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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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(ΑLΡΗΑ ( Α - α ), Greek): (ΑLΕΡΗ ( א ), "chief," "guide," Hebrew.) The first letter, as ΟΜΕGΑ ( Ω - ω ) is the last, of the Greek alphabet. So Christ is the First and the Last, including all that comes between, the Author and Finisher of the visible and invisible, and of the spiritual creations (Revelation 1:8; Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:13; Hebrews 12:2; Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6). As He made originally, so will He complete the whole. ALPHABET comes from the first two Greek letters, Αlpha ( Α - α ), Βeta ( Β - β ) equating in Hebrew to 'Αleph ( א ), Βet[h] ( ב ).

The Moabite stone of Dibon, probably of the reign of Ahaziah, Ahab's son, who died 896 B.C., exhibits an alphabet so complete that at that early date it can have been no recent invention. It has been discovered as mason's marks on the foundation stones of Solomon's temple. Yet even it was not the earliest form of the Palestinian alphabet. The fine discrimination of sounds, implied in inventing an alphabet, could hardly be brought to perfection at once Rawlinson fixes the invention 15 centuries B.C.

The language of the Dibon stone, and the Hebrew of the Bible, most closely agree. Mesha's victories are recorded there in the same character, and even the same idiom, as in 2 Kings 3. In symbols of the early Christian church A and were often combined with the cross, or with Christ's monogram, e.g., on a tablet in the catacombs at Melos, of the early part of the second century. The rabbis (Jalkut Rubeni, fol. 17, 4, Sohoettgen, Hor. Heb., 1:1086) say, "Adam transgressed the whole law from Αleph ( א ) to Τau ( ת )" (the last Hebrew letter); so Christ fulfilled it from Αlpha ( Α - α ) to Οmega ( Ω - ω ) (Matthew 3:15).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Alpha'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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