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In Ezek. 27: 9, 27 we find the word translated "occupy" in the sense of exchanging
or bartering. In the same way we understand the expression, "Occupy, till I come", and
still speak of a man's trade as his "occupation".
Such is the underlying meaning of the word "surety", one who identifies himself with
another in order to bring about deliverance from obligations. This is clearly seen in
Prov. 22: 26, 27: "Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties
for debts. If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under
thee?". It is evident from this passage that the surety was held liable for the debts of the
one whose cause he had espoused, even to the loss of his bed and this meant practically
his all, as may be seen by consulting Exod. 22: 26, 27, "If thou at all take thy
neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down;
for that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep?" Judah
who became Surety for his brother Benjamin, gives us a picture of Christ's Suretyship,
saying to Joseph:
"How shall I go up (ascend) to my father, and the lad be not WITH ME?" (Gen. 44: 34).
If poor erring Judah could enter like this into the meaning of Suretyship, how much
more must our Saviour have done so. At the foot of the ladder, the transfer is made,
and the first of the seven steps up to the glory of the right hand of God is made. The
self-emptying on the one hand is compensated by all the fullness on the other, but that
fullness would never have been attained had the Saviour not become man, a Man of flesh
and blood, all the fullness dwells in Him "bodily-wise". The church is the fullness of
Him that filleth all in all. The goal and standard of that church is the measure of the
stature of the fullness of Christ. The personal experimental climax of the faith is that
each member shall be filled with (or unto) all the fullness of God. It is difficult, with
these features so clearly set forth in Ephesians, to think that the same word "fullness"
when dealt with in Colossians, a confessedly parallel epistle, should suddenly swing over
to the doctrine of the deity of Christ.
It may be that our attempt to explain Col. 2: 9 is so defective that the gleam of truth
we saw at the commencement of this article has already become dimmed by our very
effort to explain it. Shall we then, writer and reader, pause, put aside our lexicons, our
concordances, our interpretations and follow in the footsteps of Asaph, who tells us that
not until he went into the Sanctuary of God, did he understand.