He is the image
of the invisible God,
of all creation.
For ... all things were created,
and on earth,
all things were created
and for him.
And he is before all things,
and ... all things hold together.
27 So God created man in his own image , in the image of God he created him; r male and female he created them.
27 And I will make him the i firstborn , j the highest of the kings of the earth.
22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord , c Israel is my d firstborn son,
9 s With weeping they shall come, t and with pleas for mercy I will lead them back, I will make them u walk by brooks of water, v in a straight path in which they shall not stumble, for w I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is x my firstborn .
12 But above all , my brothers, u do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
1 Peter 4:8
8 Above all , keep loving one another earnestly, since q love covers a multitude of sins.
FB Live Notes (Oct. 13/20): This passage was requested by Brandon Long, since he's preaching on it on Oct. 18. 1. The emphasis is on a twofold description of Christ's supremacy: He is "the image of the invisible God," and he is "the firstborn of all creation." Phrasing helps us see how 15a and c have the emphasis for these verses (and perhaps also 17a and b). a. See Genesis 1:27, and the preposition "in" there; compare this with the Ground of verse 16. "[T] he first Adam is one who was created “in” or “after” the image of God, but he is not identified as the image" (Pao, 94). "[T]he genitival qualifier, “of the invisible God,” focuses on the revelatory function of this 'image'" (ibid.). So Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God. b. He is also the supreme ruler over creation. Why? Three reasons: Jesus created everything, is primary over everything, and he sustains everything (notice the recurrence of "all"!). "First born": Look at Psalm 89:27; Ex 4:22; Jer 31:9 where David and Israel are called the "firstborn" (ibid., 95). " In the Greco-Roman context, “firstborn” is also used as a legal term to refer to one who is the legal heir of his father’s inheritance. As the heir, this person also inherits the power and authority of his father over his household" (ibid.). "Of all creation": " This modifier can hardly be a partitive genitive (“firstborn among all creation”) because in v. 16 Christ is clearly distinguished from all creation since all things were created through him. Christ is therefore different from Wisdom, who was created as the “first of his works” ( Prov 8:22 )" (ibid., emphasis mine). 2. Then both descriptions are grounded in Christ's creative work. "Through" and "for": "' Through him' points to Jesus as the intermediate agent through whom God accomplishes his creative acts, and 'for him' points to Christ as the goal of creation . While 'through him' may evoke the role of Wisdom in God’s act of creation (Ps 104:24; Prov 3:19; 8:27–30; cf. Prov 24:3), 'for him' ' exceeds anything predicated for divine Wisdom and now conceives of Christ in an eschatological sense'" (ibid., 97, emphasis mine). 3. Finally, two more grounds are given to prove Christ's superiority: his pre-existence, and his sustaining of creation. "Before all things": " In light of the consistent temporal use of this preposition elsewhere in Paul, a temporal sense cannot be denied. Christ’s preexistence is thus clearly affirmed. At the same time, as in the earlier case of the 'firstborn' (v. 15), the focus is on the supremacy of Christ. Moreover, elsewhere in the NT when the exact phrase ( πρὸ πάντων ) is used, this is always a marker for rank and supremacy (Jas 5:12; 1 Pet 4:8)" (ibid., 98, emphasis mine). "In him": " The exact sense of “in him” ( ἐν αὐτῷ ) is again in dispute (cf. v. 16a). Many take it in an instrumental sense , a reading supported by the wisdom traditions in reference to the Divine Logos: 'by his word all things hold together' ( Sir 43:26 ). In light of the parallel in v. 16a, however, the instrumental sense does not exhaust the meaning of this prepositional phrase . All things are indeed sustained 'by him,' because all things owe their continuous existence to him" (ibid., 98, emphasis mine).