By Horatius Bonar
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." --Revelation 1:8.
Here the voice of the Son of God breaks in and interrupts the utterance of the apostle. John had been speaking of Jesus; and now Jesus speaks. He speaks of Himself, but in new figures, and in a new style of language. We are carried back to the first chapter of the Gospel of John, and the first chapter of the first Epistle of John; yet the language is not the same. It is a peculiar declaration of the eternity and infinity of the Christ of God--a declaration specially suited to the present book, as unfolding the ages yet to come, in which this glorious One is to be all in all. It is the ascription to Christ of one of the special and incommunicable names of Godhead. In verse 4 this name is given to the Father; now it is given to the Son, or rather to Jesus Christ--'the Christ of God,' the 'Word made flesh.'
The name as given in full is, 'the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the ending; the first and the last; the Lord; who is, and who was, and who is to come; the Almighty.' This is the full name, when its various parts are put together. It is the unfolding of the one name, Jehovah; for as the sunbeam is composed of many parts and colors, so is this great name 'Jehovah' divisible into such parts as the above, which proclaim to us the manifold fullness of God, and reveal to us His divine character and nature as the infinite and eternal Lord.
The following may be given as the meaning of the above symbols--Christ the fullness of all things, created and uncreated. We may thus set them in order--
I. In Christ is the fullness of WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE. He is 'the Alpha and the Omega;' and as these letters form the beginning and ending of the Greek alphabet, we suppose they are meant to denote all that can be contained in the language of man. Wisdom beyond that of all Greek philosophy is in Him; 'in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.'
II. In Christ is the fullness of all CREATION. He is 'the beginning and the ending.' The 'first-born of every creature' is His name (Colossians 1:15). 'He is the beginning' (Colossians 1:18), as well as 'in the beginning' (John 1:1); and as such, He is the Creator of all things in heaven and in earth (Colossians 1:16); the circumference as well as the center of the universe.
III. In Christ is the fullness of all SPACE. He is 'the first and the last.' That which man calls space, from its one extremity (if we may use the word) to the other extremity is all in Him.
IV. In Christ is the fullness of all TIME. He is 'from everlasting to everlasting, God.' Past, present, and future are His. 'Who was, and who is, and who is to come.' The fullness of the past eternity is His; the fullness of the future eternity is His; and the fullness of the vast present is also His. The infinity of time belongs to Him; He is Himself that infinity. The eternal past is His; and His is the eternal future. He is living eternity.
V. In Christ is the fullness of all POWER. His name is 'the Almighty;' the Lord God Omnipotent, to whom all power is given in heaven and on earth. As the Creator of the vast universe; as the sustainer of all being; as the Redeemer of His Church; as 'the Lord strong in battle;' as 'able to save to the uttermost,' 'mighty to save;' as the binder of Satan; as the destroyer of Antichrist; as the renewer of the earth--He is Almighty. And when the great day of His wrath is come, who shall be able to stand?
Thus, Jesus here reveals Himself in this book of the Revelation; for all these excellences come forth into special manifestation in this glorious book, which may well be called the fifth gospel--the record of Christ in heaven--the unveiling of His love and power. He is the same Jesus, with unchanged heart, and undiminished love, bending in grace and pity over this earth, 'His well-beloved world;' as it has been called. For here we have the 'long-suffering' and the 'salvation' of which Paul and James and Peter speak in their epistles--'The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy;' 'not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance;' 'who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.'
All fullness is in Jesus--the fullness of the God-man; divine and human fullness; the fullness of love and power; the fullness of grace and glory. It is the very fullness which we need--and it is accessible to us; free to us; brought down to earth and placed at our side; pressed upon us, that we may take it and use it all. It is a fullness which eye has not seen nor ear heard. It contains 'unsearchable riches.' Being the fullness of Him who is bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, it is altogether suitable, so that no one can say there is not in it provision to suit my need. It is of this fullness that He Himself speaks elsewhere, when he says, 'I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white clothing, that you may be clothed; and eye-salve with which to anoint your eyes, that you may see.'
In this fullness there is something infinitely attractive. It is as gracious as it is glorious. It is fitted to win us. It is God's provision for the needy. How large and excellent!
From this fullness no one is excluded. It is open on every side, that all may partake. 'Every one' and 'whoever' are the words in which the invitation is made. What can be wider or freer? How could eternal life be brought nearer, or made more accessible? Jesus stands beside you; He presents you with Himself. What more could He do? What more could you ask or need than this?