The Firstborn of Creation

The Jehovah's Witness New World Translation says in Col. 1:15-17: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exists."

Please note that this passage does not say Jesus was the "first created," but that He was the "first-born." The Bible doesn't use the Greek word for "first created (protoktizo), but firstborn (prototokos) of all creation.

The word "firstborn" refers to a position of pre-eminence rather than a time of birth. Rights and privileges were usually bestowed upon the child who was born first, but those rights did not always go to him. Manasseh was the first one born, but Jacob (Israel) blessed Ephraim instead of Manasseh and gave him the position of first-born (Gen. 48:13-22). In Jeremiah 31:9, God declares Ephraim to be His first-born, even though Manasseh was born first.

The same is true with Jacob and Esau. Although Esau was the first one born, Jacob (whose name was change to Israel) received his brother's birthright and his father's blessing and became the first-born. The nation of Israel was named after him, and the Lord calls Israel His first-born (Ex. 4:22). Here again, first-born refers to rank and privilege. It means first in importance, not first in time. The nation of Israel was not the first-born of a woman and not even the first nation to exist. But God called it the first-born among all the nations. In the same way, Jesus is the first-born of all creation.

The "first-born of the poor" (Isa. 14:30) means "the poorest of the poor." The "first-born of death" (Job 18:13) means Job's disease was the most terrible of diseases. The "first-born" of the kings means the highest of the kings of the earth (Ps. 89:27). David (v.20) was the last one born in his family, but was called the firstborn. The "first-born of the dead" (Col. 1:18, Rev. 1:5) means that Jesus is pre-eminent over death.

The New World Translation adds the word "other" four times, which is not in the Greek. They add to Scripture to make it look like Jesus was the first-created thing among God's creation. According to Jehovah's Witnesses, God created Jesus and then Jesus created all other things. This mistranslation of Col. 1:16-17 presents a problem for the Jehovah's Witnesses. Isaiah 44:24 says, "Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, 'I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone'". How is it possible for the LORD (Jehovah) to stretch out the heavens alone and yet Jesus, "the first created thing," be the one who did it? They can't both be true. Jesus is not the created, but the Creator (John 1:3,10, Heb. 1:10, Col. 1:16).

The first-born of all creation means that Jesus is in the highest position, ruling over creation.

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