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Jesus Christ is God, or as we are more inclined to say, Yahshua Christ is Yahweh. I was startled, when I first became acquainted with the Christian Identity world, that so many people have not understood that, and there are still those who deny it. They want to limit God to a spirit world disassociated from reality. Those are seeds that the jews have sewn, and they still do, but in the end, they shall bear no fruit.
Paul's Epistle to the Colossians Part 2: Jesus Christ is God
The children of Israel had in ancient times sold themselves into sin, and for their sin Yahweh their God delivered them into captivity. From thence they were alienated from God, having been lost in paganism and a multitude of errors, and the resulting state in which they were found is frequently described in the books of the prophets and in the Gospel as darkness. This brief description encapsulates one aspect of the prophecies such as that which is found in Isaiah chapter 59, where in verse 2 the words of Isaiah in reference to Yahweh read: “2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Then in verse 9 he speaks for all of Israel and says: “9 Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.”
The Gospel message is a message of reconciliation for those same children of Israel, that they repent and return to obedience to Yahweh their God in the mercy which is offered through Christ. So in the opening of this epistle to the Colossians, Paul exhorts them to “to walk worthily of the Prince in all complaisance”, and to do so while “12 being thankful to the Father, who qualifies us for that share of the inheritance of the saints in the light, 13 who has rescued us from the authority of darkness, and instead gave us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption: the dismissal of errors.”
Discussing this first part of Colossians chapter 1, we have already discussed many of the passages of Old Testament Scripture where Yahweh had promised to the scattered children of Israel all of these things of which Paul has written. In Romans chapter 9 Paul wrote in reference to Israelites “according to the flesh” where he said, quoting from the King James Version, “to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever.” Out of all the people of Judaea, in Romans chapter 9 Paul was only expressing concern for “those who are Israelites”, and clarifies his intention with the phrase “according to the flesh”, because in his time many Judaeans were not Israelites. So being a true Israelite is “according to the flesh”, and not according to some supposed religious profession. However, as Paul had explained at length in Romans chapter 4 and 1 Corinthians chapter 10, many of the people of the nations of Europe were indeed those lost Israelites who had long ago gone off into captivity, sitting in darkness for well over 600 years before Paul was born, and the Colossians to whom Paul writes are among those people. The facts of Scripture are clear, that mercy, favor, or grace, redemption, and the inheritance of the saints are all specific promises which Yahweh made to the children of Israel as He also promised them a Messiah, where He said that He Himself would be their Redeemer and their Savior, as He said in Isaiah 43:11: “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.” This is the very point we shall resume with here as we commence with our presentation of Colossians chapter 1, however first a short digression is necessary.
In this passage of Colossians, Paul spoke of Christians as if they had already been transferred into the Kingdom of God in Christ. There are many preterists who make the assertion that all prophecy is fulfilled by 70 AD, where they imagine that the Kingdom of God was established, and that Christ is really not going to physically return, but rather that He somehow already returned spiritually when Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus. Then they imagine that since that time, Christians have been lax in establishing the kingdom of God by force, and for that reason we do not live in a truly Christian world.
However according to Paul here, where he used the past tense, Christians had already been transferred, or as the King James Version has it, translated, into the Kingdom of Christ by this time, which cannot be later than 62 AD, when Jerusalem still existed and with the Sadducees and Pharisees still sitting in the temple there. But while Paul describes this transfer in the past tense, the Kingdom of God certainly was not manifest in the world in 62 AD. Relatively speaking, Christians were still not very numerous at that time, pagan Rome still ruled the world, and Christians were being persecuted everywhere they were found. It seems that the contentions of the preterists are designed so as to ignore Biblical prophecy and advocate that man take the vengeance of God into his own hands. If that were truly the plan of God and the desire of Christ, then we cannot imagine Him telling His apostles that “it is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” when they had asked Him whether He would “at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel”, shortly after His Resurrection in 32 AD. Then in that same place, in Acts 1:11, it is affirmed by angels that “this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven”. This alone is a thorough refutation of preterism.
Paul had explained that Yahweh God Himself would avenge His people against His enemies, as he had written in 57 AD in his epistle to the Romans, in chapter 12: “19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Yet here, ostensibly in 61 AD, Paul writes that God had already translated these Christians into the kingdom of His Son. But nothing had changed in the world between 57 and 61 AD, and in fact, as the tyranny of Nero developed, things were only getting worse for Christians. So we see that these two concepts, translation into God's Kingdom and God's vengeance against His enemies, are clearly acted out independent of each other. Other things which may also be considered here, we shall not discuss at this present time, wanting only to exhibit one of the shortcomings of the perception of the preterists.
With this it is evident, that Paul had spoken of the translation of Christians into the Kingdom of God in a past tense not because it had already happened as a historical fact, but rather because it was absolutely assured as a definite promise. Paul described the manner of the fulfillment of that promise in places such as 1 Corinthians chapter 15, or 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, where he had used the future tense. In another context, in Romans chapter 4, Paul explained that Yahweh God has the ability to “calleth those things which be not as though they were”, which means that God through the prophets could speak of things which were going to happen in the future as though they had already happened, or things which were going to come into existence in the future as if they had already existed, because His Word is sure. So here Paul describes Christians, who had the assurance of seeing the kingdom of God in their future, as if they were already there.
Now as we commence with our presentation of Paul's epistle to the Colossians, we have seen that Yahweh had said through the prophet Isaiah, as we have already cited from Isaiah 43:11: “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.” In like manner Paul speaks here concerning Yahshua Christ:
15 Who is the likeness of the invisible God, first born of all the creation.
Christ also bore the likeness of men, as Paul had attested in Philippians 2:7. But Paul is not contradicting himself, as all men descending from Adam bear the likeness of God, as we see in Genesis chapters 1 and 5. However here in verse 15 Paul seems to mean something more, and in the subsequent verses he provides clarification.
Here Paul must be speaking of Christ as the first born of all creation, and not of God the Father, because God the Father was not born. So the words which follow are also in reference to Christ:
16 Because by Him all things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, those visible and those invisible, whether thrones or dominions or realms or authorities, all things are created by Him and for Him; 17 and He is before all, and all things by Him endure; 18 and He is the head of the body: the assembly. He who is the beginning, first born from among the dead [P46 and א have “first born of the dead”], that in all things He would be holding the first place.
In this passage, the “Him” of verse 16 refers to the same person as the “He” and the “Him” in verse 17, who is also “the beginning” and the “first born from among the dead” in verse 18. The Subject of the statement does not change from one pronoun to another. So Yahshua Christ is the first born of all Creation, and Yahshua Christ is also credited by Paul as being the Author of that Creation. But the Old Testament Scripture says that “11 For in six days [Yahweh] made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore [Yahweh] blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
This too is a Christian paradox, which is only explained once it is realized that Yahshua Christ is Yahweh God, and that He is one and the same God the Father. For that reason He exclaimed that “I and My Father are one”. If all things were created by Yahshua Christ, but were also made by Yahweh God, then Yahshua must be Yahweh come in the flesh as a man. This is the only way that Christ can be “firstborn of all Creation”, even though He was not born for over 5,000 years after Adam. This is also the only way that He could be “firstborn among many brethren”, as Paul had described Him in Romans chapter 8. This is the only way Christ could say that “before Abraham was, I am”, and many of the Pharisees could not understand Him. But He told His apostles that “he that has seen Me has seen the Father”, in John chapter 14. Yahshua Christ is the fulfillment of the promise of Yahweh in Ezekiel chapter 37 where He said “My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Christ Himself is that tabernacle.
Understanding this, we may perceive that Christ is “first born from among the dead” because He is first born, and the entire race of Adam are the “dead”, since they were all condemned to death in the condemnation of Adam, as Paul had explained in Romans chapter 5 that “12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned… 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.” So Christ is not “first born from among the dead” because He was the first man resurrected to eternal life, but rather, because He is first born, and, philosophically speaking, all men are dead, as Yahweh God “calleth those things which be not as though they were”, and as the apostle Jude described those not having the Spirit of God as “twice dead”. So, philosophically speaking, all men are dead, and those without the Spirit of Yahweh are “twice dead”, while those with that spirit are truly the living.
And here with this understanding, in a different aspect of this passage Genesis 1:26 is also explained, where Moses had written, as it appears in the English of the King James Version, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”. Because Yahshua Christ is the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”, as it reads in the King James Version of Revelation 13:8, He is God, and He was conceived in the mind of God as soon as the world was made, because as soon as the world was made God must have known that He would have to participate in His Creation. But Yahshua Christ was not yet born at the time of the Genesis Creation, and God does not have different personalities. Rather, He says in a Messianic prophecy in Malachi chapter 3, “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Neither is there more than one God, as Yahshua Christ Himself had said, “O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord”, and as the apostle Thomas had addressed Yahshua Christ once he realized that Christ had indeed been resurrected, “My Lord and my God.” This is because Christ is another manifestation of God the Father, and since Yahweh knew before the foundation of the world that He would come as a man in the person of the Christ, then Christ is the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. Just as Paul had explained of Yahweh in Romans, that He, being God, has the ability to “calleth those things which be not as though they were”, He did precisely that in Genesis 1:26.
Just as Yahweh proclaimed in Isiah that “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God”, Christ had proclaimed in the Revelation that “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” There are some who do not understand the true nature of Christ, and want to offer subjective explanations of how Christ could be first and last, if God the Father is first and last. They are sophists, because in truth both God the Father and Jesus Christ, who is God the Son, are first and last, being one and the same persons. They are the “us” and the “our” of Genesis 1:26. [Only a devil could deny that.]
From the dawn of the Christian era, the Jews had accused Christians of idolatry, since Christians had reckoned a man to be God. However this is something that all Christians should be able to understand: that God came as a man, and will come again as a man just as it is described in Acts chapter 1. Christians should understand that God, being the author of Creation, transcends His Creation and can also make Himself a part of that Creation, which is the essence of Christ. This is the truth that the world cannot receive, which Christ had referred to when He promised His disciples a Comforter, and then said “I will come to you”, informing us in John chapter 14 that He was also one and the same with the Holy Spirit, and therefore He must be God. As Paul had written in 1 Corinthians chapter 3, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.”
In Colossians chapter 2, Paul again refers to Yahshua Christ in this manner where he wrote: “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” Of course, we cannot expect that the entire essence of what is God should be contained to the body of a mere man, but Christ was as much God as the body of a man could contain. Therefore He was Christ, and He was the voice from heaven, and He was the Father above, as well as whatever else He may have chosen to be, as Paul also asserts in Hebrews that He was the rock in the desert at the time of the Exodus, because God transcends His Creation, and He may also be a part of His Creation if He so chooses.
We have elaborated upon this, because sadly, some Identity Christians are still led astray by those who deny the oneness of Yahshua Christ with Yahweh the Father, who create sophistic arguments and claim, in essence, that we have two Gods. But Christ had professed that “I and My Father are one”, and “he that has seen me has seen the Father”. Those who deny this are no better than the Jews who accuse Christians of idolatry. Those who teach such things must be discredited, and cast aside along with the Jews, because in essence they deny that Yahshua is the Christ as the Messiah was described by the prophets and the apostles.
Paul continues by relating the purpose of His coming:
19 Because with Himself He was pleased to have the whole complement dwell, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross [P46, א, A, C, 048, and the MT interpolate the words “through Him” here; the text follows B, D, and I], whether the things upon the earth, or the things in the heavens.
[Out of necessity, we shall belabor our explanation of this verse.] The King James Version has a plainly literal “in Him”, rather than “with Himself”, and the phrase may be translated either way. The reasons for our rendering may become apparent as we discuss other aspects of the passage. It must be noted that the King James and other versions thought to add their own words to the text, interpolating the words “the Father” or in the NASB “of the Father”, in order to make sense of the passage, something which we found quite unnecessary. Many other versions added the word “God” instead. Still other versions added other words to the text which change its entire meaning. None of these interpolations exist in any of the Greek manuscripts. There are not two different grammatical subjects in this passage, but one. Not understanding that, evidently the translators of many versions added words to the text in order to fabricate a second subject, and that is dishonest. Rather, the passage must be translated in accordance with the context provided by the author.
Considering this passage, first we may ask what it means that with Himself, God, who was also Christ, was “pleased to have the whole complement dwell”. The word translated complement is the Greek word πλήρωμα (Strong's # 4138), and in some contexts it may mean fulness, as Liddell & Scott explain that it was used in the New Testament. But primarily, they define the word as a full measure, and then as a full number, as both Herodotus and Euripides had used it of the full complement of ships in a particular force, where it also appeared in the singular. That is how we interpreted it here, as it evidently refers to the full complement of the children of Israel. It is they with whom Yahweh had reconciled and made peace.
We see the veracity of this interpretation substantiated in the Revelation of Yahshua Christ, where speaking of the innumerable multitude who would wash their garments in the blood of the Lamb, it says in chapter 7: “15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.” Again, in Revelation chapter 21 where it describes the new Jerusalem descended from heaven we read: “3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” This same thing is prophesied in Ezekiel chapter 37 where in connection with a New Covenant it says: “26 Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27 My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” That tabernacle is God incarnate as man, which is Yahshua Christ, who was called Emmanuel because the name means “God is with us”. So it says in Jeremiah chapter 31, in the promise of a New Covenant to made with the children of Israel, “34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
That the whole complement of the children of Israel shall ultimately dwell with their God is the Christian promise, evident in passages provided here from Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and the Revelation. This was the purpose of God from the beginning, and we see it expressed in the figurative language of Genesis 3:8 where it says that Adam and Eve had “heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day”, but God had no true tabernacle until His first incarnation.
This leads us to another question which is raised by this passage, in regard to the “reconciliation of all things”. That is, what did Paul really mean by “all things”? All of what things? Many people take advantage of this concept to advance their own agendas, and thereby neglect the agenda of God which is already spelled out in His Word.
In Matthew chapter 17, in the aftermath of the event commonly referred to as the transfiguration on the mount, we read: “9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. 10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.”
The only time that Elijah is mentioned in the prophets is in the closing chapter of Malachi, and therefore Christ must be referring to that prophecy. Now in chapter 3 of Malachi we see a prophecy of John the Baptist, and he was certainly indicative of one manifestation of this prophetic, figurative Elijah. But then in Malachi chapter 4 we read: “5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” So the “all things” which the prophetic Elijah is to restore are all things related to the fathers and children of the people of Israel. Furthermore, reconciliation is a part of the explicitly stated purpose of the Messiah as it was prophesied in Daniel chapter 9 where it says that His purpose is “to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Paul must have had Daniel chapter 9 in mind when he wrote this passage.
So with this, we see what Christ meant by saying that Elijah would “restore all things” when we read the prophecy of Malachi, and what the purpose of the Christ was concerning reconciliation where it is prophesied by Daniel, and we can only conclude that the “reconciliation of all things” is the restoration of the children of Israel to their proper place with their God, and their reconciliation to Him. The “restoration of all things” and the “reconciliation of all things” refer to all things pertaining to the children of Israel. Next, we see Paul himself describe this reconciliation as a reconciliation of what had been alienated, further substantiating our interpretation of this passage:
21 And you at one time being alienated and odious in thought by wicked deeds, 22 yet now He has reconciled with the body of His flesh through that death [א and A have “through His death”; the text follows P 46, B, C, D, I, and the MT], to present you holy and blameless and void of offense before Him,
At the beginning of verse 22, which is part of verse verse 21 in the King James Version, the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codex Vaticanus (B) have “yet now you have reconciled”; the Codex Claromontanus (D) has “yet now being reconciled”; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C), Vaticanus Graecus 2061 (048), and the Majority Text.
The Greek word ἐχθρός is an adjective which means hated, or hateful, and therefore it is translated as odious here. However the King James Version and others have translated it as a noun, enemies, where there is no indication in the Greek text that it should be interpreted as a noun. This opens the door for the false impression that perhaps the Colossians were among the enemies of the ancient Israelites, where in reality Paul's Colossians were descended from the ancient Israelites, who had become hateful to God for their sin.
In Jeremiah chapter 15, the children of Israel are depicted as begging God not to hate them for their sins: “20 We acknowledge, O LORD, our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers: for we have sinned against thee. 21 Do not abhor us, for thy name's sake, do not disgrace the throne of thy glory: remember, break not thy covenant with us.” Again, in Amos chapter 6, Yahweh is depicted as having abhorred Israel for their sin: “ 7 Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed. 8 The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein. 9 And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die.” We see God hated Ephraim for their sin again in Hosea chapter 9: “15 All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters. 16 Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.” So it is evident, that Israel became odious in the eyes of their God, whereas they were reconciled to Him in Christ.
The same concept is described by Paul in Romans chapter 5, with the same language: “6 Indeed when we were feeble, Christ at the appointed time died for the impious. 7 Though scarcely for the benefit of the upright will one die: for the benefit of the noble perhaps one then dares to die; 8 but Yahweh introduces His own love to us, because we, yet being sinners, Christ had died for our benefit. 9 Still more then, being deemed worthy now by His blood, will we be preserved by Him from wrath. 10 Therefore if we being odious were reconciled to Yahweh through the death of His Son, still more, being reconciled will we be preserved in His life.”
23 if indeed you continue in the faith, founded and steadfast, and not shifting away from the expectation of the good message which you have heard, of which is being proclaimed among all the creation which is under heaven, of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
At the end of verse 23, the Codex Sinaiticus (א) has “of which I, Paul, have become a herald and an ambassador”; the Codex Alexandrinus (A) has “of which I, Paul, have become a herald and an ambassador and a servant”.
In 1 Corinthians, concerning the faith of the Christians there Paul had said: “6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” All men sin, but the Christian hope is to aspire to Christ, and expect Him to be a propitiation for their sin in turn, that they not suffer its consequences. Remaining faithful, Christians have that expectation as the apostle John had explained in chapter 2 of his first epistle: “1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins…” As Paul had said in 1 Timothy chapter 5, “24 Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after”, it should therefore be the desire of Christians to meet their Creator by sending their sins before to the judgment, with admission and repentance being found blameless on that day.
The Greek phrase ἐν πάσῃ κτίσει is here “among all the creation” which may be read “among the whole creation”. The words πᾶς (Strong's # 3956) and κτίσις (Strong's # 2937) are in the Dative Singular, where πᾶς is “when of one only, all, the whole”, according to Liddell & Scott. In Romans 8:18-39 Paul makes it clear that he had considered the Adamic race of man – which are a single family of one specific kind - to be one “creation”, and so therefore it is that particular race which is referred to as the whole creation or all the creation here. This is manifest where Paul in that chapter had compared the Adamic creation to things such as death, life, angels, principalities, powers, height, depth, and “any other creature”, by which we should see that all of the other so-called races and kinds in Creation must be placed under the category of “any other creature”. If Paul had meant to refer to non-Adamic races, people who were not descended from Adam, or as the King James Version has it, simply every creature, then the words would appear in the Dative Plural, and we may have “among all creatures” rather than “all the creation”, though that is certainly not the case.
In the Septuagint at Tobit 8:5 and 8:15, the phrase “all thy creatures” appears twice in Brenton's English, where the words for all and creatures are in the plural, and therefore all of the different creatures of God's creation are meant. We read in Tobit 8:15: “Then Raguel praised God, and said, O God, thou art worthy to be praised with all pure and holy praise; therefore let thy saints praise thee with all thy creatures; and let all thine angels and thine elect praise thee for ever.” This helps to further substantiate our assertions concerning the use of the singular passage here in Paul's epistle.
24 Now, I rejoice in these sufferings on your behalf, and I substitute for those deficiencies of the afflictions of the Anointed with my flesh on behalf of the body itself, which is the assembly;
Here, we are persuaded that our interpretation of the word χριστός as we believe it is very often used by Paul as a collective term referring to the children of Israel in Christ, the Anointed, is fully vindicated. And if it is not, then Paul must have been a very vain and impious man, to imagine himself as being able to “fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake”, as the King James Version translated the relevant part of this verse. So we must ask, would the pious and knowledgeable Paul of Tarsus really state that he himself could complete the sufferings of Christ, because they were in some degree lacking, and therefore not good enough for the redemption of the children of Israel? The very thought is blasphemous, that men can come to the aid of God because somehow God Himself is not good enough, but that is the way in which all other translations have interpreted this verse. We would assert that they are all wrong.
Now Paul is not claiming to do anything on behalf of Christ, but even as the other translations have it, Paul is rejoicing in sufferings on behalf of his readers, the Colossians. Therefore where he says that “I substitute for those deficiencies of the afflictions of the Anointed with my flesh on behalf of the body itself”, he expresses the hope that with his suffering, the Colossians themselves would not have to suffer, as he sees himself as suffering for them. With this, we must remember that Paul is under arrest in Rome, has already given a defense before the emperor, and is awaiting a decision of judgment.
So here the word χριστός must refer to the anointed collectively, the body of Christ, which are those Israelites who have been reconciled to Yahweh in Christ, as it can be established that Paul also uses the same word in many other places in his epistles. By no means is Paul pretending to augment the sufferings of Yahshua Christ Himself.
25 of which I have become a servant in accordance with the administration of the household of Yahweh which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of Yahweh,
The Greek word οἰκονομία (Strong's # 3622) is “the administration of the household” here. In Galatians chapter 6 Paul mentioned “those of the family of the faith”, using the Greek word οἰκεῖος (Strong's # 3609), which Liddell & Scott define as meaning “in or of the house”, and there the King James Version renders the word οἰκεῖος as household. Because it means “in or of the house”. Liddell & Scott further define οἰκεῖος to mean “of persons, of the same family or kin, related” and also “belonging to one's house or family”. The related word οἶκος (Strong's # 3624), the root of these other words, is a house or a home, and that is the word for house which Paul had used where he quoted Jeremiah chapter 31 in his epistle to the Hebrews, in chapter 8 where he wrote, in part: “8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people….” So we have seen that the “reconciliation of all things” is the prophesied reconciliation of all things between Yahweh God and Israel, and the New Covenant was a promise to the house of Israel, as well as the house of Judah.
Paul said here that his commission was “to fulfill the word of God”, and therefore he must be speaking not merely of what we have in the Gospel of Christ, but also of what is in the prophets concerning the purpose of the Gospel of Christ. So Paul informs us in chapter 9 of his epistle to the Romans that the promises of God are for Israel “according to the flesh”, and in his epistle to the Hebrews that the covenants are for the houses, or families, of Israel and Judah, just as it was prophesied in Jeremiah.
The word οἰκονομία is used by Paul in reference to this ministry for the Gospel, and the word is literally, according to Liddell & Scott, “the management of a household or family”. It is a crime to attempt to separate the meaning of the word οἰκονομία from the purpose of the promises to an οἶκος. For in the context of the promises of Scripture, the two terms must be connected just as Paul had spoken of the οἰκεῖος, or family of the faith, and they also must be of the same house to which the promises were made.
Paul also used this word οἰκονομία twice in Ephesians chapter 3 (vv. 2 and 9), in 1 Timothy chapter 1 (v. 4), and in 1 Corinthians 9:17 where Paul said that he “had been entrusted with the management of a family”. In his epistle to the Ephesians Paul had written of “the management of the family of the favor of Yahweh which has been given to me in regard to you”, and described the purpose of his ministry “to enlighten all concerning the management of the household of the mystery which was concealed from the ages by Yahweh”, just as he speaks of this same thing as a mystery here in Colossians.
Referring to the Book of Acts, we see that Paul's original commission by Christ was described in much this same manner, in Acts chapter 9, where concerning Paul, Christ had said to Hananias: “Go! For he is a vessel chosen by Me who is to bear My Name before both the Nations and kings of the sons of Israel.” Then, foretelling of the sufferings which Paul mentions here in Colossians, Christ also told Hananias: “For I shall indicate to him how much it is necessary for him to suffer on behalf of My Name.” So all of these things present a consistent narrative, as Paul professed many years later, as it is recorded in Acts chapter 26, that he stood judged for the hope of the twelve tribes, which were not Jews.
The administration of the household is a task given to Paul in order to fulfill the Word of God, meaning the Old Testament God, in chapter 6 of the epistle to the Hebrews Paul said: “13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.” So we see that Paul saw these promises to Abraham as immutable. Likewise, in Galatians chapter 3, he said “14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Nations through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. 15 Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. 16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made….” The heirs are also plural in Galatians 3:29, and Paul proceeded to explain to the Galatians that they were once under the law, which was their schoolmaster for Christ. It is evident in history and in Paul's epistle that the Galatians certainly were descended from the ancient captivity of Israel, just as were these Colossians.
The faith being according to the promises to Abraham, the family of the faith can only be the seed of Abraham through Jacob, which had become many nations according to that same promise, as Paul had also described in Romans chapter 4 where he said in part: “1 Now what may we say that our forefather Abraham has found concerning the flesh?… 13 Indeed, not through the law is the promise to Abraham or to his offspring, that he is to be the heir of the Society, but through righteousness of faith. 14 For if they from of the law are heirs, the faith has been voided, and the promise annulled. 15 For the law results in wrath, so where there is no law, neither is there transgression. 16 Therefore from of the faith, that in accordance with favor, then the promise is to be certain to all of the offspring, not to that of the law only, but also to that of the faith of Abraham, who is father of us all; 17 (just as it is written, "That a father of many nations I have made you,") before Yahweh whom he trusted, who raises the dead to life, and calls things not existing as existing....”
Of course, the nations which came from the seed of Abraham had not yet existed, but by the time of Christ they had indeed dominated the Society, as Paul had said in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, “18 Behold Israel according to the flesh: are not those who are eating the sacrifices partners of the altar?… 20 Rather, that whatever the Nations sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to Yahweh.” The pagan nations of dispersed Israel sitting in the darkness of their sins in their captivity were the people to whom Paul had brought the Gospel of reconciliation in Christ.
This is the mystery which Paul declared in Ephesians chapter 3, and this is the mystery that he declared here. But early Christianity was subverted by universalists, so in spite of the plain language of Paul and of the prophets, this mystery is still a mystery even to most Christians. Apostolic Christianty was persecuted practically out of existence in the first few centuries after Christ, and while the writings remained, Christianity was taken over by a priesthood whose interests were served by universalism. This is fully evident because on every occasion the King James Version and all other translations and denominational commentators absolutely ignore the primary meaning of the word οἰκονομία, or administration of the household, as Paul had clearly used it in fulfillment of the Word of God concerning the οἶκος, or the house, of Israel.
So he calls his administration of the household:
26 the mystery which has been concealed from the ages and from the races, but now has been made visible to His saints,
We must be careful interpreting this word for races here, which is γενεά (Strong's # 1074). According to Liddell & Scott, the word is primarily a race, stock, family, or offspring. However the word was also used to refer to all of the descendants of a race living at one time, hence in some contexts it may be a generation. Here it seems that it cannot refer to a generation, because then it would merely be redundant with the word ages. However, as Liddell & Scott also explain in their definition for γενεά, the Greeks often used the word to describe a subdivision of an ἔθνος, or nation, to describe a clan, tribe or family. We would assert, as the original Greek use of the term permits, that by races here Paul meant those subdivisions of the Adamic race listed in Genesis chapter 10, or even to the later subdivisions of the children of Israel themselves. He certainly cannot be interpreted to be referring to all of the people on the planet as we know it today, who were always outside of the Biblical context.
The mystery of which Paul speaks is the identification of the “nations” of Paul's ministry as the Children of Israel, and how they are to be reconciled to Yahweh their God through Christ. In their punishment, they fulfilled the promises which Yahweh had made to Abraham, that his seed would become many nations, and that kings would come from his loins. Further promises along those same lines were made to Isaac, Jacob, and the children of Jacob, and especially to the sons of Joseph, who were themselves destined to become both a great nation and an entire company of nations. These are the promises to the patriarchs made throughout the book of Genesis. None of this was ever fulfilled in the Jews, who according to Paul himself in Acts chapter 26, in verses 6 and 7, are not of the twelve tribes, but were opposed to the twelve tribes. Rather, these things were fulfilled by the ancient Israelites of the dispersions in the captivities of the Assyrians and Babylonians, and those who were dispersed even much earlier than those. In Paul's message, these things have “now been made visible to his saints”, and that is the original non-universal message of the Gospel, which the beast system had at first subverted from Rome has attempted to destroy.
27 to whom Yahweh did wish to make known what the riches of the honor of [P46 wants “of the honor] this mystery [D has “mystery of Yahweh”] are among the Nations, which is the expectation of honor anointed in you,
The word order in verse 27 may have been changed to improve the sense in English: “to whom Yahweh did wish to make known among the nations what are the riches of the honor of this mystery...” In the final clause of the verse, the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Ephraemi Syri (C), Claromontanus (D), Coislinianus (H 015), Freerianus (I), and the Majority Text have a Masculine relative pronoun here, rather than a Neuter relative pronoun, in which the phrase should be read: “...who is Christ in you, the expectation of honor.” The text follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Alexandrinus (A) and Vaticanus (B).
Speaking of Christ, the apostle John wrote in chapter 2 of his first epistle of “the anointing which ye have received of him”, and that is the expectation of the anointed to which Paul refers here. One place in which the riches of the honor of Yahweh are promised to the children of Israel is in Jeremiah chapter 30, where in verse 19 He promises to glorify them. We will only read the necessary portions: “1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 Thus speaketh the LORD God of Israel, saying, Write thee all the words that I have spoken unto thee in a book. 3 For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it. 4 And these are the words that the LORD spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah…. 11 For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished…. 17 For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after. 18 Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will bring again the captivity of Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling-places; and the city shall be builded upon her own heap, and the palace shall remain after the manner thereof. 19 And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small… 22 And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God….” A few sentences later, in chapter 31, we read in part: “1 At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people. 2 Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.” These are the families of Paul's ministry, who became many nations in their captivity, and the subsequent verses of Jeremiah contain the promise of a new covenant to be made with those same people.
Speaking of these same people, we see the conclusion to this chapter of his epistle:
28 whom we declare, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom [D has “and teaching with all wisdom”] in order that we may present every man perfect among the Anointed [H and the MT have “perfect in Christ Yahshua”; the text follows P46, א, A, B, C, and D]. 29 For which I also labor, striving in accordance with that same energy which is operating within me with power.
Paul labors, that all of the dispersed children of Israel be brought back to Yahweh their God through the Gospel of Christ, who is God incarnate as a man. Paul came to see his mission as the driving force in his life, and even now all Christians should do the same.