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Confirming the Exaltation
of the Firstborn

 IT WAS A TIMELY DISCOVERY when it was realised that the Greek word 'katabole' could not possibly signify foundation, as rendered by the translators in the Authorised Version. It certainly aided our insight into the Scriptures around Genesis 1:1. Particularly, it gave some light to show that the "was" of verse 2 of the Authorised Version was not a proper rendering of the Hebrew, for it was not the substantive verb, that is "BE". Rather was it a causative formation of the Hebrew word "BECOME", that is, "cause to become", and this could be rendered clearly by the shorter "become" or "became".

However, due to extreme caution, thoroughly commendable from some standpoints, full exploration was prevented, and so we have been prevented from going forward in our investigations of this final insight. We have thus lacked discerning the full correspondence which lies around other statements of God's word, and elucidate the position to a fuller understanding.

We have really marked time, resting on the idea that the Scriptures did not explain further, whereas they do require a fuller discernment regarding the connections with the disruption. True it was that the position first adopted seemed to be substantiated by the judgment that the Greek term 'kosmos' referred to the earth, whereas its width of meaning denominates the SYSTEM, and so the disruption should be referred to the limits of the universe.

The topsy-turvy strata of the earth appeared to confirm us in the idea of the reference to the earth. So the wider implications were suppressed, though to be sure they were in the case. The earth pressed itself into view, for it was so close, being right before us. We failed to note that it was but part of the case.

The reference at Ephesians 1:4 ought to have warned us, for there 'katabole' is used in such an important way and sense. It is dealing with what is a pivotal thought in God's ways with the universe: it is a carrying forward from an interruption. This position has long been a matter of consideration with some, for they were appreciating that the details were knocking for fresh and deeper attention.

The passing of time deepened the strength of the idea. The choice of believers demanded something actual, and could not rest upon a cause which was a chance happening. Moreover, the details of the prayer in Ephesians one, they also mention details which indicate that we had before us a major matter, and one which indicated a vital position around the chosen believers. The prayer was for wisdom and revelation in their realisation of Him. This prayer was persisted in, and through many years! Our God was not unheeding!

God was promoting the prayer, and He was also giving the humility for the persistence of the believers. He did not suffer them to give up. Rather did He lead the investigation and enquiry into His word, and this until they began to see, little by little, that disruption was a matter amidst the obedience of the Firstborn, and that it indicated that the Firstborn was not accepted as the Head of the creation which He had figured in bringing forth. His Father's exaltation of Him was queried.

A correct view of the bearing and relationship of creation to the Firstborn is required. We must on the one hand see Him in His distinctiveness, that it required Him really and truly to be separate from the remainder of creation, and not One Who was the inclusive measure of it.

When we appreciate the truth of this, we are able to see how vividly the Philippian epistle speaks when noting that He emptied Himself. This He was able to do, and yet leave Himself in His solitary personal position, still carrying out that which His Father had laid upon Him, and, indeed, He was taking all to its completion, even as He had done from the first glory which His God and Father had exalted Him to, when placing creation into Him. He entered into all the realities of it, coming to stand as the One in Whom creation had its cohesion.

These thoughts should not be entered into lightly, either to accept or to reject. Let it be realised that we remember that there are centuries lying behind the understanding current, and we need both prayer and God's spirit in order to realise and understand. We cannot give glory to the Son, but our wrong understanding may well cloud it over. This we aim to avoid.

There is a number of matters to which we must have regard when reflecting upon God's creation and the requirements laid upon the Son by His God and father. They do not admit anything but that all shall be done orderly and with due concern. Thus, when we read that through Him the eons were made, this must give us concern to see the point to which this can be attached. Certainly it is no afterthought. Rather must it be amongst primary matters, and have due relation to all other things.

Purpose is fully and wholly related to the eons. Correspondingly, creation in its entirety must have its connection with the eons, and, indeed, to the fullest of reality. Similar thoughts are required to relate to the Firstborn in His relationship to creation and He must be separate from it. Yet He must be made to possess creation within Himself, ere He brings it out in His creating. Only in this way could creation come to be through Him. Were creation brought forth contemporary to Him, then it could hardly be through Him.

The detail to which we move is this: within the Firstborn, and the activity required of Him, there was that which would give rise to every problem of the eons and of creation. All was created through Him. Any further requirement needed to be provided, the provision made for it, and this called for the eons. Here the thought of the disruption emerges. The disruption made the need for the eons.

How it is when we entertain that creation was put into Him, promoting His exaltation, for in this way He became the Image of the invisible God, and so the Creative Original, that we see that the Firstborn was not so as to His beginning.

Creation is a question to itself, and a first point to avoid is thinking in terms of philosophy, that is, as to creation being a thing in itself, potential in God. That is not the Scriptures. Creation rests absolutely upon God. He did create it, for it was not half existent ere He brought it forth. In Him were the invisible attributes capable of creating, and His Own nature supplied the material, that is, spirit.

With these details in mind, we are able to understand that creation was out of God into the Firstborn. Into Him were put the needed invisible attributes, as well as the spirit required. To this we need to add such details as to the order of beings to be brought forth, and their offices.

In this way we are able to see that there came to be the point when the Adversary was created. It was this one who raised all the opposition to the headship of the Firstborn which was conferred upon Him in His exaltation. Now the Firstborn was well aware that He was producing such a one, and He knew, too, what it meant for Him, in every sense, even in the respect of losing the values of His exaltation. Yet He had been obedient thus far to His God and Father, and that was the essential matter. This still left Him as the Creative Original, though the glory of it, in the matter of headship was denied to Him by creation itself, led by the Adversary! But God preserved, by His selection of believers, the headship to His Son. The Glory of His exaltation was confirmed.

Outwardly there is no possible means of redress. The Psalmist saw this forlorn part (Psalm 8) in a sense. What is a mortal? Thou has graced to him much in the way of authority, even for a son of humanity (Adam). For such a one there did not appear to be any advance from the inferiority of mortality. This is the thought taken up in the Hebrew epistle, yet the epistle sees mortality as precluding any glory. Because of death, everything seemed impotent. Yet the immortality of the celestials, that also afforded no recovery. Yet the resources of God were such that He was well able to cover all the details which ensued from the disruption. Though that had seemingly destroyed the glory of the exaltation of His Firstborn, yet He has secret wisdom which will honour His Son's obedience.

Out of God's provisions around the disruption, He will make an allotment to the Firstborn, and, from this allotment, the Son will carry forward whatsoever His Father had planned, for the Son will lead that allotment of believers forward in order to administer with Him in that future administration when He is to head up all in the celestials and all on the the earth. The Son is the Head and this is the full assurance the consummation. Thus we come to realise that the disruption was a planned matter and the glory of the Son was reckoned as fully able to bring to realisation the consummation. From this allotment, the Head will operate to this end, yet with the celestials as the major centre for those of His allotment.

Truly then our prayers for the realising of the glory of His allotment being shown forth will have come to fruition. The wisdom, the righteousness and the love now being shown forth to us, as the complement of the Son, this, in a sense, is our delight, encouraging us despite the meagre fellowship existing within the circle of believers on such themes. Amidst it all, we thank our God.

In concluding, we would stress that this understanding does, indeed, put our salvation into its proper aspect. Let it not be misunderstood when we remark that the personal aspect of it is but incidental. The real emphasis of our salvation is that we are chosen by the Father, in order to confirm to His Son, His headship of the universe, until the full display comes to be, when God is All in all. Meanwhile, we are that body which does affirm His headship to Him. This is the Father's view and outlook. The outlook of Christ Jesus is to bring creation to the position where it finds His God to be its All.

E. H. Clayton

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