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The Lord of the Things (09/12/2004)
From: Bill Steidtmann

Colossians 1:20 is a powerful and clear passage of what God's plan for the universe is. I come back to it constantly and remind myself: This is what God is doing. This is the goal. It is related to the verses which precede it, especially Verse 16. Here is Col 1:16 (KJV):

"For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him."

Everybody has been included in this list. Its universality is where the real stumbling block lies for many people. Some theologians would have us believe that "things" are inanimate objects, rocks for example. Going back to Verse 15 we see the word "creatures." Obviously "things" are living sentient beings, not rocks. The question is, what does He plan to do with all these "things" that He has created for Himself?" Here is Col 1:20:

"And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven."

God will reconcile with "all things." If He doesn't, He will have missed the mark. The word "reconcile" (the Greek apokatallasso) is an important word. It is a two-way arrangement. It's not just that one party is friendly towards the other, it's that both parties are friendly toward each other. Reconciling with "all things" will of course be impossible if most of humanity is burning in hell forever. The Bible seemingly contradicts itself because verses like Matt 25:46, Mark 3:29, Rev 20:10, etc. in most English Bibles teach eternal punishment, while verses like Col 1:20, 1 Tim 4:10, 1 Cor 15:28, etc. teach universal reconciliation. The conclusion after reading all the verses by a typical Bible is a contradiction, and consequent unbelief. The contradiction is easily resolved once we realize that a few key words like "aion," "hades," "gehenna," etc. are mistranslated. The Bible does not contradict itself, but it's various translations often do.

Now why is it that given the choice between wrestling with the idea of eternal hell, or wrestling with Col 1:20, tradition prefers to have Col 1:20 surrender to eternal hell? I suppose if I wanted to follow the crowd, I really should get out a dark black marker and blot out Col 1:20 from my KJV, so I can believe the eternal damnation verses. But I am suspicious of crowds, they are usually wrong (Matt 7:13-14). I think someone is trying to make God look bad - a saviour that saves but a few, an abusive father, a botched creation, and permanent resident evil; so that no one will trust Him, and no one will worship; so that no one will see God's true image 2 Cor 4:3-4 (KJV): "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."

Colossians and Ephesians are parallel books in many respects. It comes as no surprise then to discover that there is a parallel set of verses in Ephesians. Here it is in Eph 1:9-10:

"Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him."

All things in Christ. Heresy or hidden truth? I hope that you too know "the mystery of His will," and see the true image of "...God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach." (1 Tim 4:10b-11). 


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