In our Greek Word Devotional series, we discuss some of our favorite passages in the Bible, focusing on the specific use of certain Greek words. With Father’s Day in mind, we wanted to look at how our Heavenly Father describes Himself.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
The following is an excerpt from the CSB Study Bible:
Greek pronunciation: pahn tah KRAH tohr
CSB translation: almighty
Uses in Revelation: 9
Uses in the NT: 10
Focus passage: Revelation 1:8
Pantokratōr means almighty, omnipotent, all-powerful. In the Greek OT, the word frequently translates the Hebrew Yahweh tseva’ot (Lord of Armies), which stresses God’s power over forces opposed to him and his people. Pantokratōr also translates Hebrew Shaddai (the Almighty), a term emphasizing God’s power and authority over all things. In every instance in the OT, the one true God is in view.
In the NT, every occurrence of pantokratōr refers to God the Father. In the book of Revelation, it occurs with the expressions Lord God (1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 19:6; 21:22), God (16:14; 19:15), and variations of the phrase “the one who is, who was, and who is coming” (1:8; 4:8; 11:17). John uses these designations (along with many others) to describe the supremacy of God over all things including human history. God Almighty is actively working to bring everything into conformity with his will.
This month, many people got to celebrate their fathers, or were in fact the fathers being celebrated. Yet we know that others were grieving, mourning, and confused. No matter where you fall, we can all rejoice in knowing that our heavenly father is almighty. That means our heavenly father is bigger than our grieving, mourning, and confusion, and will one day bring the circumstances behind our emotions into conformity with his will.
But this word pantokratōr isn’t solely tied to our emotions. No, it’s tied to a real God, who has a real will, and who has very real power to exert his will over our broken world, for his glory and our good. In what ways, then, are we trying to reject or failing to trust “the one who is, who was, and who is to come”? As we work towards living out the words of Scripture, may we make sure that we also listen to the voice which spoke them.