The Berean Expositor
Volume 44 - Page 209 of 247
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not know the corresponding "emptying" of Phil. 2: In order to illustrate this approach
we use the figure of Jacob's ladder, being fully justified so to do by the reference made to
it by the Lord Himself.
In Gen. 28: we have the record of Jacob's dream, wherein he saw a ladder set up
on earth, and the top of it reached to heaven, "and behold the angels of God ascending
and descending on it" (Gen. 28: 12). In John 1:, Nathaniel is referred to by the Lord
as "an Israelite indeed, in Whom is no guile" (John 1: 47). The word translated "guile" is
dolos and is used in the LXX of Gen. 27: 35, where Isaac tells Esau, "Thy brother
came with subtilty (dolos) guile, and hath taken away thy blessing". One cannot avoid
seeing an oblique reference in John 1: 47 to Jacob, an Israelite who was most certainly
not without "guile". However, that is by the way, our interest is more directly concerned
with verse 51.
"Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the ANGELS of God ASCENDING and
DESCENDING upon the Son of Man" (John 1: 51).
Now observe, "fullness" is associated with Christ, in the fact that in order that He
might FILL ALL THINGS, He that descended is the same also that ascended far above
all heavens" (Eph. 4: 10).
Returning to John 1:, we observe the following sequences of thought:
"In the beginning was the Word . . . . . the Word was God."
"All things were made by Him."
"The Word was made flesh and dwelt (tabernacled, skenoo, not the permanent
`dwelling' katoikeo of Col. 2: 9) among us."
"Of His FULNESS have all we received."
"The angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."
So in Col. 1: 15-20, He Who was the "Image of the Invisible God" (compare John 1: 1
and 18), Who created all things (see John 1: 3) Who became also the Firstborn from the
dead, Who is before all things (even as John the Baptist acknowledged, John 1: 30), in
Him, in the capacity, not only as Creator but as the Firstborn from the dead (thereby
assuming the death of the cross), in that capacity and in no other way, was it pleasing to
the Father that "in Him should all the fullness dwell". It is for this reason, we find the
word somatikos "bodily" in Col. 2: 9.  This word has been translated by several
commentators "bodily-wise", as though the fullness could not dwell in Him in any other
We spoke a little while ago about the fact that if Colossians speaks of the Saviour's
"Fullness", the Philippians speaks of His voluntary self-emptying.  Phil. 2: 6-11 has
been given a fairly full exposition in the book entitled The Prize of the High Calling, and
the reader would be advised to consult pages 75-111 of that volume. Here, we can deal
with one item only, the meaning of the words "He made Himself of no reputation" (Phil.
2: 7). First of all we give the structure of verses 6-9.