The Merism

In rhetoric, a merism is the combination of two or more contrasting words used to refer to an entirety. In other words, when used together, such contrasting words express the totality or completeness of the subject in view. To swallow something “hook, line, and sinker” means to swallow it completely. To search “high and low” means to look for something everywhere. “Lock, stock, and barrel,” referring to the different parts of a gun (as a merism), points to the whole of the object described. We sometimes say “flesh and bone” when referring to the entire body, or “young and old” when describing the entire population. A merism is a figure of speech which references the parts that comprise a whole in order to give a sense of the fullness of something else.

Jesus Christ uses this literary device in order to cause the Apostle John to better understand who He (Himself) is…

Revelation 21:6a (NIV)
“He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End…”

Here’s Pastor, Art Azurdia, in a sermon that he gave on Revelation 21:5-8, speaking about the guarantee of Christ’s promise and how standing behind it is His position, from the perspective of merism…

“Verse six…

‘And He said to me, ‘It is done.’

What’s done?

His promise that He is making everything new.


You’re saying… ‘Now wait a minute, God.’

(Ask reverently)

‘How can You make such a claim? With all due respect, it’s done? How can You already speak of something already accomplished, that has not yet come to pass?’

It’s because standing behind His promise, is His position. Look at it…

‘I am the Alpha and the Omega…’

The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Or, to say the same thing in another way…

‘The Beginning and the End.’

Now, those are titles, those are names, that seem very strange to us. And, that is because, my friends, they are figures of speech that are called merisms. In which, the point is to mention the two opposite poles of something, in order to emphasize the totality of all that lies in between. That’s the point of a name like this. So here, you’ll notice, God refers to Himself as the Alpha, or the Beginning. And, He refers to Himself as the Omega, that is, the End. That is, in other words, He is the Creator, He is the Consummator. History begins with Him ~ history ends in Him.

Now, here’s the thrust of it all. Since He stands as sovereign over history’s beginning, and end, He is to be understood, therefore, as sovereign over everything in between.

‘I am making everything new.’

Who makes this promise?

The only One bearing the authority to bring the old creation to its end, and the new creation into its existence. The One who is nothing less than the Sovereign Lord of history. In other words, what He says, beloved, will come to pass precisely because of who He is. His position guarantees His promise. That’s why He can say, ‘It’s done,’ though, it’s yet to come to pass…


By the way, does that exclamation sound familiar to you in any way? Any bells resonating in your mind?


My friends, when Jesus Christ from the cross declared victoriously, ‘It is finished,’ He set the new creation in motion at that very instant. His bodily resurrection from the dead was the beginning, the first expression, the pioneer of this new creation. A new creation, you see, that advances steadily every time a human being is brought to spiritual life. Old pass away, everything becomes new. A new creation that moves ahead, beginning at the cross, expressing itself in the resurrection, steadily moving ahead, that will consummate (in a scope notice) that is both cosmic and comprehensive.

‘I am making EVERYTHING new.’

‘It is DONE,’ here, signifies the expression of what was achieved in the ‘It is finished,’ of Jesus on the cross. And this is why, dear friends, the exhortation for you to hold fast on to the promise of eternal life is not an empty one. A religious placebo to help you through the rough patches of this life, ultimately devoid of anything real. This promise is faithful and true. It is valid. It is trustworthy. Because, guaranteeing it’s fulfillment is the authority of the Lord of history, who will bring to pass that which was accomplished by His Son on the cross. Jesus Christ cries from the cross, ‘It is finished!’

Now, His Father answers, ‘IT IS DONE!'”

Who is “The Merism”?

The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End… Jesus Christ!

Godspeed, to the brethren!



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