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The Amen, the Faithful & True Witness

19 May
True Witness

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I am currently involved in the study of the Laodicean church in Revelation 3:14-22. There, Jesus describes himself to the church as the Amen, the faithful and true witness and the beginning of the creation of God (Revelation 3:14). The Greek word amen (G281) is used 152 times in the New Covenant text, and it is translated either into verily (101 times) or transliterated as amen (51 times). Only here in verse-14 is it used as a name for anyone. It is always used elsewhere as an introduction to a statement that is true or as a conclusion to a prayer or a statement that is true. But, here Jesus claims it as a title for himself. It is interesting that Isaiah uses the Hebrew word otherwise translated into amen (H543), 28 out of 30 times, to describe God as the true God or the God of truth: “that he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes” (Isaiah 65:16). Therefore, by Jesus saying he is the “Amen” in Revelation 3:14, it would seem that he claims to be the Truth (John 14:6) or the God of truth (Isaiah 65:16) or both.

Moreover, when he claimed he is the faithful and true witness, Jesus was using the phrase as an amplification of his claim to being the Amen. The Lord is called the faithful and true Witness in Jeremiah 42:5, and Isaiah names the Messiah as the one who is the Witness, which has the meaning of Leader or Commander of the people (cf. Isaiah 55:3-4). So, the Amen is the “God of truth” or the “true God” (Isaiah 65:16), and the faithful and true Witness is both God (Jeremiah 42:5) and the Messiah (Isaiah 55:3-4).

Once more, Jesus is simply amplifying his previous two titles, Amen and faithful and true Witness, by saying he is the Beginning (G746) of the creation of God. The Scriptures record three creations: one in Adam,[1] the second in Moses,[2] and the third in Christ.[3] Some folks want to say: because Jesus says he is the “beginning of the creation of God” that he is a created being. This is false. Others try to render the phrase as Jesus is the “Beginner of the creation of God,” i.e. he is the Creator. While Jesus is the Creator, the interpretation as such at Revelation 3:14, is also false. Thayer defines arche (G746) as:

beginning, origin; 2) the person or thing that commences, the first person or thing in a series, the leader; 3) that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause; 4) the extremity of a thing; 5) the first place, principality, rule, magistracy.

The phrase could logically fit either the first or the second definitions, but neither of them fits the context (the Amen and the faithful and true Witness), that is neither definition could be an amplification of the other two phrases. The same would be true of the third and fourth definitions. However, the fifth definition: “the first place, principality, rule, magistracy fits the context perfectly, and I believe Jesus has this in mind when he claims to be the “Beginning of the creation of God.” He claims to be its Leader or Commander, i.e. its Messiah.

Whether or not Jesus is a created being is not the focus of the statement.[4] The focus is that he is the Leader or Commander of the creation, i.e. the new creation (2Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15), of God. This is also understood by comparing Revelation 3:14 with Revelation 1:5 where Jesus is described as: “the faithful Witness, and the First Begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. All these terms are titles. The faithful Witness is God (Jeremiah 42:5) and the Messiah (Isaiah 55:3-4). The Prince of the kings of the earth is also a title as can be seen in 1Timothy 6:15 and Revelation 17:14; 19:16. The First Begotten is also a title showing leadership, as can be understood in its use in the families in the Old Testament, and it didn’t always mean first to be born, as shown in Jacob’s family, because Joseph was given that title, which was passed on to Ephraim (Genesis 48:13-20), who represents the Messiah in Jeremiah 31:9.

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[1] In the first creation every man owes his life to Adam. He is the spring from which all men flow. Yet, eternal life cannot be found in him for all men will die (1Corinthians 15:22).

[2] God reached out a second time to create something that did not exist before that time. He created a people for himself with the covenant he made through Moses (Deuteronomy 4:20; Malachi 2:10), but, through the covenant of Law, no man has eternal life (Galatians 3:21).

[3] The New Testament teaches that a new creation (2Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15) is formed through Christ (Ephesians 2:20), and this new creation does have eternal life (Hebrews 7:16; John 10:28).

[4] I don’t mean to imply that Jesus might be a created being by saying this. He is eternal, and that can be shown elsewhere. I just mean to say the proof of his eternal nature cannot be proved by asserting it from Revelation 3:14.

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Posted by on May 19, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation

 

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