BDAG at Rv 3:14 - Christ was the first creation now probable
GregStffrd at aol.com
GregStffrd at aol.com
Tue Jan 23 11:16:56 EST 2001
In a message dated 01/23/2001 3:09:42 AM Pacific Standard Time,
musicke at ozemail.com.au writes:
<< I agree. I have never felt comfortable with "ruler" as the meaning here.
I don't see why it can't mean "beginning"as in Colossians 1:18
I would understand the meaning of "beginning" in verse 18 of Colossians 1 to
be informed by the content of verse 16, where we are told Christ created all
things, so that I would understand "beginning" to have the sense of
There is a similar idea, I think, in John 1:1-3, where we are also told that
Christ created all things.
In Revelation 3:14, then, the idea of Christ as the beginning or source of
God's creation seems to fit the context perfectly well.
David McKay >>
That is an interesting way of construing the meaning of Revelation 3:14, and
certainly in the realm of possibility, but after reviewing the uses of ARCH
in the NT, I would have to say it is not a probability, if we are going to
invoke at all the meanings commonly associated with ARCH, elsewhere. Perhaps
you have some list of verses, biblical or extra-biblical, which would support
In any event, you invoke what is said in Col. 1:15-18 and John 1:1-3 as
support for your view that Christ created all things. However, Colossians
1:15 uses a term (PRWTOTOKOS) that could, just as with ARCH, invoke temporal
notions with respect to Christ's being. But, putting that aside as an
accepted area of dispute, in verse 16 the passive verb EKTISQH is used in
reference to what someone else did EN AUTWi (= Christ). This could not
grammatically be construed as an instance where it is said that Christ
created all things, but where it is said that all things were created "in
him" by someone else.
The same is true of EKTISTAI in verse 17, where we also find DI' AUTOU,
which, together with the passive verbs, clearly involves the idea of agency,
namely, Christ as the medium or instrument through which someone else created
(this concept of mediation does recall what is said of Wisdom in Proverbs 8,
regardless of who/what we think Wisdom might be, there). This is significant
for we also find this construction in John 1:1-3, to which you also refer.
When we compare these texts with 1Cor 8:6 and Hebrews 1:2-3 it is hard, if
not reasonable impossible, to escape the conclusion that God created through
Significantly, in Revelation 3:14 we find that Christ is the hH ARCH THS
KTISEWS **TOU QEOU**. Thus, even if we accepted "source" for ARCH, here, it
is still hH KTISIS TOU QEOU, and, hence, shows that the position of creator
belongs to someone other than hH ARCH, namely, the God mentioned.
So, if a temporal beginning is not meant for Christ's being in this verse, as
the first of God's creation (which is *strikingly* similar to what we read in
the LXX of Proverbs 8 [KURIOS EKTISE ME ARCHN hODWN AUTOU EIS ERGA AUTOU]),
then it would seem to me that "ruler" would be a better fit; however, we are
then confronted with the fact that where ARCH has the meaning of "ruler," in
the NT it is always accompanied by words denoting authority, power, etc., as
Wes pointed out and which BAGD suggests.
Anyway, a few thoughts which I hope will keep the focus on the grammatical
possibilities of Revelation 3:14, and not on some alleged meaning of other
verses that is not consistent with grammar in those verses. Care is needed
here, as I am sure Carl is aware, for if we veer too far off from the grammar
of the passage then our context will become larger and larger, and our
doctrine more and more prominent in our explanations, etc.
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