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Posts Tagged ‘Eternality and Deity of Christ’

Paul1_001

For this post, we will be covering Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”

  • He is before all things“:
    • Question: Is this statement referring to God’s supreme dignity or His pre-existence?
      • Answer: The author is referring not only to His dignity, but also to his pre-existence.  Since He is before all things, Jesus Christ is also before time.
    • “He” is in the emphatic position
      • Nothing is before all things, but God alone.  Only one who is eternal can be before all things.
      • John 17:5, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
      • John 8:58-59, “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”59 Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.”
      • There is no way one can ignore the pre-existence of Christ.  You can’t just point to his pre-eminence and not include His pre-existence.
  • And in Him all things hold together“:
    • “In Him”:  This is conditional, meaning that life’s existence is dependent upon God.
    • According to the tense of the verb “together,” what He holds by His sustaining power, is still sustained by Christ now; and nothing can remove itself or act on its own will.
    • God is not only the Creator & Founder, but He is also the Preserver of all things.  If Christ, ceased to preserve you, your breathe would be sucked out from your soul and you would return back to the dust where you belong (Job 34:14-15; cf. Ps. 104:29).
    • Other verses to consider:
      • Isa 41:4, “Who has performed and accomplished it,
        Calling forth the generations from the beginning?
        ‘I, the Lord, am the first, and with the last. I am He.’”
      • Re 22:13, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
      • Acts 17:28, “For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’”
      • Hebrews 1:3, “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
        • The word “upholds” is purposeful.  The verb “upholds” is in the present, active, participle.  That implies that God continues to uphold all things.
        • Implication: Give glory to Him because without Him you are nothing.  You are small before the eye of your Creator.  The fact that we live is a sign of God’s grace and mercy.
    • Colossians 1:17 points not only to the eternality of God, but also to the providence of our eternal God.  In His providence, we see His preservation, concurrence, and His government.  I like how Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology book defines all three words.  For example, for preservation, he says, “God keeps all created things existing and maintaining the properties with which he created them” (316).  For concurrence, he states, “God cooperates with created things in every action, directing their distinctive properties to cause them to act as they do” (317).  As for Government, He states, “God has a purpose in all that he does in the world and he providentially governs or directs all things in order that they accomplish his purposes” (331). For our next installment, my goal is to go into a little more into depth concerning how the eternal God functions in the area called providence.  I don’t mean to go beyond the scope of our series on Christology called, “Deity and Eternality,” but since notions of providence is attached to Colossians 1:17, I think it will be beneficial to tackle it.  This is a great verse to use in evangelism.  The sinner needs to know how small he is and how great God is in his little world.
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Paul1_001

  1. Point 2: John 8:58 (cf. Exodus 3:14), “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.”  εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς, Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί.[1]
    1. Explanation:
      • Although Abraham lived 2,000 years before Christ, Jesus made a startling statement, “Before Abraham was born, I am.”
      •  What was Jesus point in this statement?  Was His point in reference to Himself merely coming or existing before Abraham?  No.  If that was the case then He could have merely said, “Before Abraham was born, I was.”  But He did not say that.[2] 
      • Instead our Lord Jesus uses egō eimi (cf. vv. 24, 28).  It is also used elsewhere in John.
        • John 8:24, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”[3]
        • John 8:28, “So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me.
        • John 9:9, “Others were saying, ‘This is he,’ still others were saying, ‘No, but he is like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the one.'”
        • John 18:5, “They answered Him, ‘Jesus the Nazarene.’ He said to them, ‘I am He.’ And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them.”
        • John 18:6, “So when He said to them, ‘I am He,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.”
        • John 18:8, “Jesus answered, ‘I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way.'”
        • The phrase “I am” is also prevalent and has strong connections throughout Isaiah 40-55.
      • The phrase “I am,” although not exact like “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex. 3:14), points our to God’s sovereignty.  “I am”  is also prevalent and has strong connections throughout Isaiah 40-55.  The “I am” reveals Himself in different categories.  For further study, I encourage you to study the verses below.  It will be a great encouragement to your soul.
        • Isaiah 41:4 [first & the last], 10 [fear], 13 [fear]
        • Isaiah 42:6, 8 [glory]
        • Isaiah 43:3 [Holy One, Savior],[fear]
        • Isaiah 43:10, 11-13, 15 [deliverer], 25 [wipes out transgressions]
        • Isaiah 44:5, 6 [no other God]
        • Isaiah 45:5 [no other God], 6 [no other], 7 [creates light, darkness; causes well-being, creates calamity], 18 [created the heavens], 22 [turn to Him because there is no other]
        • Isaiah 46:9 [no other God],
        • Isaiah 48:12 [first and the last], 17 [teaches]
        • Isaiah 49:23 [know that I am the Lord]
        • Isaiah 51:12 [he comforts], 15 [stirs up the sea]
        • Isaiah 52:6 [speaks]
      • When the Jews heard this statement, they knew what He was saying.  They knew He was not merely referring to the point that He came before Abraham, but they understood his focal point; a point that conveyed the notion that He was God.  Jesus was claiming deity.
      • Jesus was referring Himself to be Yahweh (YHWH).  Jesus shares the name of God.
        • LORD (YHWH, Yahweh/Kyrios); Lord (Adonai [Heb.]/Kyrios [Gk)
          • LORD GOD: Gen. 2:4; Exod. 3:15-18; Deut. 3:24 LXX [etc.]; 6:4; Pss. 34:8; 118:25; Isa. 8:12-13; 40:3, 13; 45:23; Joel 2:32
          • Lord Jesus: Matt. 3:3; 7:21-22; 8:25; 14:30; Mark 1:3; Luke 3:4; 6:46; Acts 1:24; 2:21, 36; 7:59-60; 8:25 [etc.]; Rom. 10:9-13; 1 Cor. 1:2, 8 [etc.], 31; 2:16; 4:4-5; 5:4; 6:11; 7:17, 32-35; 8:6; 10:21-22; 16:22-23; Phil. 2:9-11; 1 Peter 2:3; 3:13-15
        • Jesus is “Lord.”
          • See Acts 10:36; Romans 10:9; 1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:11
          • Kyrios represents the name of Yahweh in the OT; it is the “I AM” of the Ex. 3:14.[4]
        • Distinction concerning letter case: Yahweh/YHWH is translated “LORD” in your English Bibles, while Adonai is spelled mostly as “Lord” (cf. Matthew 3:3).
        • To the Jewish leaders it was blasphemous for Jesus to say “I AM.”  As a result, they picked up stones to stone Him.
    2. In our next installment, we will continue talking about Yahweh and I AM.

[1]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993; 2006), Jn 8:58.

[2]D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 358.

[3]All Scripture is quoted from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995); unless otherwise noted.

[4]John M. Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Phillipsburg, NJ: Crossway, 2013), 881.

 

 

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