Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) was a preacher/theologian/missionary to Native Americans involved in the shaping of the First Great Awakening. In a sermon on the Alpha and Omega, Edward’s words fit perfectly the message of the hymn Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, (Of the Father’s Love Begotten):
“It is manifest that the Scriptures speak, on all occasions, as though God made Himself His end in all His Works; and as though the same being, who is the first cause of all things, were the supreme and last end of all things. Thus in Isaiah 44:6, “Thus saith the Lord, the king of Israel, and his Redeemer the Lord of hosts, I am the first, I also am the last, and besides me there is no God.” And in Revelation 22:13, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” …When God is so often spoken of as the last as well as the first, the end as well as the beginning, it is implied, that as He is the first, efficient cause and fountain, from whence all things originate; so, He is the last, final cause for which they are made; the final term to which they all tend in their ultimate issue. This seems to be the most natural import of these expressions; and is confirmed by other parallel passages; as Romans 11:36 “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.” …And in Proverbs 16:4 it is said expressly, “The Lord hath made all things for himself.”And the manner is observable, in which God is said to be the last, to whom, and for whom, are all things. It is evidently spoken of as a meet and suitable thing, a branch of His glory; a meet prerogative of the great, infinite, and eternal Being; a thing becoming the dignity of Him who is infinitely above all other beings; from whom all things are, and by whom they consist; and in comparison with whom all other things are as nothing.”
Edwards appropriately put into words the awesomeness of God as the Alpha and Omega. The hymn for today does exactly that as well. In the beautiful old world language and from a heart that obviously knew our Father intimately, the hymnist uttered words that expressed the heart of one who had grasped God as the beginning and the end, forevermore… throughout eternity.
As we prepare for this holiday season, with the stuff the world has made of it already on store shelves in August long before our first frost, it would behoove us to long to know God: to know Him intimately; to know Him in truth; to know the fullness of the Godhead bodily; to know without doubt that He is the Alpha and the Omega and to lavish praise upon Him this season for who He is… not for what we get! As the psalmist says: O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing; Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King! Let no tongue on earth be silent, Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!