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“I am the Alpha and the Omega,”[a] says the Lord God, “the one who is and who was and who is to come, the almighty.”(A)

The First Vision.[b]

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Footnotes

  1. 1:8 The Alpha and the Omega: the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. In Rev 22:13 the same words occur together with the expressions “the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”; cf. Rev 1:17; 2:8; 21:6; Is 41:4; 44:6.
  2. 1:9–20 In this first vision, the seer is commanded to write what he sees to the seven churches (Rev 1:9–11). He sees Christ in glory, whom he depicts in stock apocalyptic imagery (Rev 1:12–16), and hears him describe himself in terms meant to encourage Christians by emphasizing his victory over death (Rev 1:17–20).

The four living creatures, each of them with six wings,[a] were covered with eyes inside and out. Day and night they do not stop exclaiming:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty,
    who was, and who is, and who is to come.”(A)

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Footnotes

  1. 4:8 Six wings: like the seraphim of Is 6:2.

17 and said:

“We give thanks to you, Lord God almighty,
    who are and who were.
For you have assumed your great power
    and have established your reign.

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Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:

“You are just, O Holy One,
    who are and who were,
    in passing this sentence.(A)

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14 God replied to Moses: I am who I am.[a] Then he added: This is what you will tell the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.

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Footnotes

  1. 3:14 I am who I am: Moses asks in v. 13 for the name of the One speaking to him, but God responds with a wordplay which preserves the utterly mysterious character of the divine being even as it appears to suggest something of the inner meaning of God’s name: ‘ehyeh “I am” or “I will be(come)” for “Yhwh,” the personal name of the God of Israel. While the phrase “I am who I am” resists unraveling, it nevertheless suggests an etymological linking between the name “Yhwh” and an earlier form of the Hebrew verbal root h-y-h “to be.” On that basis many have interpreted the name “Yhwh” as a third-person form of the verb meaning “He causes to be, creates,” itself perhaps a shortened form of a longer liturgical name such as “(God who) creates (the heavenly armies).” Note in this connection the invocation of Israel’s God as “Lord (Yhwh) of Hosts” (e.g., 1 Sm 17:45). In any case, out of reverence for God’s proper name, the term Adonai, “my Lord,” was later used as a substitute. The word Lord (in small capital letters) indicates that the Hebrew text has the sacred name (Yhwh), the tetragrammaton. The word “Jehovah” arose from a false reading of this name as it is written in the current Hebrew text. The Septuagint has egō eimi ho ōn, “I am the One who is” (ōn being the participle of the verb “to be”). This can be taken as an assertion of God’s aseity or self-existence, and has been understood as such by the Church, since the time of the Fathers, as a true expression of God’s being, even though it is not precisely the meaning of the Hebrew.

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