Saturday, October 8, 2016

Christ the Beginning

Dear brethren,

As I write this to you, we are in the midst of Hurricane Matthew, which is churning the seas and pounding the coast with its mighty winds and waves. Amidst the powerful sound of blowing wind and beating rain outside, even though I am not near the coast, it's a perfect atmosphere to meditate on our great God who made all of creation and controls the wind and rain.

The Holy Spirit spoke through the mouth of Isaiah asking, "Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?" (Isa 40:12, NIV)

Likewise the proverb asks, "Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is the name of His Son? Surely you know!" (Pro 30:4, NIV)

In answer to these questions, I would like to examine one of the wonderful titles of the Lord Jesus Christ, by which He is called "the Beginning."

The apostle Paul said, “He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the Beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” (Col 1:18)

The Greek word for "beginning" in this verse is “arche,” meaning “(properly abstract) a commencement, or (concrete) chief (in various applications of order, time, place or rank): - beginning, corner, (at the, the) first (estate), magistrate, power, principality, principle, rule.” (Strongs). Therefore, other possible ways to translate Col 1:18 would be to say, "He is the Originator," "He is the First," "He is the Power," "He is the Chief," "He is the Potentate," or "He is the Ruler," since this is the same word used for "rulers" in Col 1:16. This same word "arche" is also translated "beginning" in many other verses of the Bible, such as John 1:1-2.

John stated in his gospel, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (Joh 1:1-3). John begins His gospel the same way the book of Genesis begins, except he was speaking of Christ.

The very first verse in Scripture states, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1). Since Christ is “the Beginning”, this verse could read, “In Christ God created the heavens and the earth.”

The Hebrew word for “beginning” in Gen 1:1 is “re'shıyth” (pronounced ray-sheeth'), meaning “the first, in place, time, order or rank (specifically a firstfruit): - beginning, chief (-est), first (-fruits, part, time), principal thing.” (Strongs). The Greek word for “beginning” used in this verse in the Septuagint is "arche," which I have already defined above, and which means the same thing.

Paul said, “[Christ] Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Col 1:18). The Greek word for “first place” is “proteuo” meaning “to be first (in rank or influence): - have the preeminence.” Therefore, some translations have it as “in all things He might have the preeminence.”

The Webster’s dictionary defines preeminence as “1. Superiority in excellence; distinction in something commendable; 2. Precedence; priority of place; superiority in rank or dignity; 3. Superiority of power or influence.”

In all things the Lord Jesus is vastly superior in excellence. In everything He has highly commendable distinction. In all things He has precedence; priority of place; superiority in rank, dignity, power, and influence. He is King of all kings and Lord of all lords (1 Tim 6:15; Rev 19:16), exercising government and dominion over all rulers. He is the Head over all rule and authority (Col 2:10), reducing rulers to nothing (Is 40:23), bringing one down and exalting another (Ps 75:7). He is the great Judge, who will judge the living and the dead, rewarding the righteous and punishing the wicked, giving to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds, rendering to every man according to what he has done (Mt 25:31-46; Joh 5:22; 2 Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10-12; Jer 17:10; Rev 2:23; 22:12).

As the Great Physician, He heals every kind of sickness and disease. He knows exactly how to promote, maintain, and restore health to those suffering from disease, injury, and other physical and mental impairments. He is most wonderful Counselor (Is 9:6). As the Good Shepherd, He makes us lie down in green pastures; He leads us beside quiet waters. He restores our soul. He guides us in the paths of righteousness. His rod and staff comfort us. He prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies. He anoints our head with oil (Psa 23:1-5). He lays down His life for the sheep (Joh 10:11). As the Great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, He can sympathize with our weaknesses, because He  has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Heb 4:14-15). He is our only Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5), our righteous Advocate with the Father (1 Joh 2:1). As our Great Intercessor, he is able to save forever those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to make intercession for us (Heb 7:25).

He is the greatest linguist, able to speak all languages fluently without any foreign accent. He is the greatest astrophysicist, knowing the exact physical nature of stars, galaxies, and other celestial bodies, and how the laws of physics apply to them. After all, He breathed them into existence! He is the greatest oceanographer, knowing all the oceans, including their extent and depth, the physics and chemistry of their waters, the biology of every living thing in them, and all their vast resources. He is the greatest servant – the servant of God and the servant of all, demonstrating amazing humility (Mt 20:28; Php 2:7; Joh 13:4-5; Isaiah 42:1). He is the greatest chef, able to create wonderful meals from nothing to feed vast crowds of hungry people (Mt 14:13-21; Jn 21:9-13). He is the greatest mentor, the greatest host (Lk 12:37), and the greatest teacher (Matthew 4:23; 5:1,2; 7:29; 13:54; 26:55; 28:19,20; Mark 1:21,22; 4:1,2; 6:6; Luke 5:3; 11:1; 19:47; John 6:59; 7:14; 8:28.); He is the greatest fisherman (Joh 21:5-6; Lk 5:4), the greatest Provider (Ps 113:7; Mt 17:27: Php 4:19), the greatest artist, the greatest craftsman, and the greatest builder (Heb 3:4).

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Col 1:16). He is the Originator of all things.

“…the world was made through Him...” (Joh 1:10)

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (Heb 1:1-2)

John wrote in his first epistle, “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—“ (1Jn 1:1; cf. 1Jn 2:13-14).

As the Word of Life, He is eternal. “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.” (Ps 119:89, NIV). Moreover, in the book of Hebrews, it compares the high priest Melchizedek to Christ, as one who is without beginning or end: “Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.” (Heb 7:3). Christ is the Eternal One, Who had no beginning. No matter how far back in time you go, there was never anything that was before Him.

Since He is the Beginning, He declares the end from the beginning. “Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'” (Isa 46:10). He knows everything that is going to happen before it happens. In fact before He made anything, He declared what would happen. His will shall be done. He will do whatever He wants.

His throne is a glorious one from the beginning. “A glorious throne on high from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary.” (Jer 17:12)

"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:” (Rev 3:14). The word for “beginning” is “arche”, and as I defined at the opening of this article, one possible meaning is "ruler." Therefore, while the NASB translates it in this verse as "the Beginning of the creation of God." the NIV has it, "the Ruler of God’s creation."

“Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.’” (Rev 21:6)

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the Beginning and the End.” (Rev 22:13).

Putting it All Together
This study in God’s Word has proven that Jesus is without beginning or end. He is eternal. He is the Beginning and the End, and as such, He has the preeminence, superiority, and first place in everything. Does He have first place in your life personally? If not, then you need to repent and ask Him to take His rightful place in your life as first. He must be Lord of everything in your life. You cannot make Him Savior without making Him Lord of all. His personality cannot be split in two, where He is only Savior and not Lord. He is either Lord of all in your life or not Lord at all. Ninety nine percent won’t do! Let me encourage you today to make Him Lord of all. Surrender all to Him.

You don’t want to find out once it is too late that He is Lord of all, but that He wasn’t Lord at all in your life. One day every knee shall bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Php 2:10-11). One way or the other, you will bow before Him and confess that He is Lord, whether or not He is truly your Lord now. However, mercy is only available while you are on earth, so I urge you to please take care of this matter before it’s too late.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.the Alpha Omega image is from Wikipedia.

Author's Note: Incidentally I lost electrical power while writing this article, particularly the paragraph about the word "arche," of which one possible definition is "Power." Our power was restored the following day. If you enjoyed this article, you may also like: Supremacy of Christ, The Eternal Firstborn of All Creation, Jesus is Yehova, All Things Handed Over to Jesus Christ, and The Bodily Form of the Lord Jesus Christ. You may also access the Main Directory for this blog, or my complete blog directory at Writing for the Master.  

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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