LENT 2020 - Jesus Said: I Am The Alpha and The Omega, Part II
Thursday, March 26 2020
If you haven't done so yet, I encourage you to read
LENT 2020 -
JESUS SAID: I AM THE THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, PART I
Interestingly enough, in my researching this topic, I discovered some of the most helpful and fascinating information about this “I am” of Christ from a Catholic webpage: https://catholicexchange.com/christ-alpha-and-the-omega. Here is what I learned…
“I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA,
the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End.”
“I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA” signifies:
The identification of Christ with the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet does more than merely reinforce or repeat what follows in the rest of the verse [First and Last, Beginning and End]. As one commentator notes, Hebrew rabbis used the first and last letters of their own alphabet (aleph and tav) to signify wholeness: “Among the Jewish rabbis it was common to use the first and the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet to denote the whole of anything, from beginning to end. Thus, it is said, ‘Adam transgressed the whole law, from ‘Aleph to Taw’’. [And] ‘Abraham kept the whole law, from ‘Aleph to Taw’’.
It is particularly fitting that Christ uses letters [Alpha and Omega] to speak of Himself, because He is precisely the Word of God, the fulness and the wholeness of God’s revelation to mankind.
“Aleph” and “tav” are also the first and last letters of the Hebrew word for “truth”, that is “emeth”. The Catholic Encyclopedia esplains: “The Aleph or the first letter of “emeth” (truth) denotes that God is the first of all things. There was no one before Him of whom he could have received the fullness of truth. The Thaw, or last letter, in like manner signifies that God is the last of all things. There will be no one after Him to whom He could bequeath it. Thus “emeth” is a sacred word expressing that in God truth dwells absolutely and in all plenitude.”
“I AM… THE FIRST AND THE LAST” signifies:
The title of “the First and the Last” further indicates that Christ is one with God. In Isaiah 44:6 similar language had been used exclusively of God: “Thus says the Lord, Israel’s king, its redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the first, I am the last; there is no God but me.” Nearly identical language occurs in Isaiah 48:12: “Listen to me, O Jacob; Israel, whom I have called: I am He; I am the first and I am the last.”
2) THE FIRST AND LAST IN HISTORY
Certainly the middle phrase [I am… the First and the Last] does indicate that Christ encompasses all of history. As the one through whom all things were created, He was there in the beginning. And He will bring history to its end in His second coming. In Greek, the word for ‘last’ is eschatos. And this is the word that signifies the end times, the last things, so to speak—from it we derive our word ‘eschatology’ which is that branch of theology devoted to the study of what will happen at the ‘end of history.’ History began with Christ, He stands in its middle, and history will end in Christ.
3) THE FIRST AND LAST MAN
Christ is certainly the “last man” in the sense that He is the “last Adam” as He is called in 1 Corinthians 15:45. As the “first Adam” brought sin and death into the world, so the “last Adam” brings forgiveness and life. Of course, His role as “last Adam” also makes Him the “first man” of the new creation: the first to be resurrected, the first to receive a fully glorified body. He is the “firstborn from among the dead” as Colossians 1:18 puts it. In Christ, history has been turned on its head. Rather than the inevitable decline that seems to be one of the immutable laws of history, Christ offers us redemption and restoration. The first has become last and the last has become first (Matthew 20:16).
4) THE FIRST AND LAST RANKED
The Greek words for “first” and “last” have a double meaning. They can also mean “first” in the sense of the highest ranked person and “last” in terms of the lowest ranked. Christ is both “first” and “last” in these senses of the words as wel. As Philippians 2 puts it, He emptied Himself taking the “the very nature of a servant” only to become “greatly exalted” by God.
Check in again here in Reflections For Living on Saturday March 28 for LENT 2020 - JESUS SAID: I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, PART III.
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