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Monday, June 27, 2011

A Study in Colossians (Part 1)







…A STUDY IN COLOSSIANS…











Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our God is one Jehovah


Jehovah bless thee, and keep thee: Jehovah make his face
to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: Jehovah lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.  So shall they put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them.










…A Study in Colossians…
PART ONE
v      Questions to seek:
Ø      What is our vision of Christ?
Ø      How are we truly seen by G-d? [Standing before Him]
Ø      What have you died to?
§         Why do we live?

PART TWO

v      Decisions:
Ø      Grow in the knowledge of Christ
Ø      Is it:
§         Faith in Christ alone 
                -OR-
      Some Other way?
Ø      STOP – LISTEN (Hear G-d in Scripture) – OBEY
Ø      G-d’s Judgement:  How He thinks about You
-VS-
      Man’s Judgement:  Whose matters most to you…
Ø      Hide your life in Christ:  Being conformed to the image of Christ

 

PART THREE

v      Crises of Belief:
Ø      Is it your function [calling] or somebody else’s?
Ø      Are you content?
§         Do you settle for less than:
·         “Be Holy as I AM Holy”
·         “Be Perfect as your Father in Heaven is Perfect”
Ø      What do you believe?
§         G-d’s way
     -OR-
Man’s Traditions
Ø      Do you follow:
§                            The Master’s Way
                                    -OR-
      False Teachers and their Religion-du-Jour
Ø      Who rules your heart?
§         His Word and His peace
                     -OR-
      The World and it’s ways?

 

PART FOUR

v      End Result:
Ø      The Greatest Sermon you’ll ever preach….[1]

…A Study in Colossians…

…Introduction….
“There has always been the danger of adding something to or subtracting something from Christ—the oldest heresy is also the newest heresy, by the way.  Christianity is not a mathematical problem of adding or subtracting: Christianity is Christ.  This is what Paul teaches in this epistle:  “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col.2:9)—in Him dwelleth all the pl­­eroma.  All you need is to be found in Christ Jesus.”[2]

“Christianity is Christ..”  How simple these words by Dr. McGee, how simple the thought yet how true.  We often forget that it is not a religion or a philosophy or a doctrine we as believers purport to follow, but at once a man, and at all times, the Son of the Living G-d, our Savior.  Paul penned the epistle to the Colossians while in prison in Rome.  This epistle, written in 62 A.D., and three others form what has been called the anatomy of Christianity, or the anatomy of the church.  These “prison epistles”, (Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon)  all cover different aspects of the Christian faith, but put together, they form a whole; a picture of Christ, the head of the body.  While we put emphasis today on the body, it must be remembered, the body is secondary.  What really counts is Christ and Him alone.  He must be the theme in all we do and say, He must be the wheel in the middle of the wheel, for apart from Him, we can do nothing.  It is my prayer that within this small study/epistle, the focus can once again be shifted to Him, our hope of glory, the light of the world, and we reintroduce ourselves the simple premise that “Christianity is Christ.”  May you be blessed by this study, and may our Savior be magnified and glorified by it.  For those who wish a deeper study than can be afforded here, may I recommend the following:

Lectures on the Epistle to the Colossians, H. A. Ironside

Philippians and Colossians, W. E. Vine

Ephesians and Colossians in the Greek New Testament, Kenneth S. Wuest

May G-d richly bless the study of His Holy Word, Amein.

…Background…

Colossae was a city located in the south-western part of Asia Minor.  In Pauls time, it was one of the great walled fortress cities (others included Laodicea, Philadelphia, Sardis, Thyatira, and Pergamum) that guarded Asia Minor from attack from the East.  Largely Hellenized, it none the less was a city of great importance to the Roman Empire, as a city of trade and culture.  Largely due to these two influences, the city was ripe with pagan idolatry and philosophy, that led to great licentiousness[3] and immorality among the populous.  It was here, through Epaphras, that Paul founded the Colossian church, which met at the home of Philemon.  Paul never visited Colossae, though he evidently wanted to (see Col. 2:1), but it was his influence and disciples that brought the truth of G-d’s Son to Colossae.  Here in this hotbed of paganism, heathenism, and mystery religions, the struggling little church of Christ had to compete, fighting back the heresies of Gnosticism[4] (mainly from the Essenes) and asceticism[5].  Into this backdrop Paul wrote his epistle to help the church understand that it is Christ Jesus and a life hidden in Him alone that all truth prevails, that Christ is all in all.  Thus, our study begins….

…A Study in Colossians…
…Part One…
Chapter 1
1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, 2To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“…by the will of G-d…”  Paul states that he is an Apostle “by the will of G-d”.  G-d made Paul an apostle, not Paul deciding one day to wake up and be an apostle.

Zechariah 4:6 (KJV)6 Not by mightb, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts…. [6] 

It is the Lord’s doing, His choice what gifts and callings we have.  The body functions, all within it have their place and job to do, yet, it seems that many in the body think that their function is something it should not be.  Paul knew he was in the proper place, by the will of G-d.  Do you?
Paul also addresses his epistle to the “saints and faithful brethren”.  Is this two distinct classes?  No, faithful brethren are believing brethren, set apart for the service of G-d;  the very definition of “saint” in the Greek.  Notice the one distinction though.  “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ…”  As Paul is an Apostle by the will of G-d, so are those he writes to saints and faithful brethren because they are “in Christ”.  Doesn’t matter where you are, but who you are in. 

3We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

Now, since we know a bit of the background of the Colossian church, Paul immediately begins to refute the herecies that the church faces.  It is no “unknown god” that the church follows and believes in, but the G-d of Heaven, Elohim, the Father of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.  Since we know this G-d, we do not need any “aristocrat” to reveal the “mystery” to us, for Christ Himself has been revealed.  Also, now that we have access through the veil, our prayers for all can be raised up to the throne itself.

4Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,
5For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

Look back again at Paul’s greeting to the saints of Colossae.  “…Grace be unto you, and peace, from G-d our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…”  To know peace, we must have G-d’s grace.  If we have His grace, we have not only His peace, but His spirit, who will lead us into truth and love.  In Paul’s all of epistles, there is a consistant overriding theme: Faith, Love, Hope, the trinity of graces for the believer.  Observe:
¨       “…Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus…” : Faith, which is past
¨       “…of the love which ye have to all the saints…” :  Love, which is present
¨       ”… For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven…” :  Hope, which is future
These themes are re-occuring in Paul’s epistles for a reason.  Let us expound for a moment:
The three Christian graces are:
·        The work of faith
·        The labor of love
·        The patience of hope
Let me explain each:
·        The work of faith is/was our coming to believe in Christ Jesus, described by Jesus as the “work of G-d” in John 6:29:  “…Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent…” [7]
·        The Labor of Love is our present choice and course for our lives, to serve and, never forget this, to love the Living and True G-d.
·        The patience of hope is to await the blessed return of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of G-d.  (Titus 2:13 …looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ…) [8]

I often speak about where the church has lost her way.  This is because it is what G-d has called me to do.  Do I pretend to know more than the collected wisdom of scholars, theologians, and preachers?  No.  I’m just a little cog in the wheel, available to G-d to use as He sees fit, sometimes to my own hurt.  G-d’s word is to precious to me to try to presume that I know anything; only the Holy Spirit can guide me into truth, and I pray always that only this truth comes from my lips.  Am I perfect?  No.  I say this for in this epistle will be words that some might find offensive, but all I can do is show the truth in G-d’s word, as He reveals it.  His truth is TRUTH; there is not two “truths” out there.  He does not give to one believer one kind of truth, and to another a different version of the same truth; either what I pass on is truth or scripture will reveal that my words are not His.  This being said, let us look at what Paul says in verse 4 again:
“…of the love which ye have to all the saints…”
The faith the believers had toward G-d is simple:  they believed G-d, they believed the Gospel. Verse 5 tells us:
“…whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel…”
How do you approach the gospel of Jesus Christ?  The gospel is not something we do, it is something we hear and believe in.  G-d simply asks us to believe, to understand that Christ was born of virgin birth, lived a sinless life, performed miracles, offered Himself up for us as a sacrifice for our sins, was crucified and died and is now forever alive at the right hand of the Father.  He sent us the Holy Spirit to establish the church and to empower his ambassadores.  He has overcome the world and gave to us the power to do the same.  And to top it all, He commanded us to love, the only thing that will prevail in the days to come.  Paul speaks of this love, as the present thing for us to do.  Now, how does this fit in with speaking against the wayward church?  Yes, there are false teachers out there, either through ignorance or deceit.  Yes, there are those who view the Cross of Christ as a means of gain, making merchandize of the Holy Writ, and doing the Kingdom of G-d disservice.  We are to point out the wrongs, and with love restore those that have gone astray to the fold of Christ’s robes.  It does the church of
G-d no good to spend our time crucifying each other by finding fault with one another; by that same token though, if those in error won’t hear, it does the body no good to allow their heresies to continue.  Thus we speak with love, agape love, bold in the truth of the gospel of Christ, the “word of the truth of the gospel” that Paul speaks of.  If I disagree with your doctrine, don’t mistake it for emnity: I must speak truth to you, for I do love you.  The world out there is watching us devour one another, for our inability to come into unity of the Truth, and brethren, it doesn’t care what our doctrines are, all it wants to see is if Christians love each other or not.  That is why I teach, why I am humbled that G-d uses me in this way.  Because I love, I speak.  The answer is to pray for one another, for in the storm to come, only the prayers of the saints will hold up the weak, will shore up that which is broken, and restore that which has lost its way.  Beware though, fire will sweep away that which is not of Him, if repentance does not come for our errors.  We must hold to the faith of the past, love for the present and seek the blessed hope of the future.

 6Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

It is here, that proof of whether you are of G-d or not is revealed.  “…bringing forth fruit…”  Scorecards of “conversions” aren’t fruit; the size of the mega church isn’t fruit; the number of “partners” and their money isn’t fruit.  Fruit is what grows in the vine, tended by the husbandman.  Paul speaks of the word of truth coming in all the world and bring forth fruit… where is your fruit?  Church, hear me.  80% of all “conversions” at your altars are either back slidden or absent from the pews in two to three months.  The congregation back-bites itself, gossip is rampant in the pews.  Sexual sins are winked at, “tsk-tsk’ed”, but not dealt with.  Marriages fail, and pastors take sides.  Envys, slanders and disrepect are rife. The proof is the fruit.  I cannot judge your heart, for only G-d can know a man’s heart, but I can and must judge the fruit!  If the gospel, the true gospel of Christ Jesus is preached, it will bringeth forth fruit!  For the one who preaches it, for it to bring forth fruit, will have known the grace of G-d in truth.  What is your fruit?  “…as it doth also in you…”  G-d’s word will produce fruit, this I know.  If it hasn’t produced fruit in you, or your church, either you aren’t listening, or the true word of G-d isn’t being spoken.  All the cogent, sopisticated, astute, esoteric and philosphopical arguemnts that have wormed their way into the pulpit today won’t produce a cherry pit, let alone a cherry.  Only the word of G-d produces fruit.  Preach the gospel, and it will bringeth forth fruit.  Paul says so, the Word says so.  This we know, then, by the grace of G-d in truth…

7As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; 8Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.

Two things in these verses:
¨       Notice how Paul speaks of Epaphras as “our dear fellowservant”.  When was the last time you spoke that well of a fellow servant in Christ Jesus?
“Who declared unto your love in the Spirit…”  By the Spirit are we able to love: only by the Spirit.  Paul had declared to the Galations that: 

“…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23meekness, self-control; against such there is no law…” (Gal 5:22-23) [9]

Paul, in this epistle, touches only briefly on the Spirit, for his focus is Christ, but truly, these verses speak to us of the importance of the Spirit in a godly teacher…

9For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

Paul now begins to pray for the Colossians.  Note, that he prays for the Colossian church to be “filled”, not to “get”.  The word “filled” (πληρωθητε) is defined in Strong’s as:

G4137  πληρωθητε pleroo  play-ro'-o  (from G4134;)  to make replete, i.e. (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.:-- accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.[10]

Pleroo”  comes from G4134  pleres  (play'-race) which means replete, or covered over; by analogy, complete:--full.  He wants them to be replete (Webster’s definition, fully provided) with, covered, immersed, complete.  Now, by implication, wouldn’t you say that he is praying for them to have more of something they all ready possess?  What they lack is the fullness of the knowledge of G-d’s will; they already posses a certain understanding of it, but Paul prays for them to be complete.  When we ponder this, isn’t it clear what Paul is saying?  Paul prays for them to have more: in today’s church, people are praying just to have.  Dr. J. Vernon McGee spoke of this same thing when he quoted H. A. Ironside: 

…Ironside speaks of the prayers that we hear people say which go something like this:
“We pray Thee, forgive us our sins and wash us in the blood of Jesus.  Receive us into Thy kingdom.  Give us of Thy Holy Spirit, and save us at last for Christ’s sake. Amen…”[11]

Does this sound familiar?  The problem with this prayer, nice as it is, is it is asking for things that we as believers already possess!  This is one of the problems today, we don’t even know what Christ has already done for us, what His precious blood has already purchased for us.  It is no wonder that there is no power today in the church. 
G-d has already:
Ø      Forgiven us our trespasses
Ø      We are already cleansed by the blood of Christ
Ø      He has “…delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of hisa dear Son…(Col 1:13)”
Ø      We have been sealed by the Holy Spirit
Ø      Our salvation has already been assured by G-d’s quickening of us, and leading us to hear and believe in the gospel of grace

If these are things we already possess by the grace and mercy of G-d, why do we continue to practically beg Him to do all these for us over and over?  What needs to be said in our prayers to the Most High G-d is our ever grateful thanks for what He has done, and our daily repentance for our short comings.  Paul prays for completeness in Christ, for the fullness of G-d, not petitions for what we should already be aware we have.

So, looking back at verse 9, what is the first thing Paul prays for the Colossian church?  It is knowledge, but not just knowledge…  The word in the Greek is επιγνωσιν (epignosis).

G1922  epignosis  ep-ig'-no-sis
from G1921; recognition, i.e. (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgement:--(ac-)
knowledge(-ing, - ment).[12]

Notice that the definition is for “full discernment”, or “all-knowledge”.  The Gnostics of Colossae boasted of being “super apostles”, of having “superior knowledge”.  Paul prayed for the Colossians to be filled will “full discernment” or better, “super knowledge”.  This knowledge wasn’t to be as the Gnostics claimed, but of the full knowledge of the will of G-d in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.  (Just as an aside, Paul speaks of wisdom six times in this epistle.)  Again, the question to be asked is, when was the last time you prayed for epignosis for your brethren, your pastor or yourself for that matter?

10That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Next thing Paul prays for is that the they walk worthy of G-d.  What a wonderful thing to pray for someone, that they be pleasing to G-d and not to man.  Thirdly, he asks that they be fruitful and fourthly, grow in the epignosis of G-d.  To bear fruit in the vine and to continually grow in the knowledge of Christ. Christianity is not static, but alive in Jesus.

11Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Fifthly, here is the “Why” for all his prayers, to strengthen the saints, to grow into the fruit of the Spirit with joyfulness and thanksgiving to G-d.  Paul begins in verse 12 to list the things for which he is thankful for.
v      First he is thankful that the father “…hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light…”
Ø      meet” is an Old English word, defined in Webster’s (1828 version) as:
 MEET, a. [L. convenio.] Fit; suitable; proper; qualified; convenient; adapted, as to a use or purpose.[13] 
The Greek is the word ικανωσαντι hikanoo  (hik-an-o'-o), from G2425; to enable, i.e. qualify:--make able (meet).  Another translation puts hikanoo as “making enough” or “making competent”.

Col 1:12 at the same time giving thanks to the Father, Who makes you competent for a part of the allotment of the saints, in light,[14]

Again, no matter the translation, Paul asserts that we already have what Christ in His atoning death had purchased for us.  We were already qualified, made competent, adapted for a purpose in G-d’s Son. The key is to lay hold of this truth, and like Paul, be thankful, not anxious and wondering if G-d will do this for us..

13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of hisa dear Son: 14In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

Paul is thankful for being delivered from the power of satan and sin, and for being made a citizen of the kingdom of Christ, redeemed by and through His blood, which is the forgiveness of sins…
I’d like to point out something else from this passage.  Let us go examine another common prayer we hear today.  “God, give us what we need to help build the kingdom of heaven…”  My brethren, you and me ain’t got what it takes to build the kingdom of heaven.  The kingdom of G-d isn’t built, it’s entered into.  The cornerstone was laid, on fertile soil watered with the blood of the Savior, and the rest of us are all called and ushered onto that rock.  Christ didn’t say to us “…and on this rock you’ll build…” , but He said:

18upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.(Matthew 16:18) [15]

The rock of course was the revelation that He is the Son of the Living G-d, Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, Jesus the Christ.  Jesus calls us, we come.  The church grows upward at this point built by Him, sustained by Him, for Him.  In Him we have απολυτρωσιν apolutrosis  (ap-ol-oo'-tro-sis), redemption, ransomed, bought back, our sins forgiven, enslaved no more.  That is what the blood does; that is what the blood always does. This is the true baptism. Remember what Paul said when he first began his prayer for the Colossians, that they be “pleroo”, be filled, be “covered up”, the baptism of the blood.  Christ paid the price for our freedom, and upon the blood stained ground of Calvary, built His ekklesia  (ek-klay-see'-ah), His Church.  So here we are, seeing the great truths that Paul is thankful for if we truly are trusting and loving Christ:

Ø        We are “…meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light…”
Ø        We are “…delivered us from the power of darkness…”
Ø        We are “…translatedinto the kingdom of hisa dear Son…”
Ø        We have “…redemption through his blood…”
Ø         We have “… even the forgiveness of sins…”[16]

So church, why do we ask today for what was accomplished on Golgotha? Don’t you know who you purpose to worship?  If you don’t know him, if you aren’t assured of these great truths, let me introduce you to Him, through the words of Paul…


15Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that inb all things he might have the preeminence. 19For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mindc by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 24Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: 25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfild the word of God; 26Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ ine you, the hope of glory: 28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. [17]

Now, let us break it all down:
            To help the Colossians understand the truth of the deity of Christ, Paul has to present Him to them in detail.  Remember, (I know I use that word a lot, but it is an important point that we do remember who the original audience of the Scriptures were, for only by understanding the audience, their times, and the context of Scripture, can we truly see how timeless and relevant to ourselves is G-d’s word…), that one of the chief tenants of Gnosticism was the denial of the divinity of Jesus. The Gnostics believed that Christ was a created being, a creature.  This is perhaps one of the church’s oldest heresises (next to Arianism[18]), and Paul chooses to specifically refute it here in these passages of Colossians.
Now, I’ve given some time to try to briefly explain the philosophies that the fellowship in Colosse had to deal with, but like all of G-d’s word, it applied back then, it applies now.  Look at some of the “denominations” we have today, and you’ll see the same heresies that plagued the believers then plague us now.  Many of the cults today (Unitarianism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Scientology) suffer from the same delusions, teaching against the truth that Christ Jesus is G-d, as well as the Son of G-d. I suppose that this is truly the wonder of Christ; the truth of Him is so simple, yet, I could go on about Him till the cows come home, and never even scratch the surface.  My friends, we’ve been talking about Christ ever since the first century, and He’s still a mystery to most of us.  There is so little that we really know about Him, it’s no wonder that shysters and flim-flam men can fool the masses when they know nothing of our Lord.  That my friends is the true tragedy of the church today: that we don’t even know our Savior enough to tell the lost about Him.  I hope in my own small way, that I can give you what I know, which is just what Paul and the Apostles knew, nothing more.  As I said before, there is something very dangerous in trying to add or subtract from Jesus.  He just doesn’t fit into anybody’s carefully crafted plan, praise G-d for that!  But I digress.  Let’s examine what we do know about our precious Lord from the quill of Paul…

There are nine things Paul wants us to see in these verses, nine things which separate Christ from all the pagan gods and from the philosopher’s vanity of thought.

15Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

1.      He is the image (εἰκών Strong’s G1504, eikon  i-kone'  From G1503; a likeness, that is, (literally) statue, profile, or (figuratively) representation, resemblance: - image[19]) of the invisible G-d. Now, how can you be an image of something invisible?  Unless of course, you had a relationship with what is invisible…

 …[John 1:1-4]”   In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. [20] …[John 1:11-14] He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.15

2.      ‘…the Word became flesh…”  Christ became flesh, the image of G-d, from a beginning that had no beginning…  Christ is πρωτοτόκος: (G4416) prōtotokos  (pro-tot-ok'-os) From G4413 and the alternate of G5088; first born (usually as noun, literally or figuratively): - firstbegotten (-born).[21]  Now, this is the verse that so many cults and “scholars” and “theologians” have used have used to say “See, he is a created being, not G-d!”  The “firstborn of every creature” not only identifies His relationship to the Father, but it assigns His priority before all creation.  To fully understand the difference, and Christ’s headship above creation, we must know what Scripture means when it says “firstborn”.  Turn to Michah 5:2… But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.[22].  Notice that the Word was to be made flesh at Bethleham, but that He came from everlasting.  Isaiah tells us in Isa. 9:6 that ‘…Isaiah 9:6 (KJV) ‘…For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace…”[23] A child was born, but a Son was given, and His name should be : “גבור אביעד”, 'êl gibbôr,  Mighty G-d…  Nowhere in Scripture does it say that Jesus Christ began at Bethleham; in fact, the opposite is true, that He is from everlasting. He was born flesh, but given from eternity, given not only to be our Savior, but our sacrifice, our kinsman-redeemer.  The Greek word “prōtotokos” can literally be translated as “before earth” i.e. “before creation”.  Paul was refuting the philosophy of demiurge, held by the Gnostics (See Appendix), and was inserting that Christ was above creation, that Christ was creation.

16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

3.      Now we begin what I call “all things”.  I’m going to list them, for they make up the body of the 9 things that Paul wanted us to see, for it is in “all things” that we begin to grasp who Christ Jesus truly is…

4.      “…For: all things were created by him, and for him…” (vs 16)
5.      “…And he is before all things…” (vs 17)
6.      “…and by him all things consist.…” (vs 17)
7.      “…And he is the head of the body, the church…” (vs 18)
8.      “…who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that inb all things he might have the preeminence…” (vs 18)
9.      “…For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell…” (vs 19)
               
“All Things.”  Think about this next time you look to the skies.  See the stars and wonder in awe why they are where they are.  Look at your hands, wiggle your fingers and wonder in awe at the complexity of the human body.  Feel His presence all around you and through you, and wonder in awe that this Almighty G-d of heaven even takes notice of you.  Wonder in awe at what the Word says about Him, about His preeminence.  Wonder that 'êl gibbôr placed in Him all the fullness of the G-dhead. Wonder about “all things”.  Sometimes the purpose of a teacher is to explain things to you; sometimes his purpose is just to get you to wonder about it yourself.  In this, in “all things”, it’s best to leave you with this:  Christ has not only the preeminence, He is the fullness of G-d.  In all things Christ’s will will be done: that’s His preeminence.  In Him dwells the πλήρωμα, the plērōma (play'-ro-mah), the completion or full compliment of G-d.  When He was the Word in heaven, He was 100% G-d.  When He was born a helpless babe, swaddled in a manger, He was 100% G-d.  When He hung on the cross, His life’s blood seeping into the rough wood, He was 100% G-d.  In Him, dwells the plērōma.  That is who He is.  What we see in this part of Paul’s epistle is this:
Ø      Christ’s relationship to the Father (verse 15)
Ø      Christ’s relationship to creation (verses 16-17)
Ø      Christ’s relationship to the church (verses 18-19)
Ø      And, Christ’s relationship to the Cross: (verse 20)
Ø       
20And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
The final “all things”.  This is the true baptism, this baptism of blood.  In this reconciliation, all things were made new.  (For a closer look at reconciliation, ask to see my epistle titled simply “Reconciliation”.) For it was in the blood of the cross that peace was made.  G-d doesn’t seek vengence on the sinner now, for His wrath was satisfied for His elect.  I say His elect, because that is what Paul means.  G-d has reconciled Himself towards mankind through the act of Christ on the cross; now man must seek to be reconciled to G-d.  It will only be through His Spirit and by His Will that this will happen.  Notice what “things” Paul said were reconciled:  things in earth, or things in heaven.  Let’s look at another couple of pieces of Scripture:

Ephesians 1:20-23 (DARBY)

20 in which he wrought in the Christ in raising him from among the dead, and he set him down at his right hand in the heavenlies, 21 above every principality, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name named, not only in this age, but also in that to come; 22 and has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the assembly, 23 which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all:[24]

Philippians 2:5-11 (NKJV)

5Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.[25]

In Ephesians, we see that G-d has placed Christ above all things, and all things under His feet, be they pricipalities, authorities, powers or dominions.  In Philippians, we see that all knees shall bow, be they of heaven, of earth, and those under the earth.  Now, these knees; are they reconciled to G-d or not?  Scripture doesn’t say- it just says they’ll bow.  What are the things under the earth?  Does not the Scriptures define this?  (See Ex 20:4. Dt 5:8. Mt +*12:40n. Jn 5:28, 29. Ep 4:9. Re 20:13 and others [26])  It is those in Hades, in the grave, or by association, those of satan.  G-d has never planned to save everyone.  The offer of salvation is extended to all, but not all are chosen.
Matthew 22:11-14 (KJV)
11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14For many are called, but few are chosen.[27]
Since a discussion on predestination is out of the scope of this epistle, we will save it for another time, but suffice to say that G-d isn’t going to adhere to the current view of “Oh He’s so nice…”  He is G-d, righteous and Holy, a jealous G-d, and One who recompenses with justice.  It is in this life, this day that we walk circumspect, holding ourselves up to the light of His glory, and the mercy of His Son, by His shed blood.  It is only through the shed blood of the Lamb that we can stand before this consuming fire.

Hebrews 9:23-28 (KJV)

23It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: 25Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.[28]

The things of heaven themselves are purged and purified by His blood, but not the things under the earth.  For this reason we tremble, to make our election and calling sure, to be found acceptable in that day.

21And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mindc by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

And here we were, truthfully a thing under the earth…yet now “…hath he reconciled…” Notice though what he says- that we were enemies in our minds..
Many today think that they are ok with G-d because they haven’t committed some large sin.  Brethren, Paul is telling us that it isn’t what we do as much as what we think.  “By wicked works” in our minds are we alienated from G-d.  Oh how we justify and sanctify our sins, how we excuse the out right hatred of the Sacred in our minds!  Do we strive, do we agonize over what we put before our minds, or do we pick up the gossip mags, the “R” rated movies, the beer bottle, the joint, the sexual sin…  Do we excuse these away, say a few “Sorry G-d”’s and go about our business, never letting the depth of our alienation sink in, never coming to the full knowledge of the godly sorrow that is needed for true repentance?  The battle is here, in our minds, this is where G-d tell us to be renewed.  After all, metanoia  (met-an'-oy-ah), the Greek word for repentance, means “after-mind”.  Are we even aware of the antagonism of our minds toward the things of   G-d and Jesus Christ?  If we are, and do nothing, we are destroyed.  If we aren’t, and do nothing, we are destroyed.  Christ delivered us from sin, so why do so many insist on staying in it?  Brethren, be purified by the blood, be reconciled toward G-d.  Jesus paid a price…

“…In the body of his flesh through death…”

By His own body, for this reason, to present us holy and unreproveable in His sight. The American Standard Version renders verse 22 as follows:

“…yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and unreproveable before him…” [29]

“Without blemish” is what the sacrifical lamb had to be: thereis no way any of us could meet that standard.  That is why Christ Himself took our place, so that in His sacrifice, He could present us to G-d without blemish.

23If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
Now here is where your studies in the Greek begin to pay off.  Some scholars have chosen to take the first word of the Greek and split it apart to render a different translation.  That word in the Textus Receptus (“The Received Text”) is ειγεG1489 COND[30].  Now below is the Strong’s definition for this word:
G1489  εἴγε eige (i'-gheh)
From G1487 and G1065; if indeed, seeing that, unless, (with negative) otherwise: - if (so be that, yet).[31]
Now, let us see how others have decided to translate the Greek by breaking the word apart into it’s two roots:
G1487  ei  (I )  a primary particle of conditionality;
if, whether, that, etc.:--forasmuch as, if, that, (al-)though, whether. Often
used in connection or composition with other particles, especially as in
G1489, G1490, G1499, G1508, G1509, G1512, G1513, G1536, G1537. See
also G1437.[32]

G1065  ge  (gheh)  a primary particle of emphasis or qualification (often used with other particles
prefixed)
--and besides, doubtless, at least, yet.[33]

Now what this does is subtly change the meaning of the entire verse, if not the entire context of what Paul is saying.  By splitting the word ειγε into, the translation then reads:
“…since surely you are persisting in the faith…”[34]  This says that the if Paul uses here is the if of argument.  That is, it does not mean that something shall be true if something else is true, but it means that something was if something else is true.  Now, I’m not a scholar, I admit that.  I’m not a man of letters, or a fancy theologian, so here in this matter, I have to totally defer to the Holy Spirit as my guide.  When I read the definitions by others that “if” means “since”, I’ve got to step back.  (Kind of like a former President of the United States saying “…it depends on what your definition of “is” is…”)  What I can say is this:  the Webster’s dictionary of 1828 defined words as they were used in the Bible, along with Scriptural examples.  What did Webster say about the word “if”?

If
IF, v.t. It is used as the sign of a condition, or it introduces a conditional sentence. It is a verb, without a specified nominative. In like manner we use grant, admit, suppose. Regularly, if should be followed, as it was formerly, by the substitute or pronoun that, referring to the succeeding sentence or proposition. If that John shall arrive in season, I will send him with a message. But that is now omitted,and the subsequent sentence, proposition or affirmation may be considered as the object of the verb. Give John shall arrive; grant,suppose, admit that he shall arrive, I will send him with a message. The sense of if, or give, in this use, is grant, admit, cause to be, let the fact be,let the thing take place. If then is equivalent to grant, allow, admit. "If thou wilt, thou canst make me whole," that is, thou canst make me whole, give the fact, that thou wilt.

If thou art the son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Mat 14.

1.       Whether or not.[35]

The word ειγε is used a total of 5 times in the New Testament (2 Cor. 5:3; Gal. 3:4; Eph. 3:2; Eph. 4:21 and Col. 1:23).  In all 5 instances, it is used to show a conditional response, to pose a conditional question.  One exception was Westcott and Hort, who in their 1881 translation of the Textus Recptus, split the word up into its two root, thereby giving this passage and the others a different meaning.  There isn’t enough time or pages in this epistle to explain who Westcott and Hort were; it is sufficient here to say they had an agenda, and it wasn’t to promote G-d’s word.  This is one of the problems with how we in the west have chosen to break down G-d’s word into little “sound-bytes”, complete with “addresses”.  We all know where the verse and chapter markers came from; they were man’s way of dividing up the different books so they could be translated.  My friends, let me say this:  men have been going to hell because of chapter and verse.  Doctrines of man, not of G-d have been built upon chapter and verse.  Entire truths of G-d’s Holy Word have been lost because of these artificial separations of His word.  Passages that should have run together are split up, causing the unknowing reader to stop in places that make him/her wonder “What did G-d mean by that?”  Let’s just use our current verse as an example, starting at verse 22:
Colossians 1:22-23 (KJV)
22In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: (notice the punctuation mark here, the semi-colon).
This indicates a pause in the thought.  Most verse-by-verse commentaries will take this pause and explain verse 22 to you, and then explain verse 23, as it appears I was doing.  Again, I want to stress, it is not my job to interpret G-d’s word for you; Scripture interprets Scripture, and it does so by being the Living Word of G-d, preserved in the original languages.  Koine Greek had no punctuation, so by the translators splitting Paul’s statement up into 2 verses (22 actually is supposed to continue seamlessly with the conditional clause in verse 23, explaining that through His death…remember context, context, context) careless commentators can actually read a change of intent into the words.  By dividing Paul’s words into two verses, instead of one thought, they’ve introduced two, one that says Christ will present us holy and blameless to G-d the Father, and giving as the reason for this with mistranslating if : “Since ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel…”
Now, why would anyone change the translation? Well, here, in verse 23, are two words in all scripture that most don’t want to hear, let alone acknowledge:  “if” joined with “and”.  Let me dare say there is another: “which”, mentioned in this verse three times! If translated properly, we see what Paul really meant for the Colossians (and us) to understand. So let’s read it again with no breaks or punctuation this time:

In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister[36]

Paul was admonishing the Colossians to stay focused on Christ, so that Christ could present them to G-d, “holy and unblameable and unreproveable” to G-d. The conditional was met, Jesus would if they would… Conditional blessings aren’t new to G-d’s word, we can find them all over Scripture.  G-d promised the Israelites many things, but required them to simply believe and obey, or the blessings would be withdrawn.  Christ Jesus Himself placed the “If” condition upon believers…

John 14:15 (KJV)
15If ye love me, keep my commandments. [37]
John 15:7 (DARBY)
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall come to pass to you. [38]
 Luke 9:23 (1901 ASV)
And he said unto all, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. [39]

The point is that it is only in the original that we see the true intent of Paul’s passage.  Substitute “since” for the word “if” and the whole meaning changes.  We must understand that yes, Christ holds all of us in His hands, but our self-will can still draw us away.  That is why over and over again the Apostles warned us about studying, about prayer, about always checking ourselves and not thinking that we had arrived, (Galatians 6:2-4 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. 4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. [40] ) to be humble in all our dealings with the Lord…  I even believe that G-d anticipated man’s artificial divisions of His word;
 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)  15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing [G3718  orthotomeo  or-thot-om-eh'-o from a compound of G3717 and the base of G5114, to make a straight cut, i.e. (figuratively) to dissect (expound) correctly (the divine message):--rightly divide[41]]  the word of truth. [42] 
Whenever any teacher comes to you,(I include myself in this) be as Timothy and test every spirit, test our words, line them up to the word of G-d and hold us accountable…  This was a fairly long explanation of a simple concept, but its point was to illustrate how precious G-d’s word is, and how men die by chapter and verse.  Trust the Word…  (For more on verse 23, see the appendix with notes from Barnes and Clark.)

            Let us carry on now (here again, I apologize for the breaking up of the thought Paul was trying to get across).  Paul continues his thoughts, from verses 22-23: 

23…whereof I Paul am made a minister,  24Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: 25Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfild the word of God; 26Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: 27To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ ine you, the hope of glory: 28Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: 29Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.” [43]

Let me give you another translation:

Col 1:23  if also ye remain in the faith, being founded and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the good news, which ye heard, which was preached in all the creation that is under the heaven, of which I became--I Paul--a ministrant.
24 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and do fill up the things lacking of the tribulations of the Christ in my flesh for his body, which is the assembly,
25 of which I--I did become a ministrant according to the dispensation of God, that was given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God,
26 the secret that hath been hid from the ages and from the generations, but now was manifested to his saints,
27 to whom God did will to make known what is the riches of the glory of this secret among the nations--which is Christ in you, the hope of the glory,
28 whom we proclaim, warning every man, and teaching every man, in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus,
29 for which also I labour, striving according to his working that is working in me in power.[44]
Notice verse 24.  This is one of the hard passages of the Bible.  What was Paul trying to tell us here? “…the things lacking of the tribulations of the Christ…” Surly Paul isn’t saying that Christ’s suffering was lacking anything , was he?


Above is an interlinear snap shot of verse 24.  We can see by the arrangement of words, and by the language Paul was using he was not saying there was something missing in the suffering of Christ.  Take a minute and look back at the Book of Acts.  Ananias had taken in a young Pharisee that had been on a murderous rampage against the struggling followers of Jesus of Nazareth.  This same Jesus was the one that gave Ananias his instructions on how to take care of Saul.  See what The Lord spoke to Ananias in verse 16…

Acts 9:12-16 (KJV)
12And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. [45]

“…great things he must suffer for my name’s sake…”  Before we look at Paul’s sufferings, let’s look at Christ’s. 
What are the sufferings of Christ?
Ø      He suffered as a man.  Even though He was G-d, He divested Himself of His divinity to be born as a man.  To be our perfect Mediator, He had to know of the total experience of being human.  Now this almost sounds strange, that the g-d who formed us has to experience what being human is, for the critics would say, “I thought He’s G-d?  Doesn’t He already know?”  My only answer to that has to be “Yes.”  Yes, He already knows what is like to be us, and Yes, He had to become as one of us to answer the critics.  For how could He say to us "Be holy as I am Holy", if He Himself had not lived as one of us, Holy and unblameable?  There is no excuse in man now, for He suffered the same things man must suffer.  He suffered anguish and heartache; He suffered betrayal and sorrow; He suffered pain and humiliation; He suffered hunger, loneliness, thirst and exhaustion.  He suffered all these things common to man… He ultimately suffered the fate of all men:  He died alone.  Alone, because He had to endure the separation from His Heavenly Father, in order to become our substitue.

Philippians 2:5-8 5 Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; 8 and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. [46]

Ø      He suffered as the Son of G-d.

 John 1:9-11 (KJV)
9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11He came unto his own, and his own received him not. [47]

This is a suffering that no man could share.  To be sent as the Savior of His own, and to be rejected.  He suffered at the hands of cruel and evil men because He was the Son of G-d… 
Psalm 69:1-4, 7-21
Save me, O God; For the waters are come in unto my soul. 2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. 3 I am weary with my crying; my throat is dried: Mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. 4 They that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head: They that would cut me off, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: That which I took not away I have to restore…7 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; Shame hath covered my face. 8 I am become a stranger unto my brethren, And an alien unto my mother’s children. 9 For the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up; And the reproaches of them that reproach thee are fallen upon me. 10 When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, That was to my reproach. 11 When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword unto them. 12 They that sit in the gate talk of me; And I am the song of the drunkards.
13 But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Jehovah, in an acceptable time: O God, in the abundance of thy lovingkindness, Answer me in the truth of thy salvation. 14 Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: Let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. 15 Let not the waterflood overwhelm me, Neither let the deep shallow me up; And let not the pit shut its mouth upon me. 16 Answer me, O Jehovah; for thy lovingkindness is good: According to the multitude of thy tender mercies turn thou unto me. 17 And hide not thy face from thy servant; For I am in distress; answer me speedily. 18 Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: Ransom me because of mine enemies. 19 Thou knowest my reproach, and my shame, and my dishonor: Mine adversaries are all before thee. 20 Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: And I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; And for comforters, but I found none. 21 They gave me also gall for my food; And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink…[48]
Ø      He suffered as the sacrifice for the sin of the world.
J. Vernon McGee says it quite succinctly:  “…He is the Lamb of G-d who takes away the sin of the world, and none of us can enter into that suffering at all.  We can appropriate His death for us, we can recognize the fact that He took our place, but we cannot enter into it.  He alone went to the cross.  He was forsaken of G-d and forsaken by men.  His was not the blood of martyrdom: His was the blood of sacrifice…”[49]
                Marvin Vincent put it as this:
‘…That which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ (τὰ ὑστερήματα τῶν θλίψεων τοῦ Χριστοῦ)
Lacking, lit., behind. Used with different compounds of πληρόω to fill, 1Co_16:17; 2Co_9:12; 2Co_11:9; Phi_2:30. Of the afflictions of Christ. The afflictions which Christ endured; which belonged to Him: not Paul's afflictions described as Christ's because endured in fellowship with Him (Meyer); nor the afflictions which Christ endures in His Church (Alford, Ellicott, Eadie).
These afflictions do not include Christ's vicarious sufferings, which are never denoted by θλίψεις tribulations. That which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ signifies that portion of Christ's ministerial sufferings which was not endured by Him in person, but is endured in the suffering of Christians in all generations in carrying out Christ's work. Compare 2Co_1:5, 2Co_1:7; Phi_3:10. Hence those are mistaken interpretations which explain the filling up as a correspondence of the supply with the deficiency. The correspondence is between the two parties, Christ and His followers, and the supply does not correspond with the deficiency, but works toward supplying it. The point is not the identification of Paul with Christ in His sufferings (which is true as a fact), but the distinction between Paul and Christ. Hence the present tense, I am filling up, denoting something still in process. The full tale of sufferings will not be completed until the Church shall have finished her conflict, and shall have come up “out of great tribulation” to sit at the marriage-supper of the Lamb…”[50]
This then is what Paul speaks of.  After Christ’s atoning death, all the rest of us can do is offer ourselves up to the Lord to be poured out like water for one another.  What one believer suffers in his or her body, is a little less the rest of us have to suffer, for they make up that which is lacking in the afflictions of Christ.  When the Chinese believer lays down his/her life for Christ, we should suffer also, suffer the anguish of loss, but rejoice in the victory won.  Most of us have not yet suffered unto blood, yet before the final trump sounds, some of us will.  My brethren, do you rejoice as Paul “…in my sufferings for you…”?  Do you ‘…fill up in [your] flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ…for the sake of His body…the church…”?  As we go forth to preach the truth of G-d’s word, as we suffer ridicule, humiliation, anger and what ever the enemies of G-d choose to put upon us, can we, do we, rejoice?  Are you willing to face these suffering?  I f you are truly His, this isn’t even a question.  It is simply a matter of when: a choosing of time and place at the good pleasure of G-d, to provide us with the opportunity to suffer for righteousness’ sake.  Join me in this prayer, may it be so G-d, unto your servant, may it be so…

We are nearing the end of Chapter 1.  I know that this has been a long examination, but the subject is too important to just skip over it.  Christ must be our all in all.  Paul was fighting against heresy in the ekklesia (ek-klay-see'-ah), the “calling out”; so must we today.  From the street corners, to the pews, from the pulpit, we must speak out against the false teachers and doctrines that lift up anything above Christ Jesus.  For the “smooth talkers and promise-makers” are selling another Christ and the ekklesia is falling asleep.  There is no power today from the pulpit, no Jonathan Edwards’ calling out to “Sinners in the hands of an Angry G-d”.  What has happened to your zeal O Church? 
Where is your first love?
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? [51]

Yea, who has bewitched us, who has blinded our eyes and deafened our ears? O church, O ekklesia, I weep for you!  I am no better than you, for I stumble just as you do! Don’t think I indict you without indicting myself first! The only difference is that in the dust of the dirt where I fell, a pair of nail scarred feet stood before me, and two scarred hands lifted me and sweet kisses were laid upon my tear-stained cheeks and I was held against a bruised, scarred chest that contained the beating heart of my Savior.  Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last…  Bitter-sweet truth came from His lips and here I am today, calling out to you, “Christ! Christ Jesus! He is all! He is ALL!”  This is nothing new.  I speak nothing profound, or tell you some new truth.  “The Preacher” told us in Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun…  I only speak again to you the same message the Apostles taught, yet so many seem not to have heard this message at all.  I do not tell you something new from G-d’s word, I just repeat what His word says.  Jesus said “…My Sheep know my voice…”, and if I am His, my words will be His.  Let Scripture and the Holy Ghost judge my words, and may He then guide you into truth also…

            We, like Paul, are made ministers of G-d’s word, “…to fulfill the word of G-d…” (vs. 25).  For we are called to reveal the “…mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations…” to His saints.  Now, there are really truly only two mysteries spoken of in the Word of G-d: The mystery of G-d and the mystery of Iniquity.  The word says that the mystery of G-d “…has been hidden from the ages and from generations…”.  This mystery Father G-d revealed in His Son, Christ Jesus, the redeemer of G-d’s elect.  The mystery of Iniquity is revealed in the hearts of man, those “…alienated and enemies in…[their]…minds by wicked works…”.  There is a hatred in the heart of unregenerate man, a loathing for the sovereignty of G-d over their lives.  Dead in trespass and sin, the congregation of the dead goes about, eating, drinking and making merry, never knowing of the destruction that awaits, of the wrath of a Holy G-d.  From glory [the Tanakh, Old Covenant] to glory [the B’rit Hadashah, New Covenant] are these mysteries revealed unto man and the saints of Adonai, along with the work and the will of YHWHElohim.
There is no better description in G-d’s word of the consequences of following (or not) the right mystery than Deuteronomy 28…
            Paul continues to further clarify the “mystery of G-d” in verse 27: “…this mystery among the gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory…” (Verse28): “…Him we preach…warning…and teaching…in all wisdom…”  WHY? “…that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus…”   It is for this we work, we study, we preach: (Verse 29) “…striving…” “…according to His working [His Will] which works in me mightily…” 

            “…striving…” in the Greek is:
ἀγωνίζομαι G75  agonizomai  ag-o-nid'-zom-ahee from G73; to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or genitive case (to endeavor to accomplish something):--fight, labor fervently, strive.[52]  From this word, we get our word “agonize”.  Paul struggled, agonized for the saints, sweated for them to keep their hearts and minds on Christ, so that they would be presented to G-d, perfect in Christ.  He did this, striving, laboring “…according to His working, which worketh in me mightily…”  Another translation puts it this way:

CLV Col 1:29 intofor which I am toiling also, struggling~ in accord with His *operation, *which is operating~ in me inwith power.[53]
“Mightily” and/or “power” is the word (G1411) δύναμις  dunamis doo'-nam-is From G1410; force (literally or figuratively); specifically miraculous power (usually by implication a miracle itself): - ability, abundance, meaning, might (-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.[54]

See the definition?  “…by implication a miracle itself…”  Paul choose his words carefully.  As Saul of Tarsus, he was feared; as Paul, ambassador of G-d, he considered the fact that G-d choose to work through him a miracle.  My friends, O that would be our aim, our goal too!  To see the mighty dunamis of G-d working through us also, so that His Gospel is told to all creatures in the earth, that those who G-d wills, will be saved, and that faith grows in us all.




…NOW: Questions to Seek…

If you recall, at the beginning of this epistle, there was an outline of things we were going to seek out in this study.  Your answers might vary from mine, so feel free to answer the questions as the Spirit leads you.  I provide my answers below just as an exercise to help you begin to find your own answers.  May we all be blessed in our pursuit of the perfection of Christ within us…


v      Questions to seek:
Ø      What is our vision of Christ?
§         He is the image of the invisible G-d, the firstborn over all creation…

Ø      How are we truly seen by G-d? [Standing before Him]
§         We are seen by G-d as Christ sees us: above reproach.  This is not to say this happens at once- Christ, in the body of His flesh through death, planned to “present” us holy and blameless to the Father.  This is our salvation, the working of G-d and Christ to “conform us to the image of His son…”  We are worked through this process by trials, tribulations and tests, to as stated in Deu. 8:2:

2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. [55]

He goes on to say in verse 3:

3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger [not only in food, but spiritual hunger], and fed thee with the manna [legal food for the sheep, or FAITH], which thou hadst not known, and which thy fathers knew not[the mystery that was hidden from ages and generations]; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread alone, but by everything that goeth out of the mouth of Jehovah doth man live. [56]

Ø      What have you died to?
This is in part the answer to what we have died from, the enmity from our minds and our wicked ways so that we may live.  To live “by every word that proceeds from the mouth of G-d” isn’t just this life of flesh and blood, or breathing air, or of growing old; it is only in the Word of G-d that life eternal springs from.  When the disciples of Christ left Him and the 12 after He told them they had to “eat my flesh and drink my blood”, Christ looked at His remaining twelve and asked if they wanted to go to.  Peter responded: “…68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God…”[57]  Indeed, in John 11:25 Christ tells Martha:  “…, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live; 26  and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die…”  He asks a question at the end of verse 26 that is still pertinent today:
“…Believest thou this?…”
§         Why do we live?
This is the why of “why’s”.  The mystery of iniquity is as great today in the land as it was in Paul’s day, but look again into the Tanakh, in Deu. 8:15-16.  Moses reminded the house of Is’rael that it was the Lord thy G-d that:  “…who led thee through the great and dreadful wilderness[ Babylon, the world], wherein were serpents, fiery serpents, and scorpions   [ Greek skorpiso, false teachers] and thirsty ground where was no water[no TRUTH; no Living Water of Christ]; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; who fed thee in the wilderness with manna[Faith, Truth, Christ], which thy fathers knew not[hidden], that He might afflict[humble] thee, and that He might prove[test] thee, to do thee good at thy latter end; [58]

            Here is the proof of the test “to present you holy and blameless…”  Our walk is not instant – no microwave salvation.  To teach that it is, is to teach falsely.  G-d must humble us, must test us, to “see what’s in our hearts”.  The walk of faith is a struggle, rife with snares and pitfalls, temptations and troubles.  At the end of each test is the blessing of renewed strength and hope, of increased patience and endurance for the long struggle ahead.  As the Lord leads us from fire to fire, He does it for two reasons: to do us good in the latter end, and for His Glory.  At the end, Christ will be able to present us holy and blameless to Father G-d, above reproach in Christ’s eyes.  In the Father’s eyes, we are refined and purified, and in the sight of the Spirit we are brought to the hope of glory, Christ in us.  Not US in Christ, as we are so wont to be taught… For we cannot be in Christ; He must be in us.  This then is life, the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, leading us to become the vessel of G-d, to have Christ in us.  Thus then, it will be as it is willed by the Father of Lights, to be presented “…perfect in Christ…”

            The walk of faith then strives with us, drawing away the dross and leaving behind the pure silver and gold of righteousness.  May we all continue in the faith, and may G-d be blessed by our holding fast to what we know is true.    
           
            Till we meet again for Part Two of our study, may the Lord richly bless you and keep you my beloved, Amein…
Appendix

The Therapeutae (male, pl.) and Therapeutrides (female, pl.), according to the account in De vita contemplativa by the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria (c. 20 BCE - 50 CE) who appears to have been personally acquainted with them, were "philosophers" (cf. I.2) that lived on a low hill by the Lake Mareotis close to Alexandria in circumstances resembling lavrite life (cf. III.22), and were "the best" of a kind given to "perfect goodness" that "exists in many places in the inhabited world" (cf. III.21). Philo was unsure of the origin of the name and derives the name Therapeutae/Therapeutides from Greek θεραπεύω in the sense of "cure" or "worship" (cf. I.2), whilst Pseudo-Dionysius favours the meaning "servants".

Philo's account

Philo described the Therapeutae in the beginning of the 1st century CE in De vita contemplativa ("On the contemplative life"), written ca. 10 CE. By that time, the origins of the Therapeutae were already lost in the past, and Philo was even unsure about the etymology of their name, which he explained as meaning either physicians of souls or servants of God. The opening phrases of his essay establish that it followed one that has been lost, on the active life. Philo was employing the familiar polarity in Hellenic philosophy between the active and the contemplative life, exemplifying the active life by the Essenes, another severely ascetic sect, and the contemplative life by the desert-dwelling Therapeutae.

Jewish monastic orders

According to Philo, the Therapeutae were widely distributed in the Ancient world, among the Greeks and beyond in the non-Greek world of the "Barbarians", with one of their major gathering points being in Alexandria, in the area of the Lake Mareotis:
"Now this class of persons may be met with in many places, for it was fitting that both Greece and the country of the barbarians should partake of whatever is perfectly good; and there is the greatest number of such men in Egypt, in every one of the districts, or nomes, as they are called, and especially around Alexandria; and from all quarters those who are the best of these therapeutae proceed on their pilgrimage to some most suitable place as if it were their country, which is beyond the Maereotic lake."
—Philo, Ascetics III[1]
They lived chastely with utter simplicity; they "first of all laid down temperance as a sort of foundation for the soul to rest upon, proceed to build up other virtues on this foundation" (Philo). They were dedicated to the contemplative life, and their activities for six days of the week consisted of ascetic practices, fasting, solitary prayers and the study of the scriptures in their isolated cells, each with its separate holy sanctuary, and enclosed courtyard:
"the entire interval from dawn to evening is given up by them to spiritual exercises. For they read the holy scriptures and draw out in thought and allegory their ancestral philosophy, since they regard the literal meanings as symbols of an inner and hidden nature revealing itself in covert ideas."
—Philo, para. 28
In addition to the Pentateuch, the Prophets and Psalms they possessed arcane writings of their own tradition, including formulae for numerological and allegorical interpretations.
They renounced property and followed severe discipline:
"These men abandon their property without being influenced by any predominant attraction, and flee without even turning their heads back again."
—Philo para. 18
They "professed an art of healing superior to that practiced in the cities" Philo notes, and the reader must be reminded of the reputation as a healer Saint Anthony possessed among his 4th-century contemporaries, who flocked out from Alexandria to reach him.
On the seventh day the Therapeutae met in a meeting house, the men on one side of an open partition, the women modestly on the other, to hear discourses. Once in seven weeks they meet for a night-long vigil after a banquet where they served one another, for "they are not waited on by slaves, because they deem any possession of servants whatever to be contrary to nature. For she has begotten all men alike free" (Philo, para.70) and sing antiphonal hymns until dawn.

Eusebius of Caesarea

The 4th century Christian writer Eusebius of Caesarea, in his Ecclesiastical History, identifies Philo's Therapeutae as the first Christian monks, identifying their renunciation of property, chastity, fasting, solitary lives with the cenobitic ideal of the Christian monks.[2]
Like the first Christian hermits of the Egyptian desert, they were hermits, or anchorites, rather than living communally, as later Christian monastic communities would do.
"The semianchoritic character of the Therapeutae community, the renunciation of property, the solitude during the six days of the week and the gathering together on Saturday for the common prayer and the common meal, the severe fasting, the keeping alive of the memory of God, the continuous prayer, the meditation and study of Holy Scripture were also practices of the Christian anchorites of the Alexandrian desert."[3]
—Scouteris, The Therapeutae of Philo and the Monks as Therapeutae according to Pseudo-Dionysius

Pseudo-Dionysius

Secondary reference to the Therapeutae is known through the 5th century Pseudo-Dionysius, which mentions that "Some people gave to the ascetics the name 'Therapeutae' or servants while some others gave them the name monks". The Pseudo-Dionysius however already describes a highly organized Christian ascetic order.[4]

 Formative influences

 Hebrew tradition

Various formative influences on the Therapeutae have been conjectured. The Book of Enoch and Jubilees exemplify the Hebrew tradition for the mystic values of numbers and for allegorical interpretations, without having to reach to Zoroaster or Pythagoreans.

Buddhism

Buddhist proselytism at the time of king Ashoka (260-218 BCE), according to the Edicts of Ashoka.
The similarities between the Therapeutae and Buddhist monasticism, a tradition earlier by several centuries, combined with Indian evidence of Buddhist missionary activity to the Mediterranean around 250 BCE (the Edicts of Ashoka), have been pointed out.[5] The linguist Zacharias P. Thundy also suggests that the word "Therapeutae" is only a Hellenisation of the Indian Pali word for traditional Buddhists, Theravada.[6] In general, Egypt had intense trade and cultural contacts with India during the period, as described in the 1st century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea. It's also known that Ancient Roman rulers sent scholars to study at the Buddhist University in Nalanda.[note 1]

 See also

 Further reading

  • Simon, Marcel, Jewish Sects at the Time of Jesus (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1967; 1980).
  • Елизарова, М. М. Община терапевтов (Из истории ессейского общественно-религиозного движения 1 в. н.э.). М., 1972.
  • Taylor, Joan E. Jewish Women Philosophers of First-Century Alexandria: Philo's "Therapeutae" Reconsidered (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).
  • Сelia Deutsch, "The Therapeutae, Text Work, Ritual, and Mystical Experience," in Paradise Now: Essays on Early Jewish and Christian Myticism. Ed. by April D. Deconick (Leiden, Brill, 2006), 287-312.

Notes

  1. ^ Read Amartya Sen's The Argumentative Indian for more about Buddhisms influence on Greco-Roman traditions

References

  1. ^ Philo, Ascetics III
  2. ^ Professor Constantine Scouteris, Source
  3. ^ http://www.omhros.gr/kat/history/Txt/Rl/Therapeutae.htm Dr Constantine Scouteris, "The Therapeutae of Philo and the Monks as Therapeutae according to Pseudo-Dionysius
  4. ^ Professor Constantine Scouteris Source
  5. ^ Zen Living, Robert Linssen
  6. ^ Thundy, Zacharias P. (1993). Buddha and Christ: Nativity Stories & Indian Traditions. Brill Publishers. pp. 244–249. ISBN 9004097414. [1]







Demiurge
(Greek, dhmiourgo>v, from dh~mov, people, and e]rgw, obs. I work; a worker for the people; hence, a workman, craftsman) was the name given by the Gnostics to the mysterious being by whom God is supposed to have created the universe. The Gnostics believed that the Supreme Being dwelt in a fullness (a pleroma) of inaccessible light; that he had created other beings, called neons, or emanations; that from these other neons were descended; and from these an inferior order of spirits were derived, among whom one called the Demiurge had created the world, and had rebelled against the Supreme Being. He makes out of matter the visible world, and rules over it. He was considered as the God of the Jews. “In the further development of the idea the Gnostic systems differ; the anti-Jewish Gnostics, Marcion and the Ophites, represent the Demiurge as an insolent being, resisting the purposes of God, while the Judaizing Gnostics, Basilides and Valentine, make him a restricted, unconscious instrument of God to prepare the way of  redemption.” — Schaff, Hist. of Christian Church, 1, § 71; Mosheim, Commentaries (Murdock’s translation, 1:45, 461; 2:331). SEE GNOSTICISM.[2]


Ø       Col 1:23 
If ye continue in the faith - In the belief of the gospel, and in holy living. If this were done, they would be presented unblameable be fore God; if not, they would not be. The meaning is, that it will be impossible to be saved unless we continue to lead lives becoming the gospel.
Grounded - On a firm foundation; see the notes at Eph_3:17, where the same word occurs.
And settled - Greek, “firm;” as a building is that is founded on a rock; compare Mat_7:25.
And be not moved away from the hope of the gospel - By the arts of philosophy, and the allurements of sin.
Which was preached to every creature which is under heaven - It cannot be supposed that it was literally true that every creature under heaven had actually heard the gospel. But this may mean:
That it was designed to be preached to every creature, or that the commission to make it known embraced everyone, and that, so far as the provisions of the gospel are concerned, it may be said that it was a system proclaimed to all mankind; see Mar_16:15. If a vast army, or the inhabitants of a distant province, were in rebellion against a government, and a proclamation of pardon were issued, it would not be improper to say that it was made to every one of them, though, as a matter of fact, it might not be true that everyone in the remote parts of the army or province had actually heard of it.
the gospel in the time of Paul seems to have been so extensively preached, that it might be said that it was proclaimed to everybody. All known countries appear to have been visited; and so zealous and laborious had been the heralds of salvation, that it might be said that the message had been proclaimed to all the world; see Col_1:6; compare the notes at Mat_24:14.
Whereof I Paul am made a minister - See the notes at Eph_3:1-7. Paul here pursues the same train of thought which he does in the Epistle to the Ephesians, where, having shown the exalted nature of the Redeemer, and the design of the gospel, he adverts to his own labors and sufferings in making it known. The object seems to be to show that he regarded it as the highest honor to be thus intrusted with the message of mercy to mankind, and considered it as a privilege to suffer in that cause.[3]

Ø       Col 1:23 
If ye continue in the faith - This will be the case if you, who have already believed in Christ Jesus, continue in that faith, grounded in the knowledge and love of God, and settled - made firm and perseveringly steadfast, in that state of salvation.
And be not moved away - Not permitting yourselves to be seduced by false teachers.
The hope of the Gospel - The resurrection of the body, and the glorification of it and the soul together, in the realms of blessedness. This is properly the Gospel Hope.
To every creature which is under heaven - A Hebraism for the whole human race, and particularly referring to the two grand divisions of mankind, the Jews and Gentiles; to both of these the Gospel had been preached, and to each, salvation by Christ had been equally offered. And as none had been excluded from the offers of mercy, and Jesus Christ had tasted death for every man, and the Jews and Gentiles, in their great corporate capacity, had all been invited to believe the Gospel; therefore, the apostle concludes that the Gospel was preached to every creature under heaven, as being offered without restrictions or limitations to these two grand divisions of mankind, including the whole human race.[4]


[1] From the article “Therapeutae” in Wikipedia®; Text made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization. 

[2] CYCLOPEDIA of BIBLICAL, THEOLOGICAL and ECCLESIASTICAL LITERATURE, by James Strong & John McClintock: AGES Software Rio, WI USA Version 1.0 © 2000

[3] Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers
[4] Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers

[1] Format for Question Outline inspired by The Experiencing God Study Bible, Copyright Ó 1994, Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee, Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King, General Editors
[2] Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Volume V, © 1983 by J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Radio, Pasadena, CA;  Introduction to Colossians, pg. 332
[3] Licentiousness is defined as debauchery; sensual or sexual excesses.  (See Jude 4; 2 Peter 2:2, 18; Rom. 13:13; 2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19)
[4] Gnosticism as practiced in Colossae held to the tenants of the Essenes who believed that they, and they alone, held the true knowledge of G-d and the supernatural, ie they were the aristocrats of wisdom.  As this sect is also responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls, it is hard to see them in this light, but they like all other groups before and after that hold to the belief that they alone hold the key of wisdom, always err in the final, most important point:  It is Christ alone in which all wisdom is found.  Other beliefs of Gnosticism include the immortality of the soul, the worship of angels, that the visible universe is controlled by evil spirits, therefore the practice of unrestrained licentiousness in its members.  The creator of the universe was held to be a created being himself (itself?), thus, not the “unknown god” that they worshipped.
[5] Asceticism is a term that denotes strict self-control as a means of spiritual discipline; it is a term NOT found in scripture, hence it’s introduction into any regime of religious practice is man-made.
b  might: or, army
[6]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[7] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[8] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[9]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[10] StongNote , Interlinear Scripture Analyzer basic  2.0  RC6  Copyright © 2008 André de Mol. All rights reserved.
[11]Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Volume V, © 1983 by J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Radio, Pasadena, CA; Colossians: Chapter 1, pg. 337
a  his...: Gr. the Son of his love
[12] StongNote , Interlinear Scripture Analyzer basic  2.0  RC6  Copyright © 2008 André de Mol. All rights reserved.
[13]Webster’s Dictionary, ( electronic edition of the 1828 version), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers
[14]Concordant Commentary on the New Testament, A. E. KNOCH, © CONCORDANT PUBLISHING CONCERN 1968, All Rights Reserved 
a  his...: Gr. the Son of his love
[15]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

a  his...: Gr. the Son of his love
[16]  The Holy Bible : Col. 1:11-14, King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
b  in...: or, among all
c  in...: or, by your mind in
d  to fulfil...: or, fully to preach the word
e  in: or, among
[17]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[18] Though Gnosticism existed before Arianism, both are cut from the same argument:  that an unknown god existed first and all other elements that may compose the godhead were created by it.  Scholars are a notorious bunch, usually insisting upon a chronological time-line to follow in their examination of a subject.  Thus, the arguments that Gnosticism was introduced in the 2nd century fuel much of the controversey while Arianism came into vogue in the 4th century due to the teachings of Arius of Alexandria (dida>skomen, o[ti oJ uiJo<v oujk e]stin ajge>nnhtov, oujde< me>rov ajgennh>tou katj oujde>na tro>pon, oujde< ejx uJpokeime>nou tino>v: ajllj o[ti qelh>mati kai< boulh~| uJpe>sth pro< cro<nwn kai< pro< aijw<nwn plh<rhv qeo>v, monogenh>v, ajnalloi>wtov, kai< pri<n gennhqh~|, h]toi ktisqh~|, h} oJrisqh~|, h} qemeliwqh~|, oujk ^hn: ajge>nnhtov ga<r oujk ^hn: diwko>meqa o[ti ei]pamen, ajrch<n e]cei oJ uiJo>v, oJ de< qeo<v a]narco>v ejsti . . . . kai< o{ti ei]pamen, o{ti ejx oujk o]ntwn ejsti>n: ou[tw de< ei]pamen kaqo>ti oujde< me>rov qeou~ oujde< ejx uJtokeime>nou tino>v: “We cannot assent to these expressions, ‘always Father, always Son;’ ‘at the same time Father and Son;’ that ‘the Son always co-exists with the Father;’ that ‘the Father has no pre-existence before the Son, no, not so much as in thought or a moment.’ But this we think and teach, that the Son is not unbegotten, nor a part of the unbegotten by any means. Nor is he made out of any pre-existent thing; but, by the will and pleasure of the Father, he existed before time and ages, the only begotten God, unchangeable; and that before He was begotten, or made, or designed, or founded, he was not. But we are persecuted because we say that the Son has a beginning, and that God has no beginning. For this we are persecuted; and because we say the Son is out of nothing. Which we therefore say, because he is not a part of God, or made out of any pre-existent thing”…from CYCLOPEDIA of BIBLICAL, THEOLOGICAL and ECCLESIASTICAL LITERATURE, by James Strong & John McClintock: AGES Software Rio, WI USA Version 1.0 © 2000)  While it is true of the chronology to these particular “theologies”, it cannot be said that this line of thought did not exist in the 1st century, though we will concede that it probably existed under a different name.  Such thought was evident in the Essene sect of Judaism, who taught that G-d did not create the universe directly, but created a creature who created another, who created another till eventually, one of the created  created the cosmos.  This type of thought can be seen in the Pseudepigrapha (yeudepi>grafa) which means those writings the title (ejpigrafh>) of which names a false author instead of the true one. This designation is often applied to the books of the Apocrypha.  These titles contains writings from which it is said the Jews were introduced to the mysticism of kabbalahism.  While this may be true, most of the tenets of this come from the rabbinical literature, and not the pseudepigrapha.  So where does these beliefs come from?  Most would say that these thoughts were developed over time from Egyptian sources, from antiquity, from the age of the Babylonian mysteries. What matters to us, in this discourse, is that these were real philosophies at the time of Paul and the Colossians, and thus, Paul’s defense of the truth of Christ.  For additional information, see the appendix article “Therapeutae”, and read the book “The Two Babylons” by Rev. Alexander Hislop.
[19] Strong’s Dictionary,( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers
[20]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[21] Strong’s Dictionary,( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers
[22] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[23]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

b  in...: or, among all
[24]  Darby, J. N. (1996). The Holy Scriptures : A new translation from the original languages (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.
[25]  The New King James Version. 1982. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
+ +  More references at verse indicated
* *  Clear cross reference
[26]Smith, J. H. (1992; Published in electronic form, 1996). The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (electronic edition of the Rev. ed. of: The Treasury of scripture knowledge.) (1394). Nashville: ©Thomas Nelson.
[27]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[28]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
c  in...: or, by your mind in
[29]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[30] Textus Receptus, Greek New Testament w/Strong’s Numbers, ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers
[31] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance , ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers
[32] StongNote , Interlinear Scripture Analyzer basic  2.0  RC6  Copyright © 2008 André de Mol. All rights reserved.
[33] StongNote , Interlinear Scripture Analyzer basic  2.0  RC6  Copyright © 2008 André de Mol. All rights reserved.
[34] Concordant Literal Version , Interlinear Scripture Analyzer basic  2.0  RC6  Copyright © 2008 André de Mol. All rights reserved.

[35] Webster’s Dictionary, 1828 Edition, ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers
[36]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[37]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[38]  Darby, J. N. (1996). The Holy Scriptures : A new translation from the original languages (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.
[39]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[40] The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[41] StongNote , Interlinear Scripture Analyzer basic  2.0  RC6  Copyright © 2008 André de Mol. All rights reserved.
[42]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
d  to fulfil...: or, fully to preach the word
e  in: or, among
[43]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[44] Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible, by Robert Young, ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers
[45]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[46] 1901 American Standard Version, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1994.
[47]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[48] 1901 American Standard Version, ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers
[49] Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, by J. Vernon McGee, vol. 5, pg. 344, ©1983, Thru the Bible Radio
[50] Vincent’s Word Studies of the New Testament, by Marvin R. Vincent, ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers

[51] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[52] StongNote , Interlinear Scripture Analyzer basic  2.0  RC6  Copyright © 2008 André de Mol. All rights reserved.
[53] Concordant Literal Version,(electronic edition) Interlinear Scripture Analyzer basic  2.0  RC6  Copyright © 2008 André de Mol. All rights reserved.
[54] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, by James Strong, ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers
[55]The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.
[56]  Darby, J. N. (1996). The Holy Scriptures : A new translation from the original languages (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.
[57] The King James Version, (electronic edition, Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769, QuickVerse 7.01 ©2001 Findex
[58] Jewish Publication Society Tanakh, ( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 7.9.8,  copyright ©2000-20008 by Rick Myers