How is Jesus the First and the Last?

jesus alpha and omegaQuestion:  How is Jesus the first and the last?

“Why does Jesus say, ‘I am the first and the last,’ in Revelation 1:17, if He is the Son of God the Father? He also said, ‘and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me,’ while He was speaking to the Father in John 17:8.”

Tennessee

Answer:

This is an excellent question. Let us read the verse. Jesus said, “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” (Revelation 1:17, 18) There are some who claim that this text indicates that Christ has always existed, and always will exist, and that therefore He was not truly the “begotten Son” of God in a literal sense. However, to try to fit that theory into this verse we would have to make it contradict all the plain Bible testimony that reveals that Christ is truly the Son of God by being begotten of His Father. Yet, there is nothing in this verse that necessitates that the speaker was not begotten in a literal sense.

There are a number of other possible interpretations of this verse. Jesus said that He is “the first and the last,” but He did not clarify what He was referring to.

Christ could have been referring to Himself as the first and the last literal begotten Son of God. He could have been referring to Himself as the first and the last One to die for another’s sins. He could have been referring to Himself as the first and the last to be resurrected after experiencing the second death. The fact is, we are not told precisely what Jesus was referring to when He called Himself “the first and the last,” but the above interpretations are definite possibilities. It is true that God the Father applied this term to Himself in the Old Testament, yet, just as other terms apply to the Father differently from the Son, this term also has a different application for the Father than for His Son.

The word “Saviour” is applied most often to the Son of God, but at times it applies to the Father. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.” (1 Timothy 2:3; See also 1 Timothy 1:1; Luke 1:47; Titus 1:3; 3:4; Jude 25) It is evident that the term “Saviour” is used in a different sense when applied to the Father than when it applies to the Son. God is our Saviour because He sent His Son to die for us. Christ is our Saviour because He died for our sins. (See 1 John 4:14; 2 Peter 1:11, etc.)

When seeking to find a proper interpretation of a Bible verse, we must take into consideration all the other verses on that subject, and come to a conclusion that is in harmony with the entire Bible. Christ is “the first and the last,” yet He was begotten of His Father according to the Scriptures. These two truths must harmonize with each other.

I hope this helps to answer your question.

  • Ovi

    Talking about God using temporality frame of reference is just wrong. He is out of our space&time paradigm. For example when I try to think about “the begging of God” so to speak, going back in time, I can never imagine a time when He was alone, all by Himself, before creating let’s say the first angel or the first intelligent creature. From our limited standpoint He was NEVER without company, angels worshiping Him since forever as we say…
    The word “beggoten” as appears in the KJV can be deceptive. Is the Greek MONOGENES – μονογενής giving the idea of a unique and special relationship, The translation we got was influenced by British royalty succession. The word is “Primogen” – derived from “primogenitor”, a word meaning the first or earliest ancestor. Another word in original Greek is πρωτότοκος PROTOTOKOS,
    Jesus being first&last is not about temporality but pre-eminence….

    • Lynnford Beachy

      Dear Brother Ovi,

      Thank you for your comment. You brought up a good point about the fact that God transcends time as we know it, so we are limited in our ability to discuss what happened in the days of eternity. The only thing we can rightly speak about are those things that are revealed in the Bible (Deuteronomy 29:29). The Bible does tell us that Christ’s “origin” was in “the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2 ESV and Margin).

      Regarding the word monogenes, most of the new translations have deleted the word begotten from John 3:16, including the NIV, RSV, NASB (1995 Edition), NLT, etc. The translators of the Bible excuse this deletion by their supposed discovery that the Greek word monogenes, that was translated “only begotten,” really means “unique” or “one of a kind” and has nothing to do with begotten. This theory falls quickly when we study the Bible and history. In all of the nine places where monogenes is used in the New Testament, it always refers to born children. And the people who lived during the time the New Testament was written, along with the early church writers, also understood monogenes to refer to begotten (born) children.

      The theory of “eternal generation” is specifically designed to do away with the literal Sonship of Christ, while seeking to harmonize the Bible statements that Christ is the “begotten Son of God.” If Origen and the early Catholic councils understood monogenes to have no reference to begotten, they would have used this argument in their attempt to discard the literal Sonship of Christ, rather than inventing and accepting the confusing theory of “eternal generation.” For a thorough study on this historical documentation, please read our book, God’s Love on Trial available here http://presenttruth.info/books/God_on_Trial/Gods_Love_on_Trial.htm.

      Monogenes is a compound word taken from the two Greek words monos and genos. Monos means “only” and genos means “offspring.” If any of the Greek writers wished to convey the idea of “unique” or “one of a kind,” they did not use monogenes, but merely monos or monon. This would not be true if monogenes really meant “unique.” If it did, we would find people using it for “only city,” or “only house,” etc., but we never find such usage in the New Testament. Even today, those who use Greek as their main language would never use monogenes to mean “unique” because they know it only refers to born children.

      In recent years certain theologians have attempted to redefine monogenes to mean “unique” or “one of a kind.” Yet, this cannot be accepted! If monogenes meant “only begotten” at the time the Bible was written, who has the right to redefine it nearly 2,000 years later and put a meaning on the word that was never thought of nor intended by Bible writers?

      Yes, prototokos is used of Christ, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Colossians 1:15). Barnes New Testament Notes says, “the word firstborn — pro-tot-ok’-os — properly means the firstborn child of a father or mother.” Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary says, “Begotten (literally, ‘born’) before every creature.” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says, “Christ is called, firstborn of all creation, who came into being through God prior to the entire universe of created things.”

      It is true that Christ is preeminent, but it is also abundantly clear in the Bible that Jesus Christ is the literal, Begotten Son of God. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him” (1 John 4:9). Jesus said, “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself” (John 5:26). According to Jesus, He received life from His Father. This in no way detracts from His divinity, in fact it guarantees it. God’s Son must be of the same nature as His Father, by inheritance (Hebrews 1:1-4).

      Pay special attention to John’s admonition, “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5). It is extremely dangerous to disbelieve that Jesus is the Son of God. May God bless you as you contemplate this vital truth, for therein is the key to understanding the depth of God’s love.

      “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21).

  • John

    I totally agree with the first sentence of your last paragraph, so I would like to also point out a few additional passages that are directly related to the subject. Isaiah 43:10-11 says …before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and besides me there is no saviour. Isaiah 44:6 & 8 say …I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God. …Is there a God besides me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. Jesus also states that He is the “Alpha and Omega” in Revelation 1:8, 1:11 and again in 22:13. In these passages Isaiah tells us exactly what is meant by “the first and the last”.

    It very simply means that the One making that claim is stating that He is the bookends by which all things consist (see Col. 1:17). There was nothing that came before Him and there will be nothing that comes after him, it is the ultimate statement of eternal existence.
    Please expound on your thoughts about this subject taking these passages into consideration as well. Thanks.

    • Lynnford Beachy

      You brought up some excellent points, Brother John. Thank you for sharing. Yes, all of those scriptures must harmonize with the rest of the Scriptures that say “there is but one God, the Father…” (1 Corinthians 8:6), and that the Father has “given to the Son to have life in Himself” (John 5:26). In the Bible it is sometimes difficult to understand exactly who is speaking, either the Father or the Son. The context must be relied upon to give us the correct understanding. Sometimes, there is a change of speakers without a clear indication, but the context is king. The first verse you brought up is very interesting. It says, “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour” (Isaiah 43:10, 11). The fact that He says, “beside me there is no saviour” is interesting because both the Father and the Son in the New Testament are called “Saviour.”

      “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:3-5). “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 3:4-6). God the Father is our Saviour because He is the one, and only one, who could send Jesus to save us. “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14). If the president was the only person who could save a country, and the only way he could do it was by sending his son to die for them, then either the president or his son could claim that he is the only Saviour. We have salvation only through the Son of God who died for our sins, something that could only happen if His Father had enabled Him to perform this work. So it is actually true for either the Father or the Son to claim “beside me there is no Saviour.” Both of them saved us each in a particular way that only that Person could perform. The Father cannot die (1 Timothy 6:16) so He could not save us by dying Himself, and the Son could not be resurrected to be our High Priest if His Father had not resurrected Him from the dead (Hebrews 5:7; Ephesians 1:17-20). Each had a critical part to play in our salvation. So each of them is our only Saviour.

      So to decipher who is speaking in this particular verse in Isaiah, we need to look at the context. It says, “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed [יצר yatsar], neither shall there be after me.” The word “formed” is very interesting here. It is the same word that is used a few verses later where God says, “Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed [יצר yatsar] thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen” (Isaiah 44:2). “Formed” can apply to being begotten or born. Jesus Christ is the only Person who was begotten or born from His Father. The wording here is “before me there was no God formed or born, neither shall there be after me.” This indicates that He is the first and the last God who was born. This could only apply to Jesus Christ who was begotten by God, His Father.

      Some have claimed that the use of the word “formed” in this verse has nothing to do with Him being born. Yet, if that is the case, why is that word there? If He just wanted to say, “before me there was no God, neither shall there be after me,” why didn’t He just say so? Instead He said there was no God BORN before Him, neither shall there be any God BORN after Him. This sounds like language of Jesus Christ who said He is “the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). This also explains at least one way how the Son could be called, “the Alpha and the Omega.” He is the first and the last of any God who was born.

      The next verses you quoted are: “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God… Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any” (Isaiah 44:6, 8). The verses that follow are very interesting. They say, “They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; … he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god” (Isaiah 44:9-17). Notice the context here. God is not disavowing the fact that He has a Son, instead, He is contrasting Himself with false gods made of wood or stone.

      Every interpretation of a verse must be in harmony with the rest of Scripture, if not, then we can be sure we are wrong. In the same book, Isaiah wrote, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). He also wrote of Him, “Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me” (Isaiah 48:16). Here Isaiah knew of someone who was in the beginning, who was sent by the Lord God. This same person who was sent by the Lord God is said to be “The mighty God.”
      What we must conclude from all these verses is that when the one God of the Bible was distinguishing Himself from false gods He was not denying the fact that He has a literal Son who is God by nature.

      I hope this helps to clarify the question. I really appreciate you taking the time to write.

  • John

    Thank you for your reply Lynnford. In your response you indicate that it is your belief that it is Jesus who is speaking in Is. 43:10-11. Would you agree then that Jesus is in fact Jehovah?

    • Lynnford Beachy

      Yes. Jehovah is a name given to Jesus by His Father. The Bible says of Jesus, “Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they” (Hebrews 1:4). Jesus received a name from His Father by inheritance. That would indicate that He received a name that His Father also has. My name is Lynnford Beachy. Only part of this name is the same as my earthly father. My name “Lynnford” was given to me by my parents, but I did not receive it by inheritance. The name I received by inheritance is “Beachy.” I have that name because my father has that name. God the Father and Jesus both share the name Jehovah (Yahweh). Jesus received this name by inheritance. The Father said, “…my name is in Him” (Exodus 23:21). Jesus appeared to Abraham in Genesis 18 and it says the LORD (Jehovah or Yahweh) was speaking to Abraham (verse 22). We know this was Jesus because “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). Thank you for prompting further clarification. I appreciate your kindness.

  • John

    Thanks for the quick reply. I would just like to continue on a bit were you left off about Jesus being the one who appeared to Abraham. I agree with your statement there and I’m glad you brought it up. My understanding of your position is that you do not believe that Jesus is “God Almighty.” Exodus 6:3 says “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not know to them.”

  • John

    The name Jesus obtained by inheritance spoken of in Hebrews 1:4 is “Son” as we see in verse 5. I see no Biblical evidence to support the assumption that Jehovah was the name that was obtained by inheritance in verse 4. We see Jesus or the “Word” showing up right off the bat in Gen. 3:8 as Jehovah God walking in the garden and it says that Adam and Eve hid themselves from His presence. I agree with your assessment that the One who appeared to Abraham in Gen. 18 was in fact Jesus. With that being said and your belief in mind that Jesus is not “God Almighty” but someone else, I would like you to share how it is that you are able to harmonize the verses we’ve already went over with the following: Ex. 6:3 “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not know to them.” Deu. 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah:” Ps. 83:18 “That they may know that thou alone, whose name is Jehovah, Art the Most High over all the earth.” Gen. 19:24 “Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven.” (also see Amos 4:11 and read carefully) Thank you.

    • Lynnford Beachy

      Thank you for your comment Brother John. Regarding the name
      given to Jesus “by inheritance” in Hebrews 1:4, I do not see how the title “Son”
      could be the name He received by inheritance. “Son” is a title, not a name, and
      it is not a title the Father shares. Jehovah, on the other hand, is a name and
      it is a name that both the Father and the Son share, hence making Jehovah [Yahweh]
      applicable to a name given by inheritance.

      You brought up a good question about “God Almighty.” That
      term is used 11 times in the Bible and could always be referring to the Father
      only. Here is the last place it is used, speaking of the New Jerusalem: “And I
      saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of
      it” (Revelation 21:22). God said to Moses, “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto
      Isaac, and unto Jacob, by God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known
      to them” (Exodus 6:3 italicized words omitted). Here is an example of God
      speaking to Moses, either personally or by proxy (someone representing Him).
      God has spoken to people by proxy on several occasions and not always with clear
      indication that He was speaking by proxy. For example: “And the angel of the
      LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said,
      Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou
      any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not
      withheld thy son, thine only son from me. … And the angel of the LORD
      called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I
      sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not
      withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee,
      and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as
      the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the
      gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be
      blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22:11-18).

      Here “the angel of the LORD” appeared to Abraham, but spoke
      the words of the LORD as if he was the LORD using, “thou hast not withheld thy
      son, thine only son from ME,” and “By MYSELF have I sworn, saith the
      LORD… thou hast obeyed MY voice.”

      Another example is when Moses saw a burning bush: “And the
      angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a
      bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was
      not consumed.… And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called
      unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said,
      Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy
      feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am
      the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
      And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.… And God said unto
      Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of
      Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:2-6, 14).

      In both of these cases we have one Person appearing to men
      referred to as, “the angel of the LORD.” Hebrew word translated “angel” here
      means, “messenger, representative, angel” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon).
      This word is translated “messenger” almost as often as it is translated “angel.”
      God used this word to apply to His Son when He said, “Behold, I will send my
      messenger [or angel], and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord,
      whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger [or angel] of
      the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts”
      (Malachi 3:1). He also said, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee
      in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of
      him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions:
      for my name is in him” (Exodus 23:20, 21). These verses are referring to Jesus,
      the Son of God, who is the ultimate messenger of God Almighty. He can appear to
      people and speak with authority as if He is God Almighty Himself, for the
      Father’s name is in Him.

      For someone to be called, “the Angel of the LORD,” they must
      be someone other than “the LORD” Himself. Though both the Father and the Son are
      called “the LORD [Jehovah]” there is still one who is the original and “the only
      true God” (John 17:3), He is God, the Father, beside whom, “there is none other
      God” (1 Corinthians 8:4-6). The Son is His messenger. He appeared to Joshua and
      said, “…as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on
      his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord
      unto his servant? And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose
      thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And
      Joshua did so” (Joshua 5:14, 15). Here Jesus uses the title, “captain of the
      host of the LORD” and received worship. Jesus is much greater than the angels
      and is their captain. At the same time He is the primary messenger of the
      Father. He can speak for God without clarification that He is actually His Son.
      I believe this harmonizes all of the verses you shared. He can still sing to
      His Father with Moses and the 144,000 saying, “Great and marvellous are thy
      works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (Revelation
      15:3).

      Thank you so much for sharing. I pray that this helps to
      clarify things.

      • John

        You seem to have missed the intension of my last question so I will try
        to break it down more thoroughly.

        Jehovah is translated as “The Existing One” “to be” or “to exist”, “I AM THAT I AM” Ex. 3:14. Jehovah is eternal (no beginning and no end), to be Jehovah means to have always been Jehovah, the One True God, God Almighty. This is why I stated that I see no Biblical evidence to support that Jehovah was the name received by inheritance in Hebrews 1:4 as you suggested because it violates that basic principle. Jesus tells us that before Abraham was I am, in John 8:58. I listed the verses where we see Jesus as the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end at the beginning of our discussion. We agree that it was Jesus that appeared to Abraham because no man hath seen the Father at any time. Yet we see that God Almighty Himself appeared to men in Gen. 17:1, 35:9-11, 48:3 and Ex. 6:3.

        The following versus show plurality within the name Jehovah: Is. 44:6 “Thus saith Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts: I am the first and the last; and besides me there is no God”. This passage clearly indicates two Jehovahs but it is followed by a declaration that must include both of them and yet is stated with the singular pronouns “I and me”. We also see two Jehovahs in Gen. 19:24 which is referred to in Amos 4:11, again with plurality as l listed in my previous comment.

        We also have to deal with the verses that explicitly state that there is only one Jehovah such as these here: Deu. 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah:” Ps. 83:18 “That they may know that thou alone, whose name is Jehovah, Art the Most High over all the earth.” Ps. 148:13 “Let them praise the name of Jehovah; For his name alone is exalted; His glory is above the earth and the heavens”. Nehemiah 9:6 “Thou art Jehovah, even thou alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all things that are thereon, the seas and all that is in them, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee”. Also see Is. 43:10-11 mentioned previously.

        To summarize, the name Jehovah can only be properly applied to the eternal, God Almighty. We see that Jehovah our God is one Jehovah, the Most High over all the earth. But, we also see plurality within that name. We agree that no man has seen the Father at anytime so the One who appears is in fact Jesus. This means that either Jesus is God Almighty or that the men who stated that they had seen God Almighty were actually tricked into thinking that’s what they had seen. There can only be one Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. We see it used in the OT by Jehovah and Jesus claims it Himself in the NT. The Jesus I follow meets all these criteria and fits perfectly. I have studied your
        material and the Jesus you speak of does not harmonize with these scriptures. That is what I would like you to address.

        Also, I am glad you brought up the examples regarding “The Angle of the LORD”. That is another good study that ties right into all this as well. I would like to comment on that as well but after we go over this because it will help clarify what is being revealed in those passages that you mentioned.

        • Lynnford Beachy

          Thank you for your clarification, Brother John. I am sorry
          about missing the point last time. You are right that the name Jehovah means
          “The Existing One,” (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon) or “Self-Existent”
          (Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary). Yet, it is an assumption to apply to it, “no
          beginning.” That is not part of the definition. Granted, the supreme Jehovah,
          God the Father, is without beginning. Yet, the use of Jehovah by the Father’s
          Son does not carry this meaning. If it did, it would contradict Jesus’ own
          words, “For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to
          have life in himself” (John 5:26). The name Jehovah carries with it
          “self-existent,” which is something that Jesus has. He stays alive without any
          outside source keeping Him alive. You and I must continue to eat the tree of
          life to stay alive, but He does not have that requirement. According to Jesus
          this “self-existent” life was “given” to Him. If self-existence cannot be
          given, then Jesus’ words cannot be true. But we know that is not the case, so
          “self-existence” can be given from the Father to His Son. I believe He has this
          “by inheritance,” so the name Jehovah is perfectly fitting for Jesus to have
          received “by inheritance” (Hebrews 1:4).

          You brought up some verses which you say “show plurality
          within the name Jehovah.” The first of which is: “Thus saith the LORD the King
          of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the
          last; and beside me there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6). I can see how it may be
          inferred from this verse that it is talking about two Jehovahs, but there is an
          alternate explanation that I believe is more accurate and will not contradict other
          Scriptures. The “his” in the phrase “his Redeemer” could be referring to
          “Israel.” It could be understood, “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and [Israel’s]
          redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me
          there is no God” (Isaiah 44:6). As it is written in the King James, it is not
          definitive one way or the other (LORD or Israel), but in some translations it
          is very definitive. The Rotherham translation says, “Thus saith Yahweh—King of
          Israel, Even his Redeemer, Yahweh of hosts…” The 2003 Holman Christian Standard
          Bible says, “This is what the LORD, the King of Israel and its Redeemer, the
          LORD of Hosts, says…” In these translations, “the LORD,” is the same person
          in both parts of the verse. The ending of the verse also requires this
          understanding, which says, “beside me there is no God.” If He was actually talking
          about two Persons in this verse, He would have said, “beside US there is no
          God.” I have found that every time, without exception, when the Father or Son wanted
          to include both of them, They used the plural pronouns “us,” “we,” “our,” etc.
          (Genesis 1:26; John 14:23; 17:22, etc.). When He uses the singular, “me,” “I,”
          etc., I have found in every case He is only talking about one singular Person.
          I do not know of any exceptions to this. If you know of any, please let me
          know. This consistency would require that Isaiah 44:6 is only talking about one
          Person called Jehovah as the above translations illustrate. It is certainly not
          sufficient evidence to build a doctrine claiming that there is a plurality in
          the name Jehovah, especially in light of all the verses that contradict this
          notion.

          The last two verses you brought up to support this are: Genesis
          19:24 “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire
          from the LORD out of heaven;” and Amos 4:11 “I have overthrown some of you, as
          God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the
          burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.” I am assuming you
          are seeing a plurality here because the LORD says, “God overthrew…,” please
          correct me if I am wrong. Speaking of yourself in the third person is normal in
          the Bible. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing
          of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth,
          these also doeth the Son likewise” (John 5:19). Here Jesus was speaking of
          Himself, but He calls Himself “He,” and “the Son.” This is common in the Bible.
          In John’s gospel, he wrote, “Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom
          Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper,… This is
          the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we
          know that his testimony is true.” (John 21:20, 24). John was writing of himself
          here as the one who leaned on Jesus’ breast at supper and the one who wrote the
          Gospel of John. It was common for a person in the Bible to speak of himself in
          the third person, so it is not surprising for God to say, “God overthrew
          Sodom…” and be speaking about Himself.

          If the above two examples are the only two that “show plurality
          within the name Jehovah,” I would seriously reconsider your conclusion,
          especially since that conclusion contradicts the other verses you mentioned
          that show His absolute singularity. Please consider the following verses while
          forming your conclusion and ask, “Who is God in these verses?”

          “Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for
          salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true
          worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father
          seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must
          worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:22-24).

          “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
          may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him”
          (Ephesians 1:17).

          “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
          the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

          “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in
          time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto
          us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made
          the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1, 2).

          “But unto the Son he [the Father] saith, Thy throne, O God,
          is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
          Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God,
          hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows” (Hebrews 1:8,
          9).

          “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a
          name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).

          “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall
          the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that
          God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).

          “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is
          Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1
          Corinthians 11:3).

          “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven,
          and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may
          glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give
          eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that
          they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”
          (John 17:1-3).

          “As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are
          offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world,
          and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called
          gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
          But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in
          him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him” (1
          Corinthians 8:4-6).

          The term “one God” is used seven times in the Bible (Malachi
          2:10; Mark 12:32; Romans 3:30; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5;
          James 2:19), and in every case it is referring exclusively to the Father.

          “And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said
          the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love
          him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul,
          and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than
          all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices” (Mark 12:32, 33).

          “Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing:
          it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God” (John
          8:54).

          I very much appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this. I
          understand that neither of us know all things. We just have to weigh the
          evidence and make our conclusions based upon the facts. I am open to correction
          and I seek for more evidence. I really appreciate how we can humbly reason
          together and your kind attitude.

          Regarding the patriarchs seeing “God Almighty.” Consider this:
          “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend”
          (Exodus 33:11). Here we find that Moses spoke face to face with the LORD. Yet,
          a few verses later God said, “And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for
          there shall no man see me, and live” (Exodus 33:20). Talking about the Father,
          the Bible says, “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man
          can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and
          power everlasting. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:16). According to the Bible, “No man hath
          seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the
          Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18).

          Many men have seen Jesus. When asked to show the Father,
          Jesus said, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me,
          Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then,
          Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father
          in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father
          that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:9, 10). Jesus manifested the
          Father. He said, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man
          knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the
          Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him” (Matthew 11:27). The only
          way to know the Father is through Jesus revealing Him. That is why He is
          called, “the Word of God” (Revelation 19:13). He reveals the Father. If you
          want to know the Father you must see Him through His Son Jesus. Yes, He can
          rightly appear to people as the Almighty, for can speak on behalf of His Father
          and He was given “all power” “in heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:18). The Father
          put all things under Him (1 Corinthians 15:24-28), similarly to how Pharoah put
          all things under Joseph, except for himself (Genesis 41:40). When Joseph’s
          brothers came to get food they understood Joseph to be “the lord of the country”
          (Genesis 42:33), even though Joseph had someone over him in authority.

          We have already seen how “The angel of the LORD” appeared to
          people speaking as the LORD Himself. Jesus is the number one Messenger for His
          Father, so He can speak the words of His Father, saying, “I am God Almighty”
          whether or not the title applies to Jesus directly. I look forward to hearing
          your thoughts on “the angel of the LORD.”

          Thank you so much for your time and comments. May God bless
          you richly.

          • John

            Thank you for your reply Lynnford. When you say Jesus stays alive without any
            outside source keeping Him alive, that would be a definition for “Self-Sustaining”. To be “Self-
            Existent” means to exist independently of any other being or cause. To exist without a cause is to have no beginning, or to be eternal. One cannot be Jehovah without possessing this attribute; there is no partially being Jehovah. It’s all or nothing.

            The view that John 5:26 indicates that there must be two separate definitions of Jehovah misses what we are told in Philippians 2:5-8 where Jesus voluntarily emptied Himself of the attributes that constituted His glory and entered into His own creation as a man. The eternal nature of the Son is not in question in John 5:26; it is the Father’s communication of Divine attributes to the Incarnate Word that is meant. John 1:4 tells us that in Him was life from the beginning, this verse is paralleled by Ps. 36.9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

            Keep in mind when reading passages like John 17:3 that Jesus was both divine and man.
            As a man Jesus correctly addresses the Father as the only true God. He was not denying His own divinity but affirming the trueness of God as we see in the OT. A lot of Anti-Trinitarians like to use John 17:3 as a proof text but without understanding Philippians 2 they miss out
            completely on verse 4 and 5. Notice what Jesus is saying, He glorified the Father on the earth and finished the work that He was given to do. Then in verse 5 He doesn’t ask but tells the Father to glorify Him with the glory they shared before the world was. Also compare that passage with Is. 48:11 where Jehovah says he will not give His glory to another. Hold on to that thought as we continue.

            When you ask the question “Who is God in these verses?” what you are really asking is: “Is Jesus the Father”. The distinction formed in Philippians 2 differentiating between the incarnation and pre-incarnation of Jesus must be made when analyzing these passages. A better question to ask would be “Is Jesus Jehovah?”

            I’d like to point out that you brought up plurality within the name Jehovah when you described your view of Is. 43:10-11 stating that the Jehovah speaking in that passage must be Jesus. You also state that Jehovah was the name Jesus received in Hebrews 1:4, this certainly seemed to indicate to me that you agreed with the concept that we see plurality within the name Jehovah. I then listed a few verses that supported this concept but now you say there are alternate explanations that eliminate the plurality.

            I am a little confused by your position. Is Jesus (the pre-incarnate Word) rightly identified as the Jehovah of the OT or not?

            In Gen. 19:24 we read that Jehovah is on earth visiting Lot and He rains down brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven. But we also have many verses that show absolute singularity. Again hold those thoughts as we move on and examine the Angle of the LORD, situation.

            You laid out a few examples in your previous reply so I will build on that and see what else the
            Bible tells us regarding the Angle of the LORD and His identity. For the sake of brevity I will just list the passages with a few notes and leave it to you to look them up and study, which I’m sure you would do anyway.

            Gen. 16:7-13 The angel of the LORD promised to do something that only God can do in verse 10. Hagar knew that it was Jehovah who spoke to her and she identified the angel of the LORD as God: “Thou God seest me”.

            Gen. 21:17-20 The angel of the God promised to do something only God can do in verse 18. This angel is identified as God in verse 19.

            Gen. 22 Notice how it was God testing and speaking directly to Abraham in verses 1-2 telling him to offer Isaac as burnt offering. Then in verse 11-12 the angle of the LORD calls out to Abraham and says in was Him that Abraham had not withheld his son from. The angel of Jehovah calls out to Abraham a second time in verse 15 and yet in verse 16 it is clear that Jehovah is the one speaking. In verses 17-18 the angel of Jehovah promises to do what only God can do.

            Gen. 31:11-13 The angel of God identifies Himself as God: “I am the God of Bethel”.

            Ex. 3:2-8 The angle of the LORD appeared unto Moses in a flame of fire out of the midst of the bush in verse 2. In verse 4 it says that God called unto him from the midst of the bush. This is quite interesting because either the angle of the LORD is God himself or He is standing in the flame with God. Which brings us back to the question about Who is the one seen by men?

            Ex. 23:20-23 Jehovah says that the angel in this passage has His name in Him in verse 21, (“name” referring to Jehovah’s nature and character). God’s people must “obey His voice” and He has the authority to “pardon your transgressions” or not to pardon them. Who can forgive sins but God alone? When Jesus healed the paralytic in Mark 2:5-7 the scribes reasoned in their hearts that it was blasphemy for a man to claim power to forgive sins and they were correct, the problem was that their hardened hearts did not allow them to understand who Jesus really was.

            While we are here you brought up Moses speaking to Jehovah face to face in Ex. 33. That is a very interesting passage indeed. I would point out that Moses asks to see Jehovah’s glory in verse 18 so that indicates to me that Jehovah can cloak his glory and reveal it as He pleases. This also brings us back to the question about Who is the one seen by men?

            Joshua 5:13-15 Here a man with his sword drawn identifies Himself as captain of the host of the LORD. Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped Him and this man did not stop him from doing so (see Rev. 22:8-9). Joshua is then told to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground confirming that he was in the presents of God just as Moses was instructed when he encountered the burning bush.

            Judges 2:1 The angel of Jehovah says things that only God could say. Jehovah is the One who made them go up out of Egypt as we saw in Ex. 3:8 and brought them into the land which He swore to give unto their fathers. God is the One who promised to never break His covenant.

            Judges 6:11-24 As you follow this passage, pay close attention to who is speaking to Gideon: in verse 12 the angel of Jehovah is speaking; in verse 14 Jehovah is speaking; in verse 16 Jehovah is speaking; in verse 20 the angel of God is speaking.

            Judges 13:3-23 Note especially verses 17-18. Manoah said to the angel of Jehovah, “What is Thy name?” and the angel of Jehovah said, “Why asketh thou thus after My Name, seeing it is secret?” The word “secret” may be translated “wonderful”. It is the same word found in Isaiah 9:6 – “His Name shall be called wonderful.” In Isaiah 9:6 the term is used as a name of Christ who is also called “the Mighty God.” The fact that Jehovah’s angel was God was certainly known by Manoah. After the angel of Jehovah appeared to him Manoah said, “We have seen God”.

            I do not see Biblical support for the idea that God speaks to people by proxy, giving the representative authority to then speak as God Himself. This principle would also have to be used when reading Rev. 1:8 where Jesus claims the title of Almighty, making the Father the One who is to come. We see the angle of the Lord speaking as God Himself, swearing oaths by His own name and people falling on their faces to the ground in His presents. If this person is not God Himself then surly He would be guilty of blasphemy on the highest order. God does
            not give His glory to another. John harmonizes all these passages beautifully so as to leave no doubt for those diligently searching the scriptures, learning how all this fits together. John 1:1
            In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
            was God.

            Thank you for engaging in this discussion. I have appreciated receiving your input on this important topic.

  • Paul Battig

    When Jesus was glorified together with His God/His Father, Jesus was granted His new name which is the name of His Father < (Rev. 3:12) Jesus revealed Himself to John in ‘The Revelation’ saying, “I am Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is, who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” < Rev. 1:8. Again, Jesus said to John in Rev. 1:11 and Rev. 1:17-18, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” —. “Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.” And again in Rev. 21:5-6 John wrote; “Then He who sat on throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ — ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ — ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.”

    • Thank you for sharing Brother. Excellent points!