Colossians 1:16-20
Col 1:16 (KJB)
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:
Created and were created - Formed or shaped - The word in Greek is used only of God and His creative activity
Thrones - Seat of power
Dominions - Lordship, authority, or mastery
Principalities - Rule, domain, or sphere of influence
Powers - Authorities
In verse 15 Paul told us that Christ was the firstborn of creation, that is He has the preeminence over all creation and in this verse we are given the reason why He has the preeminence. Jesus is the Great Creator of all things. All the things which were created upon earth and all those things which are created in the heavens were created by the Lord Jesus Christ. Those things that are visible such as sun, moon, stars, humans were created by Christ. Those things which are invisible such as the angels were also created by Christ. Then Paul goes on to say that Thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers were also created by Christ. They represent the seats of power which could refer to the angelic order in heaven, whereby certain angels have certain tasks, as we see interspersed throughout the book of Revelation. These can also refer to those who are set up in authority on earth, since both realms are in view. (Rom 13:1 KJV) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. There is no government on earth outside of the authority of Christ. Christ created these things not just for the purpose of creation but He created these things for Himself. A verse like this would have directly contradicted the Gnostic denial of Christ being deity. It is teachings like this which makes up the essence of the Book of Colossians.
Col 1:17 (KJB)
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
Before - A preposition which is normally used to denote time
Consist - Exist
Paul builds upon the creation authority of the Lord Jesus Christ by stating that Christ was preexistent before He created the world. The Gnostics had taught that Christ was created at His human birth and He did not have a preexistence. (Gal 4:4 KJV) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, Notice in Galatians 4:4, we read that God “sent forth His Son.” If Christ did not exist before the world was created, then how could God “send” His Son. If there was no preexistence, then the passage should read “God created His Son.” How could God send someone who did not exist beforehand? This lie that Christ was created at His human birth is still alive and well today and many believe it. Not only was Christ before all things but the entire creation continues to exist by His power. If not, the earth would probably have orbited right into the sun and been destroyed but since the power of Christ guides this universe, we can be confident that we will not spin off into space or suffer some other catastrophe destroying the whole human race.
Col 1:18 (KJB)
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.
Head - The authority
Of the body - A living body
Beginning - Origin
Firstborn - In this instance He was the first to rise from the dead never to die again
The preeminence - Holding the first place
Just as Christ rules and reigns over the natural creation, here we are taught that he rules over the new creation, which is the church. He is called the head of the body and that means He is the authority, not a authority, but THE authority over the church. Just like the human head directs the rest of the body through the brain, Christ directs the church. It is through the church that Christ performs His purposes here on Earth. We are taught that He is the originator of the church and of everything else which exists on earth, both natural and physical. He is called the firstborn from the dead, that is, He was the first to rise from the dead and never to see death again. Lazarus, although raised from the dead, died again but Christ is never to die again. That is the great promise to the believer that before the Lord returns, if we die, we will never again face death for all eternity. Then finally in this verse, Christ is the authority and as a result He is to have preeminence in all things, that is, in all the earth and especially in the eternal church which was redeemed by His blood. He is first in rank, honor, and to be worshipped.
Col 1:19 (KJB)
For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
For it pleased - Delight in, approve, or consent
Fulness - That which makes something complete or something that fills
Dwell - Reside in or indwell
God the Father had planned that all His fullness would dwell in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is interesting that the term “fullness” is used. This was a Gnostic term which carried with it the idea of divine emanations or intermediary beings which they believed had controlled people’s lives. (1 Tim 2:5 KJV) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 1 Timothy 2:5 teaches us that there is only one mediator between God and man. The Roman Catholic institution attempts to make Mary a mediatrix but that belief cannot stand up to the scrutiny of Scripture. The new age movement tries to make demons, which masquerade as ascended masters, their intermediaries but these too are failures and will lead only to eternal damnation. We must look at the fullness that Christ has as being omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence which are three major attributes of God.
Col 1:20 (KJB)
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.
Having made peace - Peace with God thus ending the hostility
To reconcile - Reconciliation of a former relationship
When Adam and Eve had sinned, this caused man to become spiritually dead. From the foundation of the world, there has always been the Elect of God whom Christ came to save. Until the time that we become saved, we are also children of wrath and are at enmity with God. (Eph 2:3 KJV) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. Once Christ went to the cross, by His blood, He had reconciled the Elect of God back to God. (Rom 5:1 KJV) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: Romans 5:1 states that those who are saved have peace with God. Those who are not the Elect of God are still at enmity with God, that is, they are still the enemies of God. Therefore those who are reconciled unto God are brought into the same fellowship Adam and Eve had before they sinned, and that is why the word in the Greek for “reconcile” means “a reconciliation of a former relationship.” At this point it is only the Elect of God which has been reconciled but the rest of creation must wait until the second coming of Christ for their restoration. (Rom 8:22 KJV) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. Christ is going to remake the entire creation and that means sin will never have its power over man or the earth again. Sin affected the animal kingdom also as we see how vicious animals can become. At one time they ate vegetation but now they will eat each other. The cross was the reconciliation factor for the entire creation.