Why Is Jesus Called “Alpha and Omega?”

Four times in the book of Revelation, the Apostle John quotes Jesus as saying “I am Alpha and Omega.” Each time, the title is followed by an explanatory phrase, such as “the beginning and the end” or “the first and the last” (Revelation 1:8, 11, Revelation 21:6, Revelation 22:13).

Alpha (Α or α) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega (Ω or ω) is the last letter. Thus, the phrase implies completeness: Jesus Christ has existed from the beginning and will continue to exist until the end.

When Jesus Christ spoke to the inhabitants of the American continent after His death and resurrection, He used the phrase in a more specific way. He said:

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away, for I will accept none of your sacrifices and your burnt offerings.
And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit (3 Nephi 9:18-20).

As He would explain to them shortly after, He was the One who gave the law to Moses, and He was also the One who fulfilled it (3 Nephi 15:5). Thus, He was the beginning and the end of that set of religious practices which had been such an important part of their lives until that time.

Years ago, when Elder Jeffrey R. Holland was serving as Dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University, he wrote about the meaning this title of the Savior can have for each of us:

These letters from the Greek suggest the universal role of Jesus from the beginning of the world to its end. But he ought to be Alpha and Omega in the particular as well—our personal beginning and our individual end—that model by which we shape our journey of three score years and ten, and the standard by which we measure it at its conclusion.
In every choice we make, he ought to be our point of reckoning, our charted course, our only harbor ahead. He should be for us individually what he is for all men collectively—the very brackets of existence, the compass of our privilege. We should not stray outside him. We should not want to try. I am Alpha and Omega (“Whom Say Ye That I Am?” Ensign, September 1974).

Last year, in his first talk as a new apostle, Elder Gerrit W. Gong gave the following testimony of the Savior: “He is Alpha and Omega—with us in the beginning, He is with us to the end” (“Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” General Conference, April 2018).

Today, I am grateful for a Savior who is eternal. I am grateful that He gave the law to Moses and that He fulfilled the law of Moses. I am grateful that He created the earth and that He will still be there when it is “rolled together as a scroll” (Mormon 5:23, Mormon 9:2). I will remember that He has supported me from the beginning and that He will support me until the end—He is not only the Alpha and Omega; He is also my Alpha and Omega.

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1 Response to Why Is Jesus Called “Alpha and Omega?”

  1. Pingback: Names and Titles of the Savior | Book of Mormon Study Notes

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