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Divinity of Christ, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III
24- The Lord Jesus Christ Is the First and the Last
(B) The Lord Jesus Christ Is the First and the Last
(1) The Book of Revelation says: "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. 'lam the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,' says the Lord, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty"' (Rev. 1:7,8).
(2) St. John the Visionary said: "I, John, both your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lords Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,... Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet" (Rev. 1:9-13). Who is this One like the Son of Man, but the Lord Jesus Christ who said: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last"? And John the Visionary emphasizes this, saying:
(3) "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, 'Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen"' (Rev. 1: 17). Who is He who lives and was dead except our Lord Jesus Christ who rose from the dead?
(4) This meaning is repeated once more in the last chapter of the Book of Revelation in which the Lord says: "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last... I, Jesus..." (Rev. 22:12-16).
(C) Conclusion: Christ is God
(1) God says in the Book of Isaiah: "I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last" and repeats these words several times. The Lord Jesus Christ says in the Book of Revelation: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last" and repeats these words several times. How can these verses fall in with each other, unless Christ is God? Let God be true.
(2) The Lord Jesus Christ said that He is the First and that He is the Alpha, and we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other pages. This means that there is none before Him. This phrase can not be interpreted other than that He is God Himself, otherwise God would not have been existing because there is none before the First and none before the Alpha. How can the saying of Christ that He is the First fall in with the saying of God: "I am He, before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me"? The only conformity is that the two sayings were said by the same Speaker.
(3) If Christ is the First then He was not created because there was none before Him to create Him. And if He was not created then He is Eternal and therefore He is God. Two Oppositions
After we had published the previous proof in the Sunday School magazine of July 1953, Jehovah's Witnesses, to disprove it, published two attempts in Watchtower magazine of November 1953:
(1) They claimed that He who will come is God the Father! This is in reply to Revelation chapter 1, verse 8. (2) They claimed that what is written about Christ being the First and the Last is said regarding limited matters only, namely, His death and resurrection.
We wrote a detailed rebuttal of the previous two points in the Sunday School magazine of January 1954, the summary of which follows:
(a) Undoubtedly, He who will come is the Lord Jesus Christ. He will come to judge and reward each one according to his deeds (see next proof). The last verse of the Book of Revelation says: "'Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Rev. 22:20). And the Lord Jesus Christ Himself said to the high priest: "Hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven", and said about the signs of the end of the age that "all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels" (Matt. 24:30,3 1).
If Jehovah's Witnesses say that He who will come is Jehovah and it is proved from the Holy Bible that He who will come is Christ, therefore they are presenting us with a new proof that Christ is God. In order to escape this awkward position Jehovah's Witnesses said in the same issue of Watchtower magazine: "Jehovah will come taking the form of Jesus Christ." Are they, by saying this, confessing that God was Incarnate and became Man?
(b) We refuted their claim that the expression 'the First and the Last' only refers to the Lord's death and resurrection, by saying:
(i) Regarding death, Christ was not the first nor was He the last of those who died. Millions died before and after Him.
(ii) Regarding resurrection, although Christ is truly the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep who rose with a glorified body, yet He is not the last, because all people will rise from the dead, both the righteous and the wicked (Jn. 5:28,29).
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