Revelation: Alpha and Omega



Scripture Reference (Revelation 1:8): “I am 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.”



  1. Students should memorize the verse.
  2. Students should understand the meaning of the Alpha and Omega seen in the central dome of most Orthodox Churches.
  3. Students should understand the meaning and significance of “Pantokrator.”


Background of the book:       

The Revelation was written by St. John the Apostle while in exile on the island of Patmos (a small, rocky island about 40 miles off the coast of Turkey to which the Romans exiled criminals) during the fierce persecution of the Emperor Diocletian around AD 95. The early Church believed that the second coming of Jesus Christ was near, especially in these times of persecution. John is reminding them to hold fast their faith in tribulation and assuring them of the ultimate triumph of the Kingdom of God. While chapters 2 and 3 are clearly letters written to individual churches of the day, much of the book is prophetic and is full of vivid and sensational imagery. Because this book can be so easily misinterpreted (and has been in Church history), it is the only book not read publicly in the services of the Orthodox Church.


Possible Lesson Plan:

  1. Open with prayer.


  1. Review the background of the book. Read the entire context of this verse, Revelation 1:8-20. What was John doing? (He was praying on Sunday,maybe at Liturgy?) What happened? Read Isaiah 6:1-8. What would have happened if these men had not obeyed God?


  1. Why is Jesus called the Alpha and Omega? Review the Greek Alphabet. In what way is saying Alpha and Omega the same as saying Beginning and End? In what way is Jesus the Beginning? The End? Reread John 1: 1-3. Who is the Word? In case the church had any doubt, in these verses how did Jesus identify Himself with God the Father? See verses 13-16. In which Feast did Jesus also appear with brilliant white garments? (Transfiguration) Reread Matthew 17:1-9. Was John present at Transfiguration? What is the meaning of the seven golden lampstands? (Remember the great Menorah of the Temple) In what way is Jesus also identifying Himself as the Messiah, the Promised One of the Jews? His use of the Greek word, “Pantokrator,” meaning “Almighty”, is especially important here; in the Old Testament, this same word is used throughout to refer to Yahweh. Using it here has what significance? Reread verse 18: in which Feast do we celebrate He who was alive, then dead, then alive again? Look at the icon: Jesus is portrayed breaking the power of Death. How? Why would this verse adorn the center of most Orthodox churches?


  1.  Read through chapters 2 and 3, assigning one church to each student:

Ephesus                 2:1-7                Provincial capital of Asia Minor

Smyrna                  2:8-11              Izmir in modern Turkey

Pergamos               2:12-17            Bergama in modern Turkey

Thyatira                 2:18-29            Commercial city southeast of Pergamos

Sardis                    3:1-6                30 miles SE of Thyatira in Turkey

Philadelphia          3:7-13              Modern-day Alashehier

Laodicea               3:14-22            Modern-day Eski-hisar

Find those places which still exist on a map. What is the Lord’s major message to each? Does any of these messages pertain to us today?


  1. On November 8 the Church celebrates the Feast of the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the other Bodiless Hosts. This is the ninth month (counting from March, the beginning of the year in antiquity) to represent the nine ranks of angels – seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominions, powers, authorities, principalities, archangels, and angels. Angels are seen as pure spirits, but created spirits, created to worship and reflect the divine beauty and also sent forth to do the divine bidding. When have angels appeared in the Old Testament? The Archangel Michael, leader of the heavenly hosts, whose name means “like unto God,” is mentioned in both the Old Testament book of Daniel and the Revelation of John. Which archangel announced the birth of Jesus? (Gabriel) Angels ministered to Jesus in the wilderness, at Gethsemane, and announced His resurrection to the myrrhbearers. The Church also teaches that each of us, at birth, is given a Guardian Angel as guide and protector. According to the Revelation, seven angels serve before the throne of God and take part in the final woes of the world; in church tradition these are named Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Selaphiel, Jegudiel, and Barachiel.


  1. Close with prayer.