The Glory of Jesus Christ

“He [Christ] is a Likeness of the invisible God, —First-born of All Creation; Because in him were created all things—those in the heavens, and those on the earth; the visible and the invisible, whether Thrones or Lordships, or Governments, or Authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him; and he precedes all things, and in him all things have been permanently placed. He is also the Head of the body of the congregation; who is the Beginning, the Firstborn from the Dead, that he might become Preeminent among all. Because in him it was thought good that the Whole fullness should dwell; and through Him to reconcile all things for him, having made peace by means of the blood of his cross, whether the things on the earth, or the things in the heavens.” —Colossians 1:15-20, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott

IN THESE VERSES the Apostle Paul expresses his joy concerning the part that Jesus played in making possible a reconciliation of the whole world, beginning with the church, to which the brethren in Colosse belonged. Paul had a genuine interest in these Spirit-begotten brethren in Colosse, and desired that they would continue to put much effort toward developing the grace of God in the truth, and be able to grow in the knowledge of the Lord. Knowledge is essential, as Paul says in verse 10, “that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Likewise, fruit is necessary to increasing knowledge, because there is a correlation between fruit and knowledge.

Whoever wishes to bear fruit must first have knowledge. When he brings forth fruit according to his knowledge, he will grow more in knowledge, and will then be able to bear even more fruit. “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (John 15:2) From knowledge to fruit to a higher knowledge—from a higher knowledge to even more fruit—this is the ladder upon which we must climb toward perfection. The goal is as stated by Jesus, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48) We cannot be perfect in this life; therefore, the Rotherham Translation is: “Ye therefore shall become perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” The goal, however, is clear, and we cannot cease striving to reach it.

For this reason, Paul first wished to make plain to the disciples in Colosse their relationship with God, and their place in his plan of Creation. He explained to them that by being members of the body of Christ they were lifted to a higher level, into the fully enlightened realm of “Sons of God.” (John 1:12) These have become New Creatures, begotten to a higher plane. However, Paul first wanted the Colossians to realize the glory of Jesus Christ, and his relationship both to God and to the whole creation.


Through Christ Jesus the glory of God was revealed to man. Jesus was a perfect human being—the ambassador of God, his representative on earth—and hence he was more knowledgeable of God than Adam had been. Jesus was the only perfect man who ever lived on earth, since Adam lost his perfection through sin. Having come to earth and having been anointed with the Holy Spirit, Jesus was given divine authority to perform miracles, to give witness to the glory of God, and to establish the loving and redeeming mercy of God. Therefore, Jesus is worthy of an honor greater than that of any other human being. Through him, and during all his earthly activities fulfilling his mission, the existence and glorious character of God the Almighty was manifested. Jesus said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.”—John 14:9

It was not his own person that Jesus Christ desired to glorify; he came to reveal the Father. “The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he bath declared him.” (John 1:18) Our Lord Jesus said, “I have manifested thy name [thy being] unto the men which thou gayest me out of the world.” (John 17:6) We ask ourselves, do we recognize the Father in Jesus? Do we acknowledge Jesus in this manner? Do we see him in the correct perspective? The answers to these questions require much self-analysis. Jesus said, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) To know the Father means to know Jesus—to ‘see Jesus’—whom we are able to see only by the eye of faith.

Would we have benefited if we had seen Jesus in the flesh, as the disciples did? There were many who saw Jesus with their physical eyes, but yet they did not fully know him, or understand his mission. Although Paul may not have seen Jesus in the flesh, he did have the experience of seeing the glorified Lord on the road to Damascus. Through special visions granted to him later, he was able to say that he “was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (II Cor. 12:4) These experiences gave Paul a much greater insight into Jesus’ glory and of God’s plan than was had by the other apostles. The disciples had not really ‘seen’ the Lord, even after enjoying a long-standing fellowship with him. It is written: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? … Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very work’s sake. … The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.”—John 14:9,11,24


In the Gospel of John we read: “In a beginning was the Word [Logos], and the Word [Logos] was with the God, and a god was the Word [Logos]. This was in a beginning with the God. All through it was done; and without it was done not even one, that has been done.” (John 1:1-3, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, Interlinear Translation) In Revelation 3:14, Jesus is called “the beginning of the creation of God.” The Apostle Paul mentions this fact in Colossians 1:16, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott, adding the statement, “In him were created all things.” These scriptures tell us that God’s first and immediate priority in his work of Creation, was the creation of his Son. God made the whole universe for the sake of his Son—for the sake of bringing to perfection the whole world of Creation. In the case of Jesus, all of this has become a reality. The Son had to be lifted up, step-by-step, from glory to glory, to a completely equal likeness of nature, and an image of the Father. He was not originally created on this high level. He could only be raised up to this high position after having proven himself worthy by meeting certain conditions. All the gifts of God have conditions attached to them.

Out of all the planets in the universe, Earth was selected to be the testing ground for Jesus. For this reason it is said that all things—the whole universe—the visible and invisible worlds, have been created “for him.” (Col. 1:16) Before the Logos could be elevated to an equal nature with God, he had to demonstrate that he possessed the same love as the Father. Although he had complete liberty of will—he was a free moral agent—he chose to have his will be in full harmony with the Father’s will. God and the Logos brought the universe into existence so that a field of action could be available for the proving of such love. God gave his Son creative power, and Jesus could have possessed the work of his hands. But, as the Scriptures tell us, “In the world he was and the world through him came into existence, and the world knew him not. Into his own possessions he came, and his own people received him not home.”—John 1:10,11, Rotherham Translation

At the time that John wrote, ‘A god [a mighty one] was the Word’, Jesus did not have independence from God. He did not have “life in himself.” (John 5:26) However, it was in God’s mind to give his Son the Divine nature, even as an earthly father desires to give good gifts to his children.—Luke 11:13

It was God’s intention that his Son should receive his complete glory. He was designated to be ‘heir of God’: heir of all things, as so well expressed by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 1:1-3. “God, … hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 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.”

Like the angels, man was created a free moral agent, with an ability to make moral decisions, not moving through life in a mechanical way. Man was to have a free, uncompelled love for his Creator. God foresaw the possibility of disobedience to his laws, and hostility to the principles of absolute good—which always leads to sin, decadence, destruction, and death. This type of rebellion occurred upon the planet Earth and caused an environment of evil, sin, and death.

God’s Son was willing to come to this environment in which his lessons would take place, and he would have the privilege to assist in putting down man’s rebellion. Isaiah prophesied, speaking for the Logos, and said, “Here am I; send me.” (Isa. 6:8) As God “so loved the world,” so also his Son ‘so loved the world’. (John 3:16) Jesus was ready to cooperate with the Father in his plan of salvation. “He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name.”—Phil. 2:8,9, RSV

This plan of God was in his mind at the time of the creation of his Son—even before the foundation of the world. The ‘cross of Christ’ was part of that plan to which the Son was obedient. The goal of the Father was to have “all fulness dwell” in the Son (Col. 1:19; 2:9), including all authority, and a nature like unto his own. That is why Jesus was called “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:8) He was the central figure in God’s plan. The Lord had in mind, primarily, the testing and exaltation of his Son. But all mankind became beneficiaries of this plan; and especially the church, who are invited to share in the same kind of testings and, if faithful, will receive a similar reward.


The Apostle Peter also gives us some thoughts on the glory of Jesus. In I Peter 1:19-21 he writes about Jesus as a “lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God.” One might ask that since God foreknew that the Son would be pure and trustworthy, why was his testing required? The answer is that it was necessary for Jesus to learn obedience under unfavorable conditions, and this he demonstrated to all—including those whom God had in mind as a people for his name. The Son was to reveal the Father; and in turn, the Son was to be revealed to a people God would select out of this world. These chosen ones would be likewise tested, be begotten of God’s Holy Spirit, and have a similar birth—a nature like the Son. They would comprise the ‘bride of Christ’.

The objective in ‘revealing the Son’ is to enable this class—those who ‘follow in his footsteps’—to understand the deeper meaning of the cross of Calvary, and of our Lord’s sacrifice. It is to these that the “name” of the Father is revealed. (John 17:6) The Apostle Peter says that Christ was “manifest … for you, who by him do believe in God.” (I Pet. 1:20,21) It is God who called certain ones out from sinful, fallen mankind, endowing them with the Holy Spirit so they would have the strength to be able to run in the race for the ‘prize of the high calling’. Jesus would be their example—their model—and everything that he did would inspire them to strive to be like him.

As God desired to make available to the Son all the glories he himself possessed, on the basis that the Son would prove himself worthy—so also the Son now, on the same basis, makes available to those chosen as his footstep followers, the same glories given to him by the Father, that basis being that they prove themselves worthy. Love was God’s motivation for the selection of his Son for this high honor. So, also, love is the motivation that Jesus has in the selection of the church. Jesus said, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”—John 17:24

The Father wanted to share glory with his Son; and he, in turn, wanted the Son to be similarly motivated. Thus he provided his Son with companions who would become joint-heirs with him. These would be willing to take up the cross and follow in the footsteps of the Son, so they could also reign with him and share in his glory.


Paul’s letter to the Colossians emphasizes that Jesus Christ is the central figure in God’s plan, the beginning of the Creation of God, and the beginning of the church of God—the Head of those who are to be a New Creation. Paul says, “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.”—Col. 1:18

The church is fully and entirely subject to their head. They exist for him, and his glory has been made available to them. They, too, were included in the plan of God before the foundation of the world. This is confirmed in these words: “Even as he chose us in him before the Foundation of the World, that we might be holy and blameless in his presence; having in Love previously marked us out for Sonship through Christ Jesus for himself, according for the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 1:4,5, WED) Likewise we read: “Whom he [God] did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he [Jesus] might be the firstborn among many brethren.”—Rom. 8:29

All this has been made possible through Jesus Christ. Those called to be New Creatures in Christ are the first to be brought into harmony with God by the Son. Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” (John 6:44) Eventually all fallen mankind will benefit from the ministry of Jesus, “for the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: that all men should honour the Son.” (John 5:22,23) As our theme text says, It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell’. Jesus is to receive all authority as well as the Divine nature. “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.”—Col. 1:19,20

When Paul makes mention of the ‘reconciliation of all things whether on earth or in heaven’, was he thinking of the fallen angels? Certainly Jesus preached to them by his example of obedience to the Heavenly Father’s will, even unto death on the cross. This example of Jesus was noted by the fallen angels, as the Apostle Peter says: “Christ even once suffered on account of sins—the righteous for the unrighteous—that he might lead us to God, being indeed put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit, by which also he preached to the spirits in prison.” (I Pet. 3:18,19, WED) These ‘spirits in prison’ are identified by Jude as “the angels which kept not their first estate,” who left their own habitation and are “reserved in everlasting [age-lasting] chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 6) Peter later speaks of “the angels that sinned” who were “delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.”—II Pet. 2:4

Jesus ‘preached’ to these fallen angels when they observed his example of humility, love, obedience, loyalty, and faithfulness. The reward of his faithfulness was also observed by these angels when the Father exercised his power to raise Jesus from the dead and rewarded him by exalting him above all principality, power, dominion, might, and every name that is named. This was a powerful sermon to those degenerate and disobedient spirits. No one can rob God, nor can usurp his authority, as Satan tried to do. This also was a lesson for those who have endeavored to usurp higher honors, or have left the ways of obedience to God. The angels which remained obedient to God were also observers of the faithfulness of Jesus and rejoiced at his glorification.

The observations made by angels of the happenings upon planet Earth from the time of Adam’s creation to the present and beyond, will be most instructive for both fallen and faithful angels. In the Gospel Age, those being selected from among men to walk in the footsteps of Jesus are also made a “spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” (I Cor. 4:9) The lessons that the called, chosen, and faithful of this Gospel Age learn will qualify them to be judges of angels, as the Apostle Paul points out: “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” (I Cor. 6:3) These will share in the glory of Jesus, becoming ministers of reconciliation. Present evil will cease, and the Great Deceiver will be destroyed. (Rev. 20:10; Ezek. 28:18,19) Then God will usher in the ages of glory.


Following the reconciliation of all mankind with God, and their restitution to perfection, the Son will have completed the work he came to perform, and will have made peace in all creation. He will have carried out his judgments. The universe will have been cleared of sin, and of any creature hostile to God. The Son will not retain the authority which had been vested in him and which he exercised during this period of reconciliation, but will gladly turn over the kingdom to God. Paul tells us, “Then the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (I Cor. 15:24-26) The love and harmony between the Father and the Son, and all those he has selected to be joint-heirs with his Son, is so great that it will remain throughout all eternity. Hence Paul says, ‘When all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”—vs. 28

Because of his great love for him, the Father planned to have the Son as the center of all things. God had the whole universe created by him, and for him; he designed his plan so that Jesus would have preeminence in everything over all other creatures. But, as Paul explains concerning the Father, “It is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.” (vs. 27) God’s position of supreme authority will be through the faithfulness of his Son, and all creation will echo the sentiments written by the Apostle Paul:

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.”—Rom. 11:33-36

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