Revelation 2:8 – Yeshua the Messiah as the First and the Last

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POSTED 11 FEBRUARY, 2018

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume II

“And to the angel of the [assembly] in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this.”

Yeshua’s message to the assembly at Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) does have some controversy associated with it,[1] but it is Yeshua’s self-introduction which bears importance as to His nature and identity: “To the angel of Messiah’s community in Smyrna write: ‘Thus says the First and Last, who was dead and came to life’” (Revelation 2:8, TLV). Here, Yeshua is first given the titles ho prōtos kai ho eschatos. The title “first and last” is significant, given its self-designation of the God of Israel in Isaiah 44:6 and 48:12. Evangelical Christian examiners of Revelation, cataloguing statements and self-descriptions of Yeshua the Messiah, take Yeshua being “the first and the last” in Revelation 2:8 as a definite indicator of a high Christology:

  • Grant R. Osborne: “This title is used only of Christ in the book (1:17; 2:8; 22:13) and in 1:17 is connected to God as the Alpha and Omega (1:8; 21:6; the two occur together in 22:13, where they depict Christ). Both titles mean that God and Christ are sovereign over history, in control not only of the past but of the future. Christ is the eternal one, guaranteeing vindication for his suffering followers. The title is drawn from Isa. 44:6 and 48:12.”[2]
  • Gordon D. Fee: “He is the First and the Last, which as noted regarding this phrase in 1:17, is language borrowed from Yahweh’s self-identification in Isaiah 44:6. Thus Christ is presented first of all as the Eternal One, to which is added the most significant event of his incarnation—who died and came to life again.”[3]

NOTES

[1] The issue of the “synagogue of Satan” is addressed, in various parts of the author’s book Israel in Future Prophecy.

[2] Osborne, Revelation, 128.

[3] Fee, Revelation, 30.