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Part 3 Challenging a Jehovah’s Witness with the Alpha and Omega argument

Greek alphabet alpha-omega

Greek alphabet alpha-omega (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In this challenge you will see that both God the Father and Jesus are called the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.  I am going to establish in the Old Testament we see Jehovah is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and in the New Testament Jesus makes the same claim.  There can only be one first and last; only one Alpha and Omega.

You may wonder what it meant if Jesus called Himself the Alpha and Omega.  Here is what Ken Samples says in his book “Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses:”[1]

But for the ancient Jew, Christ was describing Himself in a way he would have readily understood.  Though the letters alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, John recorded the Book of Revelation for Jewish readers who were also familiar with the Hebrew language and alphabet.

When used of God (or Christ), the first and last letters express eternality and omnipotence.  Christ’s claim to be the Alpha and the Omega is an affirmation that He is the all-powerful One of eternity past and eternity future (Jehovah-God).  “In describing Himself as ‘the first and the last’ Christ is relating Himself to time and eternity.  He is the eternal God who has always existed in the past and who will always exist in the future.”[2]  For any created being, however exalted, to claim to be the Alpha and the Omega as these terms are used of Jesus Christ would be utter blasphemy.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have to argue that Jesus is not the Alpha and Omega.  They believe he is a created being, a lesser god and not Jehovah God.  When I’ve used this argument with Jehovah’s Witnesses, they have yet to give any credible explanation.

2.   Alpha and Omega argument

I will quote from the Watchtower Bible, The New World Translation (NWT):  Revelations 1: 7 & 8, Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him. Yes, Amen.  8“I am the Al′pha and the Ome′ga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.” 

The following is the argument used by David Reed in his book, “Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse.”[3]

Revelation 1:7-8, quoted above, says that someone “is coming.” Who? Verse 7 says it is someone who was “pierced.” Who was it that was pierced when he was nailed up to die? Jesus! But verse 8 says that it is Jehovah God who “is coming.” Could it be that there are two who are coming? No! Verse 8 refers to “the One who … is coming.”

Revelation 1:8 states clearly that Jehovah God is the Alpha and the Omega. Now note what he says at Revelation   22:12-13: “Look! I am coming quickly … I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. …” So, Jehovah God is coming quickly. But notice the response when he says it again: “Yes; I am coming quickly.  ‘Amen! Come, Lord Jesus'” (22:20, NWT).

At this point you might mention that Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, while Omega is the last letter. Therefore, “the Alpha and the Omega” means the same thing as “the First and the Last.” Then, again referring to the New World Translation, continue like this: Who is speaking in Revelation 2:8? “These are the things that he says, `the First and the Last,’ who became dead and came to life again. . . .” Obviously, it is Jesus.  Who was Jesus identifying himself as being, when he called himself “the First and the Last”? This is how Almighty God described himself in the Old Testament.

Jesus knew that the apostle John, who wrote the Revelation, and later Bible readers would all remember these verses: “… I am the same One. I am the first. Moreover, I am the last. Moreover, my own hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my own right hand extended out the heavens…” (Isa. 48:12-13). And: “. . . I am the same One.  Before me there was no God formed, and after me there continued to be none. I-I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior” (Isa. 43:10-11).

This argument clearly establishes both Jehovah God and Jesus are the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.  However, there is a problem; there can only be one Alpha/Omega and first/last.  Ask the Jehovah’s Witness, what is the true identity of Jesus?  The alpha and omega argument establishes Jesus is fully God. Only the doctrine of the Trinity can solve the issue of the Father and Son being the Alpha and Omega.   Remember the Trinity teaches one God subsists (ongoing existence) in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-equal and co-eternal.  With only one God there is only one Alpha and Omega.

My encouragement to you is the write the key points of the argument in the margins of your Bible.  This way you don’t have to memorize all the verses that establish Jesus is the Alpha and Omega.

Many years ago Walter Martin entered the Watchtower Organization and shared this argument with the man at the front desk.  This individual wrote in the margins of his Bible, Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, Almighty God.  Ten years later he reread the statement and after pondering who Jesus is the light went on and he trusted Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his sins.  Today he is leads an outreach organization to Jehovah Witnesses.  When you share the truth with others you may never know the impact God will have upon their hearts and minds.  Use this argument graciously and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

Go to part 4 here


[1] Ken Samples, Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Jehovah’s Witnesses, (Harvest House Publ., 1993) p. 251.

[2] John F. Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), p. 60.

[3] David A. Reed, Jehovah’s Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse, (Baker Book House, 1986) Kindle location 966-988

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • PeterS November 8, 2012, 9:58 pm

    It’s very clear to me although not clear to JWs that they believe in two separate gods. Their mistranslated use of the John 1:1 is a key point but there are many others as you have illustrated. So, for all intents and purposes they are a pagan religion. Of course they would deny that by saying they don’t believe Jesus as a god is a deity or divine. However, all the actions he performed all point to him being a deity. So, they can’t have it both ways. Clearly Jesus is a deity. Either they accept they are a pagan religion or they have to admit they got it wrong and pronounce a change in their doctrine, and state Jesus is God.

  • REvie February 25, 2016, 7:46 am

    However, Revelation 21:6-7 NWT states : “And he said to me: They have come to pass! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To anyone thirsting I will give from the spring of the water of life free. 7 Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”

    Clearly, Jehovah is identified as the speaker of these verses.
    Jehovah will be Jesus’ God and Jesus will be Jehovah’s son.

    That’s one key verse you forgot to consider.

  • Steve Bruecker February 26, 2016, 6:06 am

    REvie,
    Thanks for writing. Let me begin by stating we know for sure is Jesus is the Alpha and Omega. We know this because he said so in Revelation 22:12-13 (NASB) “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Verse 16 identifies the speaker as Jesus. We also know Jesus is the one coming back (I am coming quickly v. 12). So we return to your passage in question knowing Jesus will, in the next chapter, claim to be the Alpha and Omega.

    Our primary job is to identify the speaker in Rev. 21:6-7. For the sake of argument, let’s say the speaker is the Father. There is no issue for both the Father and the Son to claim to be the alpha and omega. They are both persons of the Triune God and as such both can be the alpha and omega. However, according to the context of the passage the speaker is Jesus and not the Father.

    First let me remind you Jesus is going to claim to be the alpha and omega in chapter 22. You didn’t challenge this, so you must be comfortable with Jesus as the alpha and omega. Second the speaker says these words are “faithful and true.” We read in Revelation 19:11 (NASB) about Jesus, “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.” Chapter 19 speaks of the return of Jesus. He is identified as faithful and true, matching the words of the speaker in chapter 21. Third the speaker is addressing a group of people. Rev. 21:6, he will give “to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.” Verse 7 confirms it is a group, “He who overcomes will inherit these things.” Who are these individuals? Obviously, true followers of Jesus Christ. Speaking about these followers he says this, “and I will be his God and he will be My son.” He is using a singular pronoun but has in mind all true Christians. According to the context of the passage, the son here refers to Christians who are in heaven. In verse 8 this group of individuals is contrasted with the group of people who are in hell.

    Bottom line is “the son” in verse 7 is not speaking of Jesus but of children of God. Believers are identified children of God in multiple scriptures: John 1:12; Rom. 8:14-17; 2 Cor. 6:18; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5; Heb. 12:5-9; 1 John 3:1. According to the context of Rev. 21:5-8 Jesus is the speaker and making the claim to be the alpha and omega. He will do the same in Revelations 22:12-21.

    Thanks for making my case stronger.

    Steve

  • BANE October 13, 2017, 7:03 pm

    ALPHA AND OMEGA
    These are the names of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and are used as a title three times in the book of Revelation. The additional occurrence of this phrase in the King James rendering of Revelation 1:11, however, does not receive support from some of the oldest Greek manuscripts, including the Alexandrine, Sinaitic, and Codex Ephraemi rescriptus. It is, therefore, omitted in many modern translations.

    While many commentators apply this title both to God and to Christ, a more careful examination of its use restricts its application to Jehovah God. The first verse of Revelation shows that the revelation was given originally by God and through Jesus Christ, hence the one speaking (through an angelic representative) at times is God himself, and at other times it is Christ Jesus. (Re 22:8) Thus Revelation 1:8 (RS) says: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God [“Jehovah God,” NW], who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Although the preceding verse speaks of Christ Jesus, it is clear that in verse 8 the application of the title is to “the Almighty” God. In this regard Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament (1974) observes: “It cannot be absolutely certain that the writer meant to refer to the Lord Jesus specifically here . . . There is no real incongruity in supposing, also, that the writer here meant to refer to God as such.”

    The title occurs again at Revelation 21:6, and the following verse identifies the speaker by saying: “Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I shall be his God and he will be my son.” Inasmuch as Jesus referred to those who are joint heirs with him in his Kingdom as “brothers,” not “sons,” the speaker must be Jesus’ heavenly Father, Jehovah God.—Mt 25:40; compare Heb 2:10-12.

    The final occurrence of the title is at Revelation 22:13, which states: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” It is evident that a number of persons are represented as speaking in this chapter of Revelation; verses 8 and 9 show that the angel spoke to John, verse 16 obviously applies to Jesus, the first part of verse 17 is credited to “the spirit and the bride,” and the one speaking in the latter part of verse 20 is manifestly John himself. “The Alpha and the Omega” of verses 12-15, therefore, may properly be identified as the same one who bears the title in the other two occurrences: Jehovah God. The expression, “Look! I am coming quickly,” in verse 12, does not require that these aforementioned verses apply to Jesus, inasmuch as God also speaks of himself as “coming” to execute judgment. (Compare Isa 26:21.) Malachi 3:1-6 speaks of a joint coming for judgment on the part of Jehovah and his “messenger of the covenant.”

    The title “the Alpha and the Omega” carries the same thought as “the first and the last” and “the beginning and the end” when these terms are used with reference to Jehovah. Before him there was no Almighty God, and there will be none after him. He will bring to a successful conclusion the issue over Godship, forever vindicated as the one and only Almighty God.—Compare Isa 44:6.

  • Steve Bruecker October 16, 2017, 5:11 pm

    Dear BANE,
    I will not argue on the issue of whether or not Jesus is the alpha and omega in Rev. 1:8. There is some controversy over whether it is Jesus speaking or the Father. I still think I made a solid case Jesus is speaking in verse 8 but for now I will set it aside.

    Rather I will address this issue in Revelation 22:7 -20, verses you brought up. What we find is we have three speakers John, the angel (revealed this revelation to John), and Jesus. Nowhere do we see any mention of God the Father speaking. In Revelation 22: 7 we have the words of Jesus “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.” Here we see Jesus saying he is coming quickly. How do we know it is Jesus? We research the phrase “I am coming quickly” used in the book of Revelation.

    First we find it used in Revelation 3:11. It is part of the warnings by Jesus to the 7 churches. In his message to the church at Philadelphia he says in verse 11 “I am coming quickly.”

    We don’t see those words used again until Revelation 22. In verse 7, which is referenced above, we see Jesus again using the words, “I am coming quickly.” Now we have two instances where Jesus says these words.

    John then is the speaker in Rev. 22:8. In verses 9-11 we see John quoting the words of the angel. It is John speaking but he is quoting the angel for the majority of verses.
    Then we come to the pivotal verses 12-15. You claim they come from God the Father (Jehovah) and yet there is zero indication he is speaking. What we do see is both Jesus and the angel speaking. We begin with Jesus saying in Rev. 12-13 “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

    Here again the speaker clearly identifies himself as Jesus by saying the words “I am coming quickly.” Nowhere in Revelation (or even in the entire Bible) are these words used by God the Father. So we now have Jesus claiming that he is “the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Only God can be the alpha and omega so we can conclude this is a clear case example that Jesus claimed to be God. He is the second person of the Trinity.

    Next we hear from the angel in Rev. 22:14-15 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

    When we reach Rev. 22:16 we again hear the words of Jesus. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” It is here Jesus is confirming he is the speaker in verses 12-13.

    The angel speaks Rev. 22:17-20a, The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. 18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. 20 He who testifies to these things says,

    Then Jesus interjects in v. 20 “Yes, I am coming quickly.” The angel then affirms the words of Jesus at the end of verse 20, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

    There are two major reasons verses 12-13 refer to Jesus as the speaker. First we see the speaker use the words in verse 12 “I am coming quickly.” We have already seen these words, used 4 times in the Book of Revelation, and they are only used by Jesus. He even seals the fact he is the speaker by repeating the words “I am coming quickly” in Rev. 22:20. There are zero references to God the Father in these verses. He never said the words “I am coming quickly” in Revelation nor anywhere else in the entire Bible! The second reason is found verse 16 where Jesus directly identifies himself as the speaker of verses 12-13 when he say, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

    Using both the fact that in the Bible only Jesus says the words “I am coming quickly” and he says he is the one speaking in verse 16, we can conclude Jesus is the alpha and omega in Revelations 22:13.

    Steve

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