JESUS: The First Begotten from the dead!
When John described Jesus as “the first begotten of the dead” he wasn’t just talking about physical death, but spiritual death. Unlike physical death, spiritual death isn’t just the cessation of life, it’s total separation from God: “…at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenant of promise, having no hope, and without Christ in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). This is spiritual death, and we all were once in this hopeless state, bound for hell until Jesus took our place.
But there’s something more! Jesus went to hell for us but he didn’t remain there. On the third day, He was raised victoriously from the dead and we were raised up together with Him: (Ephesians 2:4-6) Now we have the same resurrection life at work in us.
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten from the dead and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5)
John described Jesus as “the first begotten of the dead.” Paul made the same reference in Colossians 1:18 NKJV: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.” Prior to the resurrection, Jesus was referred to as “the only begotten of the Father” (John 1:14). But after His resurrection, He became the first begotten from the dead.
Now, the reason for the application “first begotten” instead of only begotten” as He was hitherto called is because of the rest of us! We also have been begotten from spiritual death, and have become His brothers and sister; sons and daughters of God just like Him!
This is the reason Jesus is called the first begotten among many brethren (Romans 8:29).