From the Alpha to the Omega
Jesus spans time and history
On January 1 we celebrate the beginning of a new year. One of the titles of God and Jesus Christ is “the Alpha and the Omega”, which reminds me of beginnings and endings (Rev. 1:8; 21:6; 22:13NIV). As alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and omega is the last, this title means “first and last” or “beginning and end” and everything in between. It signifies the whole alphabet, “A to Z”, or completeness. An equivalent analogy in time would be “24/7” with regard to a week or “1 January to 31 December” with regard to a year. So “Alpha and Omega” is a poetic way to say that God and Jesus are eternal.
This interpretation is confirmed by the related titles which Jesus used to refer to Himself–“the first and the last” (Rev. 1:17; 2:8; 22:13) and “the beginning and the end” (Rev. 21:6; 22:13). This truth is introduced in the Old Testament where God is said to be with the first generation of mankind and with the last and the Creator and Sustainer of the universe (Is. 41:4; 48:12-13). In this regard He is unique (Is. 44:6). He exists in the distant past, the present and the distant future as the One “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev. 1:8). He alone knows everything, including the future.
Jesus spans all time and all history. He was there at the very beginning of time and history and He will be there at the end of time and history. When all of God’s purposes on earth are achieved and His salvation is completed, Jesus will say “It is done” (Rev. 21:6). This is consistent with the fact that He created time, He controls history and He is eternal.
When John was afraid, being exiled on the isle of Patmos, Jesus said to him: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 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. 1:17-18). He was assured that his destiny was controlled by the living God. Later Jesus encouraged John by the prospect of rewards for faithful service: “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Rev. 22:12-13).
Jesus is also described as “the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:2), which also conveys a sense of beginning and ending. Besides being the founder and originator of the Christian faith, He also finished His work of salvation and is a perfect example of the life a faith.
As we face the end of one year and the beginning of another let’s remember that Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega. Whatever He says in the Bible about the past, present and the future is trustworthy. Let’s trust Him and allow Him to reign in our lives.
Written, January 2012
Why doesn’t the Bible record Christ’s entire life?
The Bible is a selective history of God’s dealings with mankind. It is not exhaustive, otherwise it would be too large for wide distribution (Jn. 21:25). The Bible records only the highlights of Christ’s life. These include the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah, such as His birth, life, death, and events related to God’s salvation plan. John wrote, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (Jn. 20:30-31 NIV). The Bible was written so we could know Jesus.
Luke wrote, “Jesus Himself was about thirty years old when He began His ministry” (Lk. 3:23). Note that thirty was the age when a Levite began to serve (Num. 4:3,23,30,35,39,43,47; 1 Chr. 23:3). Joseph was thirty when he began to serve Pharaoh, and Saul and David were thirty when each became king over Israel (Gen. 41:46; 1 Sam. 13:1 NIV; 2 Sam. 5:4). A man was considered to have sufficient maturity at 30 to exercise authority in a Jewish community. John records that Jesus’ ministry lasted for at least three years (Jn. 2:13,23; 5:1; 6:4; 11:55). The highlights of His ministry are recorded in the four gospels, with one-third of their content devoted to the last week of His life.
The years of Christ’s life, between 12 and 30, have been called the silent years, because the Bible says little about them. During this time Jesus lived with His family as a carpenter in the village of Nazareth and He “grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Lk. 2:52). Some early writers tried to satisfy human curiosity about the silent years by inventing stories to cover the missing periods of Christ’s life. These so-called apocryphal gospels are fiction. Only the most important parts of Christ’s life are documented in the Bible.
Published, June 2007