My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
HOMILIES ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION (Part III)
by Archimandrite Athanasios Mitilinaios
The Vision of Daniel and Zachariah - I am the Alpha and the Omega - Sharing in the Suffering and Gospel of the Cross.
"From the prophecy of Daniel, we see that he did not only prophecy the First Coming of Christ but His Second Coming as well. More specifically we see that his prophetic eye reaches the end of history and he tells us in his 7th Chapter, "I saw in the night vision, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a Son of Man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him" (7:13). Here we do not have the First Presence or First Coming, but the Second because "One like the Son of Man" refers to the Incarnate Son of God, the God-man who is positioned next to the Ancient of Days or God the Father.
The Lord Himself verified this in front of Caiaphas after Caiaphas questioned Him under oath and the Lord said, "I am assuring you, I tell you that after this you will see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power [meaning God the Father] "and coming with the clouds of heaven" (St. Matthew 26:64). In simple terms, "You are now condemning me; you can go ahead and do that, but you will see that I will be coming back to judge you."
About Christ coming back as a Judge--this identity of our Lord is spelled out in the book of the Revelation, "Then I looked, and lo, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a Son of Man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand" (14:14). This verse informs us that He is coming with a sickle in His hand. He is not coming as a Savior but as a judge. At His First Presence He came as a Savior; so His First Presence pertains to the salvation of the world, and the Second to the Judgment. Christ Himself said, "I did not come to judge the world but to save the world" (St. John 12:47). He also said, "when the Son of Man comes to judge the world" (St. Matthew 25:31). Consequently, we have these two attributes, which pertain to the two appearances of the Lord...
"...Now Saint John the evangelist says that when Christ comes again, He will be coming with the clouds and every eye shall see Him, everyone, even those who pierced Him, or actually, speared Him. Then those who pierced Him will wail because of Him. They-- all the tribes of the earth, meaning all of humanity--will beat their chests. In the first place of the fulfillment of this prophecy, (the prophecy of Zechariah) we have the Twelve Tribes of Israel. In the second place we have the whole earth, the entire world...
"..."Now every eye shall see Him;" every eye shall see Christ when He comes. The pious will rejoice; the godless and unrepentant sinners will be cut to the heart. They will wail. At the present time the opposite is true. The Christians, the pious, are distressed; they are crying, "Lord, how long? How long must we wait? When are you going to free us from this miserable, rotten world?" All these things will certainly be happening during the Second Coming of Christ, but we also had a bird's eye view, a small glimpse of this during His First Coming. He told His disciples during, or a little before His Passion, "The world is full of joy and laughter, and you are crying and mourning. In a short while the world will be wailing and you will be laughing" (cf. St. Luke 6:25). In a short while, the few days from Great Thursday night until Pascha Sunday, the distress of the disciples was gone. As you can see, the mourning, the distress, the tribulations, and the pain--none of these last forever. They are connected to a time-period, and time passes. So these are not permanently fixed. Christ is coming and the faithful will rejoice while the unbelievers will weep...
"...I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, Who is and Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8). Who is and Who was-- remember when we said something about the strange grammar used by Saint John in this book? In Greek, he uses an article before the verb. The English language is often limited, but then again so is the Greek and any language is insufficient to describe the Pantokrator (All-Ruling or All-Powerful). There are no words in this world that can express the magnificence of the Almighty, the Pantokrator.
"Yes, amen, I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "Who is and Who was, and Who is coming, the Pantokrator (or Almighty). "I am the Alpha and the Omega." This is another name for God. As we said earlier, God has very many names precisely because He has no name. It is impossible to define God with one name; giving God a single name will somehow restrict His infinity. When man gives an entity a name, it is to describe or define, so when we name something we give it certain boundaries or limits. However, God is without boundaries.
God has no limits; and that is why when Moses questions God about His name on Mount Sinai, he receives the answer, "I am Who I am" (Exodus 3:14). He [Moses] wanted a name to take back to Egypt and God told him "I am the One Who is." God gave no name, but we can say this is one of the many names for God: the Alpha and the Omega. Thus because God has no name we say that He is anonymous and yet polynonymous; He has many names.
The spiritually illiterate and rather blinded Jehovah's Witnesses, or false witnesses, think that they have discovered God's name. In Greece and in different countries they present themselves as the students of the Scripture. They are the authorities of the Scripture, bar none, and they claim that God's great name is Jehovah. Well, Jehovah in Hebrew means Lord. However, Lord is one of the many names that the Scripture use to talk about God. It is certainly not the exclusive name of God as they argue.
There is a plethora of names for God, as we will see soon. What is this meaning of the Alpha and Omega? It is the commencement of everything created, the commencement of the entire creation. Consequently, when He says "I am the Alpha and the Omega" He is really saying that I am the Lord of space and time. More specifically God is outside of the Alpha and the Omega. The A and Ω exists in God.
The beginning of the entire creation belongs to God and God alone will cause the possible termination of the entire visible creation. It is in God. Only God can create from zero. God is the only real or ontological beginning. Saint John says, "εν αρχή ην ο Λόγος (en arhi o Logos); "In the beginning was the Word" (St. John 1:1). This is what it means. The Logos/Word is the Alpha; the Logos/Word, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, was present when the beginning of Creation took place from zero, ex nihilo. Now God does not want to destroy or annihilate His creation, but He can bring creation back to Omega...
"...By the way, God is not limited to Alpha and Omega, but the Alpha and Omega exists in God, which is the beginning and end of all creation. God has no beginning άναρχος (anarhos), and is simultaneously ατελεύτητος (ateleftitos) or interminable; He has no ending. Creation has a beginning and an end. Thus, the Alpha and Omega are in god and God is the Lord of time and space.
Accordingly, in this last verse of the introduction of the book we have an accumulation of divine names. The first one is: the Alpha and the Omega; the second name is: Lord; the third is" God; the fourth name is: The One Who Is and Who was and Who is coming; the fifth name is: the Pantokrator--the One Who holds everything. With this accumulation of divine names, we see that the source of all the divine Revelation is God and consequently anything and everything that is written in the book of Revelation is trustworthy and true. God reveals this as man (in His human nature).
(To be continued)
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God