SYNOPSIS: The Book of Revelation looks forward to the final victory of the Lamb in the New Creation, a reality inaugurated by the Death and Resurrection of Jesus – Revelation 3:14.
Jesus is called the “beginning of the creation of God” in the letter to the church at Laodicea in the Book of Revelation. Some interpreters take this to refer to the status of Jesus as the creator of the universe. Another view is that Christ is declared the first created being in this passage. Both interpretations miss the point and deviate from the subject of the letter and context of the book. The real point is that Jesus, in his Death and Resurrection, became the inaugurator of the promised New Creation.
The verse is part of the message from the Risen Christ to the church at Laodicea recorded, the seventh and last of the letters to the churches of Asia, a Roman province in the western coastal region of Asia Minor (Revelation 3:14-22):
(Revelation 3:14) – “And unto the messenger of the assembly in Laodicea, write:—These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God: I know thy works;—that neither cold art thou, nor hot: I would that cold thou hadst been, or hot.” – (The EmphasizedBible).
(Revelation 1:5-6) – “And from—Jesus Christ,—The Faithful Witness, The Firstborn of the Dead, and The Ruler of the Kings of the Earth. Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us out of our sins with his blood,— and he hath made us [to be] a kingdom—priests unto his God and Father, Unto him be the glory and the dominion unto the ages. Amen.” – (The Emphasized Bible).
Jesus is “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” “Amen” is a transliteration into Greek of the Hebrew word, ‘amén. Its root signified strength. The term came to denote “faithfulness, firmness, fidelity, truthfulness” (Strong’s #G281). In liturgical usage, it denotes “truly” and affirms the veracity of what is said.
“The Amen” – this stresses the faithful and true witness of Jesus. His testimony is reliable in the absolute, in contrast to the fickleness and the ineffective testimony of the church at Laodicea.
Jesus, the one “like a Son of Man,” is the “faithful and true witness.” He was called the “faithful witness” in the Prologue of the book, an allusion to Psalm 89:37 (Revelation 1:5):
“Like the moon, shall it be established unto times age-abiding, And a witness in the skies, hath been made sure.”
Another Old Testament passage included in the allusion is Isaiah 65:16-17, which uses “amen” and the “creation of God” together. The “faithful” God of Israel announced the future new creation in which “faithfulness” translates the Hebrew word ‘amén (Strong’s #G543):
(Isaiah 65:16-17) – “So shall ye leave your name for an oath to my chosen ones,—So then My Lord Yahweh will slay thee,—And his servants will he call by another name: So that he who blesseth himself in the earth Will bless himself in the God of faithfulness (‘amén), And he who sweareth in the earth Will swear by the God of faithfulness (‘amén)—Because the former troubles have been forgotten, and Because they are hid from mine eyes. For, behold me! Creating new heavens and a new earth,—And the former shall not be mentioned, neither shall they come up on the heart.” – (The Emphasized Bible).
The resurrection of Christ was the beginning of the New Creation and he bears faithful witness to it. This understanding is borne out by the previous declaration that Jesus is “the Faithful Witness, the firstborn of the dead” (Revelation 1:5).
The New Testament elsewhere links Christ’s resurrection to the New Creation. Because God raised him from the dead, Jesus became “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead”. “Firstborn” refers to preeminence and position, not to chronological sequence but. The Risen Jesus is the sovereign and the heir par excellence of the New Creation:
(1 Corinthians 15:20-23) – “But, now, hath Christ been raised from among the dead,—a firstfruit of them who have fallen asleep; For since, indeed, through a man came death, through a man also cometh the raising of the dead; For just as in the Adam all die, so, also, in the Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own rank:—A firstfruit, Christ, after that, they who are the Christ’s in his presence.”– (The Emphasized Bible).
(2 Corinthians 5:15-17) – “Having judged this,—that one in behalf of all died, hence, they all died; and in behalf of all died he,—in order that, they who live no longer for themselves should live, but for him who in their behalf, died and rose again. So that we henceforth know no one after the flesh: if we have even been gaining after the flesh a knowledge of Christ, On the contrary, now, no longer, are we gaining it. So that, if any one is in Christ there is a new creation! the old things have passed away,—Lo! they have become new!”– (The Emphasized Bible).
(Colossians 1:18) – “And he is the head of the body, the assembly, Who is the beginning, Firstborn from among the dead, in order that he might become in all things, himself, pre-eminent.”– (The Emphasized Bible).
Several words and concepts from the opening declaration of Jesus in his letter to Laodicea appear again in the vision of the New Creation when the Book of Revelation concludes with a vision of the New Creation:
(Revelation 21:1-6) – “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth have passed away, and the sea is no more. And the holy city, new Jerusalem, saw I coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband…the first things have passed away. And he that was sitting upon the throne said— Lo! I make all things, new. And he saith—Write! because these words are faithful and true. And he said unto me—Accomplished! I am the A and the Z, the Beginning and the End: I, unto him that is thirsting, will give of the fountain of the water of life, freely.”– (The Emphasized Bible).
The Book of Revelation looks forward to the final victory of the Lamb in the New Creation, a process and reality inaugurated by the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. This will culminate when the “new heavens and the new earth” replace the old created order and the holy city, “New Jerusalem,” descends from God to the earth.
All this is the result of the faithfulness of Jesus unto death and his subsequent resurrection. He is, therefore, the “Beginning of the Creation of God.”