CHRIST AS EVERYTHING
As the Creator, the Firstborn of Creation, the Firstborn from the Dead, and the Head of the Body
The third major point in Colossians is that God intends to make Christ everything. In the universe the first item is God. Then there is God’s creation, including man. In addition, there is redemption, which includes the church. These five items—God, God’s creation with man as the center, and God’s redemption with the church as the center—include all the items in the universe. The first chapter of Colossians reveals that Christ is God (vv. 15a, 19), Christ is part of the creation (v. 15b), and Christ accomplished redemption (vv. 20-22). Verses 15 through 18 say, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of all creation, because in Him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and unto Him. And He is before all things, and all things cohere in Him; and He is the Head of the Body, the church; He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things.” Christ Himself is both the Creator and the Firstborn of all creation. The creation came out of Him and was made by Him. Without Him there is no creation, but at the same time He is the first item of all created things. The Firstborn of all creation refers to God’s old creation, while the Firstborn from the dead refers to God’s redemption. Both in God’s creation and in God’s redemption Christ is the Firstborn.
In these few verses there are several items of what Christ is. Christ is the very Creator; the first item, the Firstborn, in creation; and the Firstborn in God’s redemption; therefore, He is the Head of the church. Christ is everything. He also became a genuine man in God’s creation. This corresponds with the record in the first chapter of John’s Gospel, which says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.…All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not one thing came into being which has come into being” (vv. 1, 3). Then verse 14 says that the Word became flesh, incarnated to become a man, in order to accomplish redemption. He is also the Head of the church, and He is the church, the Body itself (1 Cor. 12:12). Therefore, He is everything.
As the Reality of All Things
Verses 16 and 17 of Colossians 2 say, “Let no one therefore judge you in eating and in drinking or in respect of a feast or of a new moon or of the Sabbath, which are a shadow of the things to come, but the body is of Christ.” These two verses indicate that the reality of all that we need is Christ. We need food, drink, and the feasts. A new moon indicates a new start, and the Sabbath is for rest. However, all these are simply a shadow; they are not the real things. Christ Himself is the reality of all these things.
When a person stands in the light, he casts a shadow, but the shadow is not the real person. The real person is the body of that shadow. All things in the entire universe are only a shadow; Christ Himself is the reality. The clothes that we wear are not the real clothes; they are shadows. Christ is our real clothing. If we do not have Christ to clothe us, we are still naked before God. The light we see is not the real light. Christ is the reality of the light. Even if we have the best light, without Christ we are still in darkness. The sun is not the real sun; it is a type. The reality of the sun is Christ, the Sun of righteousness (Mal. 4:2). Even the house in which we dwell is not our real dwelling place. Our real dwelling place is Christ. Everything we need is a shadow; the reality of all things is Christ. To be sure, Christ is not the reality of the negative things in the universe, such as sin, the world, self, Satan, and the evil spirits. Rather, all the positive things in the universe are shadows of Christ.
All the trees are shadows of Christ. In the Scriptures many trees are types of Christ, such as the tree of life (Gen. 2:9), the apple tree (S. S. 2:3), the cedar tree (5:15), and the fir tree (Hosea 14:8). The most significant tree is the vine tree mentioned in John 15. Christ is also the Root of David (Rev. 5:5) and the branch of Jesse (Isa. 11:1). A tree gives us fruit and shade. If we take the time to study how trees are used to illustrate Christ, we will see that Christ is everything.
Many items of clothing also typify Christ. The garments of the high priest with their many details are a type of Christ. The many items of food also typify Christ. All the items on Solomon’s feasting table and the items in his storage typify Christ (1 Kings 4:22-23). We should read the Scriptures in the way of seeing all the types and shadows of Christ.
Colossians shows us that God has made Christ to be everything. He is God Himself, and He is man. He is the Creator, and He is a creature. He accomplished redemption, and He is the Firstborn from the dead. He is the Head of the church, and He is even the Body. Christ is everything! In order to see this, we need Colossians. If we remove this book from the Bible, no one could understand Christ in such a profound way. If there were no Colossians, and I told you that Christ is everything, even the reality of the trees in the Bible, you may think I am foolish. If some would try to discover all the items mentioned in the Scriptures about Christ, they may not be able to finish the list in their lifetime. We praise the Lord that we have this book that shows us that Christ is everything.
(General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 2: Romans through Philemon, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)