15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
And I will make him the firstborn,
the highest of the kings of the earth.
On multiple occasions, the Bible speaks of Jesus as the “firstborn.” Sadly, some have read this word and misunderstood the biblical meaning behind it. Certain groups, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, assume that when Paul calls Jesus firstborn (cf. Col 1:15), he intends to communicate that Jesus is God’s first created being. However, this is not biblically sound.
Looking at Colossians 1:16, we see that Paul follows his declaration of Jesus as firstborn with a statement that all things that exist, whether physical or spiritual, were created by Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus. If Jesus created all that is, including all spiritual beings, then he must not be himself created. No, Jesus, like God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, is uncreated, eternal. Jesus is God just as the Father and Spirit. There is one God, and this God has revealed himself in three persons.
Why the firstborn language then? Psalm 89:27 shows us the import of such terminology. Firstborn is a position of rank. God says that, in his time, David would be the firstborn among kings. David was not the first king of Israel, that was Saul. It meant that David would be superior and hold the position of supremacy. Similarly, the Bible promises that one of David’s future descendants would hold the supreme rank over all kings who ever reigned before, even if that king is not the first king to be born. Yes, Jesus is the firstborn because he is the supreme king who reigns as a descendant of David on the throne of the universe.