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Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee

ISBN: 0-7363-0910-1
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry

Currently in: Chapter 40 of 65 Section 1 of 4

LIFE-STUDY OF COLOSSIANS

MESSAGE FORTY

OBJECTIVE REVELATION, SUBJECTIVE MINISTRY,
AND PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE

Scripture Reading: Col. 1:15-19, 25-29; 2:2b, 6, 9, 18, 23

Although the book of Colossians is short, the revelation it contains is higher than that in any other book in the Bible. The Bible may be compared to Mount Zion, which has a number of peaks. The highest “peak” in the Bible is Colossians.

A COMPARISON

If we compare Colossians with the Gospel of John, we shall be helped to realize how high is the revelation in Colossians. Most of us appreciate the Gospel of John because it is a book of life. It is also a book of the mystery of life. Although the Gospel of John is mysterious, the revelation it contains cannot compare with the revelation in Colossians. John’s Gospel opens with the words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In 1:18 John goes on to say, “No one has ever seen God; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” Colossians does not tell us that the Word was God, but it does speak of Christ as “the image of the invisible God” (1:15). Paul’s utterance and expression here are marvelous. Then, in apposition to this clause, Paul continues in the same verse by speaking of Christ as the “firstborn of all creation.” This indicates that the “firstborn of all creation” is synonymous with “the image of the invisible God.” This proves that the firstborn of all creation is the very image of the invisible God.

John 1:3 says, “All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being which has come into being.” Compare this with Paul’s word in Colossians 1:16 and 17: “Because in Him were all things created in the heavens and on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and unto Him. And He is before all things, and all things subsist together in Him.” It is rather easy to recite John 1:3, but it is difficult to recite Colossians 1:16 and 17, verses which are far more complicated. According to Colossians, the very Christ whom we have received as our Savior and our life is the image of the invisible God. Furthermore, the One who is the image of God is the firstborn of all creation because in Him, through Him, and unto Him all things have been created. Furthermore, we see from 1:17 that Christ is before all things and that all things subsist together in Him. This word points to Christ’s eternal preexistence and to the fact that all things exist together by Christ as the holding center, just as the spokes of a wheel are held together by the hub at their center. Such a revelation as given in these verses is beyond our ability to understand fully.

In 1:18 Paul goes on to say that Christ is the Head of the Body, the church, and that He is the beginning, the firstborn from among the dead. Then in verse 19 we read, “For in Him all the fullness was pleased to dwell.” The fullness has more than one aspect. Therefore, Paul is careful to point out that all the fullness, the fullness with its various aspects, is pleased to dwell in Christ. The different aspects of the fullness include the fullness in the firstborn of all creation, the fullness in Christ’s being before all things, the fullness in creation’s being in Him, through Him, and unto Him, the fullness in being the firstborn from among the dead, and the fullness in His being the Head of the church. All this fullness was pleased not only to dwell in Christ, but also to reconcile all things to Himself. Where else can we find a revelation to compare with this?

In contrast to the Gospel of John, Colossians does not use simple words, expressions, and sentences. The sentences in this Epistle are complicated and often include many phrases and clauses. In fact, all the verses from 1:9 through 20 should be regarded as a single sentence. This is much different from the simple expressions in the Gospel of John: “I am the bread of life,” “I am the light,” “I am the door.”


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