2

Jehovah's Witnesses, as one non-trinitarian example, claim that Revelation 22:13 is a reference to Jehovah God and not Jesus:

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” 

It is spoken to John by an angel and not directly by either Jehovah God or Jesus (Rev. 22:8)

Revelation 22:6 says that God sent this angel to John:

And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.” 

The "he" in the above verse is the angel from verse 22:1 and 8:

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb - v.1

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me - v.8

Later in verse 22:16 Jesus himself claims to be the one who has sent the angel:

I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

What exegetical proof is there that the Alpha and Omega statement of verse 13 is not applied to both Jehovah God and Jesus equally since both sent the angel who proclaimed it? Or put another way, how can this be reconciled with a non-trinitarian belief? 

20
  • Mike have a look here and confirm that I am understanding the nature of your question. I’m not able to write an answer until later.
    – Kris
    Feb 23 at 4:36
  • 1
    @mike I'd like to second Kris' sentiments, asking questions of a group with a defined set of doctrines is a path to a much better answer than trinitarian/non-trinitarian.
    – Peter Turner
    Feb 23 at 18:56
  • 2
    I agree with @PeterTurner that the question should be more specific in naming a particular group of Christians whose answer is sought. Non-trinitarians include both groups who accept the divinity of Jesus and groups who deny the divinity of Jesus. These would have entirely different answers to the question. Feb 24 at 8:14
  • 1
    "Non-trinitarian" is a very broad category that includes churches with widely differing, and conflicting, doctrines. Feb 24 at 12:43
  • 1
    @Mike specifically we don't want to create a situation where a Swedenborgian viewpoint is opposed to a Jehovah's Witness viewpoint and the highest vote getter is deemed correct. That's counter to the nature of the QA. But Lee's suggestion is a good one and gets to the meat of the question better. It's almost like a Biblical Basis question then - which is at least 20% better than an overview question.
    – Peter Turner
    Feb 24 at 14:41
3

Both God and Jesus can be understood to send the angel, because Jesus is at God's right-hand (Matthew 26:64) and is God's representative - God does things through Jesus.

The NT generally, and Revelation in this case, repeatedly and clearly distinguishes between Jesus and God. Jesus is the 'Son of God', Jesus says 'My God, my God'. Jesus says 'Your God and my God'. In Revelation, Jesus (= the Lamb) is repeatedly distinguished from God, such as Revelation 1:1 "the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him", Revelation 1:6 "who has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His [i.e., Jesus'] God and Father", and Revelation 3:12 which contains this distinction 4 times in one sentence. One of the verses you quote, 22:1, is another example of this ("the throne of God and of the Lamb" - two different things).

Therefore, when you have a pattern of clear statements distinguishing between the two, it is poor exegetical practice to take one, unclear instance and try to draw overarching consequences from it. Instead, the author of Revelation is repeatedly drawing a distinction between God and Jesus while simultaneously drawing a close relationship between them.

So, if we take Jesus to be saying "I am the Alpha and the Omega" and so on, then a non-trinitarian has two obvious options. First, to say that Jesus is speaking in the place of God (as his representative, much as the angel is speaking in the place of Jesus). Second, to say that all those descriptors can apply to either Jesus or God, depending on what is meant. They are all vague titles.

So whatever exactly is occurring in this passage and whatever exactly the descriptors mean and to whom they are supposed to be applied, what is clear from Revelation overall is that Jesus (= the Lamb) and God are two distinct things.

3
  • 1
    well said+1 tho I'd probably say 'persons' or something as opposed to 'things' (2 places)
    – steveowen
    Feb 23 at 22:04
  • 1
    So would you say that "I am the first and I am the last" and "besides me there is no God" of Isaiah 44:6 are not inextricably linked but are rather unrelated thoughts strung together in one sentence? +1 BTW Feb 24 at 12:45
  • @MikeBorden Those statements in Isaiah 44 seem clearly linked to me, but not mere repetitions. Are they inextricably linked? No, I don't think so. The question from a non-trinitarian point of view is what is the sense of those words when Jesus (who is not God) is attributed with them by the author of Revelation. The phrase itself is vague, and we have little to go on. Going from 'Jesus said something about being encompassing (= alpha and omega, first and last)' -> 'Jesus is claiming he's God' seems not sound to me given the small evidential base, although it is (potentially) evidence of that! Feb 24 at 17:54
2

The simple answer is based on the examples the text provides both in OT and NT usage of titles. Trying to prove anything by what title God has or is given to others including Christ is a curious exercise but accomplishes little of any value.

King of Kings, Saviour, Lord, 'First and Last' is applied to both God and Jesus at different times and even other men who are not without sin.

Isaiah 44:6; 48:12 First and Last is God Rev 1:17; 2:8; 22:13 First and Last is Jesus

God the Father is called “Saviour” Is 43:11, 1 Tim 1:1; 2:3; 4:10; Tit 1:3; 2:10; 3:4; Jude 25

Jesus 1 John 4:14, Acts 5:31, Phil 3:20

Men designated as “saviour” 2 Kings 13:5; Isaiah 19:20 Obadiah 21.

We know from Isaiah and the child titled Immanuel - he wasn't God either simply because his name represented "God with us', and neither should Jesus be called God because of a title he was also given.

There are abundant plainly spoken texts that tell the truth of God and His son than trying to force a construct of unbiblical proportions on to Jesus with verses speaking of titles and names. The bible shows no special reservation for titles - they are conferred on men and God and His son at various places.

Alpha and Omega IS applied to both God and Jesus - but for different reasons.

God is obviously the beginning and the end of all things. Christ is the beginning and the end because he is the firstborn from the dead, the author and finisher of faith for a couple of examples.

+++++++++++++

Alpha and Omega are two Greek letters! There is nothing about this we know from other texts - it's just an expression signifying uniqueness and special role. Deducing anything else is pure speculation. A cursory glance at Revelation reveals the Lamb is NOT GOD, so why would this title make ANY difference to our understanding of who Jesus is relative to his God and Father?

Answer formed from biblicalunitarian revelation-1-8

5
  • 2
    That some titles are applied to different persons therefore Alpha and Omega must be also is a weak argument given Rev. 1:8. The Almighty is not saying that He is called Alpha and Omega. He is saying that He is Alpha and Omega. In 22:13 Jesus says the same. Feb 23 at 12:48
  • @user47952 - I would like to have an answer from your unitarian perspective to my related question: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/55950/… Feb 23 at 14:25
  • 2
    They are two Greek letters! There is nothing about this we know from other texts - it's just an expression signifying uniqueness and role. Deducing anything else is pure speculation. Again - we know the Lamb IS NOT GOD so why would this title make ANY difference?
    – steveowen
    Feb 23 at 20:27
  • @Spirit my previous answer to you was deleted as being Un-trinitarian. Do you think it answered the Q? Why bother with providing answers that don't suit the agenda here?
    – steveowen
    Feb 23 at 21:49
  • @user47952 - I'm sorry about that, but that answer got deleted on a question I asked on Christianity.SE. The link I provide a few comments above is to a question on Hermeneutics.SE, so as long as you explain your argument clearly, you shouldn't worry about deletions. Feb 23 at 22:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.