In the fourth installment in my series (https://answeringislamblog.wordpress.com/2018/10/12/jesus-is-jehovah-god-according-to-the-jehovahs-witnesses-bible-pt-3/), I am going to prove from the New World Translation (NWT) of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) that Jesus claimed to be the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, and the beginning end the end, titles that only belong to Jehovah God Almighty.
The Eternal Alpha and Omega Becomes Flesh!
The Hebrew Bible proclaims that Jehovah is the First and the Last who created and sustains the creation by his own power, and who does not give his glory to another since he alone is the sovereign God of history who is able to foretell the future:
“This is what Jehovah says, The King of Israel and his Repurchaser, Jehovah of armies: ‘I am the first and I am the last. There is no God but me. Who is there like me? Let him call out and tell it and prove it to me! From the time I established the people of long ago, Let them tell both the things to come And what will yet happen.’” Isaiah 44:6-7
“For my own sake, for my own sake I will act, For how could I let myself be profaned? I give my glory to no one else. Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I have called. I am the same One. I am the first; I am also the last. My own hand laid the foundation of the earth, And my right hand spread out the heavens. When I call to them, they stand up together.” Isaiah 48:11-13
Astonishingly, Jesus claims to be the very First and Last who died and came back to life again!
“When I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet. And he laid his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last, and the living one, and I became dead, but look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of the Grave.” Revelation 1:17-18
“And to the angel of the congregation in Smyr′na write: These are the things that he says, ‘the First and the Last,’ who became dead and came to life again:” Revelation 2:8
The only way that Jesus could apply this unique divine title to his own Person is if he is Jehovah Almighty in the flesh.*
In the book of Revelation, Jehovah claims to be the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end who is coming quickly, and who also sent his angel to testify to his servants what is going to take place in the near future:
“‘I am the Al′pha and the O·me′ga,’ says Jehovah God (Gr. Kyrios ho Theos – “Lord the God”), ‘the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.’” Revelation 1:8
“And he said to me: ‘They have come to pass! I am the Al′pha and the O·me′ga, the beginning and the end. To anyone thirsting I will give from the spring of the water of life free. Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.’” Revelation 21:6-7
“He said to me: ‘These words are faithful and true; yes, Jehovah [Gr. Kyrios – “Lord”], the God who inspired the prophets (Gr. ho Theos ton pneumaton ton propheton – “the God of the spirits of the prophets”), has sent HIS angel to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. Look! I am coming quickly. Happy is anyone observing the words of the prophecy of this scroll.’” Revelation 22:6-7
Now compare this with what the risen Lord says of himself:
“‘Look! I am coming quickly, and the reward I give is with me, to repay each one according to his work. I am the Al′pha and the O·me′ga, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Happy are those who wash their robes, so that they may have authority to go to the trees of life and that they may gain entrance into the city through its gates. Outside are the dogs and those who practice spiritism and those who are sexually immoral and the murderers and the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices lying. I, JESUS, sent my angel to bear witness to you about these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David and the bright morning star.’… The one who bears witness of these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.’” Revelation 22:12-16, 20
The context is explicitly clear that the One identifying himself as the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end is the risen and exalted Christ. This is confirmed by the fact that the Speaker not only goes on to say he is Jesus, but also because John himself concludes this chapter by identifying the One who is coming quickly as the Lord Jesus.
The following passages also confirm this point:
“For the Father judges NO ONE AT ALL, but he has entrusted all the judging to the Son,” John 5:22
Since the Father will not be judging anyone but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, this means that it is the Son who is coming with his reward to repay everyone according what s/he has earned.
“To the angel of the congregation in Thy·a·ti′ra write: These are the things that the Son of God says, the one who has eyes like a fiery flame and whose feet are like fine copper: ‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and ministry and endurance, and that your deeds of late are more than those you did at first… so that all the congregations will know that I am the one who searches the innermost thoughts and hearts, and I will give to you individually according to your deeds.’” Revelation 2:18-19, 23b
Note that it is the Son of God himself who says that he will personally repay each person according his/her work, a claim that Jesus had already made to his disciples while he was with them on earth:
“For the Son of man is to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will repay each one according to his behavior.” Matthew 16:27
Astonishingly, the Lord Jesus took the very words that the OT uses to describe what Jehovah shall do,
“Look! The Sovereign Lord Jehovah will come with power, And his arm will rule for him. Look! His reward is with him, And the wage he pays is before him.” Isaiah 40:10 – cf. 62:11
“I, Jehovah, am searching the heart, Examining the innermost thoughts, To give to each one according to his ways, According to the fruitage of his works.” Jeremiah 17:10 – cf. 11:20; 29:23; Psalm 62:12; Proverbs 24:12; Romans 2:6
And applied them to himself!
In so doing, Christ was basically claiming to be the very Jehovah God whom the prophets announced would someday come to repay each individual according to what s/he has earned!
In light of this, could the Holy Bible be any clearer in identifying Jesus as the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, and the beginning and the end who comes quickly to judge all mankind?
Here is what we have discovered thus far:
- Jehovah God is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
- Jehovah God is coming quickly.
- Jehovah God searches the innermost thoughts and hearts of every individual in order repay each person according to his/her ways.
- Jehovah God sent his angel to testify to his servants concerning end time events.
- And yet at the same time, Jesus is the One who claims to be the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.
- Jesus is the One that is coming quickly.
- Jesus is the One who searches the innermost thoughts and hearts of every individual in order repay each person according to his/her ways.
- Jesus is the One that sent his angel to John to announce what shall shortly take place.
Now since there obviously cannot be two Alphas and Omegas, firsts and lasts, or beginnings and ends, Jesus must therefore be Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit). There is simply no way of getting around this clear, explicit biblical witness.
In light of this, how will the JWs reconcile what even their own translation says concerning Jesus being the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, when they deny that he is Jehovah God Incarnate? Will they go the route of disbelief and claim that the Holy Bible contradicts itself? Or will they be willing to humble themselves by acknowledging that they have been wrong all this time and finally accept the fact that the inspired Christian Scriptures do present Jesus Christ as Jehovah God Almighty who became a man for our redemption?
* In order to get around this dilemma, the Society argues that Jesus is not the First and the Last in the same sense that Jehovah is. They contend that by First and Last, the Bible means that Jesus is the first One that Jehovah raised to immortal life, and will be the last one that he does this for since everyone else will be raised by Jesus Christ.
The problem with this explanation is that the inspired Scriptures teach that God himself will resurrect all believers at the end of the age in the same way that he raised up Jesus from the dead:
“If, now, the spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised up Christ Jesus from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his spirit that resides in you.” Romans 8:11
“But God raised up the Lord and will also raise us up out of death through his power.” 1 Corinthians 6:14
“knowing that the One who raised Jesus up will raise us up also with Jesus and will present us together with you.” 2 Corinthians 4:14
The Holy Bible further testifies that Jesus personally resurrected himself from the dead:
“Therefore, in response the Jews said to him: ‘What sign can you show us, since you are doing these things?’ Jesus replied to them: ‘Tear down this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said: ‘This temple was built in 46 years, and will YOU raise it up in three days?’ But he was talking about the temple of his body. When, though, he was raised up from the dead, his disciples recalled that he used to say this, and they believed the scripture and what Jesus had spoken.” John 2:18-22
Christ will also resurrect all the dead, including believers, on the Last Day:
“Most truly I say to you, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who have paid attention will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted also to the Son to have life in himself… Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear HIS [the Son’s] voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.” John 5:25, 28-29
“This is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose none out of all those whom he has given me, but that I should resurrect them on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who recognizes the Son and exercises faith in him should have everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day… Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I will resurrect him on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.” John 6:39-40, 54
This means that just as the Father and the Son worked together (along with the Holy Spirit) to raise Christ up from the grave on the third day, they will be working together again to resurrect all believers from the dead at the end of the age. As such, Jesus shall not be the last Person whom Jehovah will personally resurrect to immortality, since he will do so for all the believers at the end of the age in union with his Son.
This shows that the Society’s explanation that Jesus Christ is the First and the Last in the sense of being the first and the last One that Jehovah personally and directly raised to immortal life cannot be correct. Therefore, the JW has no other choice but to accept the fact that Jesus is the First and the Last in the same sense that Jehovah is, since he is in fact Jehovah God Almighty in the flesh (even though he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit).