Another Blog from UK Partnerships for Christ (www.upfc.org.uk)

The Watchtower and the First and the Last by John Stickland

The exclusive title of God, “the First and the Last”, is found in Isaiah 44:6 and Isaiah 48:12 and also in Revelation 1:17, 2:8, and 22:13.
In the book of Revelation it is coupled with the title “the Alpha and Omega”, the words being the first and last letters of the classical Greek alphabet, and also with the words the “beginning and the end”.
All three expressions have one and the same meaning and denote one who exists in eternity, without a beginning and without an end, and could be used in reference to no one but God Himself.
In Revelation 1:17 Jesus is spoke of as the “First and the Last” and also in chapter 2:8. In Revelation 22:13 all three titles are ascribed to Jesus, who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End and the First and the Last.

The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, clearly being aware of the profound implications of accepting these passages as they stand, and in defence of their teaching that Jesus is a ‘created being’, have given an explanation in their handbook entitled “Reasoning from the Scriptures”. This publication is made available to their operatives for door to door work.

On page 412 of this publication, under the title Alpha and Omega, the question is asked as to whom the title properly belongs. Following this, 5 points are made with the object of trying to show that the title “Alpha and Omega” does not belong to Jesus, and that the title “First and the Last” can be applied to Jesus without conferring Divinity.
A summary of the 5 points is made below, and following each, a comment relating to its Scriptural validity.

1) At Revelation 1:11 the King James Version of the Scriptures includes the title Alpha and Omega. As scholars have left this out of other versions, this shows the title was wrongly inserted here at this place in the King James.

Comment :- It is commonly understood there are a number of manuscripts where this title does not appear and for this reason other versions do not include it. However, Rev. 1:11 is not necessary to prove the entitlement of Jesus to any of the names in question.

2) Many translations of Revelation into Hebrew have changed the name of God to Jehovah in Rev. 1:8.

Comment :- This only means that a third party has changed the original Greek text at a later date. However, verse 8 of chapter 1 is not in contention and therefore not relevant to the issue.

3) It is indicated in Revelation 21 :6&7 that Christians are to be ‘sons’ of the one known as the Alpha and the Omega. This is never said of the relationship of Christians to Jesus Christ, who spoke of them as his ‘brothers’ in Heb. 2:11; Matt. 12:50 and 25:40. However the same ‘brothers’ of Jesus are referred to as ‘sons’ of God in Gal.3:26 and 4:6.

Comment :- Correct – To understand why this is so, we need to be aware of the many Scriptures which show us that the Lord took upon Himself totally our humanity as the Son of Man, whilst retaining His complete Deity, expressed in his title of Son of God. It is the great privilege of all those who have received Him (John 1: 12 & 13) to be called brothers or brethren. It is only in respect of the humanity of Jesus, which He still retains that makes this possible. Those therefore who belong to Him are his brothers, but in respect to the Godhead they are sons.

4) The TEV translation inserts the name Jesus At Revelation 22: 12, but this is not shown in the Greek original.

Comment:- The fact that the TEV translators have chosen to insert the name Jesus in this verse is neither here nor there. It does not change the issue before us.

5) The point is made that because the expression of “apostle” is applied to Jesus in Hebrews 3:1, it does not prove that those of his followers who also were called by this title were of equal rank. Therefore this similarly applies to Jesus and his Father who both bear the title of the “First and the Last”.

Comment:- It is correct to say that the word ‘apostle’ is applied both to Jesus and a number of others. Similarly one could say the same also of the title ‘priest’ and also ‘king’. However this is completely missing the point; by definition there can only be one who is the First and the Last, which has to be God himself. We see the title applied to God in Isaiah 44 :6 and again in Isaiah 48 :12 and to Jesus in Rev. 1 :17 and in Rev. 2 :8. thereby showing us the oneness of the Father and the Son in the Godhead. If any further confirmation be needed about this we can look at the words of God the Father in Rev. 21 : 6 and the words of Jesus in Rev. 22 :13, and see they both hold the same exclusive titles of Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End and the First and the Last. Again these titles can only apply to one who is God. In the event that there is any doubt about the speaker in Rev. 22:13, his identity is confirmed by verse 16 and also by the stated dual role He will carry out given us in verse 12. We only need remind ourselves who it is that earlier Scriptures tell us will be coming quickly, and who will be the appointed Judge. To confirm all of this, the One coming quickly is further identified in verse 20 as Jesus.

In Hebrews 7:1 to 3 we read of Melchizedec the High priest, spoken of from the past, of whose beginning and passing the Scripture has no record. Melchizedec is thus presented to us as a picture of the greater High Priest who was to come after him, Jesus, to whom alone in this passage the statement in verse 3 truly refers … having neither beginning of days nor end of life…

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