The First and The Last
The phrase, “the First and the Last,” is a title that is used five times in the Bible, twice in Isaiah of God (Isaiah 44:6; 48:12) and three times in Revelation of the Son (Revelation 1:17; 2:8; 22:13). Trinitarians (and some Oneness) sometimes make the assumption that since the same title was, at times, applied to both the Father and the Son, they must both be God. However, there is no biblical justification on which to base that assumption.
There are times when both God and Jesus share the same titles or attributes (i.e., both are called “Lord”, “Savior” and “King of Kings”) but you should never forget that all things are either “GOD ALLOWED” or “GOD ARRANGED“. The power and/or authority Jesus had we also have as Christians here on earth (heal the sick, etc…) yet it all comes from God. As it was with Christ, we also cannot go around and just do anything we want without it being the will of God, our Heavenly Father).
With that being said; God can be considered the first and the last, as he is in this case (Isaiah 44:6; 48:12) because it is SPECIFIC to the context being spoken of, The subject is specifically talking about the existence of “other gods”, rather the NON-existence of other gods or anything that would dare call itself GOD. “...I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
Likewise Isaiah 48:12 is also talking about God and that is made clear from the start Isaiah 48:1.
Now when we are speaking of Jesus in Revelation, just because Jesus uses a particular phrase does not mean Jesus is claiming himself to be God (because we know the bible says there is only ONE). In fact you should note Jesus never ever claims to be God!
Translation is not a “perfect” science therefore we have to take what we know for sure and everything else we know has to fit within that mode of “sound doctrine” and biblical. God has now conferred authority over to His Son. Thus, it is easy to see why the Lord Jesus is called “the First and the Last” in the book of Revelation, (of new bodies of resurrected believers). God gave Jesus authority to raise the dead (John 5:25-27). His voice will raise all dead Christians (1 Thessalonians. 4:16-17), and he will change our bodies into new glorious bodies (Phil. 3:20-21). However, even when Jesus said he had the authority to raise the dead, he never claimed he had that authority inherently because he was God. He always said that his Father had given authority to him. While teaching about his authority, Jesus Christ was very clear about who was the ultimate authority: “The Son can do nothing by himself…the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son…For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in himself. And He has given him authority to judge” (John 5:19,22,26 and 27).
Revelation 1:17-18 (KJV)
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 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. *(God is immortal and never died at any time)
Revelation 2:8 (KJV)
8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; *(Again, noting that God is immortal and never died at any time)
Revelation 22:13-16 (KJV)
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
*Note 1: Verse 22:13 The phrase “the Aleph and the Tau” (Alpha and Omega) is omitted in the Codex Alexandrinus and Codex Vaticanus manuscripts.We believe these manuscripts to be correct. It is also omitted in other current translations (NLV & GNT) – “I am the First and the Last. I am the beginning and the end.”
*Note 2: See also: (Revelation 1:8 – Alpha & Omega…The Almighty)
Rev 22:14 Blessed are they that do his (God, YHWH, Yahweh) commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Rev 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
16 I Jesus (NOT GOD) have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. *(God is not the offspring of anybody or anything)
This manner of speaking is similar and also in alignment with the passage found in (Isaiah 9:6) – “The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father”, and neither of these passages are inferring Jesus is God (Ref: Isaiah 9:6 –“The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father” ). Jesus being a man (John 8:40) and the Hebrew use of this particular phrase signifies that “Everlasting Father” means just what it does in the English, a father forever. The word father signifies cause or authorship of being or life giver. So Isaiah’s declaration means that Jesus (the child) will be known as an author of life–or life giver to someone. This is what he did he came so that we might have life (John 10:10, 20:31) not to preserve life but impart life (John 5:24).
Paul says; “As in Adam all die so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1Cor 15:22). This teaches us then that Christ was to become the Father (or author of life) for the entire human race. Next we might ask what kind of life or nature will Christ give the Saints? And the answer is, a perfect nature or glorified body as that of Christ and hence an eternal life (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:44; 1 Peter 1:3-5) just what we lost through Adam’s transgression. It was after Adam’s disobedience to God that Adam was prevented access to the Tree of Life, thus he never obtained such a body (eternal life Genesis 3:22) instead his body became “corrupt” (or unworthy) because it had committed a transgression (sin).
Paul tells us (Romans 5:18,19) “As through one [person’s] offense this sentence came on all men to condemnation [condemning all to death (a loss of eternal life)] so also, through one [person’s] righteous act all men received the justification to obtain or have “eternal” life. That is, through the obedience of Christ the original “death” penalty (being permanent) is now to be removed, by Jesus death mankind’s debt was paid and all men shall have a right (opportunity) to obtain eternal life again. “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:18-19) and in so doing Jesus shall (future) be called the “Everlasting Father.”
Christ was, and is, in this manner, the first and last person (in other words the ONLY person) God chose, before the world was even created (foreordained), to redeem mankind back to himself. (1Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8; 1 Corinthians 15:28)
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