Feasts in Colossians 1:15-20


This contribution by Kelby Carlson, who just finished my book. He deserves a big medal. He also thinks it should be longer!

For our English class we are reading The Scarlet Letter. It’s amazing how much symbolism there is in literature, and your book (Jordan’s, too, and a few others) have really started to help me see that. I think man fundmentally fits symbols into everything, even if sometimes it is unintentional. I am just amazed at how something that at first appears simple can say so much; which has me even more in awe of the Scriptures.

I was just reading Colossians 1:15-20 and had heard that those verses were structured as a liturgical hymn. This is an astoundingly compact and intricate series of verses and it is one of the best and most beautiful proclamations of the Gospel-Through-Word in the entire New Testament. It is structured both around creation and around the liturgy; its parallelisms are constant and rhythmic even in an English translation. It also reflects a pattern from Garden (ark-throne), to land (the holy people), to world (glorious reconciliation.) Here is an outline following the seven steps of the Dominion chiasm:

Creation (garden, light, ark, word): He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Division (firmament-heaven, veil, mediation: For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;

Ascension (head, firstfruits): all things were created by him and for him.

Testing (lampstand, ruling light, mighty man): He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Maturity (incense-clouds, holy people, totus christus, garden to land): And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

Conquest (Atonement, High Priest, final filling, land to world): For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven

Glorification (booths, final libation, wine, blood): by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

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