Beginning of the New Creation

SYNOPSIS - Revelation looks forward to the reign of Jesus in the New Creation, a reality inaugurated by his Death and Resurrection - Revelation 3:14.

Alps, Italy - Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash
In 
Revelation, Jesus is declared the “beginning of the creation of God” in the letter to the church at Laodicea. In this context, the point is that in his Death and Resurrection he became the inaugurator of the New Creation. In the same sentence, and in the present tense, he is called the “Amenthe faithful and true witness” – Designations applied already to Christ in the prologue to the book. - [Alps, Italy - Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash].
  • (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 Emphasized Bible).
  • (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 “Amen” – The English term transliterates the Hebrew word ‘amén, signifying strength and faithfulness. Thus, the testimony of Jesus is reliable in the absolute, in contrast to the fickleness and the ineffective testimony of the church at Laodicea. In liturgical usage, it denotes “truly” – What is unequivocally true - affirming the veracity of what is said.

The description of Jesus as the faithful witness alludes to two passages from the Hebrew Bible:
  • (Psalm 89:37) - Like the moon, shall it be established unto times age-abiding, And a witness in the skies, hath been made sure (‘amén).
  • (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 passage from the book of Isaiah combines “amen” with the “creation of God” – Thus, the “faithful” God of Israel announced the creation of the “new heavens and new earth.” The verbal allusion is quite deliberate and is the source of the clause about Jesus as the “beginning of the creation of God.”

His resurrection marked the commencement of the New Creation, and now he bears faithful witness to that reality.  This understanding is borne out by the previous declaration that Jesus is “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead” - (Revelation 1:5).

Elsewhere, the New Testament links his resurrection to the New Creation. Because God raised Jesus from the dead, he became “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead”. “Firstborn” refers to his preeminence and position, not to chronological sequence. The Risen Jesus is the sovereign and heir par excellence of the “new heavens and earth”:
  • (1 Corinthians 15:20-23) – “But now hath Christ been raised from among the dead, a firstfruit of them who have fallen asleepFor 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 his at his arrival.
  • (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 anyone is in Christ there is a new creation! the old things have passed away, — Lo! they have become new!
  • (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.”
Several themes from the letter to Laodicea appear again in the vision of the New Creation when 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.
Thus, Revelation looks forward to the final victory of the “Lamb” in the New Creation, a reality inaugurated by his Death and Resurrection, that will culminate when the “new heavens and the new earth” replace the old creation and the holy city, “New Jerusalem,” which will descend to the earth. All this will result from the faithfulness of Jesus unto death and his subsequent resurrection. He is, therefore, the “Beginning of the Creation of God.”




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