Alpha and omega
In Isaiah 44:6 it says “thus saith the Lord the King of Israel (thus saith Yahweh the King of Israel) and his redeemer the Lord of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God”. Then in Revelation 1:17 it says “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last, alpha and omega: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore”. It seems to me that in one passage you have Jehovah and in the other passage, Jesus both claiming to be the first and the last. Now I take Mr. Heaster’s point that when Jesus was exalted to the right – hand of God he was given the name but in John 17:5 “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was”. If he is going to be glorified with the Father’s own self with the glory which he had before the world was, that suggests to me that the attributes between the first and the last were not something which he was given as a reward, not only as a reward, but were something which he was taking back which he had already had before the world was which he claimed as something to become.
I don’t know if I make myself clear!
I think we’ve got two issues here. We have got the question of Jesus being called the “alpha and omega” and reading in Isaiah that in fact that is the name of Yahweh. I have tried, I think, as hard as I can perhaps not very well, to emphasize this fact that the titles of God were given to Jesus on his ascension to heaven and at his resurrection. “I am come” he said, John 5: 43, “in my Father’s name”. John 17 “I have manifested thy name” and therefore Philippians 2:11, he was given “the name which is above every name” and that name must be the name of Yahweh. That is the name which is above every name and that is what was given to Jesus. Therefore, as I briefly mentioned in Isaiah 9:6 it says about Jesus “his name shall be called the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace”. These titles which beyond all dispute apply to God were to be given to Jesus. It doesn’t say in Isaiah 9:6 “he is Mighty God, he is Everlasting Father” or alpha and omega if you like. No, it says “he will be called” in other words, he will be given that name, those titles.
So we come on to the other question, John 17:5 “the glory which I had with thee before the world was”. I am afraid I don’t really see how that connects very much with Jesus having the name before the world was. It says “the glory” he had with him, with God before the world was. Now in John 17:3 we read that the Father is the only true God, just to remind us of that. Now John 17:24 says that Jesus was loved before the foundation of the world. Revelation 13 says that he was slain from the foundation of the world. Now it does not mean that Jesus was literally killed at the beginning of the world, though it says that he was slain from the foundation of the world, presumably in the sense that that was in God’s purpose, the logos again. Similarly his kingdom was prepared from the foundation of the world ( Matthew 25:34). So therefore he had the glory with God before the foundation of the world. In other words, in God’s purpose, in the same way as Jesus in God’s plan and purpose had been crucified, had been resurrected, had been given a kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world, all at the beginning of the world, in the same way, he was given the glory.
It doesn’t mean that he had to exist as a person for that to happen. It is surely all brought together in 1 Peter 1:20 where we read that “Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times”. So the sacrifice of Jesus, the kingdom of Jesus, his glory were in prospect before the world was but not an actual existing reality. You read in Ephesians 1:4 that the true believers were chosen before the foundation of the world. If you choose somebody, it implies that they, obviously, exist. But the true believers didn’t exist from the foundation of the world. They were there in God’s plan and so it was with Jesus. For example we read in Romans 9:23 about the true believers that they are “ afore prepared (past tense) unto glory”. Their glory had been prepared right from the beginning and this is the principle of Romans 4:17 that God calls “those things which be not as though they were” because to God those things have all happened, they are there in His plan, the alpha and omega, in His logos, in His purpose, but it doesn’t mean that either the true believers or Jesus himself had to be there from the beginning of the world.