Is Jesus the “Beginning of the creation of God” (Revelation 3:14)?

The Deity of Christ and the Meaning of Revelation 3:14

The interpretation of Revelation 3:14, particularly the phrase “the beginning of the creation of God,” has been a subject of theological debate, especially within the context of arguments presented by certain groups, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, regarding the nature of Jesus Christ. This article aims to provide an examination of Revelation 3:14 in its broader biblical context, along with other passages affirming the divinity and eternal nature of Jesus Christ. By delving into the Scriptures, we will establish a robust defense against arguments suggesting that Jesus was a created being and demonstrate His eternal existence from everlasting to everlasting.

Unveiling the Meaning of Revelation 3:14

Revelation 3:14 states, “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.'” At first glance, this passage may seem to imply that Jesus is the first created being, as some interpretations suggest. However, a deeper exploration of the original Greek text and the broader biblical context reveals a different interpretation.

1. Contextual Analysis of Revelation 3:14

To understand the significance of Revelation 3:14, it is crucial to examine the broader context of the book of Revelation and the specific message addressed to the church in Laodicea. Throughout the book, is depicted as the exalted and victorious Lord, reigning over all creation and bringing about the consummation of God’s kingdom. In Revelation 3:14, Jesus introduces Himself as “the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness,” underscoring His divine authority and faithfulness to God’s purposes.

2. The Meaning of “Beginning” in Revelation 3:14

The word “beginning” (Gr. archē) is a word that has both a passive and an active sense. Taken passively, it refers to that which is acted upon at the beginning. So interpreted here, it would mean that Christ was the first creature created. But this obviously could not be the correct translation, for Christ is not a created being.

Taken actively, archē refers to that which initiates an action, a first cause, a prime mover. So in the context of Revelation 3:14, it declares Christ to be the Creator. This is clearly the meaning of the present passage, for Christ is portrayed repeatedly in the New Testament with the same role. For example, we read in John 1:3, “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” And Hebrews 1:2 says, “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the [a]world.”

In addition, Colossians 1:15, 16 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or [a]principalities or [b]powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”

The key to interpreting Revelation 3:14 lies in understanding the Greek word translated as “Beginning,” which is “archē.” While “archē” can denote a beginning or origin, it can also carry the connotation of pre-eminence, sovereignty, or source. In this context, Christ is not being described as the first created being but as the pre-eminent and sovereign ruler over all creation. He is the originator and sustainer of all things, holding supreme authority and power over the universe.

Affirming the Divinity of Jesus from the Bible

To counter arguments suggesting that Jesus was a created being, we must turn to the Scriptures for a comprehensive examination of His divine nature and eternal existence. Throughout the Bible, numerous passages affirm Jesus’ identity as the eternal Son of God, co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

1. Jesus’ Pre-Existence and Role in Creation

John 1:1-3 (NKJV) declares, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Here, Jesus is identified as the “Word” (Greek: Logos), who existed “in the beginning” with God and played a central role in the creation of all things. This passage affirms Jesus’ eternal existence and divine agency in the act of creation.

2. Jesus’ Claim to Deity

Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus made numerous claims to deity, asserting His divine authority and identity as the Son of God. In John 8:58 (NKJV), Jesus declares, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” By using the divine title “I AM” (Greek: ego eimi), Jesus asserts His eternal existence and divine nature, echoing the words spoken by God to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14).

3. The Testimony of Scripture

The New Testament abounds with passages that affirm Jesus’ deity and eternal nature. In Colossians 1:15-17 (NKJV), the apostle Paul describes Jesus as “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation,” emphasizing His pre-eminence and supremacy over all creation. Similarly, Hebrews 1:8-12 (NKJV) declares Jesus to be the eternal Son of God, who laid the foundations of the earth and remains unchanged throughout eternity.

4. Jesus’ Eternal Existence

The eternal nature of Jesus Christ is a central tenet of Christian theology, affirmed by various passages throughout Scripture. Psalm 90:2 (NKJV) declares, “Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” This passage emphasizes the eternal existence of God, with Jesus as the incarnate manifestation of the eternal Godhead.

Conclusion: Jesus, the Eternal Son of God

In conclusion, Revelation 3:14 does not imply that Jesus was a created being but rather underscores His pre-eminence and sovereignty as the eternal Son of God. Through a careful examination of the biblical context and other passages affirming Jesus’ divinity and eternal existence, we can confidently affirm the timeless truth of Jesus’ deity. As believers, we worship Jesus Christ as the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who reigns as Lord of all from everlasting to everlasting. May this understanding deepen our reverence and adoration for the one who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8, NKJV).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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