Saturday, 16 July 2016
…far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. Ephesians 1:21
While reading this verse in order to analyze it, I raised my arms in victory. “YES!” Who cannot get excited at such marvelous words!
In this verse, Paul completes the very long and continuous thought that he began in verse 3. To keep it in context, the previous verse is cited with it here –
“…which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.”
God worked the exceeding greatness of His power toward us in Christ. When His earthly mission was complete, he seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places “far above all principality and power and might and dominion.” The words which are translated as “principality and power” give the idea of government and the authority committed to that government. Christ’s position is above all such things. As there are both earthly and heavenly hierarchies, it signifies that He is the ultimate authority on earth and in heaven; He is God.
The words “might and dominion” further describe the first two words. This “might and dominion” is “the actual force and the moral force of dignity or lordship in which it is clothed” (Charles Ellicott). All governments, and all of the power associated with them, are far below the authority and power of Christ. Their ability to rule, and the scope of their rule, is finite. In contrast to this are Christ’s might and dominion, both of which are infinite. Paul refers to this same idea several times in his epistles. Two examples are found in Philippians 2:9 and in Colossians 2:10.
Paul’s next words further show Christ’s supremacy. He says that Christ’s authority is over “every name that is named.” A name signifies a position, title, area of authority, and so on. If the name is given to something by another, it then implies authority over that thing. For example, Adam was given the right to name the animals. Thus, he was set as the authority over them. In the naming of his wife, Eve, he was demonstrating authority over her.
In Exodus 3:14, the Lord proclaimed His name, I AM THAT I AM. He is the self-existent One. Nobody can claim authority over Him because He is before all things, and His name signifies His eternal nature and His infinite Being. Christ follows in the same way, proceeding from the Godhead. He has a name, but it is above all others. This is confirmed by the words of Revelation 19 –
“His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.” Revelation 19:12
No authority can be claimed over Christ because His unknown name identifies His infinite Being and His eternal nature. Where all others are named in a knowable way, Christ is named in an unknowable way. Only as He reveals Himself, slowly and eternally in the stream of time, can we comprehend His true Being. Thus He is above “every name that is named.” And this is true “not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Christ is the eternal Logos, the Word of God.
This age began at the creation of the universe, which He created. He was before it, and thus He is above it – including all that is in it. In the age to come, He will reveal Himself eternally to His subjects, all named, all fully known, all subjected to Him. We will ponder that Name which is above every name for all eternity, and yet we will never fully know it. There will always be something more of Himself to reveal to His creatures.
Life application: Take time to hail the name of Christ – the eternal Word of God. And don’t stop! Eternity itself will be filled with the ceaseless praises of our heavenly Lord.
Lord God, who can withhold their praises for You? You were there at the beginning, forming the universe according to Your wisdom. You are here today, working out Your marvelous plan for the objects of Your affection. And for all eternity, You will endlessly and ceaselessly reveal Your infinite goodness to us. Surely it is right to praise and exalt You for the glory You possess. Great are You, O God, and greatly are You to be praised. Amen.