New Creation Dawns

In his letter to the Laodiceans, the “Son of Man” is called the “Beginning of the Creation of God,” and the “Amen, the faithful and true witness.” In his Death and Resurrection, the long-promised “New Heavens and New Earth” had commenced. Jesus is called the “faithful witness” in the Book’s opening paragraph, a reference to his faithfulness in death on the Roman cross.

The term spelled ‘amen’ in English transliterates the Hebrew word ‘amén, signifying strength and faithfulness.

Alpine Meadow - Photo by Tim Peterson on Unsplash
[Photo by Tim Peterson on Unsplash]

Thus, the testimony of Jesus is reliable in contrast to the fickleness of the Laodicean congregation. In liturgical practices, it denotes “
truly” – What is unequivocally true - affirming the veracity of what is 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.

CREATION OF GOD


The descriptions of Jesus as the “faithful witness” and the “amen” allude to two passages in 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 up on the heart.

The passage in the Book of Isaiah combines the term “amen” with declarations about the coming new “Creation of God.” Thus, the “faithful” God of Israel announced the creation of the “New Heavens and the New Earth.”

The verbal allusions are deliberate and the source of the clause in Revelation that describes Jesus as the “Beginning of the Creation of God.” This is not a reference to the original creation account in Genesis since Revelation links this creation to his Death and Resurrection with an emphasis on his faithfulness in death.

Nor does Revelation call Jesus the creator or locate him in the Genesis account. He is not the architect of the “New Heavens and New Earth,” but the “beginning,” the point of commencement. In him, a new world has dawned.

The Resurrection and the New Creation are the results of his faithfulness even unto death, and in response, God raised him from the dead and thus began the New Creation.

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

AUTHOR OF NEW CREATION


Elsewhere, the New Testament links the bodily resurrection of Jesus to the New Creation. Because God raised him from the dead, he became “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead.”

The term “firstborn” points to his preeminence, not simply to chronological sequence. The Risen Jesus is the sovereign and heir par excellence of the “new heavens and earth” - (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 2 Corinthians 5:15-17, Colossians 1:18).

Several themes from the letter to the Laodiceans appear again when the Book concludes with the vision 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, the Book of Revelation looks forward to the final and ultimate victory of the “Lamb” in the New Creation – the “New Heavens and the New Earth” - a reality that began its implementatio in the Death and Resurrection of Jesus. 

What the “Firstborn of the Dead” started will culminate when the New Creation replaces the old order and the holy city, “New Jerusalem,” descends from heaven to the Earth.

All this is the result of the faithfulness of Jesus in his self-sacrificial death for his people, a victory validated by God when he raised him from the dead. Truly, therefore, the Resurrected Messiah is sovereign over the Cosmos and he is the “Beginning of the Creation of God.”


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