Image of the Invisible

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Who Is The Image…

Colossians 1:15-18

I. JESUS IS THE VISIBLE OF THE INVISIBLE (v. 15a).

A. God, the Father desired to reveal Himself to the only part of creation which He made in His image and likeness, and lost it.

1. He wanted to do more than reveal Himself.
2. He also desired to have sweet fellowship with us, but there was something which had to be done first – RECONCILIATION.
3. The Father loved us, and sent His Son to pay our sin debt. When we see Jesus Christ we are looking at the Father.

B. Is anything too hard for the LORD?

1. Jesus said, “I and my Father are one.“ John 10:30 (KJV), and “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one” John 17:22 (KJV).
2. Jesus also said, “He that has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

C. He [Jesus] is the ‘exact representation’ (Heb. 1:3; NIV) of the Father.

II. JESUS IS THE IMAGE, THE ‘FIRSTBORN’, THE HEIR OF ALL THINGS (v. 15b).

A. As the ‘Firstborn’ in preeminence He receives all that is the Father’s.

1. He is heir of all things, because the Father has placed all things under His feet.
2. It is because He was completely obedient unto the Father as He walked in human flesh that He was accounted worthy.

B. As the heir of all things, by His death, burial and resurrection; by faith in Him we become joint heirs with Him;

1. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:16-17 KJV).

III. JESUS, OUR LORD, ALSO THE IMAGE OF THE CREATOR (v. 16).

A. Paul writes, “For by Him were all things created…”.

1. The very one who took on Himself the body of a created being was in fact the Creator Himself.
2. This should blow the mind of the Gnostic “Know-It-Alls”.

B. When we read back in Genesis 1, “In the beginning God created…” it does not appear quite clear that Jesus was there in the creation.

1. However, when we read the gospel of John and verses one through three,
2. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.” we have confirmation that this same Word which is spoken of here is the same Word which went forth in the work of creation, creating, and is the same Word which John tells us ‘became flesh’; “And, the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14); it becomes very clear, to one’s who have sight to see.

C. All things were not only created ‘by Him’, but also, ‘for Him’.

1. We must understand that the Godhead is in need of nothing.
2. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are Self-sufficient, Self-sustaining, and Self-existent.
3. God does desire to be glorified in all that He has created.

D. You will notice that in this verse (16) that even kings and kingdoms, all authorities were created by Him.

IV. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF THE ETERNAL (v. 17).

A. He is before all things.
B. Jesus is the One who holds all things together, “By Him all things consist”.

Here are the words of John Gill on this portion of the verse, “…and by him all things consist; he upholds all things by the word of his power; the heavens have their stability and continuance from him; the pillars of the earth are bore up by him, otherwise that and the inhabitants of it would be dissolved; the angels in heaven are confirmed in their estate by him, and have their standing and security in him; the elector God are in his hands, and are his peculiar care and charge, and therefore shall never perish; yea, all mankind live and move, and have their being in him; the whole frame of nature would burst asunder and break in pieces, was it not held together by him; every created being has its support from him, and its consistence in him; and all the affairs of Providence relating to all creatures are governed, directed, and managed by him, in conjunction with the Father and the blessed Spirit.”

V. JESUS IS THE IMAGE, THE HEAD, OF THE CHURCH (v. 18a).

A. When we say we are Christian and a member of a church; we are telling the world that we know its Head.

1. What does the Head of the Church look like.
2. To those outside the Church it will resemble the one we are supposed to be following.

B. We as followers of Jesus should be the light in this dark, condemned, crazy, lost, decaying, world of evil societies, and their rulers whose main goal in life is exalting themselves.
C. Exalt the image of Christ as the head of the Church, the body of Christ in the world.

VI. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE (v. 18b).

John MacArthur writes concerning the word ‘Beginning’ in this present verse, “Arche (beginning) is used here in the twofold sense of source and primacy. The church has its origins in Jesus. God ‘chose us in Him before the foundation of the world’ (Eph. 1:4). It is He who gives life to His church. His sacrificial death and resurrection on our behalf provided our new life. As head of the Body, Jesus holds the chief position, or highest rank in the church. As the beginning, He is its originator.” pg. 51 of THE MACARTHUR NEW TESTAMENT COMMENTARY on Colossians and Philemon.

A. Jesus said to John the revelator, “ I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Rev. 1:8; KJV).
B. As the ‘firstborn from the dead’ we see Him as having conquered death, hell, and the grave.

1. Since the resurrection proves the divinity, power, and victory on the cross of our Lord and Savior; He most definitely is the image of eternal life.
2. Eternal life is not just something you may or may not gain later; it is what you can have [present tense] now.
3. In Jesus’s own words of John 3:16 it is quite clear. “…Shall not perish, but have everlasting life”.
4. On that day we will be “Like Him”; “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3 (KJV).

VII. JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF FIRSTNESS (v. 18c).

A. Remember He is ‘firstborn’ in the promise of inheritance, and because of His work on the cross we become ‘joint heirs’ with Him.
B. The word ‘preeminence’ is used here, meaning, ‘first in rank’ and certainly Jesus fits this category.

1. There are no gods of men, if they could, even become like the creature of their creation.
2. There is no one; god or other wise, who would die for their created being.
3. There is no god or being anywhere that has risen from death and the grave after giving themselves for their created beings.

C. If you want to see an image of ‘Firstness’ you have to look no further than, to the living Son of God – Jesus Christ.

1. Firstborn in creation.
2. Firstborn in life
3. Firstborn in death.
4. Firstborn in eternal life.

D. He is the preeminent One.

1. All things rest on Him.
2. In Him alone is there consistency in life, death, and eternal life. He holds it all together.

SUMMARY –

I. WHEN YOU LOOK AT JESUS YOU SEE THE FATHER.
II. BEING PREEMINENT IN ALL THINGS, JESUS IS HEIR OF ALL THINGS.
III. JESUS, GOD INCARNATE, IS THE CREATOR OF ALL THAT IS.
IV. BEING BEFORE ALL THINGS JESUS IS THE IMAGE OF THE ETERNAL.
V. JESUS, AS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH, IS THE IMAGE FOR OTHERS TO SEE.
VI. JESUS IS THE PHYSICAL IMAGE OF ETERNAL LIFE.
VII. JESUS, AS THE IMAGE OF FIRSTNESS, IS PREEMINENT IN ALL THINGS.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Beauty and Holiness

Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”  Psalm 29:1-2 (KJB)

For some folks they have a problem reconciling beauty and holiness.  We probably have the idea of “Beauty” mostly wrong.  Most of us marvel at the beauty of creation, all that God has made in the outdoors.  I fear that some see more beauty in the things which Adamkind (mankind) has made.  Some see beauty in city lights, and horizons of cities lit up in the night sky.

I see much more of beauty as I look at the stars above at night.  The lights of cities I see as “Light pollution”, polluting the sky with man made conveniences. Now, please do not get me wrong; I do appreciate those conveniences just as much as others do.

What is beauty?  There is an old saying which state, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”.  That is probably true with some things, but not God things.  If God states that something is beautiful, then we need to see it as beautiful as well.  The heart right with God will see holiness as something of great beauty.

It anything is holy to the LORD, then, it is beautiful as well.

With God human life is holy.  The blood that flows through our veins and most living creatures, is sacred and holy to the LORD.  The LORD has stated in the book of Leviticus 17:11…

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”

For one individual to haphazardly take the life of another individual that is that beauty, neither is it glory to the LORD.  It grieves His heart.  That is why He authorized human government the right of corporal punishment, or the death penalty. My life is no more important that another life.  To intentionally kill for one’s own personal gain, or pleasure is plainly murder, and deserves to die equally.

God created Adamkind in His likeness and after His image.  That has been tainted, and ruined by our sin.  It is restored through the redemptive work of Jesus God’s Son by His death on  the cross.  That is holiness in its beauty.  The Holy dying for the unholy, that we might be made the righteousness of God through Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Beauty and Holiness in Christ Jesus.

The Battle Against the King of kings and Lord of lords

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called The Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him that sat on the horse, and against His army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
And the remnant were slain with the sword of Him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:11-21 (KJV)

The term “heaven opened” is used only once in the Revelation. It is, however, used three other times in the New Testament; in Matthew 3:16; John 1:51; and Acts 7:56. In each case, it is a very special and glorious event.

At heaven’s opening, here we see a great army being led by none other than the glorified, risen Jesus Christ. This is not the same horse or rider that is mentioned in 6:2-3. The first rider went out to conquer with the deceit of false peace. This second white horse rider goes out to conquer and to put an end to every evil man and deed.

He is given several names in these verses.

  1. “Faithful and True”, thus fitting with the final sentence of verse nine (v. 11);
  2. One name that “no man knew”, but He Himself (v. 12);
  3. “The Word of God” – identifying Him as the One John earlier spoke of in John 1:1-5, 14 (v. 13).
  4. “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (v. 16), for truly all kings will bow before Him and, the devil, that is, Satan, the liar will bow before Him as Lord.

The “second coming” of Jesus will be to make war, not peace. War against His enemies who have rejected, neglected, and blasphemed His every attempt for redemption. War against those who considered their way better. War against those who despised His written Word. He will put them down by the Word of His mouth (2 Thes. 2:8).

Let us look now at the description of His appearance (vv. 12-16).

  1. “Eyes…as a flame of fire”. They are piercing, looking, judging righteous judgment. Surely, He would have been righteous in His judgment even had He chosen to redeem no one;
  2. “On His head were many crowns” – Could this be the crowns awarded the saints at the ‘judgment seat of Christ’? Awards the saints received only to lay them at the feet of Jesus recognizing Him as the One worthy of the crowns;
  3. “A name, no man knew”;
  4. “A vesture [robe] dipped in blood” – This is not His blood, but the blood of those who were trampled beneath His feet. If our sins are not paid for with the blood of Christ, then our own blood will be required to pay the eternal debt.
  5. “His name the Word of God” – This identifies Him as our Creator (John 1:1-3; Col. 1:16) and as the One who gave His life for sinful man.

The “armies of Heaven” would probably include the angels of God as well as the Bride of Christ. Notice the reference back to verse 8, “fine linen, white and clean”. Verse 8 says, “…the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints”. Certainly, then, the ‘army’ includes the saints at least.

He puts down the nations with His Word. We can find reference to verse 15 of Psalm 2:9, “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel”. His love, mercy, and grace have been extended over millennials of time. Now His ultimate wrath is poured out. The end of the reign of man has come and Jesus Christ shall reign forever more.

Because of the carnage, vultures are called to the scene. In the Old Testament, it was a sign of divine judgment when corpses of the dead were eaten by the beasts of the field. For example, read about Jezebel’s death in 1 Kings 21:23; 2 Kings 9:30-37. As a contrast to the above, read about the prophet in 1 Kings 13, and pay special attention to verses 23-25.

Needless to say the vultures, at man’s war with the glorified Jesus, have the feast of a lifetime.

The nations of earth could not keep their own “peace accords” and through this, God in His sovereignty calls them to “Armageddon” (16:16) where they fight one another only to suddenly be confronted by the Son of God. Confronted by Him sitting on the ‘white horse’ they unite against Him, recognizing a common enemy, only to be slain and fed to the vultures by the Lamb of God.

The Beast (13:4) and the false prophet (13:11) are cast into “a lake of fire burning with brimstone”. The smoke of their torment ascending day and night forever. The rest are slain by “Him that sat upon the horse”, and the “fowls were filled with their flesh”.

In conclusion, if this is the end of man’s anarchy against God, and his Word what will be your destiny? Will you be in the blessing of His presence on the glorious day of the LORD? Will you be at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and riding with Him when He comes with His saints, and in wrath upon His enemies?

The wrath for our sin has already been bourne by Christ Jesus on the cross.  The curse of sin and its debt paid by the blood of Christ.

To Whom Will You Bow???

“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: and whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.” Daniel 3:1-7 (KJV)

THE IMAGE WAS A CONCOCTION OF NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S OWN IMAGINATION – WHICH HE MOST LIKELY CONTRIVED FROM HIS DREAM OF CHAPTER TWO (Read verses 1-12).

When I see things like this my first thought is of Psalms 2 where it is said…

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2:1-3 (KJV).

Nebuchadnezzar has had this dream which Daniel gave him the interpretation as well as telling him what the dream is in the first place. Now he comes to the place of pride and arrogance and seeks to call all worship to himself, as the “head of gold”. He desires his kingdom to continue despite God’s clear prophetic message.

It continues today. Michael Drosnin author of THE BIBLE CODE says the prophecies of the Bible are warnings not predictions (see THE BIBLE CODE pg. 137).

“The Bible code is more than a warning. It may be the information we need to prevent the predicted disaster” (Ibid, pg. 149). “The message of the Bible code is that we can save ourselves.” (Ibid pg. 150).

Understand Michael Drosnin is not a follower of Jesus Christ, nor does he believe in the verbal inspiration of Scripture. This could have just been the thinking of the king of Babylon. “It is just a warning, I can change my own fate”. What God says will come to pass. Not one word will return to Him void. Hear what God says…

“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the LORD: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord GOD. Again the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Son of man, behold, they of the house of Israel say, The vision that he seeth is for many days to come, and he prophesieth of the times that are far off. Therefore say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; There shall none of my words be prolonged any more, but the word which I have spoken shall be done, saith the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 12:21-28 (KJV).

God’s Word prevails over the wisdom of men. It does not matter their stature or power.

Nebuchadnezzar was impressed by the God of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; but he was not yet a believer.

It would certainly be no surprise to learn that the image the king made was after his own likeness. If man makes an image of worship it is most often like himself, or a image of a lesser being.

There is another image mentioned in Bible prophecy, which, if people of that time do not worship, they too will be threatened with death; (Read Revelation 13:14-18).

 Pride is a destructive thing. It will lead to the downfall of any man or woman, boy or girl. Especially the pride which exalts itself over God and His Word. That is exactly what king Nebuchadnezzar was doing. He still had a great love for himself, thus, a hatred for the God of the Hebrews, and who was His Sovereign as well.

Pride caused the fall of the devil – See Isaiah 14:12-23. Also see Ezekiel 28:1-19.

Pride causes Nebuchadnezzar’s fall.

Pride causes the fall of Antiochus Epiphanes who first desecrated the Jewish temple.

Pride will cause the last world Gentile ruler’s fall as well.

GOD’S WORD FOR US, “BEWARE THE PRIDE OF YOUR HEART”.

Everyone was summoned to worship this image – but it is quite clear that all did not. There were three who stood firm in their faith, even in the face of death

 Look at the dimensions of this monstrous image:

  • Sixty cubits high = approximately 90 feet;

  • Six cubits wide = approximately 9 feet;

  • Six is the number of man; seven is the number of completeness; thus, man always comes up short (Rev. 13:18)

When I study this chapter of Daniel, the question comes to my mind, “Where was Daniel?” at this time. We know where Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were. They were about to face the heat of fiery trial. It was time they had to stand alone, ie, without Daniel. However, they were not without God – YHWH.

No matter what kings or despots concoct against God and/or His people God still reigns in the hearts and minds of all men, even the kings. Jesus Christ the Son of God, God the Son is the King of all kings and Lord of lords.  Bow before Him now.  You will later, but then too late. No threat, but the promise of everlasting hope; or warning of everlasting destruction.