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Colossians 1:17

By Him

17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.


Jesus Christ is before all things. In the Greek, the "he" is emphatic. There is no other of whom these things can be said. "He alone is before all things." If indeed "all things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3), this is the only logical conclusion.

There has been, however, some discussion on the preposition "before," which would determine whether the word "is" in the present tense should simply be understood in its normal sense or to mean he "exists" before all things. Nicholl wrote, "If, as is usual, πρὸ (before) is taken here as temporal, αὐτός (He) will be the pre-incarnate Son. If, however, with Haupt, it be taken to assert superiority in rank, αὐτός (He) will be the exalted Christ, and the present will be quite regular." (Nicholl, William Robertson; Expositor's Greek Testament; theWord Bible Study Software) However, it seems that in all of Paul's writings he has used the preposition in the temporal sense. The argument is almost silly because, if Jesus is the eternal pre-incarnate Son of God, He is certainly also superior in rank to all things.

"...and by him all things consist." All things are set together or are held together by Jesus. Paul wrote, "Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;" (Hebrews 1:3) "Upholding all things..." is to carry or bear the burden of all things. Jesus is responsible for the continuous existence of the entire creation, not simply the earth or the universes, but even the heavenly and most holy place. "The phrase “word of his power” is a Hebraism, and means his efficient command." (Barnes)

However, this does not speak of His powerful word, but the word that belongs to, or is derived from His power. Jesus is omnipotent. His power is not limited to the use of His word but is, instead exercised through everything that He does. All power in heaven and earth originates with Him. His word is an exercise of that power. "Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created." (Psalms 148:5)

He demonstrated the word of His power to His disciples. "And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marveled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!" (Matthew 8:26-27) Who else but the Almighty God could do such a thing? Who else do the winds and the sea obey?

Jesus truly is our all in all. Without Him the universe and all creation would fly apart, would cease to exist. How then can any man have the nerve to blasphemy His holy name when, with a simple word, he could command their instant destruction? He deserves our complete devotion to Him and to His purpose for the creation, which He made and sustains.

Before The Throne:

Meditate on His greatness, His omnipotence, and the tremendous love that He must have for you to have become like you and to have died for your salvation. How will you respond to Him today? What is the Spirit saying to your heart as you think about the kind of Savior whom we serve?

For Further Study:

(v.17)
** he. Col 1:15; Prov 8:22-23; Isa 43:11-13; Isa 44:6; Mic 5:2; John 1:1-3; John 8:58; John 17:5; 1Cor 8:6; Heb 13:8; Rev 1:8, 11, 17; Rev 2:8; ** and by. 1Sam 2:8; Ps 75:3; John 5:17-18; Acts 17:28; Heb 1:3;

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