Q & A: Why Is Jesus Is Called "The Almighty" in Revelation 1:8?

 

Dear Craig,

 

What answer do you give when asked why Jesus is called "the Almighty" in Revelation?

 

Glory

Craig’s Reply & Answers

Thanks again for your intriguing questions; coincidentally I have a Bible study recently finished that explains the meaning of Revelation 1:8; just click onto this link:

 

The Alpha and The Omega: Contrasting God and Jesus in Revelation Chapters 1 through 5

 

In the study link you will find a very comprehensive answer to your question and additional thorough and accurate information about the obvious contrasts and difference between Jesus the man and God Almighty.  Comparisons between God and Jesus in the Book of Revelation are especially important, because at the time it was written, Jesus had already ascended into heaven, and was seated at the Father’s right hand for many years.  Before I answer you question about the word “Almighty” in Revelation 1:8 let’s begin by establishing the context of chapter one:

 

Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place; and He sent and communicated {it} by His angel to His bond-servant John. (NAS)

 

GOD gave the revelation TO Jesus Christ; if Jesus was truly “God” why does he need another “God” to give him the revelation?  This fact alone proves Jesus Christ is lesser in knowledge than God.  The Trinitarian camp and the Jesus is God camp simply cannot explain Revelation 1:1.  Put another way, let’s illustrate by changing names and replacing them with simple modern ones:

 

·         The Revelation of Bob, which Sam gave him…

 

In this example, Sam gave Bob the revelation; if we use the Jesus is God logic, the sentence would read, “The Revelation of Bob, which Bob gave to himself…” I know it’s an absurd choice of examples, and that’s my point.  To say Jesus is “God” based on the context is flat out contradictory.  I want to continue examining the verses that precede verse 8 because the context clearly establishes 1:8 is NOT referring to Jesus Christ but rather God the Father, who IS the ONLY Almighty (Pantokrátœr) in the New Testament.

 

Revelation 1:2 who bore witness to the word of God AND to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.  (NAS)

 

The contrast between God Almighty and Jesus the man in Revelation 1:2 is the use of the conjunction, “AND,” which serves to join two distinctly separate phrases.  The word “AND” separates the phrase, “the word of God,” from the phrase, “the testimony of Jesus.”  The apostle John, bore witness to distinct separate beings; God Almighty and Jesus the man.  Next in verses 4-6 he again makes the distinction between different three separate personages.  I have color coded the verse to show clearly the distinctive differences; Blue = God Almighty; Purple = the seven spirits and Red = Jesus the man, firstborn from among the DEAD (NOTE, God cannot ever be “born” or be “dead”).  The dissimilarity between God and Jesus is the them all thru the Book of Revelation, as you will see.

 

Revelation 1:4-6 John TO the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him (God the Father) who is and who was and who is to come; AND from the seven Spirits who are before His throne; AND from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, AND the ruler of the kings of the earth.  To him (Jesus) who loves us, and released us from our sins by his blood, AND he (Jesus) has made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father; to him (God the Father) be the glory and the dominion forever and ever.  Amen. (NAS)

 

John writes his apocalypse in very clear terms; he addresses the “seven churches” in Asia, and then qualifies exactly to whom and from WHOM each message was given.  First he gives supreme recognition to God the Father by addressing Him as, “Him who is and who was and who is to come.”  Many Christians mistake this phrase as referring to Jesus without carefully reading the grammatical structure of the paragraph.  The paragraph reads, “…Him who is and who was and who is to come AND FROM Jesus Christ.” 

 

The words, “and from,” are used as a conjunction but also to differentiate between three separate parties mentioned; by definition a conjunction not only joins phrases but also divides and separates.  This alone PROVES Jesus is not the same as God, and later, in Revelation 1:8, this is verified.  The message is TO the seven churches and FROM the following THREE parties:

 

·         From Him who is and who was and who is to come

·         AND from the seven Spirits who are before His throne

·         AND from Jesus Christ the first-born of the dead AND the ruler of the kings of the earth

 

Notice carefully the word “from” is omitted after the conjunction “AND” the ruler of the kings…” The reason for this is quite simple; the message is not “from” a fourth party, but this is a second role description of Jesus who is the “ruler” of the kings of “earth.”  Notice he is not called the ruler of the kings in “heaven.”  Also, FYI the word “ruler” aptly defined means, “magistrate.” 

 

To verify this meaning, look at the definition of a magistrate from Noah Webster’s 1828 dictionary, which was written in the same era as most all other Bible reference tools such as Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Old & New Testaments, Englishman’s Hebrew & Greek Concordances and many more.  Therefore the 1828 version of Webster’s is more apt to convey the most accurate meaning of magistrate or in Revelation 1:5, “the ruler,” as used by the translators of most modern Bibles.

 

MAGISTRATE, n. [L. magistratus, from magister, master; magis, major, and ster, Teutonic steora, a director; steoran, to steer; the principal director.]  A public civil officer, invested with the executive government of some branch of it. In this sense, a king is the highest or first magistrate, as is the President of the United States.  But the word is more particularly applied to subordinate officers, as governors, intendants, prefects, mayors, justices of the peace, and the like. The magistrate must have his reverence; the laws their authority.  MAGISTRATIC adjective = Having the authority of a magistrate.

 

Now refer to the actual Greek word used in Revelation 1:5 for “ruler” and you will see it is defined as one vested with authority and therefore subordinate to a higher power; in other words, Jesus is the ruler of the earthly kings but he is a glorified man and therefore subordinate to the Father who alone is God Almighty.

 

Rev 1:5 - “ruler” = archon NT: 758; present participle of NT: 757; a first (in rank or power):KJV - chief (ruler), magistrate, prince, ruler.  (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

 

God the Father, who is also known as Yahweh in the OT, is the One, “who is,” because in Exodus 3:14 He tells Moses His name, saying, “I AM THAT I AM.”  This is an incomplete translation of the Hebrew wording, “Ehyeh Asshur Ehyeh.”  This Hebrew term is more accurately translated as, “I exist {present tense} as what I AM, and what I have always existed as {in the past tense}, and what I will continue to exist as {in the future}.”  This Hebrew phrase matches the Greek equivalent description in Revelation 1:4 perfectly as, “Him who is {in the present} and who was {in the past} and who is to come {in the future}.”  .

 

Jesus cannot be God Almighty if he is the firstborn from among the dead!  Second, in order of rank and importance, John writes concerning Jesus by calling him, “the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead,” who, “released us from our sins by his blood.”  Again as mentioned earlier, God cannot die, nor does He have blood like a man. 

 

In Revelation 1:5 Jesus is not God BECAUSE he made a kingdom of priests to, “his God.”  Jesus has made his church to be a kingdom, priests, “to his God and Father.”  How could Jesus be “God” in heaven if his kingdom belongs to, “his God and Father?” 

 

John says that Jesus released us from our sins through his blood, and made us to be “priests” to “his God.”  A “priest” is someone that mediates or reconciles men to God; therefore a priest cannot be God.  As we continue our context leading up to Revelation 1:8 in Revelation 1:7 we find that Jesus was pierced in the side & God cannot be pierced!  Why?  Because God is SPIRIT.

 

Revelation 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so.  Amen.  (NAS)

 

Revelation 1:7 refers to Jesus Christ as a man, not as God, because 1:6 says Jesus released us from our sins, “by his blood” (an obvious reference to his crucifixion).  The kingdom of “God” is NOT flesh and “blood,” which means this passage refers to Jesus as a man.  Also, the text deals with Christ’s future “coming” in which “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him.”  Jesus is not God because God cannot be pierced, primarily because God is a Spirit being and He does not have a body of flesh and bones that can be punctured by nails or spears.  Proof?  The following verses help clarify and punctuate this point:

 

John 4:23-24  “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.  God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  (NAS)

 

John 1:18  No one has seen God at any time.  The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.  (NKJV)

 

Genesis 1:1-2 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.  NAS

 

If Jesus is God and every eye will see him, doesn’t that contradict John 1:18 that says, “No one has seen God at any time?”  Obviously God has been a “Spirit,” since the very beginning, as illustrated in Genesis 1:1.  Jesus reveals the Father to us, because he is a man in submission to the SPIRIT of God, and therefore we learn of the invisible God’s character or likeness (i.e. – What God is “like” such as His compassion, mercy, forgiveness, etc.) through the example of the MAN.

 

Okay, now I will answer your question about Revelation 1:8; you asked me:

Why is Jesus called “the Almighty” in Revelation 1:8?

The answer is that Revelation 1:8 is NOT Jesus speaking; it is the Father God speaking, as I will prove from the text internal evidence:

 

Revelation 1:8  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”  (NAS)

 

The MAIN reason this verse is God speaking and not Jesus is the phrase, “the Lord God…the Almighty.”  Jesus Christ is NEVER referred to as the “Almighty.”  Not one single place in the entire New Testament can you find Jesus described as the “Almighty” One; the Greek word for Almighty is “Pantokrator,” and means, “All ruling one.” 

 

Furthermore Revelation 1:8 is a reference to God the Father (aka in the OT as Yahweh, Elohim, El, Eloah, etc) as the Creator, who is He that was in the beginning (alpha) and end of everything (omega) which has been created, including the creation of His son Jesus (read Genesis. 1:1). 

 

I don’t know where Christians get it in the head that alpha and omega have anything to do with deity.  It may stem from using only the King James Version, a Bible that has so many flaws in its Greek translation it should never be held as credible for the serious student of scripture.  Below is the KJV rendering of Revelation 1:8 and I have highlighted in red the words erroneously added by the KJV translators:

 

Revelation 1:8 "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,” saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. KJV

 

The New King James Version makes the following disclosure concerning the words, “the beginning and the ending,” in its notations for Revelation 1:8 (see below):

 

Revelation 1:8 * The NU-Text and M-Text omit, “the Beginning and the End.”   (NKJV)

 

Since the best manuscripts eliminate altogether the words, the beginning and the end,” I will not bother taking time to define them.  However, if you are familiar with the Textus Receptus, which is the Greek manuscript used by the KJV translators, you will discover that much of what they relied on for their Greek text originated from Erasmus’ work and we know historically the Roman Catholic church pressured him to insert words and phrases by providing him with eleventh century Latin Mss that had been altered or doctored to validate their theological position concerning the trinity.

 

Sorry for the tangent, but I felt you might need some of these explanations for your future confrontations.  Back to Revelation 1:8; the words, “Alpha and Omega” are simply different Greek words representing letters in the Greek alphabet and are defined as follows:

 

Alpha (al'-fah); the first letter of the Greek alphabet, sometimes signifying the value of 1; used as a symbolic letter, with omega (See 5598 meaning the end);

 

Omega (o'-meg-ah); the last letter of the Greek alphabet, i.e. (figuratively) the finality.

 

As I mentioned to you earlier the Greek word in Revelation 1:8 for “Almighty” is Pantokrátoor. The Strong’s reference number for Pantokrátoor (NT: 3841) and it is defined as follows (I provided definitions from two different Greek lexicons):

 

ALMIGHTY = NT: 3841 pantokratoor, pantokratoros, ho; he who holds sway over all things; the ruler of all; almighty: used of God, 2 Corinthians 6:18 (From Thayer's Greek Lexicon, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)

 

ALMIGHTY = NT: 3841 pantokrátœr; gen. pantokrátoros, masc. noun from pás (3956), all, every, and krátos (NT: 2904), power, strength, dominion. Ruler over all, omnipotent, almighty, spoken only of God as in 2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7,14; 19:6,15; 21:22.  (From The Complete Word Study Bible and The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament Copyright © 1991, 1992, 1994, 2002 AMG International, Inc.)

 

Because Revelation 1:4 uses the identical phrase as 1:8, “who is and who was and who is to come,” when referring to God, neither of these applies to the MAN Christ Jesus.  Revelation 1:8 simply embellishes the phrase in Revelation 1:4 by adding further details as to the IDENTITY of Him, “who is and who was and who is to come.”

 

To demonstrate my point I have taken Revelation 1:4 & Revelation 1:8 and grouped them next to each other (below) and used highlighted words to illustrate similarities.  Compare the two verses and you will see how accurate this conclusion is:

 

Revelation 1:4 From Him who is and who was and who is to come and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.  NAS

 

Revelation 1:8  I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”  NAS

 

Both verses use the phrase, “who is and who was and who is to come,” and this is strong indication they refer to the same individual.  Revelation 1:4 mentions ownership of, “His throne,” whereas Revelation 1:8 shows His identity as the, “Lord God,” and also as, “the Almighty.”  The words Alpha and Omega are not necessary to prove Deity since it was already proven by the description I just explained; however, Alpha being the first letter of the Greek alphabet shows the Lord God to be the one that started the plan of redemption and Omega shows Him as the One that will complete it.

 

If you read the study link I provided for you above, you will find more detailed information on this topic and passage.  One area of confusion for many Christians is Revelation 1:11.  The problem is that the King James Version ADDS words that are not found in any of the early and best manuscripts.  The KJV differs from other translations by blatantly ADDING the phrase at the start of Revelation 1:11, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.”  We can only speculate why the King James translators decided to use the late date Latin manuscripts that erroneously add this to the text, but even the revised King James version known today as, “The New King James Version,” makes the following notation concerning this phrase in Revelation 1:11: 

 

Revelation 1:11 *  The NU-Text and M-Text omit, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and,” (NKJV)

 

Below is the King James Version of Revelation 1:10-11 followed by four other credible versions of the same two verses.  Highlighted in red are words that have been ERRONEOUSLY ADDED by the King James Version, and this was done for theological purposes, not translation purposes:

 

King James Version - Revelation 1:10-11

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” KJV

 

New American Standard Bible - Revelation 1:10-11

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, 11 saying, "Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea."  NAS

 

New International Version - Revelation 1:10-11

10 On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea." (From New International Version)

 

American Standard Version - Revelation 1:10-11

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet 11 saying, What thou seest, write in a book and send (it) to the seven churches: unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamum, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.  ASV

 

New American Standard Updated Bible - Revelation 1:10-11

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, 11 saying, " Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea."  NASU

 

All versions except the KJV omit the words in Revelation 1:11, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.”  The best manuscripts do not have this phrase, and therefore it should be omitted from any credible translation.  The KJV also adds "the beginning and end" to Revelation 1:8.  In both cases the KJV translators were following the Textus Receptus.  Later manuscript discoveries demonstrated the clause was not originally there (probably some scribe earlier for whatever reason transposed the clause from chapter 22 both here and in verse 11).  In fairness to the translators of the KJV perhaps we should assume they were just following the Textus Receptus, which has hundreds if not thousands of problems.

 

One can only speculate, but it appears the KJV translators wanted to make a clear connection between the phrases “Alpha and Omega” and “the first and the last,” and whatever the individual theological position of the translators on the King James committee, the KJV certainly corroborates the view that Christ was “God.”  Trinitarian influences no doubt played some role, since the Church of England espouses Jesus Christ as, ‘God the son’ (i.e. - the second person of the Trinity; a co-equal God person, along with the person of the Father & the Holy Spirit).  A ridiculous notion indeed! 

 

What the KJV translators did by adding the words, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last,” was to give credence to the idea that Jesus Christ is somehow the God-man, who mysteriously created of the universe.  This is an outlandish doctrine, since we can clearly prove the very day of Jesus was conceived and his birth in a manger (Matthew 1:17-20; Luke 2:4-16).  Some theologians have gone so far as to say that the Almighty God became a baby! (See Chuck Swindoll’s book, “When God Became A Man.”)

 

Today, it is the preconceived notion and doctrinal prejudice of Christian theologians that defines, “the Alpha and Omega,” as “God,” in Revelation 1:11 and their stubborn ways to use only the KJV because it adds, ‘the first and the last,’ to the text.  There are enough credible manuscripts and study tools available for a person to find the correct answers.  Throughout its dark and sordid past, the Roman Catholic Church concealed the scriptures from the masses, but there has always been a few people had the passion, drive and the courage to challenge doctrinal prejudices.

 

Nowadays, people ARE beginning to ask questions.  No longer does everyone accept status quo and the advent of Bible software have made comparing Bible translations much easier and quicker.   It is important to note the discrepancies, “the first and the last,” in Revelation 1:11 because the addition of this phrase corroborates the “Jesus is God” doctrine.  A similar phrase is used in Revelation 22:13, which does speak of Jesus as, “Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.”  However, since I mentioned it, let’s show the doctrine for what it is, a lie of the devil to rob the Father of all the glory due His holy Name!  Read the entire text below, and note the red highlights that point out once again how Jesus worships God, thereby negating any claims to Deity by theologians.

 

Revelation 22:8-16 And I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9 And he said to me, "Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God." 10 And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and let the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and let the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.  12 Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to render to every man according to what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end."  14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. 16 I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star."  NAS

 

Without going into a great amount of detail, certain facts once again testify to the man Christ Jesus and AGAINST the, “Jesus is God” doctrine.  In Revelation 22:9 we see the IDENTITY of the voice speaking to John, and saying to him, “… I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God.”  Since this voice is the same as in Revelation 22:13, it certainly cannot be God; rather, it is someone subservient to the Almighty admonishing the apostle John to “worship God” just as he does.

 

Worship God?  If Jesus was “God” (as Trinitarian theologians claim), then why does his voice (apparently the same voice that claimed to be “Alpha the Omega, the first and the last”) say to “worship God?”  This verse by itself proves Jesus is not God, but there is further proof for those who deny the truth.  To further prove it is the voice of Jesus, just a few verses later in the context of Revelation 22:16 he says, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”  For more information, please check out this study, Jesus, Descendent Of David, Resurrected Seed Of God

 

God bless you greatly my dear sister in Jesus.  Your hunger for truth is opening many places for you to gain renewed strength, insight and equip you for what the Father has in store for you.

 

Craig L. Bluemel

The Bible Answer Stand Ministry 

Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do so courteously & respectfully.  1 Peter 3:15

 


 

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