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Bluegrass Bible Beat: The first begotten of the dead

By: Scott Adkins, Sling ‘n Stone Ministry
Carter County Times

Last week, we began our multi-part series, “Who Is Jesus Christ.” To that end, we focused on Revelation 1:5, which heralds The Lord Jesus Christ to be “the faithful witness… the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.” (Rev. 1:5). This week, we continue with Revelation 1:5’s identifying The Lord as “the first begotten of the dead.” What does that identity mean, and why is that so significant?

“[T]he first begotten of the dead,” obviously describes the Lord’s resurrection. Indeed, the Lord declared: “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25). For Christians and non-Christians, the Lord’s resurrection forever and indisputably affirms that the Lord Jesus Christ was, is, and forever shall be exactly who and what He declared Himself to be: “the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6). No other religion even dares to claim that its founder conquered death. For example, Islam’s faithful herald and journey to Medina, Saudia Arabia to see Mohammed’s grave – the Green Dome. Put differently, Mohammed died and remains dead. The same holds true for Buddhism. Today in Kushinagar, India, the Buddha’s tomb remains, and Buddhism’s faithful believe the Buddha’s ashes remain enclosed within the tomb. So, like Mohammed, the Buddha died and remains dead. Hinduism claims no one founder. Judaism emphatically rejects the truth that God raised Jesus from the dead. And all these major world religions possess and trumpet another common feature: they all either deny the Lord’s literal, physical resurrection; or they deny the Lord sacrificed Himself at the crucifixion to pay for mankind’s sins. Christianity thus stands alone among the world’s major religions in how Christianity views its author and founder, the Lord Jesus Christ. But why is the Lord’s being “the first begotten of the dead,” (Rev. 1:5) so indispensably central when answering eternity’s question of Who Is Jesus Christ? The Apostle Paul tells us in I Corinthians 15 why the Lord’s being “the first begotten of the dead” stands central to our faith and to the truth about Jesus Christ. To that end, Paul wrote: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. * * * And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. * * * If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (I Cor. 15: 14, 17, 19). Paul continued this theme in II Corinthians 4:14: “Knowing that He which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus[.]” Differently put, the Lord’s being “the first begotten of the dead” confirms the Lord as the Only “way,… truth, and… life,” and His so being assures us that we do not believe in vain in that the Lord Jesus Christ was, is, and always shall be Who and what He claims: “the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25).



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