At the end of the book of Revelation John, 22:13,  the Apostle, quotes Jesus’ words to him: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  Some suggest that these three statements in this verse all mean about the same thing, but i’d argue that they all might have a slightly different focus. The “Alpha and the Omega” of course refers to the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet! Jesus is everything that God has to say to us. His message to mankind is in Jesus and that’s why Jesus is called “The word.” He is not just the first and last letters of the alphabet, he’s everything in between as well. As John says, “in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was God.” The first two verses of The book of Hebrews explains this truth. It says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.” Everything that God has to say to us can be heard in the Son. His chief message is seen often but clearly expressed in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, so that whoever would believe in him would not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus is the clear message of God’s love for you and me!

The “First and the Last” deal with ordinal numbers. This seems to be “temporal.” I mean it has to do with our time on earth. It’s the life span of each of us along with the lifespan of the current age which will come to an end when Christ returns. It’s Jesus way of telling us that he has this thing called “death,” the end of life, under control. I believe this is seen in Revelation 1:17-18, back at the beginning of the book when Jesus uses this phrase to refer to himself and discusses his victory over death. That passage says, “When I (John) saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”

But Jesus is also the “beginning and the end.” Jesus bats “clean up.” It’s the “And they lived happily ever after” which began with “once upon a time.” Jesus is the beginning of the story and the end of the story. Since the book of Revelation has to do primarily with the second coming this of course points to it. The Preacher’s commentary says, “The central importance of the doctrine of the second coming of Jesus Christ is that Jesus Christ stands at the end of history. He holds in His hand the destiny of the whole. Jesus Christ also stands at the end of history (i.e. my history) – the destiny of my own life. History does not trail off into emptiness, nor does it endlessly repeat its themes, like a vast confined circle. History from the biblical perspective has a meaningful beginning through the decision of God. History has the decisive center which is the radical intervention of God—the eternal Word and event Jesus Christ. History moves toward the decisive fulfillment. The same Jesus Christ who stands at its beginning and at its center also stands to greet us at its end.”1

1 Earl F. Palmer and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, 1, 2 & 3 John / Revelation, vol. 35, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1982), 240–241.