The Pre-Eminent Christ

Posted in: 2012
By Tom L. Ballinger
May 2, 2012 - 12:38:23 PM

Plainer Words since 1968

March 16, 2012


Part 1

“And He is the Head of the Body, the Church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18).

Because of Who He is, What He did, and What He will do; the Church over which He is the Head is to acknowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ is to have the Preeminence in everything.

The Apostle Paul informs the student that before His Incarnation, the Lord Jesus Christ was “equal with God.” This equality which the Lord Jesus enjoyed was that of being “in the form of God.”

“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:” (Philippians 2:6).

Being in the “form of God” does not have anything to do with size or shape. A casual reading, perhaps, would indicate the idea would be that of size or shape. The primary meaning of the word, “form,” has to do with the “shape or external appearance of a body; the figure, as defined by lines and angles.” However, the more one considers Philippians 2:6 and its context, the more aware he becomes of the fact that this cannot apply to the Lord Jesus Christ; for the verse says He existed “in the form of God.”

God is Invisible (Colossians 1:15).
God is Spirit (John 4:24).

These two statements clearly show that the primary definition of the word, “form,” cannot apply in the sense Paul intended it to mean in Philippians 2:6. Since God is invisible, He has no external appearance; hence, no form. Also, God is Spirit and, as such, He has no defined lines or angles. If you read further in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, we notice the eighteenth definition of the word, “form,” is very illuminating:
18. “Essential form,” is that mode of existence which constitutes a thing what it is,  and without which it could not exist. Thus water and light have its particular form of existence, and the parts of water being decomposed, it ceases to be water. “Accidental form” is not necessary to the existence of a body. “Earth” is “earth,” whatever may be its color.

“Who being in the form of God” indicates that the form, in the sense intended, has to do with “essential form.” That is, the mode of existence before the Incarnation was such that Christ was equal with God. Christ had a particular form of existence which was equal with God. Without this particular form, He could not have existed as being equal with God.

Water is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen. The formula would be stated as H2/O. H2/0 is the “essential form” of water. When water becomes a solid, it freezes. The outward form changes, but the “essential form” does not; it is still H2/O. When water is boiled, its outward or external appearance changes, but its “essential form” does not. Water, boiled, turns to steam; however, it still remains H2/O.

“Being in the form of God,” then, refers to the essential mode of existence. The “essential form” constituted Deity; otherwise, Christ could not have been “equal with God.” The “essential form” of God was always resident in Christ—before the Incarnation and after. Considering, again, the chemical formula of H2/O, the outward or external form may change—but its formula never does.  Water may exist as a solid, a liquid, or a gas.  The “state” of the substance called “water” may change, but its “essential form” does not. It still remains H2/O, whether it is water, ice, or steam. The “form” of H2/O remains unchanged and unchangeable. Likewise, “the form of God” cannot be altered, although the “fashion” may.


“But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7-8)

This tells us more about His Incarnation in that He was “found in fashion as a man.” In plainer words, Jesus Christ was no longer in fashion as Spirit, but in “fashion as a man.” The word, “fashion,” has as its primary definition the following:

“The state of anything with regard to its external appearance; shape; as the fashion of the ark, or of the tabernacle. ‘Or let me loose the fashion of a man’ Shakespeare. ‘The fashion of His countenance was altered.’ (Luke 9:29). Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.

Even though His “fashion” changed from that of Spirit to that of man, His FORM did not. His “essential form” remained the same. He was absolute Deity before Bethlehem and after. His form never changed. It was acknowledged that the “Webster’s Dictionary,”  published in 1828, is a great help as we endeavor to understand the Scriptural usage of the words, “form” and “fashion.” However, a careful study of the context tells us as much as does the dictionary. The word, “form,” is found, twice, in the immediate context:

Phil. 2:6—“Who being in the FORM of God”
Phil. 2:7—“And took upon Him the FORM of a servant”

Therefore, we note in Verse 6, it is the “form of God” and in Verse 7, it is “the form of a servant.” In considering Verse 7  and the expression, “the form of a servant,” we conclude that the “form,” in this sense, does not have to do with the outward or external appearance of “a body.” A servant or slave has no bodily shape that would distinguish him from his master. Strip both the slave and the master and, unless you knew who was who, you could not distinguish which was the slave. Both would look like mere men. However, the “form of a servant” would, then, indicate that the “form” in question would have more to do with status than an outward external bodily shape. The status of a servant would be that of being subservient to another. In this instance, when the Lord Jesus Christ made Himself of no reputation (Phil. 2:7) AND TOOK UPON HIM THE FORM OF A SERVANT, He became subservient to the will, desire, and purpose of the One acknowledged Master. His will was completely submissive to the Heavenly Father. His attitude was that of “nevertheless not My will, but Thine” (Luke 22:42). He, so completely, took upon Himself the “form of a servant” that Paul wrote of Him in Romans 15:3; “even Christ pleased not Himself.”

He condescended to leave the glories of heaven and all of the acknowledged Holy, Holy, Holies of all of the creatures round about the Throne (Isaiah 6:3).

“And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was” (John 17:5).

This condescension does not, at all, imply that Christ divested Himself of Deity. On the contrary, He stripped Himself of the glory and dignity that was His before His Incarnation. He showed up in this world with the status; not as God, but as a servant.  He did not cease being God, for the “form of God” was His “essential form” of existence.  He exerted tremendous power in order to conceal His Deity. That is to say, His “form of God” was camouflaged in the guise of humanity. The “form of God” could not be put on or put off. He could not disrobe Himself of His “essential form”—absolute Deity.

The fact that Christ was originally in the “form of God” does not suggest, at all, that when He took upon Himself the “form of a servant,” that He relinquished “the form of God.” On the contrary, the fact that the form involved was the “essential form” which was that mode of existence which constitutes Deity. Resident in Him was all the attributes of Deity which was “the form of God.” This “form” remained with Him from His birth throughout His life. It was not relinquished with His Death on the Cross. Christ never ceased to be God. At the Incarnation when He was brought forth and wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger (Luke 2:7), He was Deity. Deity was concealed as the Babe in the manger. When Mary carried Him into the Temple in her arms for circumcision (Luke 2:21), “the form of God” was resident in Him as an eight-day old Baby. Even though He was a Baby, He never ceased to be God. Can your mind get around this idea? Mine can!

Even though He went all the way to the Cross and suffered and died, “the form of God” never departed. There is a school of thought which teaches that at His death, Divinity departed—that was not the case. Divinity was NEVER taken from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Originally, He was in the “form of God.” As the Pre-Existent One, He was God. “He thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Phil. 2:6). When He was “found in fashion as a man,” He remained God. The “essential form” was not given-up; only His “fashion” was changed.

It can be concluded that the word, “form,” has to do with “mode of existence” which constituted, on the one hand, Deity, and on the other, servitude, without which neither would have existed. That is to say, without the “form as God,” Christ could not have existed as “being equal with God.” Likewise, without the “form of a servant,” He could not have exited as a Servant.

Because of the fact that Christ, so completely, took upon Himself the “form of a servant,” He manifested the greatest characteristic of a Perfect Servant—PERFECT OBEDIENCE.

“But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH, EVEN THE DEATH OF THE CROSS”    (Phil. 2:7-8).

Being in the “form of a servant,” He became obedient unto death, even, the cruel death of the Cross. Because of His perfect obedience, God highly exalted Him.

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a Name which is above every name: That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:9-11).

The Biblical fact is that God highly exalted a Christ, to such an extent that the Father bestowed upon Him a vey SPECIAL NAME—JESUS. Consider the etymology of the Name, “Jesus.” (This special Name is to be reserved for One Who earned it!) We will, briefly, trace this Exalted Name from the NT back through the OT:

“Jesus—is derived from—Iesous (Greek)—Yehoshua (Hebrew)—Yeshua (Hebrew-Aramaic)—YHWH—Yahweh” (Wikipedia).

With an understanding of the Name of “Jesus,” we are enabled to realize the significance of the Given Name of JESUS being “above every name.”

The Father has so glorified Christ that the Bible says that He has been HIGHLY EXALTED. “Highly” means, “With the elevation in place, or elevation in rank, dignity, power, or authority.” “Exalted” means almost the same; “To raise high, to elevate; to elevate in wealth, rank, power, or dignity.” Therefore, because of the fact Christ laid aside the glory that was His before the world began, and showed up in this world in fashion as a man and exercised to the greatest degree—OBEDIENCE, the Father elevated  Him to a place of Dignity and Rank that, one day, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess and acknowledge this exaltation that Jesus Christ is Lord, and all of this will be “to the Glory of God the Father.”

~To be continued~

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March 29, 2012


Part 2

Jesus Christ will be acknowledged, eventually, by every creature in the Universe as “Lord.” The Church, which is His Body does not await that grand and glorious day to acknowledge Christ as “Lord,” but rather, we understand NOW that He is “all in all” (Col. 3:11). We know that He is Head over all things to “the Church, which is His Body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:21-23). The members of this special calling already acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Pre-Eminent One – He is “Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11). We should be reminded of the words the Apostle Thomas spoke when he saw the Hands and the Side of the Lord Jesus after His resurrection:

“Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and My God” (John 20:28).

The acknowledgment by the Apostle Thomas was based upon the evidence of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection which Thomas saw with his own eyes. The Lord commended Thomas and, further, said; “Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”           (John 20:29).

(Many Christians, when pinned down, will not admit that Jesus Christ is God. I wrote several studies in which I acknowledged that Jesus Christ and “Yahweh” were the same—that our Lord Jesus is God. I immediately received emails from a number of readers, saying; “Evidently, you don’t believe in the Trinity.” I stood by my findings on “Who is Jesus Christ.” My question in reply was, “Did Christ correct Thomas for not believing in the Trinity?”).

With the Incarnation of Christ, His “fashion” changed from that of Spirit to that of “flesh and blood.” The word, “fashion,” as found in Philippians 2:8, is a noun; “And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, …” The verb form of “fashion” is “fashioned.”

Let us read Philippians 3:20-21:

20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.

What a great thought for us to cogitate! Paul wrote, “Who shall change our vile body.” The “our” does not refer to every believer who will experience resurrection. The “our” is a reference to “us.” This is a reference to those of us who will participate in resurrection that is prior to any other resurrections—the Church, which is His Body. For a complete study on the prior resurrection of the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head, read the Four Part Study, “Is the Resurrection of Today’s Calling Unique?”                         (see: We shall be “fashioned” like unto His Body of Glory.

Note Exodus 32:4, where Aaron “fashioned” the calf with a graving tool. Therefore, it can be said that Philippians 2:6-8 acknowledges that Jesus Christ possessed  all of the attributes of absolute Deity. Before His Incarnation, being “in the form of God,” He was equal with God. In fact, the Apostle John said that in the Pre-Incarnate State, He was the “Word,” and that “the Word was with God, and the WORD WAS GOD (John 1:1:14). When His fashion was changed “and was made in the likeness of men,” He took upon Himself the “form of a servant.” When He took upon Himself the servant’s status, He did not relinquish His essential form of Deity. He did not disrobe Himself of His Divine Nature. His Divine Nature was His essential form to being God. However, He did conceal the Divine Form in order to take on our humanity. When the “Word was made flesh and dwelt among us [the Apostles]” (John 1:14), He was God manifest in the flesh.

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Tim. 3:16).

When He was made in the likeness of men and was found in fashion as a man, the Invisible God, Who is Spirit, was made manifest in the flesh


Colossians asserts that Christ is the Image of the Invisible God:

“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Col.1:15).

The Apostle also stated, in Hebrews, that Christ is the Image of God, but there is a difference in the expression:

“Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express Image of His Person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3).

Here, the “express Image of His person” is a reference to His bearing an exact representation of God’s Person. This speaks of equality with God, as did Philippians 2.

In 2 Corinthians 4:4, another reference is made to the fact that Christ is the Image of God:

“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.”

The Lord Jesus Christ is certainly the One to Whom all honor and adoration is due; for He is, truly, the Image of the Invisible God, and the Express Image of God’s Person. Without controversy, Christ is the Pre-Eminent Personage of the Universe.


We have noted that Christ Jesus “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the WORD WAS GOD;” furthermore, we noted that He was in “the form of God. This speaks of Equality with God.

Look at Ephesians 1:20-23, and we see even more reason for acknowledging Him as the Pre-Eminent One:

“Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every Name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, Which is his Body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.”

The magnificent language expressed, here, states that the Lord Jesus Christ has been raised out from among the dead to the pre-eminent place of all creation. Having been raised “far above all principalities, powers, mights, and dominions” speaks of Him ranking high above them all in honor, dignity, and authority. He occupies the highest Office in the Universe. He out-ranks every name that is named, not only in this world       [ age ] but, also, in that [ age ] which is to come. Christ Jesus has the most exalted name, as well as, the most exalted rank and position.

The Apostle Paul does not enumerate all of the spiritual beings, but he states that out of all creatures, whether visible or invisible (Col. 1:16), Christ definitely holds the pre-eminent place. Whatever the future ages are to be, it is clear that Christ Jesus the Lord will have the chief name, rank, and position. His Name is to be ABOVE EVERY NAME THAT IS NAMED. Since being released and raised from the grip of “Death and Hell,” we see with the eyes of faith that all things have been put under His authority (Eph. 1:22).
The authority of His Pre-Eminence over every created being is measureless. Along with His superior power, goes His supremacy over every being which is absolute and universal. The Imperial power of Christ is not, presently, being exercised or enforced. It awaits the time when He takes control of all POWER and AUTHORITY—at His Appearing, which is to say, at His Kingdom (2 Tim. 4:1).

Today, those of us who have had the “eyes of [our] understanding enlightened”          (Eph. 1:18) realize that He is active, 24/7, “And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist”—all things hold together (Col. 1:17). Or, said another way, “And He Himself antedates everything, and all things in Him cohere.” In plainer words, Christ is insuring that all of the Laws of Nature in the Universe are maintained.

On top of all of the superlatives set forth in these two studies concerning the Pre-Eminence of Jesus Christ, we would be derelict if we failed to mention Ephesians 1:10. We are enlightened concerning the fact that the time is coming when everything in heaven and on earth will be headed-up under the dominion of Christ Jesus, the Lord. The times appointed will be when He exercises Headship over ALL.

“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” (Eph.1:10).

Even though Ephesians 1:22 was quoted a few paragraphs earlier, we’ll re-state that the Father “hath all things under His feet.”  The “all things” is an Ellipsis. The word, “things,” is italicized; thus, indicating the word, “things,” was supplied by the translators. The immediate Context requires that the word, “things,” is a reference to Heaven’s angelic hosts who are “in Christ,” along with all of earth’s inhabitants who are, likewise, “in Christ.”  The Headship of “all things” speaks of the Imperial power over the Universe, as well as, Him being the Head over all things to the Church, which is His Body” (Eph. 1:22-23).

In “Colossians,” the Apostle Paul refers to the Pre-Eminence of Christ. This Pre-Eminence is based upon the fact that: (1) He is the Firstborn of every creature, and (2) He is the Head of the Church; therefore, He has the Pre-Eminence over all things (Col. 1:18). The Pre-Eminence of the Lord Jesus Christ speaks of His priority of place and Universal Superiority in rank and dignity because everything is placed under Him. The “all things” in Colossians are references to the invisible hierarchies in Heaven which are enumerated in Colossians 1:16. These are the super-mundane powers which Christ created and, consequently, out-ranks because He is “the head over all principality and power”        (Col. 2:10).

~To be continued~

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April 16, 2011

Part 3


“Who is the image of the invisible God, the FIRSTBORN OF EVERY CREATURE:    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: And He is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:15-17)

The word, “firstborn,” does not imply that Jesus Christ was a created being prior to His Incarnation. In fact, the Apostle John wrote that, “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” (John 1:1-3). This unmistakably states that the Word (Jesus Christ) was the Pre-Existent One. He was the “Word,” the Image of God; therefore, was God. Words could not be plainer—John unapologetically asserted the “Word” WAS GOD! “Firstborn;” therefore, must mean something other than birth.

The idea of “firstborn” is associated with Israel in Exodus 4:22, where God refers to Israel as “My son, even My firstborn.” This informs us about Israel having a special position, rank, or place as far as God was concerned. Israel was to hold a most distinguished place in the purposes of God. That's why Israel was called God’s “firstborn” and, as such, was to be heir of God’s salvation.

In Deuteronomy 28:13, it is written that Israel was to be “the head, and not the tail; and thou [Israel] shalt not be beneath.” This has reference to the distinguished place Israel is to occupy in the program of God. There is no reference to be born or created. The idea of the FIRSTBORN carries with it, HEIRSHIP, and, as such, Christ is the One Who is entitled to possess all things. “In figurative language, the term firstborn stands for that which is most excellent” (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary).

Psalm 89:27 is a Messianic Psalm and speaks concerning Christ; “Also I will make him [Christ] my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.”

In the Epistle to the Hebrews, it states that God “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, Whom He hath appointed heir [Jesus Christ] of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:2).  

In Webster’s Dictionary of 1812, he defines “Firstborn” as; “First brought forth; first in order of nativity; eldest, (2) Most excellent; most distinguished or exalted. Christ is called the firstborn of every creature, Col. 1.”

In Colossian 1:15-17, the Pre-Incarnate Christ has a relationship to Creation as the Firstborn by virtue of the fact that He created all things, and all things were created “for Him.” The resultant fact is the Pre-Incarnate Christ has a relationship to Creation as the “Firstborn.” This is to say, He holds the Exalted Position as being Heir to all of Creation.


As the Creator, the Great “I AM,” He stands in relation to all Creation as the Firstborn, and by virtue of this, He is the Absolute Heir and Sovereign Head of all Creation.

“And He is before all things” (Col.1:17), again, speaks of His superiority. The word, “before,” in the context, is said to mean, “Preceding in dignity” (Webster’s 1828). Christ being “before” all things expresses His superior place in the Universe. He holds the position of absolute priority and sovereignty to everything which relates to the Creation.


We pointed out, earlier, that “firstborn’ is used figuratively, meaning, “which is most excellent” according to Nelson’s Bible Dictionary.  Looking at H.W.F. Gesenius’ “Lexicon of the Old Testament,” the 2nd meaning for the Hebrew word, “bekowr,” is “a metaphor used of anything which is chief, first of its kind. Job 18:13, ‘the firstborn of death,’ i.e., ‘the greatest deadly maladies.’ For disease may fitly be called by a Hebraism, ‘the son of death,’ as being the precursor and attendant …Isaiah 14:30 , ‘the first born of the poor,’ the poorest; as if the chief amongst the sons of the poor, or firstborn of this wretched age.” (Strong’s # 1060).

The New Testament usage of the “firstborn” carries with it, basically, the same meaning as exhibited in the Old Testament. Its New Testament Greek word is “prototokos” (Strongs’ #4416) which means, either literally or metaphorically. He is the first and the last. Through Him, the Universe has been created; and unto Him as the final goal, the Creation is tending.  “Tending” – like tending a fire. Except, He simply radiates or exudes the energy or force that is necessary to tend to the sustaining of all universal Laws of Nature.

“And He is before all things,” again, speaks of His superiority. The word, “before,” according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, has the meaning of “preceding in dignity. Thus, Jesus Christ being BEFORE ALL THINGS expresses His superior place in the Universe, and the fact that He precedes all other beings in dignity. His position, as it relates to Creation, affirms the highest honor and dignity of any personage of the entire Universe.  

Our redundancy is acknowledged by reason of His pre-eminence—ALL THINGS WERE CREATED BY HIM AND FOR HIM. Thus, He is “before all things.”


The Apostle Paul continues to heap upon Christ all honor and glory by further saying, “By Him all things consist” (Col.1:17b).

“Consist” means, “to stand together; to be in a fixed or permanent state, as a body composed of parts in union or connection. Hence, to be; to exist; to subsist; to be supported or maintained” (Webster’s 1828). Think about what is implied by the definition of “consist.” The Creation is continuously supported and maintained “by Him.” This tells us that “all things,” such as the all Natural Laws of the Universe, remain fixed or in a permanent state because He is holding “all things” together.

There are those who would have the world believe that emissions from automobiles’ internal combustion engines are choking the atmosphere. The consequence of auto and industrial pollution overloads the weakened ozone layer. Therefore, our air is causing major health problems. Most all of this hullabaloo is generated by the Al Gores and George Soros of this world. There is enormous profit by promoting this pseudo-science—Global Warming—by scarring people.

I contend that the Lord Jesus Christ is not working over-time trying to keep all things held together. He has not panicked! His electrical storms still act as a bleaching agent as they clean the air and purifies the water. The ozone still filters the ultra-violet sun rays. The earth still maintains its orbit around the sun. The moon still controls the tides of the oceans. In spite of everything,the Laws of Nature are not being compromised by the   “misdeeds of mankind.”

“By Him all things consist” tells us, in plainer words, that the cohesion of the Universal Laws of Nature are sustained and maintained—Christ is the cohesive force of His Creation that keeps it as a “cosmos instead of a chaos.

Hebrews 1:3 states it this way:

“And upholding all things by the word of his power”

The Word of His power is never relaxed, for if it were, the elements of the Universe would ignite. All of Creation would be destroyed by fire. When the Lord Jesus Christ takes “His Hand” off His Creation, the electrons and neutrons, the atoms and the particles  of other elements forming molecules are damaged, and a chain reaction is causing nuclear fission; hence, a great explosion  “in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise [a nuclear explosion] and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all theses things shall be dissolved, …” (2 Peter 3:10-11). Therefore, “by Him all things consist.”

Paul accords to Christ the greatest dignity of any being, human or otherwise. Christ was the Pre-Eminent One even prior to His Incarnation; for He was no-less than the Creator Himself.


The super exaltation of Christ Jesus, as being raised “far above all” of the heavens’ hierarchies, has already been considered. However, in Colossians Chapter One, there is an extraordinary emphasis upon what His resurrection has entitled Him to.

“And He is the Head of the body, the Church: Who is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead;” (Col.1:18a).

Christ’s resurrection from the dead is His title-deed to the Headship of the Church. By virtue of the fact that He is the “Firstborn from the dead,” He is deservedly given the absolute priority over the Church.

The Church [Ecclesia] over which He is the Head is a new spiritual creation. He is its Head, and it is His Body. This was His prerogative because He is the Source and Beginning of its life since He is the Firstborn from the dead. For this reason, in all things relating to this newly created entity—the Church, as well as all other Creation, He is found to have the Pre-Eminence. The Creator of the world, also, created the Church, which His Body—and this has been His last act of Creation.

As Head of the Church, He is its Source of inspiring, ruling, guiding, sustaining power, the mail center of its activity, and the very seat of its life.

Christ is First with respect to the Universe, so it was ordained that He should be First with respect to the Church, as well. Remember, we are talking about the Church that was hid in God and was not made known to men until it was revealed in Ephesians and Colossians. We are not, nor have we been talking about the Church of God that was formed during “The Acts of the Apostles.” He is the Head of THE CHURCH by virtue of His Incarnation, His Death, and His Resurrection.

He is the origin of THE CHURCH; that is to say, “the beginning.” In Colossians 1:15-18, it is noted He has the Pre-Eminent place in two Creations—the world and THE CHURCH; the material, and the spiritual; the Old and the New.

He is the Firstborn of every creature (Col.1:15-17).
He is the Firstborn from the dead (Col. 1:18).

What He is to the “natural” Creation, He is to the new “spiritual” Creation—THE CHURCH. As the Father ordained that He should be First with respect to the Universe, so, He ordained that Christ should be First to THE CHURCH.  He is First … the Beginning …the Pre-Eminent One.

The Creator of the Universe is, also, the Head of THE CHURCH. As He is First with respect to the Universe; likewise, He is First with respect to THE CHURCH.

~To be continued~

May 1, 2012

Part 4


To give a little background on what will be presented, you are referred to two paragraphs from my Plainer Words Study on “Heavenly Places.”

“As we proceed, we will, again, point out that there are spiritual beings who inhabit the heavens. This is their first estate; that is to say, their proper domain. Many of the spirit beings (angels) left their first estate (Jude 6) and chose the daughters of men to co-habitat with (Genesis 6:2).

“Outside of the Godhead, the highest ranking principals in the heavens are: principalities, powers, thrones, dominions, and mights. They make up heaven’s hierarchy. There are good, spiritual authorities who are identified as being “in Christ,” as we shall see. There are evil, or wicked, spiritual authorities owing their allegiance to the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). They are the wicked spirits of Ephesians 6:12. Each category, good and bad, are angelic rulers who make their home in the heavens. Isaiah 24:21 refers to them as “the high ones that are on high.”

Now, back to our current study; Ephesians 1:19-23 will be considered as I have tried to express the verses in plainer words. First, notice Verses 19, 20, and 21;

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His [God’s] mighty power; 20 Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him [Christ] from the dead, and set Him [Christ] at His [God’s] own right hand [among Heaven’s Hierarchy]; 21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:  

Liberty has been taken to render Verses 19, 20, and 21 in plainer words. In Verse 20, “heavenly places” as you and I know, the Bible renders the word, “places,” and it is in italics; thereby, indicating that an Ellipsis exists. The Translators supplied the word, “places.” According to proper syntax, “places” should be a reference to the principalities, powers, might, and dominions which are in the immediate Context.  The word, “places,” is not in the near, nor far, Context. The reader is to supply the Ellipsis by the subject found in the Context. Heaven’s Hierarchy is Angelic creatures who makeup the rulers of the Government in Heaven.

Next, it is noted that Christ Jesus is designated as the Head of the Church of the Mystery.

22 And hath put all [the Hierarchy] under His feet, and appointed Him to be the universal and Supreme Head of the Church; 23 Which is His Body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

“Under His feet” is an Idiom, meaning all of Heaven’s ruling Hierarchy have been placed under His authority, or have been subordinated unto Him.


We need to be cognizant of the fact that the Holy Spirit did not direct Paul to say the Church has been placed “under His feet.” The Church, however, is to submit to Christ, as the wife is to submit to her own husband (Eph. 5:26). Paul now refers to the exalted station of Christ as being the Church’s Head. The Headship of Christ speaks about His rank and position. But, over and above His rank and position, the title as “Head” has the underlying concept that Christ Jesus is the SOURCE! He will supply all of the grace, skill, intelligence, discernment, power, and influence required to be an Officer in the Government of the Lord Jesus Christ. This supply will be manifest when His Pre-Millennial Kingdom is ushered in at the close of this Dispensation of Grace. In the meantime, as our present Source, He supplies each member of the Church, which is His Body with the vital grace (Eph.1:7) to walk worthy of His calling (Eph.4:1).

Many Bible expositors teach that Christ, as the head of the church, is a metaphor. They insist that, as such, being the “head” is likened to the head of human anatomy. However, this is a gross mistake. This interpretation “robs” Christ of the divine dignity accorded to Him as the Head and “robs” the Church of its magnificence. The Prison Epistles present the Person of Christ, not as a part of the human body, but rather, as the most superlative Person in the Universe—far above … every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:” (Eph. 1:21)

Those who teach that Christ is like the head of a human body derive this idea by failing to distinguish the “things that differ.” The out-calling during the Book of Acts was labeled “The Church of God.” The Church of God was on the world scene from Acts 2 until the end of Acts 28. It is from an Acts Period Epistle, I Corinthians, that the “human body analogy” is derived. It is in I Corinthians 12 that the Apostle Paul likens members of the Church of God to parts of a human being. In Verse 15, members are likened to the “foot” and to the “hand.” In Verse 16, parts of the head are called members: “the ear,” and “the eye.” They are said to be parts of  “the body.” The Nose is implied in Verse 17 as being a member of the body, for reference is made to “the smelling.”

Nowhere in I Corinthians is the Lord Jesus Christ said to be THE HEAD. Individual members make up “the head” in a figure Paul presents in 1 Corinthians 12:21:

“And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.”

As it was suggested in the above caption where the nuance of the Head could be The Source, we will quote from an earlier study:

But, there is another characteristic to being the Head to the Church which transcends the idea of being its chief, leader, or commander. The word, “head,” is also applied to the “principal source of a stream; the head of the Nile River’ (Webster’s Dictionary of 1828). Lake Victoria is the source, or head, of the Nile. The waters flow out from the lake; thus, “filling” the River Nile. A “fountainhead” is the “primary source; original source.” Likewise, Lake Victoria is the fountainhead of the Nile River. In this instance, Lake Victoria is the out-flowing source of supply to the Nile; just as the river that flowed out of Eden and watered the garden, parted, and became four heads:

“And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads” (Gen 2:10).

The “four heads” were four rivers that supplied water to the Garden. The river in Eden was the out-flowing source of water to what became the four other rivers which watered the Garden.

Paul asserted that Christ is to be the Head, the Source or Fountainhead, over all things to the Church which carries with it a much more profound and intuitive meaning than simply being “the boss,” or the One and only leader of the Church.

All of the graces, blessings, power, love, gifts, authority, goodness, joy, and life to the Church and its members flow from its Source—the Lord Jesus Christ—the Fountainhead. He is to be the Head in the sense that all things the Church requires and needs will flow abundantly from Him; completely filling every member. Keep in mind that the reality of the stream flowing from Christ to His Church is future tense; “and gave Him to be (future tense) the Head over all things.” We can look forward to that day when, like a mighty stream, He fills all things in all places with Himself through the Church.

The concept that Christ is the Head over all things to the Church signifies, or implies, that the Head is to be the SOURCE Who supplies, or fills the Church will all of His fullness. As the Source of supply, He is the Supplier to the Church which is His Body. This should not be difficult to comprehend; especially, when we consider the following:

“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: From whom the whole Body fitly joined together and compacted [knit together] by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the Body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:15-16).

Notice the word, “supplieth.” Literally, it means, “the supply that is from the Head.  And, it is from this supply that the Body makes its increase or grows.”

 “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered [supplieth], and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God” (Col.2:19).

 (For a more expanded study of this aspect, you are directed to “The Fullness of Him – Part I” see

In the analogy of I Corinthians 12, the head is simply a member and is not The Head. Because of I Corinthian 12:27, most Christians say that Ephesians’ Truth of the Church, which is His Body is found in Paul’s Acts Epistles. He wrote in I Corinthians 12:27; “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

I Corinthians 12 and Romans 12, both liken the Church of God to the figure of a human body. But, contrariwise, The Ephesians Epistle does not liken Christ to the head of the human anatomy, nor does Ephesians liken the Church, which is His Body to that of the human form. This common mistake is the source of much confusion. The context of I Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 satisfactorily explains “the body” in view as being that of human form. The context in Ephesians does not satisfy the requirement of Christ to be the head likened to the uppermost part human body where is found the organs of hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, and thinking.

Ephesians, straightforwardly, avouches that the Lord Jesus Christ is the HEAD—that is to say, the Chief or Principal in rank or importance; the Leader; the Commander; the One in which all others are subordinate. As we stressed, He will not only be over the Church and all others, but He will be Its SOURCE of all enablements.

Because of the Truths set forth by the Apostle Paul, as we have written in this composition, Christ Jesus might have the Pre-Eminence in all things (Col. 1:18).


Tom L. Ballinger
1031 Wilson Rd.
Lancaster, Texas 75146