Alpha and Omega

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Alpha and Omega
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{{other uses}}(File:Uppercase Alpha and Omega in Times New Roman.svg|thumb|The Greek letters alpha and omega)Alpha (Α or α) and omega (Ω or ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and a title of Christ and God in the Book of Revelation. This pair of letters are used as Christian symbols,BOOK, Gauding, Madonna, The Signs and Symbols Bible: The Definitive Guide to Mysterious Markings, Sterling Pub. Co, New York, NY, 2009, 9781402770043, 84, and are often combined with the Cross, Chi-rho, or other Christian symbols.


The term Alpha and Omega comes from the phrase "I am Alpha and Omega" (Koiné Greek: "ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ Ἄλφα καὶ τὸ Ὦ"), an appellation of JesusWEB,weblink The Book of Revelation,, . The words are used by Jesus according to the translation of J. B. Philipps, in which he places these words in red to indicate that it is Jesus speaking. in the Book of Revelation (verses 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13). The first part of this phrase ("I am the Alpha and Omega") is first found in Chapter 1 verse 8 ("1:8"), and is found in every manuscript of Revelation that has 1:8. Several later manuscripts repeat "I am the Alpha and Omega" in 1:11 too, but do not receive support here from most of the oldest manuscripts, including the Alexandrine, Sinaitic, and Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus. It is, therefore, omitted in some modern translations. Scholar Robert Young stated, with regard to "I am the Alpha and Omega" in 1:11, the "oldest [manuscripts] omit" it.BOOK, Young, Robert, Young's Concise Commentary on the Holy Bible, 180, 1977, A similar reference is in Isaiah 44{{bibleref2|Isaiah|44:6-8|NKJV}}BOOK,weblink Interlinear Greek English Septuagint Old Testament (LXX), grc, en, 2432,weblinkweblink May 23, 2018, live, , where the Lord says to be the first and the one who is after all.


Alpha (Α) and omega (Ω) are the first and last letters, respectively, of the classical (Ionic) Greek alphabet. Thus, twice when the phrase "I am the alpha and the omega" appears it is further clarified with the additional phrase, "the beginning and the end" (Revelation 21:6, 22:13). The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet were used because the book of Revelation is in the New Testament, which was originally written in Greek.This phrase is interpreted by many Christians{{according to whom|date=January 2016}} to mean that Jesus has existed for all eternity or that God is eternal. Though many commentators and dictionaries ascribe the title "the alpha and the omega" to both God and to Christ,The New Bible Dictionary, edited by Alton Bryant; Bible Dictionary by Wm. Smith; and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia some secular sources argue otherwise. Barnes' Notes on the New Testament (1974) claims: "It cannot be absolutely certain that the writer meant to refer to the Lord Jesus specifically here ... There is no real incongruity in supposing, also, that the writer here meant to refer to God as such."Notes on the New Testament, Explanatory and Practical by Albert Barnes. 1956, 1962, 1974. {{ISBN|978-0825422003}} Most Christian denominations also teach that the title applies to both Jesus and his Father.The letters Alpha and Omega in juxtaposition are often used as a Christian visual symbol (see examples). The symbols were used in early Christianity and appear in the Roman catacombs. The letters were shown hanging from the arms of the cross in Early Christian art, and some crux gemmata, jeweled crosses in precious metal, have formed letters hanging in this way, called pendilia; for example, in the (:File:Escudo de Asturias.svg|Asturian coat of arms), which is based upon the Asturian Victory Cross. In fact, despite always being in Greek, the letters became more common in Western than Eastern Orthodox Christian art. They are often shown to the left and right of Christ's head, sometimes within his halo, where they take the place of the Christogram used in Orthodox art.File:Rom, Domitilla-Katakomben, Steintafel mit Inschrift, Alpha und Omega und Christussymbol Chi Rho.jpg|The Chi-rho symbol with Alpha and Omega, Catacombs of Domitilla, RomeFile:Christ with beard.jpg|The Greek letters alpha and omega surround the halo of Jesus in the catacombs of Rome from the 4th centuryFile:ΑΩwindow.jpg|"ΑΩ" in stained glassfile:Wappen Friedensau.svg|Arms with Alpha and Omega


In Rabbinic literature, the word emet (אמת meaning "truth"), one of the names of God in Judaism, has been interpreted as consisting of the first, middle, and final letters of the Hebrew alphabet.


The Qur'an gives al'Awwal (الأول), meaning "The First" and al'Akhir (الآخر), meaning "The Last" as two of the names of God: QURAN, 57, 3, nosup, no, .

See also



External links

{{commons category|Alpha Omega}} {{Titles of Jesus}}

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