Alpha and Omega

Jesus is recorded as saying “I am the Alpha and Omega”, and the common interpretation of that phrase is that He is the beginning and He is the end. That is not wrong. I see it as incomplete. Is He ONLY at the start and at the finish? Is He on holiday between those? Does this phrase of His have additional meaning? In my understanding, it has a LOT more to say to us!

Modernize What He Said

If we “translate” the phrase “Alpha and Omega” into modern English usage, we could take it as “A” and “Z”. That would seem to say He is the first letter of the alphabet and the last letter of the alphabet. (Yes, go around the world and see that while the first letter has the same name no matter where you go, the last letter has different names!) So, to say that He is the start of everything and the end of everything still comes across from that way of saying it.

Is there more? I think so. What about those of us who believe that Jesus/God is involved between the two extremes? Does this deny that? No, not at all. Let’s take this one step further, and see something else it tells us. We may have all heard the phrase “from A to Z”. It often means the same thing as “the whole enchilada”, “the whole nine yards”, “top to bottom”, and “everything”.

Let me put it this way, He said, “I am the whole alphabet, from A to Z”. Oh, as a side note, the word “alphabet” comes from the Greek “alphabet”, where “alpha” is the first letter and “beta” is the second letter! “alpha-beta”. They would ask their children to do their “alpha-betas”. In English, the word became “alphabet”.

alphabet letter text on black background
Photo by Magda Ehlers on

Is The Whole Alphabet Important?

Well, before we try to figure out the very spiritual answer, let’s look at “I am the whole alphabet, from A to Z” very literally. How important is the “whole alphabet”? Well, where would we be without the alphabet, without the written letters?

  • You would not be able to read this.
  • There would be no Old Testament in English
  • There would be no Old Testament in Greek, Latin or Hebrew.
  • The events of the Old Testament would be reduced to “Oral History”.
  • We would not have the New Testament, in any version or language at all.
  • How would we translate something from one language to another?.
  • We could not teach language as easily as we can with them.
  • No Constitutions, no laws, no Declaration of Independence, no courts!
  • Sports would not exist, because we would not be able to keep score, and only argue about it!
  • No hobbies, not even the athletic ones because we wouldn’t be able to buy the clothes/equipment.
  • Store signs? We would have to use a flag-like system, but we couldn’t name the colors!
  • No sign language for the deaf! No braille for the blind!
  • We would have no James Bond, no Harry Potter, and no Agatha Christie Mysteries!
  • (If we add the numbers, then we would not have Math classes!) Wait, some cheered at that!

Let’s face it, without the alphabet, all communication becomes extremely difficult. We could not share knowledge, there would be no “standard” language in any country. Life, especially as a community, would be much, much harder.

What about God? Is He like the Alphabet?

Oh yes, and some of you saw it coming. Just as the alphabet is the foundation of community, God is the foundation for life. Without Him, life is as much harder as a community would be without the alphabet!

I don’t just say this because of this verse, but because I look back on my decades of life and compare. Life before letting God start taking control was all pretty much experience without “life” guidance. I look at what life has been since, and while it was still difficult, there was now always hope. I was able to end all gloomy sentences with another, added word. Instead of “I can’t do this!”, it became “I can’t do this, yet!”

See the huge difference between those two? If not, re-read them with the emotions they imply. One is frustration and despair, the other is humility and hope. I have really learned to appreciate the last two more and more as the years have gone by.

Is it wrong to say God is the foundation for everything? Not at all. There are plenty of verses that tell us that. This is one place where I think it tells us the same thing if it is opened to our eyes! Ask Him to open your eyes to what He is trying to tell you whenever you read or experience something. If you do not get a quick answer, then trust Him to answer you later! He will if you wait long enough!

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