Rev. 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of 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,
First begotten according to his promises. Jesus is the first begotten of the dead in that he is the first to resurrect from death on his own power. We see in 1 Cor. 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. Jesus is the exemplar of the truth of resurrection of which Paul said he was appearing in judgment before the people of Israel. Those who slept are those who have already died and are still in their graves. They will, if they trusted Christ, be resurrected according to his promises. He promised Abraham a city whose builder and maker is God (Heb. 11:10). Job knew that in his flesh he would see God (Job 19:26).
First begotten accord to his purpose. John Gill says on this verse, "This character supposes that he died, as he did, for the sins of his people; and that he rose again from the dead, as he did, for their justification;" Therefore, he became the firstfruits of his purpose, for he came to die that we might live (Mark 10:45). He laid down his life for his sheep (John 10:15).
First begotten accord to his prospect. Jesus is the first begotten of all those who have trust in him, whether they are dead or alive. He promises that we will be with him prospectively. The prospect for the thief on the cross was Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:43). The prayer that Jesus prayed to his Father was Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world (John 17:24). In John 14 Jesus tells us that he will return one day and receive us unto himself that where he is there we will be, also (John 14:3).
First begotten accord to his principles. Therefore, shall we always preach this same message of the resurrection to the lost; for Jesus came, not just to redeem us from our sins, but that he may teach us through the apostles and through his church to teach others the true principles of Christian doctrine, which is at its base the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that he is truly the first begotten of the dead. He resurrected first; therefore, we may also be resurrected by the power of God.
Let us be as the apostle Paul and say as he did in 1 Cor. 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.