TARSB: Introduction and Outline. Humanities Preeminence or the Book of Colossians

Written By Thomas Perez. November 6, 2022 at 7:38PM. Copyright 2022.

INTRODUCTION

The book of Colossians is considered to be an apologetic book. In this instance the term apologetic means “in defense” or “in apology.” It is a term used to defend what is considered correct/orthodoxy. The book deals with a number of topics that the Apostle Paul often referred to as errors. The book expresses Paul concerns over certain philosophies and practices that dishonored or denied Christ such as mystical semi-Jewish religious practices, and the worship of angels (2:1-19). In various other letters, Paul is found citing against such practices or beliefs (Gal 1:6-10, 3:23-25, 4:10, 11), often declaring “the preeminence of Christ” (Ch 2:9, 15), and warning the saints to stay away from foreign doctrines and false visions. Though the book makes no mention as to what the specific heresies of that day were, many scholars suggest an early form of Gnosticism mixed with Judaism – though this is not proven. The term Gnostic or Gnosticism comes from the Greek word “gnosis” which literally means “knowledge.” However, most of what we know about Gnosticism comes from the polemic statements written about them by 2nd century early church fathers in what is now called “proto-orthodox literature.”

Proto-orthodox Christianity claims that its views were always original, authentic, and of the majority position; both in doctrine and faith. Anything in opposition to such doctrine and faith is to be considered heretical. Some today call this group a sect, no different than others during its infancy. Additionally, some claim that this particular sect of Christianity rose during the 2nd and 3rd centuries and subsequence-ally crushed the original Judeo-Christian faith by the 4th century in their attempt to unify Christendom in doctrine, civil, community, and political life. There were many different church communities, independent groups, small congregations, private homes, and rented facilities (Rom 16:15); all upholding their own traditional belief after the death of the original Apostles at the end of the 1st century, becoming what many think today as “Judeo-Christianity.” However, the term “Judeo-Christian” and “Judeo Christian” (an adjective) is a relatively new term dating back to 1829 and 1821; found in the missionary journals of Joseph Wolff and Alexander M’Caul. The term “Jewish-Christian” was used as early as 1785 in Richard Watson’s essay ‘The Teaching and Witness of the Holy Spirit,’ and “Jewish Christian” (as in an adjective) can be found in William Rathband’s 1644’s work, ‘A Briefe Narration of Some Church Courses.’ The term “Judeo-Christian” or “Judeo-Christianity” did not become popular until after The Holocaust in Europe. The term is a reaction to the anti-Semitism of Nazi Germany yesterday and the anti-Semitism of today as demonstrated in what is known as “the American Civil Religion” (a sociological theory/a nonsectarian faith). It is a “civil religion” of common ground and religious ethics (the Ten Commandments or the Great Commandment). Therefore, to use the term Judeo-Christianity in parallel synergism to one another, is to completely lose scope of their original origins.

However, what we know today as Christianity was in all actuality: Jewish. It was Jewish in Judea, Samaria, Galilee, and Asia Minor. It (the Logos) was told to spread to the utter most parts of the world. It was a New Covenant. An extension of its former self, not an annihilation (Matt 5:17). Moreover, according to modern day archeological diggings in Babylon (modern day Turkey or Asia Minor), the early Christian church was of the Jewish religion (this should be of no surprise) which consisted of Jewish believers who now had a new message – a broader universal message. These Jewish believers, with their universal message of salvation, often shared this new Covenant in public places. Nonbelieving Jews and Greeks alike heard its message (Acts 19:9-10). Believers also gathered every day in temples to hear it. There were to be no particulars as to the day of worship (Rom 14:5-6), nor can one judge the other as to which day were the more preferable day of worship (Mk 2:28, Col 2:16-17). Nor can one use the Sabbath as a binding legal requirement of observance (Gal 4:9-10). On many occasions the early church met on the 1st day of the week (Sunday) – Acts 20:7, I Cor 16:2.

This observance had nothing to do with an annihilation of the Jewish Sabbath. In all likely hood, it was probably a “proclamation of declaration,” with the sole purpose of declaring the “preeminence of Christ” over the former
shadows of things past having their fulfillment and body in, and of, Christ (Col 2:16). However, as time transpired many believers were often driven out of the temples, thus resorting to worshipping and/or meeting on Sunday instead – since Sunday is considered the “Resurrection Day” (Matt 28:1-6, Mk 16:1-6, Lk 24:1-6, Jn 20:1-20) and/or the “Lords Day” (Rev 1:10). Moreover, in reference to early Christians, Ignatius (also known as Theophorus) wrote to the Magnesians; “If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death – whom some deny, by which mystery we have obtained faith, and therefore endure, that we may be found the disciples of Jesus Christ, our only Master – how shall we be able to live apart from Him, whose disciples, the prophets themselves in the Spirit did wait for Him as their Teacher? And therefore, He whom they rightly waited for, having come, raised them from the dead”Matt 27:52. However, Rev 1:10 can also be interpreted as John being translated into the “Lords Day” – as in Jesus’ 2nd coming. See footnote in Revelation chapter one. The overall consensus by Moses, David, Joshua, Jesus, Peter, John, and Paul is that one should be found doing the will of God at all times, regardless of the day, festival, or year. (Deut 6:4, Josh 1:8, II Chron 7:14, Psa 19:7, Matt 5:48, Rom 12:1-2, Gal 5:22-25, Phil 4:8, Col 3:1-2, II Tim 3:17, Titus 1:14, I Pet 2:21, 5:10, I Jn 4:18). The observance of Sabbaths, laws, festivals, and holidays are to be practiced according to Christian Liberty, not dogma or creed – they are not binding. See Introduction to Galatians.

However, this particular group/sect (the Proto-orthodox) became the dominant Christian faith and Hierarchy, often stomping out its opposing schisms in the 3rd century by announcing anathemas upon anyone who did not uphold proto-orthodox dogmas and creeds. In the 4th century, and onward, (300AD to 1860AD), this Hierarchy was often found citing that if anyone went against said proto-orthodoxy, then that person was a “heretic,” worthy to be wiped out by use of bodily horrific persecutions. “We shall believe in the single Deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, under the concept of equal majesty and of the Holy Trinity. We command that those persons who follow this rule shall embrace the name of Catholic Christians. The rest, however, whom We adjudge demented and insane, shall sustain the infamy of heretical dogmas, their meeting places shall not receive the name of churches, and they shall be smitten first by divine vengeance and secondly by the retribution of Our own initiative, which we shall assume in accordance with the divine judgment.” (Emperor Theodosius – 379-395 AD, The Theodosian Laws, A.D. 380). However, full campaigns of expiation against what the established church defined as various heretics and apostates did not come into fruition until 1184 AD, ceasing c. 1860. This is hardly the message of loving your neighbor as yourself, loving and forgiving your enemies, or of any proper testimonial manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

Various Gnostic sects, the Cathars (a Christian religious movement with dualistic – as to the person of Jesus Christ – and Gnostic elements), and the Knights Templar, and even Samael Aun Weor, the founder of modern Gnosis was persecuted and/or condemned as heretics. Moreover, many of their documents (excluding that of Samael Aun Weor) were destroyed. However, Gnostic beliefs are currently experiencing a rebirth throughout the world. This new birth can often be found in part by the discovery of an ancient Gnostic library at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in the 1940s, and the finding of the Gnostic Gospel of Judas at El Minya, Egypt, in the 1970s. The following is a list of proto-orthodox Church fathers who wrote against the Gnostics:
Justin Martyr 119 pgs 138-165 A.D 2nd Cent.
Shepherd of Hermas 47 pgs 160 A.D. 2nd Cent.
Theophilus [Antioch] 33 pgs 168-181/188 A.D. 2nd Cent.
Irenaeus 264 pgs 182-188 A.D. 2nd Cent.
Tertullian [Rome] 830 pgs 200-220 A.D. 3rd Cent.
Clement of Alexandria. 424 pgs 193-217/220 A.D. 3rd Cent.
Hippolytus, 233 pgs 225-235/6 A.D. 3rd Cent.
Origen 622 pgs 225-254 A.D. 3rd Cent.
Julius Africanus 232-245 A.D. 3rd Cent.
Cyprian and friends 270 pgs 248-258 A.D. 3rd Cent.
All of the aforementioned, whether indirectly or not, declared anathemas. There are five occurrences of condemnation in the NT (Rom 9:3, I Cor 12:3, 16:22, Gal 1:8-9). However, the terms “anathema” “maranatha”(supposedly an Arabic phrase), have different meaning within the original languages of Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, and Latin. Moreover, the term anathema expressed here is the same as that of Rom 9:3, and thus reflects a supposition that the use of the Arabic is nowhere to be found the Corinthian use of “anathema maranatha.” (See footnote I Cor 16:22)

AUTHOR

The book of Colossians has been universally accepted as being written by the Apostle Paul. Paul is identified as being the author on three different occasions. As he does in many of his letters, Paul identifies himself as a follower of Jesus Christ and a servant of God; often closing his letters with handwritten greetings – a characteristic of many of his letters (I Cor 16:21, II Thess 3:17). Furthermore, the Muratorian (a document written c. 180AD, that lists books considered by the early church to be inspired) includes the book of Colossians as a Pauline epistle. Church fathers: Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian and Origin, all considered Paul as the author.

DATE

While imprisoned in Rome by Caeser Nero in c. 60-62AD, Paul wrote the letter to the people of Colosse. The church at Colosse was started c. 53-57AD. Up until this point, Paul had conducted three missionary journeys. The first journey was c. 47-49AD, the second was c. 50-53AD, and the third was c. 53-57AD. Paul is eventually arrested and imprisoned c. 60-62AD. He is executed c. 67AD. The Apostle Peter is also executed during this time by Nero.

OUTLINE

I. Introduction 1:1-2

II. The Preeminence of Christ and the Believer 1:3-14

III. The Preeminence of Christ in His Nature and Work; Including Ours 1:15-23

IV. Paul’s and Humanities Ministry in General for the Colossians and the World as a Whole 1:24-2:7

V. The Preeminence of Christ and Ourselves Over All Religious Ideologies 2:8-23

VI. The Preeminence of Christ Over Our Lives 3:1-4:6

VII. Conclusion 4:7-18