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[History] > From Eternity to Eternity - Revelation of All History

The Capstone Signature of God's Word (Alpha Omega / Aleph Tav)

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Isaiah 46:9-10 (Spoke 1, Cycle 2)

God amplified the symbolic meaning of Alpha Omega (, see Aleph Tav: First and Last) to include All History past, present, and future when He followed it with the declaration that He is the Almighty God "which is, and which was, and which is to come" (Rev 1:8). This threefold formulation, called the "formula of eternity," also appears in John's opening salutation (Rev 1:4). The exalted Lord Jesus used a variation of it when He gave John his prophetic commission (Rev 1:17ff):

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: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write [1] the things which thou hast seen, and [2] the things which are, and [3] the things which shall be hereafter;

Like the Circle, the First and Last Letters of either the Greek or Hebrew Alphabets form a general symbol of Wholeness, Totality, Perfection, and when applied to time, Eternity. This brings us to the union of these two independent symbols the Circle and the Alphabet that God united in the Divine design of His Holy Bible. Each has its own distinct set of overtones that qualifies it for symbolic use:

  • The Circle for its all-encompassing form, unchanging simplicity, and infinite symmetry.
  • The Alphabet for the all-encompassing variety expressed by simple combinations of its characters.

The union of these two symbols forms an Alphabetic Circle that intensifies the symbolic power of each by representing different aspects of Totality in a single figure that jointly displays in the simple unity of the Circle and infinite variety of the Alphabet. Together, they form a natural analog of God's Eternal Word through whom "all things were made" (John 1:3). This exemplifies the reiterative miracle of the Bible Wheel. The symbols continue to build coherently, one atop the other. God based the geometric structure of His Word on the Alphabetic Circle, which is itself an innate symbol of the all-encompassing nature of the Everlasting Word by which all was created. This is perfection set upon perfection!

We now have a complete convergence of the symbolic power of the Alphabet and the Circle with both the form and the content of the entire Biblical revelation. Everything begins and ends in God. This is true at all levels of enquiry. We see it in the grand scheme of creation which opens with "In the beginning God" and culminates in the revelation of God as the "all in all" (1 Cor 15:28) when "the tabernacle of God [will be] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them" (Rev 21:3). We see it in the personal salvation of each soul believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, "the Author and Finisher of our faith" (Heb 12:2, BW book pg 284) in whom "dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col 2:9). The geometric form of the Bible Wheel bears the watermark of the Eternal God who calls Himself the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.

Numerous biblical commentators have noted the fundamentally circular nature of the overall thematic design of God's Word. One of my favorite examples is from Daniel Fuller's excellent book, The Unity of the Bible This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window, where he cites James Orr's unified vision of the Bible as a whole (emphasis added):

From Genesis to Revelation we feel that this book is in a real sense a unity. It is not a collection of fragments, but has, as we say, an organic character. It has one connected story to tell from beginning to end; we see something growing before our eyes; there is plan, purpose, progress; the end folds back on the beginning [like a circle], and, when the whole is finished, we feel that here again, as in the primal creation, God has finished all his works, and behold, they are very good.

Orr recognized the intimate, symmetrical relation between the First and Last Books of the Bible. The Book of Revelation completes the circle of the Biblical Story by restoring, on an immensely elevated level, everything lost with the Fall in the Garden of Eden in Genesis. The advent of the Bible Wheel amplifies these ideas beyond all measure. We now can see Orr's metaphorical description of the Bible as a kind of circle whose "end folds back on the beginning" as also a literal description of its geometric structure. An equally profound observation comes from the literary critic , who easily sees things that are just a little Gabriel Josipovici too obvious for most professional Biblical critics. Here is his description of the structure of the Christian Bible from his Book of God: A Response to the Bible This link takes you off the Bible Wheel site and opens a new window in which he quotes another famous literary critic, Northrop Frye:

It's a magnificent conception, spread over thousands of pages and encompassing the entire history of the universe. There is both perfect correspondence between the Old and New Testaments and a continuous forward drive from Creation to the end of time: "It begins where time begins, with the creation of the world; it ends where time ends, with the Apocalypse, and it surveys human history in between, or the aspect of history it is interested in, under the symbolic names of Adam and Israel." Earlier ages had no difficulty in grasping the design, though our own, more bookish age, obsessed with both history and immediacy, has tended to lose sight of it. Neither theologians nor biblical scholars have stood back enough to see it as a whole. Yet it is a whole and quite unlike any other book.

Perhaps no student of Scripture has expressed the Biblical revelation of all history with the clarity, completeness, and compactness of Erich Sauer's From Eternity to Eternity (1954). Like Baxter (BW book pg 25), his work shines with a rare brilliance, being thoroughly enlightened by his full appreciation of the Divine design of the Holy Bible. Here is how Sauer expressed his understanding of God's Word:

We believe in an organic, self-unfolding, full inspiration because of the historical unity of the revelation testified by the Bible. This is the most wonderful thing about the Bible: in spite of its most astonishing variety it is a united organism, a harmonious system, full of life and animated by one spirit.

Like Orr above and Scroggie on page 26 [of the BW book], Sauer likened the Bible to a living organic creature. And like all living creatures, it has a highly detailed, coherent structure which he represented in a chart displaying the great Circle of History proceeding from and returning to God, the Alpha and Omega. His whole book is an exposition on the structure represented by the chart, of which a digital photograph is reproduced on the next page. The original chart unfolds, as seen in the creases, to be about fifteen inches square.

Click for larger view (1 MB file)
Chart of the Biblical Revelation of All History Past, Present, and Future presented in
Erich Sauer's From Eternity to Eternity (1954). Note the interlocking Alpha Omega () at the top and the Cross at the center of both the Circle and the Timeline.

The bottom half of the circle displays the history of the world from the original Creation recorded in Genesis to the New Creation proclaimed in Revelation, patterned on the Seven Days of Creation. Here is Sauer's explanation of its circular form:

Inasmuch as everything comes from God, and, according to His ideal appointment, is for Him, and tends back toward Him, the whole revelation and course of history is like a mighty circular movement. This is the reason why we have not chosen to represent matters on our Chart as a horizontal level, but in the form of a circle, so that the whole is to be read as the dial of a universal clock, just as we, by the use of watches and clocks, are accustomed to read the sequence of time (hours and minutes) not in a horizontal line but in a circle.

Sauer went on to explain the Alpha and Omega at the top of the chart:

World creation, world redemption, world consummation this is the threefold yet harmonious content of the Divine revelation. Everything comes from God (world creation); everything is wrought by God (world preservation, world redemption); everything tends back toward God (ideal appointment for world-consummation). Thus God is beginning and end, origin and goal of the whole universal process. Therefore the Alpha and Omega, the A and the O, at the summit of the whole circle of the Chart.

Finally, Sauer explained the Cross at the center of both the Circle and the Timeline:

In this mighty movement from God to God the Cross of Christ is the center of all history. Not indeed as to time, but spiritually and really, and therefore as to the history of salvation, it is the center of all world events. The Cross is the one, incomparable, central event in universal history, surpassing all else in significance. Therefore in the Chart it stands not only as the middle point of the long extended section which represents the course of history, but in size and height it surpasses in the drawing all other representations of events in the whole plan of salvation.

The only nuance I would add to his description of the Cross is that though he is correct to say it is not the literal center of time in the sense of the actual years on either side of it, it is the center of time in our common measurement since all time is divided into Before Christ (BC) and after Christ, Anno Domini (AD, the Year of our Lord). In this sense, the Cross of Christ, in perfect harmony with its essential form as one line dividing another, literally divides all history. Note that Sauer's chart embodies all four symbols the Circle, the Cross, the Alphabet (), and the Number Seven that are united in God's design of the Canon Wheel.

Aleph Tav: The Key to the Kingdoms

The article above was written before I discovered the symmetric structure of all history from Abraham to Christ and from Christ to the present age to be geometrically centered on the letters Aleph Tav from the Capstone Signature of the Holy Bible. As it turns out, Saurer's statement that "the Cross of Christ is the center of all history" is literally true! This is explained in Aleph Tav: The Key to the Kingdoms.

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