Colossians 1:12-20

Transferred To Another Kingdom; Who Yeshua Is; The Centrality Of Messiah

Besides being a great scholar, theologian and one of the greatest evangelists and congregation starters of all time, Paul was an apostle – a special representative of the Son of God. Paul was a very special apostle – the apostle to the Gentiles, a Jewish rabbi uniquely equipped and sent to reach and teach the non-Jewish peoples of the world. The divinely inspired Rabbi from Tarsus wrote much of the New Testament and left a tremendous imprint on Christianity and Western civilization. We should pay attention to his writings that have been preserved for us.

Paul and Timothy wrote this letter in Rome. Paul was in confinement there, awaiting a trial that could have resulted in his execution.

The Colossian Community had received good teaching from Epaphras but were being challenged by false teaching. It was a mixture of Jewish legalism, Greek philosophy and a false kind of mysticism. Charles Ryrie inform us: “Specifics include dietary and Sabbath observances, circumcision rites, the worship of angels and the practice of asceticism. Combating these errors, Paul and Timothy emphasize the cosmic significance of Messiah as Lord of creation and the Head of the New Covenant Community.

The theme is the supremacy and the all-sufficiency of Messiah. Any teaching, practice or intermediary that detracts from the uniqueness and centrality of Messiah is against the Faith.”

Let’s pick up where we left off, with chapter 1 verse 12. The Father has qualified you to share in the inheritance of His holy people in the kingdom of light. For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. When Adam and Eve fell and joined the rebellion of the fallen angels, they lost their privilege to govern this world. Dominion of this world was transferred to the fallen angels. Human beings became subject to the fallen angels, and the Adversary became the god of this world. We became subjects of that dark kingdom.

Jews and Gentiles are born part of that dark demonic kingdom that opposes God, opposes truth, is full of unhappiness, ruination and death. We are controlled by kingdom. Because of our fallen nature, we are qualified to be part of that dominion. We are fit citizens of that kingdom. But human beings don’t have to remain in that dark kingdom! God has another kingdom – a very real kingdom full of joy and happiness, unmixed with any sadness. It is a kingdom of truth and goodness and beauty. It is a just kingdom, a rich kingdom, a kingdom of rewards and great inheritances. It is a kingdom that will not pass away and whose citizens will live forever! Messiah Yeshua is the King of that light-filled Kingdom, and God the Father is the High King.

When we know who the Son of the High King is and become loyal to Yeshua and His Father, we have redemption and the forgiveness of all of our sins – every last one of them. We are rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of the Father and the Son. Before we knew the Father and the Son and transferred our loyalties to the Three-in-One God, we were not qualified, not able, not fit to live in that blessed kingdom that is characterized by light – a symbol for knowledge, wisdom, truth, reality, victory, joy, happiness and life. By forgiving all of our sins, so that not one remains; by redeeming us, buying us back from the satanic slave-market of sin and death; by giving us the Holy Spirit and transforming us, and giving us a new and godly nature, we become qualified to live in the kingdom of light.

Forgiven! Redeemed! Qualified! Transferred to another kingdom, a great kingdom of light! Blessed with an amazing and eternal inheritance with all the other set apart ones of all the ages! It doesn’t get any better than that! Baruch Ha-Shem! Praise the Lord!

Remember, to combat the erroneous teachings challenging the Colossians, Paul and Timothy want them to understand who Yeshua is, and focus on Him and His sufficiency.  So, who is Yeshua? An exemplary human being – agreed. A great teacher – yes. A prophet – correct. The Messiah – definitely. The King of a very great and real and wonderful and eternal kingdom. Absolutely! He is all of that, and much more! The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in Heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

The Son is the image of the invisible God. Yeshua is the Son of God. God the Father is the Father of His Son, Yeshua. The Son has a Father. The Son is not the Father. The Father is not the Son. They are distinct Persons. Distinct persons who share the same nature. The Father and the Son are one in nature. Both share the essential attributes of deity – eternal, uncreated life; being all-knowing, all powerful, all-present. The Father and the Son share the moral attributes of deity – moral perfection; infinite holiness; perfect righteousness; goodness; mercy; love. The Father and the Son are one in nature.

But when it comes to position and authority, just as an earthly father is superior to his son in position and authority in their family, so God the Father is superior to God the Son. The Father sits on the main throne in Heaven. The Son sits at His right hand. The Father orders the Son and the Son executes the orders of the Father. The Son never orders the Father. The Son prays to the Father. The Father never prays to the Son.

Again, as I said last week, a simple way to understand this: Within the Trinity there is an equality of nature; a distinction of Persons; and a hierarchy of authority.

Even though the Father is greater than the Son in position and authority, it’s still an awesome thing to be the Son of God! That’s why He is acknowledged by every created thing, in the very center of Heaven as being worthy to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing and dominion forever and ever!

The Three Persons of the Trinity have different functions. One of the functions of the Son is to reveal the invisible God. The Son is the image of the invisible God. The Third Person of the Trinity, God the Spirit, is invisible. He is a Person, but a Person without a body. He is everywhere throughout the universe, and beyond. Like ruach, wind, the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit is felt or experienced, but not seen.

The First Person of the Trinity, the Father, is likewise invisible to us. He is too great, too awesome, too powerful, too infinitely holy for weak, sinful mortals to see. Can an ant see a 100 megaton atomic explosion from a few feet away? No. It’s too powerful. Can an ant see the Empire State Building, even if the ant is touching it? No. It’s too big. And the difference between the infinite and holy God and mortal, sinful man is even greater than the difference between an ant and a bomb or an ant and a building!

To see God the Father in the fulness of His holy magnificence is impossible, and it would destroy us. No human being can see the Father and live. But, the Father wants us to know Him. It’s one of the functions of the Son to reveal the invisible God. That’s why John declared: No one has ever seen God (the Father), but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made Him (the Father) known. The Son is the Person of the Trinity who is able to tone down the power and splendor and glory of God, and reveal the Father to fallen, frail mortals.

Yeshua is the image of God. So, when we see Yeshua doing something, are also seeing God at work.

When we hear Yeshua teaching, we are hearing God speaking to us. We are learning exactly what God the Father wants us to know.

When we see Yeshua doing miracles, we are seeing God revealing something about Himself to us.

When we see Yeshua suffering and dying, we are seeing something about the nature of the invisible God.

The Son is the image of the invisible God, and the perfect image, the perfect likeness, the perfect representation of God the Father. You want to understand what God the Father is like? Look at God the Son. You want to understand the nature of God? You want to understand the will of God? Consider Yeshua. Listen to Yeshua. He spoke perfectly for His Father, communicated exactly what His Father wanted Him to say to us. So, when we see Yeshua; when we understand the actions and the teachings of Yeshua; when we comprehend His miracles, and His Incarnation, and death, burial and resurrection, we are seeing the image, the likeness of the invisible God. We are seeing Someone filled with the invisible Spirit of God. The invisible God is being revealed to us.

Who is Yeshua? The Son is the firstborn over all creation. This does not mean that Yeshua is a created being or that He had a beginning. The Son never had a beginning. He is eternal, uncreated. According to Biblical law, the firstborn is the eldest son and has a special place and special privileges in the family. He becomes the head of the family and a special heir among the other brothers and sisters. The Firstborn Over All Creation means that Yeshua is older than anything in creation. As the Firstborn Of All Creation, Yeshua is preeminent over all created things – including angels and human beings. As the Firstborn Of All Creation, Yeshua is the eldest brother among the sons and daughter of God – who are created beings. As the Firstborn Of All Creation, Messiah is in the place of prominence and is the leader of the sons and daughters of God. He is the special heir among the other sons and daughters of God.

Who is Yeshua? Certainly not a created being! In fact, He is the Creator of all things. For in Him all things were created: things in Heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. The Son of God precedes the creation and participated in the creation of the universe. God the Father willed the creation of all things, and then the Son carried out the Father’s will. The Son made the laws of nature and the fine-tuned parameters that enable the universe to exist – things like the constants in equations for gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces, and the ratio of proton to electron mass. The Messiah made the billions of galaxies with their trillion upon trillions of stars; this huge and magnificent planet and everything in it.

The Son also created another, mostly invisible part of reality – beings that are real, but generally unseen by human eyes: the armies of angels and archangels in their ten thousands of ten thousands. The Messiah created the mysterious living beings and the cherubeem who protect the presence of God. The Son made the six-winged, burning serapheem; the Son made the guardian angels, the angel of the waters; the angel of the abyss.

All things have been created through Messiah – and for Messiah. Everything that exists – every plant, every creature, every stone or star, every human, every angel exists for a purpose, and that purpose is “for Messiah” – to serve Him, to accomplish His purposes; for Messiah’s pleasure, for Messiah’s will. If all things have been created by Yeshua and for Yeshua, including you, does it make any sense to reject Him; to remain indifferent to Him or uninterested in Him? Doesn’t it make sense to find out who He is, get in sync with Him and what He wants, and serve Him with all your strength?

Who is Yeshua? The Eternal One. He is before all things. He is eternal. He is uncreated. Without beginning. He was in the beginning with God and He was with His Father before the beginning. He is the Eldest, worthy of honor and respect from all who come after Him.

Who is Yeshua? The Sustainer Of All Things. In Him all things hold together. The Son of God, right now, at this moment, is sustaining, holding together, everything that exists. The Son of God is keeping this vast universe in existence – including you. That takes wisdom. That takes power. That takes authority. That is worthy of respect. Does it make sense to deny the One who is sustaining you? To be ungrateful, unappreciative of this great One who keeps you in existence?

Who is Yeshua? The leader of all Christians and Messianic Jews everywhere. He is the head of the body, the Community of the called out ones. Christians and Messianic Jews are joined to the living Messiah. We are united to the Resurrected One. We get our life and strength from Living Leader, our directions from Him, our instructions from Him, our wisdom and righteousness from Him, our power from Him. We can talk to Him and hear Him speaking to us, teaching us, guiding us, leading us.

Who is Yeshua? The One Who Overcame Death. He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy. Death is a result of the Fall and our alienation from God, who is the Source of Life. Death is a horrible enemy and claimed all the millions of people who ever lived (except a couple) until Messiah came. Messiah alone truly overcame this deadly enemy. And, the Son of God enables those of us who know who He is and become loyal to Him to overcome death! As the Beginning And The Firstborn From The Dead, Yeshua is supreme. He is to be supremely honored, respected, loved, obeyed.

Who is Yeshua? The One In Whom The Fullness Of God Lives. For God (the Father) was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him (the Son). The Son doesn’t have just a little part of God. The Son has all the fullness of God the Father living in Him. Yeshua is not like one of the Greek and Roman godlings. The Son is fully God, completely God. He has the totality, the completeness, the fulness of the infinite, all-powerful, all-present, all-wise God living in Him. Just as the Temple had the Spirit of God living in it, and was treated with the highest respect, and the greatest honors, so The One In Whom The Fullness Of God Lives is to be greatly respected and highly honored.

Who is Yeshua? The Reconciler Of All Things. Through Him God will reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on Earth or things in Heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. The Fall of man affected not just Adam and Eve; and not just their descendants. The Catastrophe of Eden impacted the entire universe. The universe is broken, fractured, chaotic, damaged. The forces of decay and entropy are present everywhere. Humans are fallen, broken, damaged, dying, perishing. We are alienated from our Creator; alienated from nature; alienated from one another; even alienated from ourselves. We are in the most desperate need of overcoming this ruinous alienation, but are completely unable to reconciled ourselves to the holy God. We are unable to be fully reconciled to nature or to one another.

But what we are unable to do, God the Father, working through His Son, was perfectly able to accomplish! By shedding His blood on the cross, the Son of God became The Reconciler Of All Things. Because of Messiah, human beings can be reconciled to the holy God and to one another. Nature will be completely restored one day. A time is coming when “shalom shalom” – perfect peace will permeate all relationships – God, human beings, angels, nature – all because of Yeshua, The Reconciler Of All Things.

So, who is Yeshua?

The King of a very great and real and wonderful and eternal kingdom.

The worthy and blessed Son of God.

The image of the invisible God who perfectly reveals God to us.

The Firstborn Over All Creation, preeminent over all created things and the special heir among the other sons and daughters of God.

The Creator of all things and for whom all things have been created.

Who is Yeshua? The One Who Is Before All Things, worthy of honor and respect from all who come after Him.

Who is Yeshua? The mighty Sustainer Of All Things, holding together everything that exists.

Who is Yeshua? The Living Leader of all Christians and Messianic Jews everywhere, who gives us life and strength and direction.

Who is Yeshua? The One Who Overcame Death and who enables those of us who know who He is and become loyal to Him to overcome death.

Who is Yeshua? The One In Whom The Fullness Of God Lives, who is to be treated with the greatest respect.

Who is Yeshua? The Reconciler Of All Things who brings perfect peace to all relationships.

So, why the fixation on angels, talking to angels, praying to angels, worshiping these created beings who serve the Son of God? Why have any religious or philosophical emphasis that doesn’t have Messiah at it’s center, that isn’t focused on Messiah, that doesn’t fix its spiritual eyes on Messiah, that doesn’t filter everything through the Messiah, that refuses to witness to our absolute need for Messiah?

Why focus on Mary or the saints? Why give them your religions devotions and prayers? Should Torah observance be our focus? Holidays? Angels? Kosher laws? Fasting? Other religious philosophies not focused on Yeshua? Anything other than Messiah? It doesn’t make sense. It’s not right.

Real Christianity, true Judaism is all about Messiah: Knowing Messiah, becoming loyal to Messiah, remaining faithful to Messiah, reorienting our goals and values with those of Messiah, witnessing to Messiah, thinking about Messiah, learning about Messiah, serving Messiah, imitating Messiah, drawing life and strength from our living relationship to Messiah, having our hope in Messiah, suffering for Messiah, being rejected for Messiah, enduring with Messiah, having the grace to die for Messiah.

May the Father enable us to fix our thoughts, service, devotion, the entirety of our religious life, on Messiah. Amen?