The Firstborn.

Omicron (T. Oliver.)

We do well to ponder deeply the greatness, and glory of our Lord. In Col. 1:15, He comes before us as the Image (eikon) of the invisible God, the perfect representation of all God's attributes, God manifest (phaneroo, expressing the shining forth, moral display of His Love in wisdom and power), in flesh, the unseen God, i.e. , manifestation, in perfect detail, that we through grace by the Holy Spirit may see or have revealed to us what eye hath not seen nor can see. He is accordingly "firstborn of all Creation." Prototokos which without the article (the) carries the full meaning of the term, denoting the dignity of priority," and "sovereign right" to the full inheritance of the whole Creation, which He called forth by the creative word of His power. He is not therefore firstborn in this sense by birth, but there is the underlying truth that He first-bore the whole creation, i.e. , brought it forth, something entirely new, fresh from His almighty hand, and to which He, as His birthright will lay claim in His own due time in the day of His full glory. (Ps. 89:2). (Man may make; but he cannot create, or even "make" unseen things). (Col. 1:16). The prepositions are of great importance, "all things were created by" (literally "in" (en) with the dative case), denoting that the creative power was ever resident in Him. The next prep. is "dia" by or "through," i.e., his being the operating or instrumental wonder-working hand, and "for Him" "eis" with the objective accusative, i.e., for His glory. In Exodus 4:22, God calls Israel, His Son and Firstborn. So in Jer. 31:9, Ephraim is my firstborn. Hence it is dear that the thought of firstborn does not necessarily imply "birth" involving the thought of generation, but when used with reference to the Lord, signifies priority over all created things and sovereignty over all created beings. In Col. 1:18, The Son of God is called the firstborn (same word) prototokos, "from among the dead." Note the parallel "first born" and His relations with the created universe and the Church, the body of which He is the Head, as He is of all creation. He has pre-eminence over the universe, and though in a different way, over the Church also. In all things He has the priority, holds the first place "from among the dead." Death could not hold the One in whom all the fulness of the Godhead was pleased to dwell! This pleroma, the plenitude or the fulness of the divine attributes, resided permanently in Him, as well as the secrets of divine counsel in view of all future time. Thus raised by the glory of the Father, He takes the first place at the head of a new race whom death cannot touch, in the full power of headship. Therefore the Church is called "the church of the firstborn ones." (Heb. 12:23). In completing the work of redemption He conquered death, and the power of the enemy. To Him thus belongs in addition to His Creatorial glory, as Son of God, this new resurrection glory, as man, head of a new Creation which will not pass away. To Him be all the Praise! He is worthy of all the honour and glory the Father hath given Him.