Revelation looks forward to the reign of Jesus in the New Creation, a reality inaugurated by his Death and Resurrection.
In his letter to Laodicea, Jesus declared that he is the “beginning of the creation of God,” for, in his death and resurrection, he inaugurated the New Creation. In the same sentence, and in the present tense, he also is called the “Amen, the faithful and true witness,” appellations applied to him already in the book’s prologue.
The English term ‘amen’ transliterates the Hebrew word ‘amén, signifying strength and faithfulness. Thus, the testimony of Jesus is reliable in contrast to the fickleness and ineffective testimony of the church. In liturgical usage, it denotes “truly” – What is unequivocally true – affirming the veracity of what has been said.
- (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 descriptions of Jesus as the “faithful witness” and the “amen” allude to two passages from the Hebrew Bible:
- (Psalm 89:37) – “Like the moon, shall it be established unto times everlasting, and a witness in the skies has been made sure (‘amén).”
- (Isaiah 65:16-17) – “So shall you leave your name for an oath to my elect, so, then, My Lord Yahweh will slay you, and his servants will he call by another name so that he who blesses himself in the earth will bless himself in the God of faithfulness (‘amén), And he who swears in the earth will swear by the God of faithfulness (‘amén), because the former troubles have been forgotten, and because they are hidden from my eyes. For behold me! Creating the new heavens and the new earth, and the former shall not be mentioned, neither shall they come upon the heart.”
The passage from 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 allusions are quite deliberate and are the source for the clause describing 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 new reality. This understanding is borne out by the previous declaration that he 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 him from the dead, Christ became “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.” “Firstborn” points to his preeminence, not to any 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, the first fruit 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 first fruit, Christ, after that they who are his at his arrival.”
- (2 Corinthians 5:15-17) – “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 the Laodicean church appear again in the vision of the New Creation when the book concludes with the vision of the city of New Jerusalem:
- (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 I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, descending 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 said, Write! because these words are faithful and true. And he said to me, It is accomplished! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I, to 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 Jesus in his death and resurrection. This will culminate when the “new heavens and the new earth” replace the old creation and the holy city, “New Jerusalem,” descends to the earth. All this will result from the faithfulness of Jesus. He is, therefore, the “Beginning of the Creation of God.”
[Download PDF copy from Google Drive]
4 thoughts on “BEGINNING OF THE NEW CREATION”