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G. K. Beale: The greetings section is concluded by the Lord’s description of Himself using the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, the Alpha and the Omega. This is a figure of speech that involves the stating of polar opposites to highlight everything between the opposites. Hence the statement that God is the beginning and end of history stresses His presence throughout and His rule over all events in between. God’s sovereign rule is highlighted by referring to Him as the One who is and who was and who is to come, which means that God is the Almighty. With this threefold formula not only is the totality of polarity expressed (who was and who is to come) but a middle element is added (who is) to show that God is, indeed, ruling over events between the beginning and end of history. This middle element is actually put first, out of order, to highlight for the readers that God is present with them, ruling over all the circumstances in which they find themselves. This emphasis serves as a basis for v. 7, since it is only with the presupposition of an omnipotent God that such a confident assertion about the consummation of history can be made.

Gordon Fee: the description of the divine speaker as “the Lord God” and “the Almighty” is language once again derived directly from the prophetic tradition. In this case John is reflecting Amos 4:13 (in the LXX), where the oracle concludes, “the Lord God Almighty is his name.” In the present instance, and almost certainly for effect, John divides up this divine name by inserting the phrase “the One who is, and who was, and who is to come” between “the Lord God” and “the Almighty.” Thus the concluding self-identification puts most of the emphasis on God’s being the Eternal One, but whose identity here concludes with God’s being the All-Powerful One.

Kendell Easley: Before describing his first vision, John records the sovereign words of the Lord God who is able to bring it all to pass. Since one theme in Revelation is the conflict between the powers of good and evil, readers are reminded of who really has the power. First, he is the Alpha and Omega, the A and Z, the one in control from before the beginning of time until after the end. His eternity is further noted in the phrase, who is, and who was, and who is to come (v. 4). Finally, his power is seen in the title the Almighty (Gr. pantokrator), the one whom none can resist.

Richard Phillips: In Revelation 1:8, we come to the final verse in John’s introduction to this remarkable book. The prologue gives useful information about Revelation, and the most important bit is the purpose for which John is writing. There are many secondary purposes for Revelation, such as giving information about the future and exhorting the churches to which it was written. But the great purpose of Revelation is to provide Christians with a view of history from God’s perspective in heaven. As James Boice elaborated, “the primary purpose of Revelation is to enable Christians from every age and in every possible circumstance to view what is happening in history from God’s point of view, rather than from man’s, and to be comforted and strengthened by it to live for Christ and his glory at all times.” . . .

Since Revelation presents God’s view of history, it makes sense for God to present himself as the Sovereign who is able to hold all things together and accomplish all his purposes in Christ to save his people.

Robert Thomas: As though not satisfied that he has made the prophecy’s certain fulfillment plain, in v. 8 the prophet adds the emphatic declaration of God the Father as further verification of this fact. The implied thought is that the prophecy of v. 7 is just as sure to be fulfilled as is the credibility of the speaker who identifies Himself in v. 8 by these very significant titles.

James Hamilton: The Father’s Solemn Pronouncement

The words of the Father in verse 8 function as a solemn verification of what John has written to this point in the letter. The revelation of Jesus (1:1), the testimony of John (1:2), the blessing on those who read, hear, and keep this prophecy (1:3), John’s wish of grace and peace for the churches (1:4), the doxology to Jesus (1:5, 6), and the warning of the coming of Jesus (1:7) are all attested to by the one who has always been and will always be.

John MacArthur: In this verse the Lord God puts His signature on the prophecy of the Second Coming recorded in the previous verse. Three of His divine attributes guarantee the certainty of the pledge of Christ’s return.


“’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God,

Robert Thomas: The specific identity of the speaker of these words is not immediately clear. Is the spokesman God the Father or God the Son? Persuasive evidence has been advanced in favor of the latter identification. (Egō eimi, “I am”), the words with which the verse begins, is a frequent self-designation appropriated by Jesus in the NT, especially in the gospel of John (e.g., John 8:58) (Caird). (to Alpha kai to Ō, “the Alpha and the Omega”) is a self-description by Jesus in Rev. 22:13. It more probably carries the same force in this verse.  Jesus Christ has been the central figure in vv. 1-7. A switch to God the Father in v. 8 is improbable because it is so abrupt (Walvoord). The case is further strengthened by a comparison of this verse with Rev. 1:17-18, where similar titles are without question applied to Christ (Smith). Lastly, because erchetai in v. 7 clearly refers to Christ’s coming, the same must be the case with (ho erchomenos, “the coming one”) in v. 8. The evidence in favor of seeing Christ as the speaker is impressive.

Yet so is the evidence favoring the Father. (kyrios ho theos, “the Lord God”) is a title of God the Father throughout the OT, beginning in Genesis 2 (Bullinger; Alford). Furthermore, (ho ōn kai ho ēn kai ho erchomenos, “the one who is and who was and who is coming”) is a title for the Father in 1:4, as shown there. It is only plausible that it should have that connotation here also (Smith). In the LXX (ho pantokratōr, “the Almighty”) renders the Hebrew expression for “Lord of hosts,” except in Amos 4:13 where it renders “God of hosts,” and in the book of Job where it is used for the Hebrew “Shaddai” (Bullinger; Alford). Remembering that similar words are spoken by the Father in 21:6 (Mounce), one cannot help being impressed by the strength of the case for seeing God the Father as the speaker in v. 8.

Whichever conclusion is correct, it is clear that a close affinity exists between the Father and the Son in this book. Undoubtedly this results from Christ’s being all the fullness of the Godhead (cf. Col. 2:9) and sharing in all the attributes, deity, and totality of the Father (cf. Heb. 1:3) (Hailey). Still, the above issue of identity must be resolved. A weighing of evidence, especially in light of the OT “flavor” of the expressions and a recollection that the Father in the OT refers to Himself as “I am” (i.e., the Tetragrammaton, Ex. 3:14; cf. Isa. 48:12), tips the balance ever so slightly to the side of concluding that God the Father speaks in v. 8. This is His affirmation to confirm the truthfulness of the prophetic oracle of v. 7.

David Thompson: [Alternative View – Christ’s own identifying statements He makes about Himself]

J. Hampton Keathley, III: since this follows the salutation which comes from the trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, perhaps it could be from the Godhead itself.

Sola Scriptura: Trying to decide which member of the Godhead is identified in verse 8 is impossible.  It is as if both members are speaking at the same time.  This may be closer to the truth John intends.  This prophecy stands as the unanimous consent of God the Father and God the Son.

Buist Fanning: The point is that the Lord God is sovereign over all of time and history.  He is the origin and goal of everything that exists or happens (cf. 1 Cor 8:6, “from whom and for whom are all things”). This makes it appropriate that the speaker is identified as “the Lord God” (κύριος ὁ θεός) since this expression, so reminiscent of the Old Testament title of God (cf. Exod 3:15–16; 20:2; Deut 6:4) is frequently used in Revelation in contexts emphasizing his authority to judge and rule (cf. Rev 11:17; 18:8; 19:6; 22:5).

John MacArthur: And he [God the Father] says, “Look, I am A to Z.  I contain all knowledge.  There is no information, there is no knowledge, there is no truth, there is no understanding, there is no wisdom outside of what I know.  When I say Christ is coming, I’m telling you there won’t be any surprises because there’s nothing outside My knowledge.  I am Alpha to Omega.  I know everything.  And since I have all knowledge, there is nothing I don’t know about.  There is nothing that exists or could happen to ever foil this plan because there’s nothing I don’t know about.  There are no unknown factors that could sabotage the second coming.”

J. Hampton Keathley, III: These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. It is equivalent to our A and Z. This does not relate so much to time but to truth. It expressed the extent of God’s knowledge and wisdom (Col. 2:3). It stresses Christ’s or the Godhead’s omniscience or infinite knowledge and wisdom. This stands then as a strong authentication of the book of Revelation because it comes from the Alpha (a) and Omega (w).


A.  Present Existence

“who is

B.  Past Existence

and who was

C.  Future Coming

and who is to come,

Rick Griffith: John quotes God the Father who is Lord of time to demonstrate His ability to bring all the promises of the prophecy to pass.


the Almighty.”

Craig Keener: God not only is Lord over time, but he rules the entire universe: he is pantokrator, “Almighty,” a common title for God in this book (1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 19:6, 15; 21:22; elsewhere in the New Testament only at 2 Cor. 6:18). . .

For Christians suffering under Caesar, the autokrator or emperor, knowing that they served the “Almighty” must have provided strength. Caesar might rule citizens of an empire in limited ways, but God rules the cosmos; and God, who is the beginning and the end, will guide the course of history long after Caesar’s death and the cremation of his body in Rome.

Grant Osborne: The final title, ὁ παντοκράτωρ (ho pantokratōr, the Almighty), provides a fitting conclusion for the preface. In the LXX it frequently translates the OT title “LORD of Hosts” (cf. 2 Sam. 5:10; Jer. 5:14; Amos 3:13; et al.), stressing throughout the prophets the omnipotence and authority of God over all earthly forces. It occurs nine times in Revelation (1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 19:6, 15; 21:22; elsewhere only in 2 Cor. 6:18 in an OT quotation), always with the connotation of God’s absolute power and control. In a sense all of Rev. 1:8 looks to God as ruler over all of history, in control of this world and the next, with full authority over earthly and cosmic forces. It provides a fitting climax to the prologue of 1:1–8.

Daniel Akin: The title again emphasizes God’s sovereignty and omnipotence. This God has absolute authority, control, and power. He is “in control of this world and the next” (Osborne, Revelation, 72). This is no finite deity. This is no God in process on the way to completion and perfection. These titles leave no room for “open theism” and a God who is not absolutely omniscient in the fullest sense that word can bear. It is hard to imagine how God Himself could make this clearer!