"Firstborn of every creature" Colossians 1:15 - "Beginning of the creation of God" Revelation 3:14
"Firstborn of every creature" Colossians 1:15 - "Beginning of the creation of God" Revelation 3:14
Colossians 1:15 Christ “the FIRSTBORN of every creature”
Revelation 3:14 - “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD”
Do these verses teach, as some false teachers affirm, that the Lord Jesus Christ was a created being (though the first one to be created) and that He therefore is NOT the eternal and everlasting God?
Martin Richling is a rank heretic who, like the Jehovah Witnesses, teaches that Jesus Christ is a created being who is not eternal God or equal with the Father.
Here in this 5 minute video Martin Richling teaches that Jesus Christ is a created being.
You can learn more about him and his strange ways and beliefs here -
Those who deny that Jesus Christ is not fully God as well as Man, the eternal and everlasting God, latch on to these verses in an attempt to find some biblical justification for their denial of His eternal Godhead.
They tell us “Well, just read the text. What does it say? It clearly says that Jesus Christ is THE FIRSTBORN of every creature. And that he is THE BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD. So, there.”
But are they right? Do they really understand the use and meaning of the words “the firstborn” and “the beginning”?
Remember, the Bible - the true Bible, the King James Holy Bible - does not and can not contradict itself. You cannot pit your interpretation of a particular verse or two against others that teach the opposite things, as though the Bible contradicts itself. The King James Bible does not contradict itself.
The Bible clearly teaches in numerous passages the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is none other than the eternal God and Creator - the Lord God Jehovah.
Here are a few of them.
John 1:1-3: “In the beginning was the Word, and THE WORD WAS GOD. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made BY him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”
The "Word" is the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:14; I John 1:1-3; 5:7), and John 1:3 says that all things were made by Him!
1 Timothy 3:16 tells us, in the King James Bible, that “GOD was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
I Timothy 3:16 “GOD was manifest in the flesh”
GOD was manifest in the flesh. The Word became flesh, and the Word was GOD. It doesn’t get much clearer than this.
In Acts 20:28 the apostle Paul exhorts the elders of Ephesus to “Feed the church OF GOD, which HE hath purchased with HIS OWN BLOOD.”
Acts 20:28 “God’s blood”
It was the blood of GOD that purchased His people.
In the book of Hebrews 1:8 it is God the Father who says to God the Son - “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O GOD, is for ever and ever”
In John 8:58, Jesus said to the Pharisees, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM.”
Notice, He did not say “I WAS”, but “I AM.” The term "I am" is the exact term that God used in Exodus 3:14 in reference to Himself! Jesus was equating himself with the eternal God of the Bible.
John 20:28 - After the Lord Jesus died for the sins of His people and rose from the dead, he appeared to doubting Thomas. When Jesus tells him to "be not faithless, but believing" Thomas then answers and says to Him "My Lord AND MY GOD."
In the book of Revelation 1:8 we hear the Lord Jesus Christ say of Himself - “I am Alpha and Omega, THE BEGINNING AND THE ENDING, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, THE ALMIGHTY.”
And in Revelation 1:11 He says: “I am Alpha and Omega, THE FIRST AND THE LAST”
“I am THE FIRST AND THE LAST: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.” Revelation 1:17
And when we compare these verses with the what the Lord JEHOVAH says of Himself in places like Isaiah 44:6 “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts: I AM THE FIRST, AND I AM THE LAST, and BESIDE ME THERE IS NO GOD.”
And in Isaiah 48:12 “Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel my called; I am he; I AM THE FIRST, I ALSO AM THE LAST. My hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth”
We can clearly see that the Lord Jesus Christ is JEHOVAH, the Creator, the First and the Last. If He is God (John 1:1) and there is no God besides Jehovah, then Jesus Christ is Jehovah!
When the Bible says in Revelation 3:14 that He is “the beginning of the creation of God.” this simply means He is the ORIGIN, or the Source and Author of the creation of God. All things were created BY Him.
He, like the Father revealed in the Old Testament, is the First and the Last, and the Source of all of creation itself.
The verb form of this noun (beginning - arkee) is “to begin” (arkomai) and it is always used in the sense of “to start” or “initiate” something. “Jesus began to preach”, Peter “began to curse and to swear”, the woman “began to wash his feet with tears” and “judgment must begin at the house of God.”
Some Bible Commentators
John Gill - “The beginning of the creation of God; not the first creature that God made, but the first cause of the creation; the first Parent, producer, and efficient cause of every creature; the author of the old creation, who made all things out of nothing in the beginning of time”
Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament - “The beginning of the creation of God (η αρχη της κτισεως του τεου . Not the first of creatures as the Arians held and Unitarians do now, but the originating source of creation through whom God works (Colossians 1:15,18), a passage probably known to the Laodiceans, (John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2, as is made clear by Revelation 1:18; 2:8; 3:21; 5:13.)"
Ellicott’s Commentary - “The beginning of the creation of God. The “beginning,” not meaning that Christ was the first among the created, but that He was the origination, or primary source of all creation. By Him were all things made (John 1:1-3, compare Colossians 1:15; 1:18), not with Him, but by Him creation began. In short, the word “beginning” must be understood in an active sense. He has originating power as well as priority of existence.”
Matthew Poole’s Notes - “The beginning of the creation of God: those that deny the Divinity of Christ, are deceived in their thoughts that this text will afford them any defence for their error; for arch, the word here used, doth not only signify the cause, but principality, or the chief, or prince, Ephesians 3:10; Colossians 1:16. Hence Christ is said to be arch, which we translate the beginning, because he was the Creator, the efficient cause of the creation. For taking the creation, as ordinarily it signifies, the giving all creatures their first being, Christ was the efficient cause of it, and so the beginning of it, without him was nothing made; and he hath a lordship and dominion over it.”
Matthew Henry - “The beginning of the creation of God, and so he is the beginning, that is, the first cause, the Creator, and the Governor of it.”
Colossians 1:15 Christ “the FIRSTBORN of every creature”
As for the expression used in Colossians, “the FIRSTBORN of every creature”, this word has two basic meanings found in Scripture. One IS that of the firstborn, and has to do with the order of family members being brought into the world.
We see this use in Matthew 1:25 and Luke 2:7 where where Mary “brought forth her FIRSTBORN son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes.”
However, there is another use of the word “FIRSTBORN” in the Scriptures that has nothing to do with being born, or created or the order in which a person was given physical life in this world.
We see the use of this word in such passages as Exodus 4:22, Deuteronomy 21:16-17, Psalm 89:27 and Jeremiah 31:9. Here the word “firstborn” describes, not the order of the creation of a thing, but it is used to denote a position of superiority and privilege.
In Exodus 4:22 Moses is sent by God with this message - “And thou shalt say to Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my FIRSTBORN.”
Were various individuals “sons of God” before the time of the exodus from Egypt? Yes, most assuredly. Many individuals were sons of God. People like Adam, Noah, Abraham, Joseph and all those who believed in the one true God many years before the events recorded here in Exodus chapter 4. Yet God calls the nation of Israel “my FIRSTBORN”.
In the law of Moses in Deuteronomy 21:16-17 we read: “ Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved FIRSTBORN before the son of the hated, which is indeed the FIRSTBORN:
17. But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the FIRSTBORN, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the FIRSTBORN is his.”
Here is a case where a parent may have wished to make his favored son “the firstborn”, even though physically this would have been impossible. But being designated “the firstborn” was a position of privilege and superiority, and not just an indication of the order of birth.
This will hopefully become clearer as we go on to the next two examples. In Psalm 89 we read of the blessings God had bestowed upon king David.
In Psalm 89:20 we read: “I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him.”
The Psalm continues to enumerate all the blessings God gave to David and states in verse 27 “Also I will make him MY FIRSTBORN, HIGHER THAN THE KINGS OF THE EARTH.”
How could God “make” someone His firstborn, even though this person obviously was not physically the firstborn by any stretch of the imagination? It’s simple. The title of Firstborn here means to have the highest position of authority, privilege and honor. It has nothing at all to do with the order of physical birth.
And we see this same spiritual principle in Jeremiah 31:9. Here we read of the eventual restoration of backslidden Israel. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built”
Then in Jeremiah 31:9 we read: “They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is MY FIRSTBORN.”
Now Ephraim was in fact the youngest son born to Joseph and his Egyptian wife Asenath. He was the last of the sons to be counted among “the children of Israel”. Yet God uses this man’s name to designate his restored people as “Ephraim my FIRSTBORN”.
The title has nothing to do with the actual order of creation. But is, instead, a position of the highest honor and privilege.
This is how the word is used in Colossians 1:15 to describe the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who Himself is the Second Person of the blessed Trinity - “that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.”
Some Bible Commentators
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible- The first-born of every creature - Among all the creatures of God, or over all his creation, occupying the rank and pro-eminence of the first-born. The first-born, or the oldest son, among the Hebrews as elsewhere, had special privileges. He was entitled to a double portion of the inheritance. He does not say that, in all respects, he resembled the first-born in a family; nor does he say that he himself was a creature, for the point of his comparison does not turn on these things, and what he proceeds to affirm respecting him is inconsistent with the idea of his being a created being himself. He that “created all things that are in heaven and that are in earth,” was not himself created.”
Adam Clarke Commentary - “The first-born of every creature - God hath given him a name which is above every name; he is as man at the head of all the creation of God; nor can he with any propriety be considered as a creature, having himself created all things, and existed before any thing was made. If it be said that God created him first, and that he, by a delegated power from God, created all things, this is most flatly contradicted by the apostle's reasoning in the 16th and 17th verses. As the Jews term Jehovah עולם של בכורו becoro shel olam, the first-born of all the world, or of all the creation, to signify his having created or produced all things; (see Wolfius in loc.) so Christ is here termed, and the words which follow in the 16th and 17th verses are the proof of this. The phraseology is Jewish; and as they apply it to the supreme Being merely to denote his eternal pre-existence, and to point him out as the cause of all things; it is most evident that St. Paul uses it in the same way, and illustrates his meaning in the following words, which would be absolutely absurd if we could suppose that by the former he intended to convey any idea of the inferiority of Jesus Christ - For by him were all things created”
Jesus Christ is God
“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, GOD with us.” Matthew 1:23
“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, THAT UNTO ME EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW, EVERY TONGUE SHALL SWEAR.” Isaiah 45:22-23.
“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; AND EVERY TONGUE SHOULD CONFESS that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11
The Great Christian Hymn, “And Can It Be?”, was written in 1738 by Charles Wesley, shortly after his conversion. Listen to the words of this great hymn and let it’s truth sink down into your heart. Have you believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to cleanse you from your sins and clothe you in His perfect righteousness?
1. And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviour’s blood?
Died he for me? who caused his pain!
For me—who him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be
THAT THOU, MY GOD, SHOULDEST DIE FOR ME?
2. ‘Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore his strange design?
In vain the first-born seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
‘Tis mercy all! Let earth adore!
Let angel minds inquire no more.
3. He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite his grace!
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race.
‘Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God! it found out me!
4. Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray
I woke; the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed thee.
5. No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
All of grace, believing The Book - the King James Holy Bible
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Notes from the Internet
Early Church Affirms the Deity of Christ
1. Ignatius of Antioch (c. 50–117): For our God, Jesus the Christ, was conceived by Mary according to God’s plan, both from the seed of David and of the Holy Spirit. (Ignatius, Letter to the Ephesians, 18.2. Translation from Michael Holmes, Apostolic Fathers, 197)
2. Ignatius (again): Consequently all magic and every kind of spell were dissolved, the ignorance so characteristic of wickedness vanished, and the ancient kingdom was abolished when God appeared in human form to bring the newness of eternal life. (Ibid., 19.3. Holmes, AF, 199)
3. Ignatius (again): For our God Jesus Christ is more visible now that he is in the Father. (Ignatius, Letter to the Romans, 3.3. Holmes, AF, 229)
4. Ignatius (again): I glorify Jesus Christ, the God who made you so wise, for I observed that you are established in an unshakable faith, having been nailed, as it were, to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ignatius, Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 1.1. Holmes, AF, 249.)
5. Ignatius (again): Wait expectantly for the one who is above time: the Eternal, the Invisible, who for our sake became visible; the Intangible, the Unsuffering, who for our sake suffered, who for our sake endured in every way. (Ignatius, Letter to Polycarp, 3.2. Holmes, AF, 265.)
6. Polycarp of Smyrna (69–155): Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal high priest himself, the Son of God Jesus Christ, build you up in faith and truth . . ., and to us with you, and to all those under heaven who will yet believe in our Lord and God Jesus Christ and in his Father who raised him from the dead. (Polycarp, Philippians, 12:2. Holmes, AF, 295)
7. Epistle of Barnabas (written c. 70–130): “If the Lord submitted to suffer for our souls, even though he is Lord of the whole world, to whom God said at the foundation of the world, “Let us make humankind according to our image and likeness,” how is it, then, that he submitted to suffer at the hands of humans?” (Epistle of Barnabas, 5.5. Holmes, AF, 393)
8. Justin Martyr (100–165): And that Christ being Lord, and God the Son of God, and appearing formerly in power as Man, and Angel, and in the glory of fire as at the bush, so also was manifested at the judgment executed on Sodom, has been demonstrated fully by what has been said. (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 128. Translation from Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers, I:264)
9. Justin (again): “Permit me first to recount the prophecies, which I wish to do in order to prove that Christ is called both God and Lord of hosts.” (Ibid., 36. ANF, I:212.)
10. Justin (again): Therefore these words testify explicitly that He [Jesus] is witnessed to by Him [the Father] who established these things, as deserving to be worshipped, as God and as Christ. (Ibid., 63. ANF, I:229)
11. Justin (again): The Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God. And of old He appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and to the other prophets; but now in the times of your reign, having, as we before said, become Man by a virgin . . .” (Justin Martyr, First Apology, 63. ANF, I:184)
12. Justin (again): For if you had understood what has been written by the prophets, you would not have denied that He was God, Son of the only, unbegotten, unutterable God. (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 126. ANF, I:263)
13. Tatian (110–172): We do not act as fools, O Greeks, nor utter idle tales when we announce that God was born in the form of man. (Tatian, Address to the Greeks, 21. ANF, II:74)
14. Melito of Sardis (d. c. 180): “He that hung up the earth in space was Himself hanged up; He that fixed the heavens was fixed with nails; He that bore up the earth was born up on a tree; the Lord of all was subjected to ignominy in a naked body – God put to death! . . . [I]n order that He might not be seen, the luminaries turned away, and the day became darkened—because they slew God, who hung naked on the tree. . . . This is He who made the heaven and the earth, and in the beginning, together with the Father, fashioned man; who was announced by means of the law and the prophets; who put on a bodily form in the Virgin; who was hanged upon the tree; who was buried in the earth; who rose from the place of the dead, and ascended to the height of heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father.” (Melito, 5. ANF, VIII:757)
15. Irenaeus of Lyons (120–202): “For I have shown from the Scriptures, that no one of the sons of Adam is as to everything, and absolutely, called God, or named Lord. But that He is Himself in His own right, beyond all men who ever lived, God, and Lord, and King Eternal, and the Incarnate Word, proclaimed by all the prophets, the apostles, and by the Spirit Himself, may be seen by all who have attained to even a small portion of the truth. Now, the Scriptures would not have testified these things of Him, if, like others, He had been a mere man. . . . He is the holy Lord, the Wonderful, the Counselor, the Beautiful in appearance, and the Mighty God, coming on the clouds as the Judge of all men; — all these things did the Scriptures prophesy of Him.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3.19.2. ANF, I:449)
16. Irenaeus (again): “He received testimony from all that He was very man, and that He was very God, from the Father, from the Spirit, from angels, from the creation itself, from men, from apostate spirits and demons.” (Ibid., 4.6.7. ANF, I:469)
17. Irenaeus (again): “Christ Jesus [is] our Lord, and God, and Savior, and King, according to the will of the invisible Father.” (Ibid., 1.10.1. ANF, I:330)
18. Irenaeus (again): “Christ Himself, therefore, together with the Father, is the God of the living, who spoke to Moses, and who was also manifested to the fathers.” (Ibid., 4.5.2. ANF, I:467)
19. Clement of Alexandria (c. 150–215): “This Word, then, the Christ, the cause of both our being at first (for He was in God) and of our well-being, this very Word has now appeared as man, He alone being both, both God and man—the Author of all blessings to us; by whom we, being taught to live well, are sent on our way to life eternal. . . . . . . The Word, who in the beginning bestowed on us life as Creator when He formed us, taught us to live well when He appeared as our Teacher; that as God He might afterwards conduct us to the life which never ends” (Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Heathen, 1. ANF, II:173)
20. Tertullian (c. 160–225): For God alone is without sin; and the only man without sin is Christ, since Christ is also God.” (Tertullian, Treatise on the Soul, 41. ANF, III:221)
21. Tertullian (again): “Thus Christ is Spirit of Spirit, and God of God, as light of light is kindled. . . . That which has come forth out of God is at once God and the Son of God, and the two are one. In this way also, as He is Spirit of Spirit and God of God, He is made a second in manner of existence—in position, not in nature; and He did not withdraw from the original source, but went forth. This ray of God, then, as it was always foretold in ancient times, descending into a certain virgin, and made flesh in her womb, is in His birth God and man united.” (Tertullian, Apology, 21. ANF, III:34–35)
22. Hippolytus (170–235): “The Logos alone of this God is from God himself; wherefore also the Logos is God, being the substance of God.” (Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies, 10.29. ANF, V:151)
23. Caius (180–217) [in response to those who would question the deity of Christ] “Perhaps what they allege might be credible, did not the Holy Scriptures, in the first place, contradict them. And then, besides, there are writings of certain brethren older than the times of Victor, which they wrote against the heathen in defense of the truth, and against the heresies of their time: I mean Justin and Miltiades, and Tatian and Clement, and many others, in all which divinity is ascribed to Christ. For who is ignorant of the books of Irenaeus and Melito, and the rest, which declare Christ to be God and man? All the psalms, too, and hymns of brethren, which have been written from the beginning by the faithful, celebrate Christ the Word of God, ascribing divinity to Him.” (Caius, Fragments, 2.1. ANF, V:601)
24. Origen (c. 185–254): “Jesus Christ . . . in the last times, divesting Himself (of His glory), became a man, and was incarnate although God, and while made a man remained the God which He was.” (Origen, De Principiis, Preface, 4. ANF, IV:240)
25. Novatian of Rome (210–280) “For Scripture as much announces Christ as also God, as it announces God Himself as man. It has as much described Jesus Christ to be man, as moreover it has also described Christ the Lord to be God. Because it does not set forth Him to be the Son of God only, but also the Son of man; nor does it only say, the Son of man, but it has also been accustomed to speak of Him as the Son of God. So that being of both, He is both, lest if He should be one only, He could not be the other. For as nature itself has prescribed that he must be believed to be a man who is of man, so the same nature prescribes also that He must be believed to be God who is of God. . . . Let them, therefore, who read that Jesus Christ the Son of man is man, read also that this same Jesus is called also God and the Son of God” (Novatian, On the Trinity, 11. ANF, V:620.)