Read Revelation 1:17-18
According to John, Jesus identifies himself as the First and the Last. The significance of this title should not be overlooked, for it is a claim to divinity.
In Isaiah 44:6, HaShem (Jehovah, The Father) identifies Himself as the First and the Last. The context indicates that the title The First and The Last means that Jehovah is the only God.
When Jesus declares that he is the First and the Last, he is not contradicting HaShem. Jesus is not saying that another God apart from HaShem exists. Instead, the resurrected and glorified Lord is claiming to be the same God of the TaNaKh (the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament). He is claiming to be HaShem!
This is not without precedent in the Torah. In Exodus 3:1-6, The Angel of The LORD appeared to Moses in a flmaing fire in a bush (see verse 2). When Moses went to explore the phenomenon, HaShem saw Moses, and God (Elohim) called out to Moses from the midst of the bush. Thus, The Angel of The LORD, though he is distinguished from HaShem, is called by the Torah God!
This same Angel of the LORD identified himself to Moses (in verse 6) as “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” We see, then, that according to the Torah, there is one person who can be distinguished from HaShem and yet be identified as God with HaShem.
What Jesus does in Revelation 1:17-18 has a precedent in the Torah. The God of the Bible reveals to us that He is more than one person, and yet He is one being.
It takes faith in God’s word (the Bible) to believe this. It is not something that we fully understand. How can HaShem be also the Spirit of God and the glory of God? How can He also be The Angel of the LORD? We cannot explain how this is possible, but we can have faith on what God says about Himself in the Bible.
Questions for Reflection
- Read Exodus 3:1-6. How do we know that the Angel of the LORD is not the LORD (Jehovah, HaShem) Himself?
- Read Exodus 3:1-6. How do we know that the Angel of the LORD is called God, and that he identifies himself as God?
- Read In Isaiah 44:6. How do we know that the title the First and the Last means that HaShem (Jehovah, The Father) is the only God?
Lord Jesus, you are the Angel of the LORD. You bear God’s name, you are one being with the Father, and you have always been in Him and with Him. You speak for the Father, and in you, the Father is perfectly revealed to humanity. I recognize who you are, and I recognize you deserve worship, since you are God.
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©2018, Marcelo E. Carcach. All rights reserved.