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Eternity 84 - The Image Of The Invisible God
Colossians 1:15 ASV who is the image
of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;
What is the relationship between an "image" of a god and that deity? Say an image of Baal and the god Baal himself. Well first of all the image was a local representation of the spirit. So you would have Baal-Somewhere and this would be the image of that village or town or region. A bit like "the Virgin Mary of Guadalupe", the Virgin Mary is in Heaven but her idolatrous representation locally is down there in Guadalupe. And the idol or image does the miracles for the local villagers providing the shrine is kept in order and the right sacrifices are made. A little bit of the power of the deity flows through the image. Sometimes the image also lives in a temple and if its a really important image there are priests that guard access and protect the rites and keep the Temple precincts and sort of "own" the god (and in turn are owned by the god.) Well how does this apply to Christians? Jesus is the image of the invisible God, who has made His nature perfectly visible to humankind and through whom the power of God is manifest on earth. He comes to dwell in His temple - our bodies and His church and we are His priests - all of us. The true image of God is not a statue but Jesus Christ and His followers, the Christians who are being made into His image (Romans 8:29-31).
Here is what Hebrews says about Jesus: "Hebrews 1:3 ASV who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high..." Jesus is the very image, the perfect representation of the substance of God. Jesus could say "Phillip, he who has seen me has seen the Father". But this isn't too obvious so Paul says: "2 Corinthians 4:4 ASV in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them." Christ is the perfect image of god, but most are blind to this, they have Jesus and God as very, very different. Jesus is nice and meek and mild and a bit inept while God is big and speaks loudly, is easily made angry and throws thunderbolts and yet is deep, wise and mysterious. With this dichotomy Jesus and God are opposites. But they are not opposites - they are exactly like each other because Jesus IS God and as Hebrews says above is "upholding all things by the word of his power". He is the powerful image of the living, yet invisible God and the only image we should worship.
A few days I ago I mentioned that the Colossians were noted for being led astray by angel worship. To counter this Paul says Jesus is "the firstborn of all creation". This does not mean that God had a wife and begot Jesus. In fact this makes it impossible - because Jesus is the first-born of all creation and was prior to men or women or angels. Thus there was no woman there, before the Son of God existed. The only thing before all created things such as angels or light or space or air - was God. So as the first-born of all creation Jesus was God. First-born also means the heir, the important Son (in fact in this case the only Son). In authority there is God the Father, then the first-born Son, then all the rest of creation including the angels the Colossians worshipped. The obvious conclusion was "why fool around with the lesser beings when the very apex, the first-born Son, is accessible to you through faith in Jesus Christ". As Halloween approaches, remember that calling up the dead is nothing compared to calling upon the One who has risen from the dead.
To summarize: Jesus is exactly like God, upholds the Universe by the word of His power, existed before all the creation, is superior to the angels, has authority as the first-born over all Creation and dwells in us as His temples and uses us as His priests. This means the total and utter end of earthly idols, temples and the priesthoods that guard them. The image-honoring religious devotion of traditional religions is a powerless farce. Religion is over. Jesus is the true image, the Holy Spirit is the only true form of Spirit that should dwell in us, and we are the only true temple - not any building made with human hands. Buddha, Krishna and Baal have fallen, the only true image is Christ and He has all the power.
Blessings In Him!
Asian Internet Bible Institute