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues' (21:9; compare 15:1, 6),]

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

14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Here, the Angel says "I am Alpha and Omega," and refers to "his commandments," after having told Apostle John to "worship God," not the angel himself. Nor can "his" in this verse mean Jesus is being quoted by the Angel for Jesus would not refer to his own commandments as "his commandments." If they are Jesus' commandments, he would say "my commandments."

Only after that statement does the speaker potentially change, and is no longer solely the angel's words. Next the angel once more transmits words from Jesus. To do that, the angel breaks in with "I, Jesus...." Let's pick up with the next verse:

16I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Thus verse 16 is the first possibility that the primary voice is changing. But even then it appears to be a single statement of Jesus confirming the angel's testimony. The importance in any event is the "I am Alpha and Omega" was the angel speaking in the prior verse 13, not Jesus. 

It is likely possible we are to believe the angel resumes speaking at verse 18 for the notion of "testimony" or a "witness" is the primary role of the Angel, not Jesus, up to this point. So when verse 18 says "I testify unto every man" it appears to be a role of an angel, not Jesus, to testify of what the angel heard and saw.

This is reiterated in verse 20 which certainly is not a saying of Jesus (the words "come Lord Jesus"), but the angel's words. The angel in the same verse says "he which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly" -- the angel who previously said "I come quickly" in verse 12 - which is part of the prophecy earlier in Revelation that the angels come quickly with cups of judgment. To repeat, the InterVarsity Press commentary notes: "This angel is 'one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues' (21:9; compare 15:1, 6)."

This strongly supports that Alpha and Omega cannot mean deity. Because the angel applied it to himself, and the angel denied he was God, it could not thus likely signify one who is claiming Deity.



Another Solution to the Alpha and Omega Mystery

Many people suggest it means the role of creator, that God is eternal, etc.  May I add to the list what seems another possibility -- it means unsullied by sin, pure, etc. Here's why.

Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet.

Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet.

Twice, these are obviously explained as the "first" and the "last" in Rev 1:18 and 2:13.

One time, but only in reference to Jesus, Jesus says he is "the beginning" and the "end" -- this is in Revelation 2:13.

If one is simultaneously both the first and the last, and you suppose this is about geometry, then any point along a circle or eliptical shape is always both the first and last point equally.

The small version of the Greek letter alpha and the omega each have round or eliptical shapes which you can obtain by stretching a straight line into an unbroken object, e.g., a circle, an eliptical, etc. Any point you fixate on in the lines of the letter is both the first and last point as they are identically the same to each other. For example, any point along a circle is both the first and the last point where a straight line meets when curved to form a circle.

If this theory is correct, then an unbroken line that connects to itself, e.g., a circle, an elipsis, is the image we are suppose to see when we hear these words.

The image of an unbroken circle really means the line is unbroken. Once you identify a beginning and end, and say it is there, it is truly nowhere, as the same is true of every other point of the circle. Just as the Alpha begins the alphabet, and Omega ends the alphabet, they are repeated in exercises starting over, and hence it is a circle, with no true beginning or end. 

Hence, Alpha and Omega may symbolize an unbroken circle.

What is unbroken about God? About Jesus? About the Angel who never fell who speaks in Revelation 1 and 22? What do they each share in common about unbrokenness?

Jesus was "without sin" (1 Peter 2:22) which is equally true about God. As the author of Hebrews says, Jesus was tempted in every way which we are, but did not sin. 

Hence, I believe the meaning of Alpha and Omega may be perfection -- an unbroken line formed inside the Alpha and the Omega. Any point along the lines are the first and the last, the beginning and the end. There is thus no true beginning or end of a circle. That unbroken line is because Jesus obeyed the command Jesus gave us - "be perfect even as your heavenly father is perfect."

Hence, Jesus can be a human who lived a perfect life without being God. This is what Peter said about Jesus - "he committed no sin." (1 Peter 2:22.) By being tempted in the flesh in the same way we are, but resisting, as the author of Hebrews said, Jesus became the Alpha and Omega who died and is alive again, while God is eternally the Alpha and Omega -- a perfect unbroken line that encircles the soul or spirit of God.

Consider that a circle is a universal spiritual symbol, typically meaning perfection: 

The circle is a universal symbol with extensive meaning. It represents the notions of totality, wholeness, original perfection, the Self, the infinite, eternity, timelessness, all cyclic movement, God ('God is a circle whose centre is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere' (Hermes Trismegistus)). (University of Michigan, Symbolism Project.)

This quote of Hermes' Trismegistus is from the Book of the 24 Philosophers. See link.

Now consider that a sphere reflects perfection -- unbrokenness, and later we will return to the Greek letters Alpha and Omega after listening to this:

In Plato’s Timaeus we read that the sphere is the most perfect and most uniform shape, because all points in its surface are equidistant from the center. ("Pascal's Sphere," Philosofia Esoterica.)

In the eastern religions, a circle likewise symbolizes perfection:

The term “mandala” comes from the ancient Indian language called Sanskrit and means circle, circular, round. The symbol of a circle symbolizes perfection, wholeness, oneness. A circle is a sign of the absolute, concentrated in itself with no beginning and no end. http://www.mandalavaga.si/en/mandala/the-circle-symbol.html

So the unbroken line of a circle is symbolic of perfection -- here implying a moral perfection.