Monday, 9 August 2021
And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. Revelation 21:6
The Lord on the throne just proclaimed that He makes all things new. In order to demonstrate that this is not just an empty promise, the words of this verse are now provided. John says, “And He said to me.”
The words are spoken by the Christ of God, Jesus. It is He who sits on the throne at the right hand (meaning the position of all power and authority) of God. And His words are, “It is done.” Some manuscripts say here, “They have come to pass.” Thus, it refers to the words that were promised. Either way, the words are words of surety. That which was spoken would come about is that which is now accomplished. And the reason for this is given in His next words, “I am the Alpha and the Omega.”
It is the same expression first used in Revelation 1:8. As noted then, the meaning is found in the fact that these are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, comparable to saying “A to Z” in English or Aleph to Tav in Hebrew.
It thus forms an all-inclusive statement. Everything that can be expressed by the language is contained within the letters of the language. This includes the concepts of time, space, and matter. If the concept is explainable by the language, then it is included in this thought because the first and last letters are representative of the whole.
Of this, the scholars at Cambridge state, “Alpha and Omega] As in Revelation 1:8 …. Here, as in the former passage, it is God the Father that speaks.” This is incorrect. They have arbitrarily divided the words coming from the throne into two categories – some spoken by Jesus and others by the Father. Rather, the words are all spoken by the Lord. Each time, He uses the titles necessary to explain His nature in relation to the surrounding events.
In this case, the intent is to show that He is outside of time. He was there at the beginning, creating all things. He is at the end of each successive step of the redemptive process, seeing it to its completion. Nothing has happened apart from Him, and all that has happened has occurred because He has allowed it to occur. The words spoken forth ask the reader to trust that what He says will come to pass shall, in fact, come to pass.
He next says, “the Beginning and the End.” Unlike in Revelation 1:8, where the same terms were used without definite articles, they are now spoken forth with the articles – the Beginning and the End. The words convey the same general meaning as those of Paul where, in Colossians 1, he describes Christ as the firstborn over all creation (meaning prior to creation), the Creator, the Sustainer, the head of the church, the firstborn from the dead, etc. Paul’s words were given to show the preeminence of Christ in all things.
The words now spoken by the Lord show the absolute existence of Christ – the “I AM THAT I AM.” Nothing exists in all of creation apart from Christ Jesus because the existence of all things is derived from His eternal, unchanging existence.
With that understood, He next speaks out words that convey the very idea of man’s existence, saying, “I will give of the fountain of the water of life.” The existence of man is intimately tied in with water. Without it, man cannot exist. There is the thought that the waters were gathered together, and the dry land appeared. From that ground, man was brought forth. But without water, the man could not survive. These physical truths are brought forward into spiritual pictures in Scripture.
Isaiah 55:1 calls out an offer for any who thirst to come forward and do so –
“Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters.”
And though it is true that man needs literal water to survive, the words of Isaiah are conveying a spiritual truth that was already set forth several times in Scripture, including in the psalms –
“O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.” Psalm 63:1, 2
The thirst of the physical body is equated to a spiritual thirst that only God can satisfy. That is then more fully expressed at the coming of God’s Messiah –
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”
13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:10-14
The words of Jesus to the woman at the well are then more fully explained in John 7 –
“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39
The offer of the Lord spoken forth now towards the end of Revelation is actually one addressed to the people of the world who read Revelation at any point in history. The offer is made to any who will believe the message of Scripture – that God has sent His Christ to bring us back to Himself. Whoever accepts this message of reconciliation, as Jesus next says, He will give this water of life “freely to him who thirsts.”
It is the thought re-expressed from Isaiah 55:1 (cited above). There is no charge for what God offers. It is a gift of grace and not of works. To work implies a wage is due. That which is free is given without accepting anything that requires wages to be paid. For those who thirst after God, the fountain of the water of life will be provided to him. The next verse will specifically explain how that is obtained.
It should be noted here that those who were punished with the seven bowls of God’s wrath in Revelation 16 faced the punishment of drinking blood (16:6), symbolizing the drinking of death. It is the exact opposite of what is promised now to the redeemed of the Lord. As in Revelation 21:4, a contrast is made to the judgment of those who fail to come to God, and the joy of those who put their trust in Jesus Christ.
Life application: What needed to be accomplished has come to pass; what was lost has been restored; that which has been anticipated has been realized. When the Lord says, “It is done,” it reveals a truth to us. The fact that the words were spoken means that it is already accomplished. What we don’t yet perceive because we are in the stream of time, God has already brought to pass. The very word He speaks is the indication that it is done.
When God speaks out a prophecy, such as the granting of eternal life, it is for our benefit so that we can understand what He has already determined. And because he is outside of time, it is already known by Him what the outcome of all things will be.
If God is at the beginning, then He must have been prior to the beginning in order for it to begin. He is the Necessary Being by whom all things came into existence, and apart from Him, nothing has come into being.
Further, if He is the End and God is eternal, then the End stretches into eternity as well. Because God has stated that all who believe in Jesus will have eternal life, then it must be true. There will never be a time when the true end is realized. Rather, the end is the moment-by-moment existence in the eternal state.
As a note concerning the term “Alpha and Omega,” it is used four times in the Bible, all in Revelation – 1:8, 1:11, 21:6, & 22:13. The term “Beginning and End” as used in this context is stated three times, again all in Revelation – 1:8, 21:6, & 22:13. When compared between uses, they confirm (as many other things have) Jesus’ deity.
He is the Lord God Almighty and the second member of the Trinity. This is an inescapable truth and one that is not to be overlooked. The entire Bible reveals this. To deny Jesus’ deity is a heresy. One cannot call on Jesus as Lord if He is a created being. Rather, He is the Lord our God.
Looking at the structure of this verse, the final thought is positioned to complement the first two statements: 1) “It is done,” and 2) “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” It is also a witness to the truth of Jesus’ deity because only God can provide what He offers, meaning the fountain of the water of life. That offer was made in the book of John as noted previously.
As the eternal state has no end, there is the need for an eternal stream of life-giving nourishment to sustain God’s people. This is the “water of life” that Jesus speaks of. Without water, all life dies. Therefore with the water of life, there can be no death. God is outside of His creation and therefore is eternally existent, but we are within it. As such, we need to be eternally sustained. This is noted in Colossian 1:17 and in Hebrews 1:3, both of which are speaking of Jesus as the One who sustains all creation. Only God can sustain what God has created. In understanding this, the words of this verse clearly present the deity of Jesus Christ.
He is our Creator, Sustainer, and Hope. This is revealed in a beautifully unique way in this verse. As we move through our eternal state, we will never tire of the wisdom and life which flows from Him. We can learn about and contemplate Him for a billion times a billion years, and yet we will still have an eternity of learning ahead of us. He is a great God, a wonderful Lord, and a beautiful Savior! He is JESUS.
Jesus, how absolutely astonishing it is to contemplate eternity and to know that we will never be able to fully grasp all that it can reveal to us about You. What a marvelous and glorious Lord You are. Hallelujah to You. Hallelujah in the highest! Amen.