Colossians 1:20
And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Having made peace through the blood of his cross.—On this verse, where St. Paul returns to the subject of the Atonement, with which he began, comp. Ephesians 2:13-18, and Notes there. In the Ephesian Epistle the treatment of the subject is fuller, and in one point more comprehensive, viz., in bringing out emphatically the unity of all, Jews and Gentiles alike, with one another, as well as their unity with Christ. But, on the other hand, this passage involves deeper and more mysterious teaching in this—that it includes in the reconciliation by the blood of Christ, not merely all humanity, but “all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” This is, indeed, only a fuller exposition of the truth that “God was in Christ reconciling the world (the kosmos) to Himself” (2Corinthians 5:19); and that “the whole creation waiteth,” “in constant expectation,” “for the manifestation of the sons of God,” and “shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:19-21). But it is couched in more distinct and striking terms, opening to us a glimpse of the infinite scope, not merely of our Lord’s Mediatorship, but of His Atonement, which, while it almost bewilders, yet satisfies the thoughtful understanding, and more than satisfies an adoring faith. As there seems to be a physical unity in the universe, if we may believe the guesses of science, so, says Holy Scripture, there is a moral and spiritual unity also in Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:21-23 apply this truth of the Mediatorial work of the Lord Jesus Christ to the especial case of the Colossians. The subject here touched is more fully worked out in Ephesians 2:1-2; Ephesians 2:11-18; the alienation is there described as not only from God, but from His covenanted people; the reconciliation is with God and man in one great unity.

Colossians 1:20. And having made peace through the blood of the cross — The blood shed thereon, by which the design of the ceremonial law having been answered, the obligations of it were abolished, and the wall of partition between Jews and Gentiles broken down, in order to their being united in one church; by which blood of the cross also, the sins of men being expiated, peace is made between God and man; by him to reconcile all things unto himself, whether things in earth — Here the enmity began, therefore this is mentioned first; or things in heaven — Those who are now in paradise; the saints who died before Christ came. See notes on Ephesians 2:15-16. Some commentators, under the expression things in heaven, suppose that the angels are included; therefore, instead of to reconcile all things to himself, Dr. Whitby reads, By him to make all things friendly in him, making peace between them by the blood of the cross; an interpretation which Doddridge thinks expresses “the true sense, and the only sense in which angels could be said to be reconciled; for if it were granted,” according to what some have maintained, “that the angels received confirming grace in Christ, they could not be said, upon that account, to be reconciled: but when a breach commenced between man and the blessed God, the angels, as faithful subjects, must join with him against the rebellious creature, and be ready to act as enemies to him, while he continued the enemy of God.” Macknight, who also thinks that the expression, things in heaven, includes angels, reads and paraphrases the clause, “By him to unite all things to him, whether they be men upon earth, or angels in heaven; that, being joined together in one body for the worship of God, they may be happy through all eternity by that union.”1:15-23 Christ in his human nature, is the visible discovery of the invisible God, and he that hath seen Him hath seen the Father. Let us adore these mysteries in humble faith, and behold the glory of the Lord in Christ Jesus. He was born or begotten before all the creation, before any creature was made; which is the Scripture way of representing eternity, and by which the eternity of God is represented to us. All things being created by Him, were created for him; being made by his power, they were made according to his pleasure, and for his praise and glory. He not only created them all at first, but it is by the word of his power that they are upheld. Christ as Mediator is the Head of the body, the church; all grace and strength are from him; and the church is his body. All fulness dwells in him; a fulness of merit and righteousness, of strength and grace for us. God showed his justice in requiring full satisfaction. This mode of redeeming mankind by the death of Christ was most suitable. Here is presented to our view the method of being reconciled. And that, notwithstanding the hatred of sin on God's part, it pleased God to reconcile fallen man to himself. If convinced that we were enemies in our minds by wicked works, and that we are now reconciled to God by the sacrifice and death of Christ in our nature, we shall not attempt to explain away, nor yet think fully to comprehend these mysteries; but we shall see the glory of this plan of redemption, and rejoice in the hope set before us. If this be so, that God's love is so great to us, what shall we do now for God? Be frequent in prayer, and abound in holy duties; and live no more to yourselves, but to Christ. Christ died for us. But wherefore? That we should still live in sin? No; but that we should die to sin, and live henceforth not to ourselves, but to Him.And having made peace - Margin, "making." The Greek will bear either. The meaning is, that by his atonement he produces reconciliation between those who were alienated from each other; see the notes at Ephesians 2:14. It does not mean here that he had actually effected peace by his death, but that he had laid the foundation for it; he had done that which would secure it.

By the blood of his cross - By his blood shed on the cross. That blood, making atonement for sin, was the means of making reconciliation between God and man. On the meaning of the word "blood," as used in this connection, see the notes at Romans 3:25.

By him to reconcile all things to himself - On the meaning of the word reconcile, see the Matthew 5:24, note; Romans 5:10, note, and 2 Corinthians 5:18, note. When it is said that "it pleased the Father by Christ to reconcile all things to himself," the declaration must be understood with some limitation.

(1) it relates only to those things which are in heaven and earth - for those only are specified. Nothing is said of the inhabitants of hell, whether fallen angels, or the spirits of wicked men who are there.

(2) it cannot mean that all things are actually reconciled - for that never has been true. Multitudes on earth have remained alienated from God, and have lived and died his enemies.

(3) it can mean then, only, that he had executed a plan that was adapted to this; that if fairly and properly applied, the blood of the cross was fitted to secure entire reconciliation between heaven and earth. There was no enemy which it was not fitted to reconcile to God; there was no guilt, now producing alienation, which it could not wash away.

Whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven - That is, to produce harmony between the things in heaven and in earth; so that all things shall be reconciled to him, or so that there shalt be harmony between heaven and earth. The meaning is not, that "the things in heaven" were alienated from God, but that there was alienation in the universe which affected heaven, and the object was to produce again universal concord and love. Substantially the same sentiment is found in Ephesians 1:10; see the notes at that verse. Much has been written on the meaning of this expression, and a great variety of opinions have been entertained of it. It is best, always, unless necessity require a different interpretation, to take words in their usual signification. If that rule be adopted here," things in heaven" will refer to God and the angels, and perhaps may include the principles of the divine government, "Things on earth," will embrace men, and the various things on earth which are now at variance with God and with heaven. Between these, it is designed to produce harmony by the blood of the cross, or by the atonement. As in heaven nothing is wrong; as it is not desirable that anything should he changed there, all the change that is to take place in order to produce reconciliation, is to be on the part of men and the things of this world. The only effect of the blood of the atonement on the "things" of heaven in effecting the reconciliation is, to render it consistent for God to be at peace with sinners. The effect on earth is, to dispose the sinner to a willingness to be reconciled; to lead him to lay aside his enmity; to change his heart, and to effect a change in the views and principles prevailing on earth which are now at variance with God and his government. When this shall be done there will be harmony between heaven and earth, and an alienated world will be brought into conformity with the laws and government of the Creator.

20. The Greek order is, "And through Him (Christ) to reconcile again completely (see on [2404]Eph 2:16) all things (Greek, 'the whole universe of things') unto Himself (unto God the Father, 2Co 5:19), having made peace (God the Father having made peace) through the blood of His (Christ's) cross," that is, shed by Christ on the cross: the price and pledge of our reconciliation with God. The Scripture phrase, "God reconciles man to Himself," implies that He takes away by the blood of Jesus the barrier which God's justice interposes against man's being in union with God (compare Note, see on [2405]Ro 5:10; 2Co 5:18). So the Septuagint, 1Sa 29:4, "Wherewith should he reconcile himself unto his master," that is, reconcile his master unto him by appeasing his wrath. So Mt 5:23, 24.

by him—"through Him" (the instrumental agent in the new creation, as in the original creation): emphatically repeated, to bring the person of Christ, as the Head of both creations alike, into prominence.

things in earth … in heaven—Good angels, in one sense, do not need reconciliation to God; fallen angels are excluded from it (Jude 6). But probably redemption has effects on the world of spirits unknown to us. Of course, His reconciling us, and His reconciling them, must be by a different process, as He took not on Him the nature of angels, so as to offer a propitiation for them. But the effect of redemption on them, as He is their Head as well as ours, is that they are thereby brought nearer God, and so gain an increase of blessedness [Alford], and larger views of the love and wisdom of God (Eph 3:10). All creation subsists in Christ, all creation is therefore affected by His propitiation: sinful creation is strictly "reconciled" from its enmity; sinless creation, comparatively distant from His unapproachable purity (Job 4:18; 15:15; 25:5), is lifted into nearer participation of Him, and in this wider sense is reconciled. Doubtless, too, man's fall, following on Satan's fall, is a segment of a larger circle of evil, so that the remedy of the former affects the standing of angels, from among whom Satan and his host fell. Angels thereby having seen the magnitude of sin, and the infinite cost of redemption, and the exclusion of the fallen angels from it, and the inability of any creature to stand morally in his own strength, are now put beyond the reach of falling. Thus Bacon's definition of Christ's Headship holds good: "The Head of redemption to man; the Head of preservation to angels." Some conjecture that Satan, when unfallen, ruled this earth and the pre-Adamic animal kingdom: hence his malice against man who succeeded to the lordship of this earth and its animals, and hence, too, his assumption of the form of a serpent, the subtlest of the animal tribes. Lu 19:38 states expressly "peace in heaven" as the result of finished redemption, as "peace on earth" was the result of its beginning at Jesus' birth (Lu 2:14). Bengel explains the reconciliation to be that of not only God, but also angels, estranged from men because of man's enmity against God. Eph 1:10 accords with this: This is true, but only part of the truth: so Alford's view also is but part of the truth. An actual reconciliation or restoration of peace in heaven, as well as on earth, is expressed by Paul. As long as that blood of reconciliation was not actually shed, which is opposed (Zec 3:8, 9) to the accusations of Satan, but was only in promise, Satan could plead his right against men before God day and night (Job 1:6; Re 12:10); hence he was in heaven till the ban on man was broken (compare Lu 10:18). So here; the world of earth and heaven owe to Christ alone the restoration of harmony after the conflict and the subjugation of all things under one Head (compare Heb 11:23). Sin introduced discord not only on earth, but also in heaven, by the fall of demons; it brought into the abodes of holy angels, though not positive, yet privative loss, a retardation of their highest and most perfect development, harmonious gradation, and perfect consummation. Angels were no more able than men by themselves to overcome the peace disturbers, and cast out the devils; it is only "by," or "through Him," and "the blood of His cross," that peace was restored even in heaven; it is only after Christ has obtained the victory fully and legally, that Michael (Re 12:7-10) and his angels can cast out of heaven Satan and his demons (compare Col 2:15). Thus the point of Paul's argument against angel-worship is, that angels themselves, like men, wholly depend on Christ, the sole and true object of worship [Auberlen].

Some, from the Greek, would (not have that clause we read in a parenthesis to come next the copulative and, but) have it: And by himself he should reconcile unto himself (in or to himself) all things, (having made or obtained peace through the blood of his cross), I say, &c. But the reading of that sentence in the parenthesis after, or before the reconciliation of all things, as we do, because of the next following distribution, is not very material as to the sense of the thing, redemption, Colossians 1:14, or rather, the manner or means of reconciliation unto God by Christ, in whom the fulness of all Divine and human perfections was sealed for the bringing of heaven and earth together.

Having made peace through the blood of his cross: God the Father, for bringing enemies nigh unto himself in the kingdom of his dear Son, Colossians 1:13,19,21, was in him, 2 Corinthians 5:18,19, who having took on him the seed of Abraham, Hebrews 2:16, and because without shedding of blood there could be no remission, or being brought nigh, Ephesians 2:13 Hebrews 9:12,22,23, according to his Father’s ordination and agreement with him for the expiation of sin, became obedient unto death, that cursed death of the cross, Isaiah 53:5 Galatians 3:13 Philippians 2:8; and by that bloody sacrifice of himself, there once perfected, Hebrews 9:14 10:10,14, obtained peace: that by a figure being put to express his most perfect merit, as being the finishing of his obedience and passion, Colossians 2:14 Romans 3:25 5:10 Ephesians 2:16 Hebrews 9:12.

By him; which alone could satisfy his offended Father’s demands: angels could not shed blood which was necessary to make peace and reconcile enemies; and though some false apostles might seduce to the worshipping of them, their obedience could not be meritorious.

To reconcile all things unto himself; God designing an atonement to himself. i.e. God the Father, (and, by consequence, to the whole Trinity), did it by Christ, in whom all fulness dwelling there was a proper fitness upon his Father’s call, Isaiah 42:1,4,6, with Hebrews 9:1-28, for so perfect a work as to take away the enmity of those alienated from God, and to bring them into favour again. The great inquiry is about the extent of this reconciliation, because the apostle mentions all things (rather than all persons); and then, having emphatically repeated by him, viz. Christ as God-man, and none other, Acts 4:12, he adds a distribution of all things, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. To answer which, all things may be understood, either:

1. Restrictively to the subject, the universal church of which Christ is the Head; so he doth not mean all things whatsoever, unlimitedly, but with respect to the subject matter, as, Colossians 1:21, all things which being alienated from God are reconciled to him; i.e. whatsoever things are reconciled are by him reconciled, all relating to the subject matter of reconciliation, (as all made to creation, Colossians 1:16), all the real subjects of his kingdom, whether gathered and gone to heaven before in hope of the Messiah to come, or now and hereafter shall be gathered, Acts 15:11 Romans 3:25 Ephesians 3:15 Hebrews 11:39,40 12:23: yet this doth not altogether satisfy some, by reason of the sublimity of the apostle’s word in the distribution; and ordinarily in Scripture, by things in heaven are meant the angels, whose natural seat it is, spirits of just men made perfect being advanced thither only by God’s gracious vouchsafement. Or:

2. Largely, as comprehending the good angels, especially if upon the foundation of reconciliation considered strictly, we take reconciliation here more generally, (as the apostle doth in his Epistle to the Ephesians, expatiating more upon this matter there than he doth here, writing more concisely and contractedly), for recapitulation, (or analogical reconciliation), bringing all under one head, the recomposing or reuniting of creatures terrestrial or celestial, upon the atonement for sinners by Christ; so that all his subjects, those that divide the state of his kingdom, are at an agreement amongst themselves and with each other; God did so by Christ conjoin miserable men with himself, that now also the holy angels are conjoined, they come under the same Head, Christ, Colossians 2:10 Ephesians 1:22, whom they worship as at his first, so second coming, Luke 2:13,14 Heb 1:6.

As men cleave to him by faith, so the angels by vision {1 Timothy 3:16} look upon him their Head; yet is he not their Redeemer, Colossians 1:14 Ephesians 1:3; not partaking of their nature, they are not his members as believers are (as God is the Head of Christ, yet is not he a member of God, 1 Corinthians 11:3); Christ beareth a more special relation to them, than he doth unto these principalities and powers, Ephesians 5:23,30,31; however, they, being under a hypothetical possibility of falling, should seem to have need of a preventive kind of reconciliation, upon that account, if their standing is otherwise secured to them, they abiding in their purity could not be friends to impure creatures, Genesis 3:24; but upon the satisfaction of their Lord, their distaste and dissatisfaction is removed, they being reduced into a corporation, under Christ, with those whom he hath reconciled, Ephesians 1:10. As they, to the glory of the supreme Majesty, rejoiced when Christ came to seek these lost ones, so they are ministers to them that he hath made willing, Hebrews 1:14; they delight in the ministry of reconciliation, Ephesians 3:10 1 Peter 1:12, attend the service with their brethren, (in doing their office), Revelation 19:10 22:9, further the work, Acts 8:26, rejoice when it takes effect, Luke 15:10, and carry those that are perfected to the place of their own residence, Luke 16:22, to their own innumerable assembly in the heavenly Jerusalem, Hebrews 12:22; waiting on Christ, (according to the typical representatives, Exodus 25:19 26:1 1 Kings 6:23,29), with those that are with him, and made like to him at his throne, Matthew 22:30 Mark 12:25, where he sits as the Son of man, and the holy angels (as he saith) are continually ascending and descending upon him, John 1:51: he fills them, as the rest of his subjects,

all in all, Ephesians 1:21,23; they have grace by way of participation, having it from him their Head, who hath it of himself, John 5:26. So that upon the matter, this reconciliation of things in heaven, seems most to accord with Ephesians 1:9,10, and is not much unlike that in Ephesians 2:13,16; that which is separately said there by his blood, Colossians 1:13, and by the cross, Colossians 1:16, is here conjoined by

the blood of his cross. There is making peace in one simple word; here, (in the Greek), in a compounded one. There, that he might reconcile both unto God; here, that he might

reconcile all things unto himself, i.e. God. There he speaks only of men on earth being reconciled amongst themselves, because they had also been reconciled to God; if we take in angles also under those all, we have an allowance from that forecited Ephesians 1:10; yea, and in favour of the larger acceptation of reconciliation here, it may be considered that the whole creation which was put into disorder and subjected unto vanity, is in earnest expectation of the fruits of this gracious reconciliation, in being brought to a perfect harmony, to the glory of him who is all in all, Romans 8:19-23, with 1 Corinthians 15:58. And by him to reconcile all things to himself,.... This depends upon the preceding verse, and is to be connected with that phrase in it, it pleased the Father, Colossians 1:19; and the sense is, that it was the good will and pleasure of God from all eternity, as to lay up all fulness in Christ for his chosen people, so to reconcile them to himself by him; and which is another reason why Christ is, and ought to be considered as the head of the church, whose reconciliation he has procured, and why he ought to have the chief place in all things, and among all persons. Reconciliation supposes a former state of amity and friendship, and in such an one man was originally with God; and a breach of that friendship, which was made and issued in real enmity in the heart of man; and also a restoration to friendship again: and it is to be understood not of a reconciliation of God to men, which the Scriptures nowhere speak of, but of men to God; and is a reconciliation of them, not to the love of God, which his elect always shared in, but to the justice of God, offended by the transgression of a righteous law; and is indeed properly a reconciliation, atonement, and satisfaction for their sins, and so of their persons, and whereby all the perfections of God are reconciled to and agree with each other in the salvation of such sinners: now this takes its first rise from God the Father; it is owing to his sovereign good will and pleasure; he took the first step towards it; he knew what a state of enmity and rebellion his people would fall into; his thoughts ran upon their peace and reconciliation from everlasting; he called a council of peace about it, and in it drew the model of it; he entered into a covenant of peace with his Son, and, in consequence of it, sent him in the fulness of time to effect it, laying on him the chastisement of their peace; it was his pleasure that this affair of reconciliation should be brought about, not by the means of angels, in whom he could put no such trust and confidence, and who, though they rejoice at peace being made on earth, could never have effected it; nor that it should be done by men, who have no knowledge of the way of it, no inclination to it, nor power to make it; but "by him", his Son Jesus Christ, whom he appointed and called to this work, and sent to do it; and who is therefore, in prophecy, before this reconciliation was actually made, styled "Shiloh", the Prince of peace, and the peace: and this, when made, was made "to himself"; meaning either to Christ, in whom all the elect were gathered together, as in one head, and were reconciled in one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, through him; or rather to God the Father, to whom they were enemies, yea, enmity itself, and to whom the satisfaction and atonement were made; it being his law that was broken, and his justice that was injured, and to whom they are always in Scripture said to be reconciled; though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit, the one God with the Father: moreover, the sense of this phrase may be, that the reconciliation of the elect made by Christ, in a way of full satisfaction to law and justice, is to the glory of God, the glory of all his perfections; as of his grace and mercy, wisdom, power, and faithfulness, so of his righteousness and holiness: the means by which Christ has enacted it are, his sacrifice, sufferings, and death, expressed in the following clause,

having made peace through the blood of his cross. This was what man could not do, what Christ was appointed and sent to do, and what he was every way qualified for as God and man; as man he had blood to shed, and could make reconciliation for sin in the nature which had sinned, and, as God, could draw nigh to his Father, and treat with him about terms of peace, and perform them; and so a fit daysman and Mediator between, God and man: this peace he has made by his "blood", that is, by the shedding of it, by his death as a sacrifice, which he underwent on the cross; partly to denote the shame, and chiefly to signify the curse he endured in the room of his people: all which shows the malignant nature of sin, the strictness of justice, and that peace is made in a way of full satisfaction, is upon honourable terms, will be lasting, as it is joyful, being attended with a train of blessings:

by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven: by which are intended not the whole universe and fabric of the world, all creatures and things, animate and inanimate, rational and irrational, which have been cursed for the sin of man, and have proved unfriendly to him, but, in consequence of redemption and reconciliation by Christ, will, as some think, in the time of the restitution of all things, be restored to their former state, and to their friendly use to mankind; nor elect men and elect angels, and their reconciliation together, for the apostle is not speaking of the reconciling of these things together, but of the reconciling of them to God, which though it is true of elect men, is not of elect angels, who never fell, and though they have confirming grace, yet not reconciling grace from Christ, which they never needed; nor Jews and Gentiles, for though it is true that God was in Christ reconciling the world of the Gentiles, as well as of the Jews to himself, and the chosen of God among both are actually reconciled to God by the death of Christ, yet the one are never called things in heaven, or the other things on earth, in distinction from, and opposition to each other; but rather all the elect of God are here meant, the family of God in heaven and in earth; all the saints that were then in heaven, when actual reconciliation was made by the blood of Christ, and who went thither upon the foot of peace, reconciliation, and redemption, to be made by his sacrifice and death; and all the chosen ones that were or should be on the face of the earth, until the end of time; all these were reconciled to God by Christ: and then the apostle proceeds particularly to mention the Colossians, as also being instances of this grace, good will, and pleasure of God by Christ.

{9} And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile {n} all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

(9) Now he teaches how Christ executed that office which his Father gave and commanded to him, that is, by suffering the death of the cross (which was joined with the curse of God) according to his decree, that by this sacrifice he might reconcile to his Father all men, both those who believed in the Christ to come, and were already under this hope gathered into heaven, as well as those who should upon the earth believe in him afterwards. And in this way justification is described by the apostle, which is one and the chiefest part of the benefit of Christ.

(n) The whole Church.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Colossians 1:20.[48] “Haec inhabitatio est fundamentum reconciliationis,” Bengel. Hence Paul continues: καὶ διʼ αὐτοῦ ἀποκαταλλάξαι τὰ πάντα, and through Him to reconcile the whole. As to the double compound ἀποκαταλλ., prorsus reconciliare,[49] see on Ephesians 2:16. The considerations which regulate the correct understanding of the passage are: (1) that τὰ πάντα may not in any way be restricted (this has been appropriately urged by Usteri, and especially by Huther); that it consequently cannot be referred either merely to intelligent beings generally (the usual view), or to men (Cornelius a Lapide, Heinrichs, Baumgarten-Crusius, and others), especially the Gentiles (Olshausen), or to the “universam ecclesiam” (Beza), but is, according to the context (see Colossians 1:16 ff.), simply to be taken as quite general: the whole of that which exists (has been created); (2) that the reconciling subject is here not Christ (Hofmann, in accordance with his incorrect reference of εὐδόκησε in Colossians 1:19), but God, who through Christ (διʼ αὐτοῦ) reconciled all things; (3) that consequently ἀποκαταλλάξαι cannot be meant of the transforming of the misrelation between the world and Christ into a good relation (Hofmann), and just as little of the reconciliation of all things with one another, of the removal of mutual hostility among the constituent elements composing τὰ πάντα, but only of the universal reconciliation with the God who is hostile to sin,[50] as is clearly evident from the application to the readers in Colossians 1:21. The only correct sense therefore is, that the entire universe has been reconciled with God through Christ. But how far? In answering this question, which cannot be disposed of by speculation beyond the range of Scripture as to the having entered into the finite and having returned again to the infinite (Usteri), nor by the idea imported into ἀποκαταλλ. of gathering up into the unity of absolute final aim (Baur, neut. Theol. p. 257), the following considerations are of service: (a) The original harmony, which in the state of innocence subsisted between God and the whole creation, was annulled by sin, which first obtained mastery over a portion of the angels, and in consequence of this (2 Corinthians 11:3), by means of the transgression of Adam, over all mankind (Romans 5:12). Comp. on Ephesians 1:10. (b) Not only had sinful mankind now become alienated from God by sin and brought upon themselves His hostility (comp. Colossians 1:21), but also the whole of the non-rational creation (Romans 8:19 ff.) was affected by this relation, and given up by God to ματαιότης and δουλεία τῆς φθορᾶς (see on Rom. l.c.). (c) Indeed, even the world of heavenly spirits had lost its harmony with God as it originally existed, since a portion of the angels—those that had fallen—formed the kingdom of the devil, in antagonism to God, and became forfeited to the wrath of God for the everlasting punishment which is prepared for the devil and his angels. (d) But in Christ, by means of His ἱλαστήριον, through which God made peace (εἰρηνοποιήσας κ.τ.λ.), the reconciliation of the whole has taken place, in virtue of the blotting out, thereby effected, of the curse of sin. Thus not merely has the fact effecting the reconciliation as its causa meritoria taken place, but the realization of the universal reconciliation itself is also entered upon, although it is not yet completed, but down to the time of the Parousia is only in course of development, inasmuch, namely, as in the present αἰών the believing portion of mankind is indeed in possession of the reconciliation, but the unreconciled unbelievers (the tares among the wheat) are not yet separated; inasmuch, further, as the non-intelligent creation still remains in its state of corruption occasioned by sin (Romans 8); and lastly, inasmuch as until the Parousia even the angelic world sees the kingdom of the devil which has issued from it still—although the demoniac powers have been already vanquished by the atoning death, and have become the object of divine triumph (Colossians 2:15)—not annulled, and still in dangerous operation (Ephesians 6:12) against the Christian church. But through the Parousia the reconciliation of the whole which has been effected in Christ will reach its consummation, when the unbelieving portion of mankind will be separated and consigned to Gehenna, the whole creation in virtue of the Palingenesia (Matthew 19:28) will be transformed into its original perfection, and the new heaven and the new earth will be constituted as the dwelling of δικαιοσύνη (2 Peter 3:13) and of the δόξα of the children of God (Romans 8:21); while the demoniac portion of the angelic world will be removed from the sphere of the new world, and cast into hell. Accordingly, in the whole creation there will no longer be anything alienated from God and object of His hostility, but τὰ πάντα will be in harmony and reconciled with Him; and God Himself, to whom Christ gives back the regency which He has hitherto exercised, will become the only Ruler and All in All (1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Corinthians 15:28). This collective reconciliation, although its consummation will not occur until the Parousia, is yet justly designated by the aorist infinitive ἀποκαταλλάξαι, because to the telic conception of God in the εὐδόκησε it was present as one moment in conception.

The angels also
are necessarily included in τὰ πάντα (comp. subsequently, τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς); and in this case—seeing that a reconciliation of the angels who had not fallen, who are holy and minister to Christ (Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. I. p. 269 ff.), considered in themselves as individuals, cannot be spoken of, and is nowhere spoken of in the N. T.[51]—it is to be observed that the angels are to be conceived according to category, in so far, namely, as the hostile relation of God towards the fallen angels affected the angelic world viewed as a whole. The original normal relation between God and this higher order of spirits is no longer existing, so long as the kingdom of demons in antagonism to God still subsists—which has had its powers broken no doubt already by the death of Christ (Colossians 2:14 f; Hebrews 2:14), but will undergo at length utter separation—a result which is to be expected in the new transformation of the world at the Parousia. The idea of reconciliation is therefore, in conformity with the manner of popular discourse, and according to the variety of the several objects included in τὰ πάντα, meant partly in an immediate sense (in reference to mankind), partly in a mediate sense (in reference to the ΚΤΊΣΙς affected by man’s sin, Romans 8, and to the angelic world affected by its partial fall);[52] the idea of ἀποκαταλλάξαι, in presence of the all-embracing τὰ πάντα, is as it were of an elastic nature.[53] At the same time, however, ἀποκαταλλ. is not to be made equivalent (Melanchthon, Grotius, Cornelius a Lapide, Flatt, Bähr, Bleek, and others) to ἀποκεφαλαιώσασθαι (Ephesians 1:10), which is rather the sequel of the former; nor is it to be conceived as merely completing the harmony of the good angels (who are not to be thought absolutely pure, Job 4:18; Job 15:15; Mark 10:18; 1 Corinthians 6:3) with God (de Wette), and not in the strict sense therefore restoring it—an interpretation which violates the meaning of the word. Calvin, nevertheless, has already so conceived the matter, introducing, moreover, the element—foreign to the literal sense—of confirmation in righteousness: “quum creaturae sint, extra lapsus periculum non essent, nisi Christi gratia fuissent confirmati.” According to Ritschl, in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1863, p. 522 f., Paul intends to refer to the angels that had been active in the law-giving on Sinai (Deuteronomy 33:2; Ps. 67:18, LXX.), to whom he attributes “a deviation from God’s plan of salvation.” But this latter idea cannot be made good either by Colossians 2:15, or by Galatians 3:19, or by Ephesians 3:10, as, indeed, there is nothing in the context to indicate any such reference to the angels of the law in particular. The exegetical device traditionally resorted to, that what was meant with respect to the angels was their reconciliation, not with God, but with men, to whom on account of sin they had been previously inimical (so Chrysostom, Pelagius, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Theophylact, Zanchius, Cameron, Calovius, Estius, Bengel, Michaelis, Böhmer, and others), is an entirely erroneous makeshift, incompatible with the language of the passage.

εἰς αὐτόν] is indeed to be written with the spiritus lenis, as narrating the matter from the standpoint of the author, and because a reflexive emphasis would be without a motive; but it is to be referred, not to Christ, who, as mediate agent of the reconciliation, is at the same time its aim (Bähr, Huther, Olshausen, de Wette, Reiche, Hofmann, Holtzmann, and others; comp. Estius, also Grotius: “ut ipsi pareant”), but to God, constituting an instance of the abbreviated form of expression very usual among Greek writers (Kühner, II. 1, p. 471) and in the N. T. (Winer, p. 577 [E. T. 776]), the constructio praegnans: to reconcile to Godward, so that they are now no longer separated from God (comp. ἀπηλλοτρ., Colossians 1:21), but are to be united with Him in peace. Thus εἰς αὐτ., although identical in reality, is not in the mode of conception equivalent to the mere dative (Ephesians 2:16; Romans 5:10; 1 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20), as Beza, Calvin, and many others take it. The reference to Christ must be rejected, because the definition of the aim would have been a special element to be added to διʼ αὐτοῦ, which, as in Colossians 1:16, would have been expressed by καὶ εἰς αὐτόν, and also because the explanation which follows (εἰρηνοποιήσας κ.τ.λ.) concerns and presupposes simply the mediate agency of Christ (διʼ αὐτοῦ).

εἰρηνοποιήσας, down to σταυροῦ αὐτοῦ, is a modal definition of διʼ αὐτοῦ ἀποκαταλλάξαι (not a parenthesis): so that He concluded peace, etc., inasmuch, namely, as the blood of Christ, as the expiatory offering, is meant to satisfy the holiness of God, and now His grace is to have free course, Romans 5:1; Ephesians 6:15. The aorist participle is, as Colossians 1:21 shows, to be understood as contemporary with ἀποκαταλλ. (see on Ephesians 1:9, and Kühner, II. 1, p. 161 f.; Müller in the Luther. Zeitschr. 1872, p. 631 ff.), and not antecedent to it (Bähr), as has been incorrectly held by Ernesti in consistency with his explanation of Colossians 1:19 (see on Colossians 1:19), who, moreover, without any warrant from the context, in accordance with Ephesians 2:14-16, thinks of the conclusion of peace between Jews and Gentiles. The nominative refers to the subject; and this is, as in the whole sentence since the εὐδόκησεν, not Christ (Chrysostom, Theodoret, Oecumenius, Luther, Storr, Heinrichs, Flatt, Steiger, Hofmann, and many others), but God. The verb εἰρηνοποιεῖν, occurring only here in the N. T., which has elsewhere ποιεῖν εἰρήνην (Ephesians 2:15; Jam 3:18), and also foreign to the ancient Greek, which has εἰρηνοποίος, is nevertheless found in Hermes, ap. Stob. Ecl. ph. i. 52, and in the LXX. Proverbs 10:10.

διὰ τοῦ αἵμ. τ. σταυροῦ αὐτοῦ] that is, by means of the blood to be shed on His cross, which, namely, as the sacrificial blood reconciling with God (comp. 2 Corinthians 5:21Colossians 1:20. To this verse Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 2:16, are partially parallel. It supplies the basis for the Son’s pre-eminence (Colossians 1:18) in His reconciling death.—διʼ αὐτοῦ: through the Son.—ἀποκαταλλάξαι τὰ πάντα εἰς αὐτόν. The choice of ἀποκατ. instead of the more usual καταλλ. is for the sake of strengthening the idea, and by insisting on the completeness of the reconciliation accomplished to exclude all thought that reconciliation by angels is needed to supplement that made by Christ. The reconciliation implies previous estrangement. It is the universal sweep of this passage that makes it at once fascinating and mysterious. Numerous expedients have been devised by exegetes to avoid the plain meaning of the words. The natural sense is that this reconciliation embraces the whole universe, and affects both things in heaven and things on the earth, and that peace is made between them and God (or Christ). The point which creates difficulty is the assertion that angels were thus reconciled. Some have evaded this by interpreting τὰ πάντα of the things in heaven below the angels and those on earth below man. It might be possible to parallel the latter reconciliation with Paul’s prophecy of the deliverance of animate and inanimate nature (excluding man) from the bondage of corruption (Romans 8:19-23). But the two are not identical, for one is and the other is not eschatological, and reconciliation is not deliverance from the bondage of corruption. And this helps us little to explain what the reconciliation of all things in heaven is. Nor is any such limitation legitimate; on the contrary, it is precisely in the opposite direction that any limitation would have to be made; for in its full sense reconciliation can only be of beings endowed with moral and spiritual nature. In Colossians 1:16-17 angelic powers are explicitly included in τὰ πάντα. It is plain that εἰς αὐτὸν excludes the view that a reconciliation of angels and men is intended. This is so even if with Chrysostom and others (including apparently Abbott) we make τὰ ἐπὶ τ. γῆς and τὰ ἐν τ. οὐραν. depend on εἰρηνοπ. For this still leaves unexplained ἀποκ. τ. πάντα εἰς αὐτόν, which makes the reference to angels undeniable. Bengel’s note, “Certum est angelos, Dei amicos, fuisse inimicos hominum Deo infensorum,” may be perfectly true. But it is irrelevant here, for only by forcing the words can εἰρηνοποὐραν. be regarded as other than epexegetical of the preceding clause, and in particular τ. ἐπὶ τ. γῆς and τὰ ἐν τ. οὐραν. as a resolution of τ. πάντα. Abbott’s suggestion that τὰ ἐν. τ. οὐραν. may be inhabitants of other worlds may be true, though for Paul the thought is far-fetched, but does nothing towards excluding the angels. He urges that ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς is not necessarily equivalent to “in heaven”. But not only did Jewish angelology place the angels in the heavens, but Paul did so too, and has done so only just before in this passage, defining τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐραν. as the various orders of angels (Colossians 1:16). Further, not only is this exclusion of the angels from the scope of reconciliation inconsistent with the terms of the passage, it omits a very important point in Paul’s polemic. To the angels the false teachers probably ascribed the function of procuring the reconciliation of men with God. (Cf. Enoch xv. 2, “And go, say to the watchers of heaven, who have sent thee to intercede for them: you should intercede for men, and not men for you”.) How effective is Paul’s reply that these angels needed reconciliation themselves! Assuming, then, that angels are included among those reconciled, and that this is also referred to in the words “having made peace through the blood of His cross,” the question arises, What did Paul mean by this? Meyer says that in consequence of the fall of the evil angels the angelic order as a whole was affected by the hostile relation of God to them, and the original relation will be fully restored when the evil angels are finally cast into hell. But apart from the speculative nature of this explanation, and the injustice it imputes to God, the reference is certainly not eschatological. Godet lays stress on εἰ αὐτὸν, and suggests that the reconciliation is not to God but with reference to God. He thinks that the passing over of sins by God (Romans 3:25) might cause the angels, who had been mediators in the giving of the law, difficulties as to the Divine righteousness. This was met and removed by the cross, which revealed God’s attitude to sin and reconciled them to His government. We do not know that the angels needed this vindication, which, of course, it was a function of Christ’s death to give, though it is possible (Ephesians 3:10, 1 Peter 1:12). But this interpretation seems to be excluded by the explanation of reconciliation as making peace. And εἰς αὐτὸν was probably chosen instead of αὐτῷ on account of εἰς αὐτὸν (Colossians 1:16), and because it was stronger and expressed the thought of God or Christ as the goal. The explanation that the angels were confirmed, and thus made unable to fall, is altogether inadequate. Harless, Oltramare and others admit a reconciliation of men and angels to God, but without asserting that τὰ ἐν τ. οὐρ. needed reconciliation. Wherever it was needed Christ effected it. But Paul’s division of τὰ π. into two categories marked by εἴτεεἴτε shows that the statement has reference not simply to these classes taken together as a whole, but to each taken singly. Alford, in his suggestive note, after saying that such a reconciliation as that between man and God is not to be thought of, since Christ did not take on Him the seed of angels or pay any propitiatory penalty in the root of their nature, gives as his interpretation “all creation subsists in Christ: all creation therefore is affected by His act of propitiation: sinful creation is, in the strictest sense, reconciled from being at enmity: sinless creation, ever at a distance from His unapproachable purity, is lifted into nearer participation and higher glorification of Him, and is thus reconciled, though not in the strictest, yet in a very intelligible and allowable sense”. Unfortunately this cannot be accepted, for the strict is the only allowable sense. But it is on the right lines, and indicates the direction in which a solution must be sought. This, as several recent scholars have urged (Kl[9], Gess, Everling and others), is through taking account of the Biblical and Jewish doctrine of angels. That the angels are divided into the sharply separated classes of sinless and demoniacal is a view on which this passage remains inexplicable. Nor is it the Old Testament or the Jewish doctrine, or, it may be added, the doctrine of Paul. Perhaps we need not, with Gess, think of an intermediate class, or, with Ritschl, of the angels of the Law. To Jewish thought angels stood in the closest relations with men, and were regarded as sharing a moral responsibility for their acts. The angelic princes of earthly kingdoms in Daniel, and the angels of the Churches in the Apocalypse, are Biblical examples of this. A large number of Pauline passages harmonise with the view that the angelic world needed a reconciliation. The detailed proof of this cannot be given here; it belongs to the discussion of the angelology of the Epistle. (See Introd., section ii.) But if the angels needed it, how could it be effected through the blood of the cross? It is not enough to answer with Haupt that the reconciliation of men affected the angels who were closely united with them. A direct effect seems to be intended, and the difficulty is that stated by Holtzmann, that with the flesh all capacity is absent from the angels of Paul, to share in the saving effects of the death of God’s Son, which was made possible through the assumption of the flesh, and in which sin in the flesh is condemned. In answer to it these considerations may be urged. The Son is Head of the angels, as He is Head of humanity; therefore His acts had an effect on them independently of their effect on men. His death must not be narrowly conceived as physical only, as the destruction of the material flesh. It was the destruction of the sinful principle; and therefore is independent in its effects of the possession of material bodies by those whom it saves. And this cannot be set aside by the fact that Paul uses such a physical term as blood of the cross, for the death of Christ was surely more to him than a mere physical incident. So far, then, as the angel world was affected by sin, it needed reconciliation, and received it in the atoning and sin-destroying death of Christ its Head. That in this reconciliation evil angels are not included is clear from the fact that Paul does not regard it as having had effect on them corresponding to that on men. Lueken points out that Paul adds “through Him” to the words “through the blood of His cross,” and refers the latter to the reconciliation of men and the former to that of angels, so that they are simply said to be reconciled through Christ. But the διʼ αὐτοῦ is an emphatic resumption of διʼ αὐτοῦ at the beginning of the verse.—εἰς αὐτόν. It is uncertain whether this should be referred to God or Christ. The former is possible, for αὐτός may be reflexive, and reconciliation is usually to God (so Ephesians 2:16, also 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, Romans 5:10). We should also have expected διʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτόν if Christ had been meant. On the other hand, the reference to Christ is favoured by the fact that elsewhere in this passage αὐτός always refers to Christ, and by the parallel with Colossians 1:16, ἐν αὐτῷδιʼ αὐτοῦεἰς αὐτόν. Decision is difficult; it is perhaps safest to let the Pauline usage determine the reference, and interpret “unto Himself”.—εἰρηνοποιήσας. In Ephesians great emphasis is laid on the peace between Jew and Gentile, established by the cross, an emphasis quite to be expected where the unity of the Church is the leading thought; but not to be found here, for the peace is obviously between God on the one side and men and angels on the other; besides which the thought would have no relevance in this connexion.—διὰ τ. αἵματος τ. σταυροῦ αὐτοῦ. The combination of the two terms is perhaps for the sake of insisting on the historical fact of the reconciling death against the tendency to seek peace with God through angelic mediators.—τὰ ἐπὶ τ. γῆς, probably governed by ἀποκατ., rather than εἰρηνοπ., since it and the companion phrase seem to be epexegetical of τὰ πάντα.

[9] Klöpper.20. having made peace] Between Himself, the Holy Judge and King, and His subjects. He is thus now “the God of Peace” (Romans 15:33; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 13:20); and “we, justified by faith, have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

The Subject of the statement is, as before, the Father. While the Crucified Son is the immediate Agent, the Father “who spared not His own Son” (Romans 8:32), because He “loved the world” (John 3:16), is the remoter Agent, Eternal Source of all salvation.

through the blood of his cross] The Cross of the Son. Here first the sacred Atoning Death is explicitly mentioned; its fact and its mode.

The blood:”—i.e. the Death, viewed as the Ransom-price. Some expositors find in “the blood of Christ” (in the N.T. generally) a reference different from that of “the death of Christ,” connecting it rather with life than with death; with surrender to God, and impartation to man, of the Lord’s vivifying life rather than with the immolation of His life as (because of His undertaking for us) forfeited to the Law. But certainly in this passage, at least, the thought not of vivification but of propitiation is prominent. See the notes just below.—On the subject of “the Blood of Christ” generally the Editor may refer to his Outlines of Christian Doctrine, pp. 85, &c., and to The Blood of the New Covenant, by W. S. Smith, D.D., Bishop of Sydney.

by him] Christ. Lit., through Him.

to reconcile] The Greek verb here rendered “reconcile” occurs elsewhere (in exactly the same form) only in the next verse and Ephesians 2:16. Its form emphasizes the thought of conciliating back again, after breach of loyalty or amity. Ideally, the whole Church and each individual was (in Adam unfallen) originally at peace with God; then came revolt, and now re-conciliation. On such an ideal view (very different from that of personal conscious experience) see our note on Ephesians 2:12 (“being aliens.”)

A simpler form of the same verb occurs e.g. Romans 5:10; 1 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20. The main notion of both verbs is the propitiation of an alienated superior, so that he accepts offending inferiors, who are thus and then “reconciled” to him. And the superior “reconciles them” so far as he acts on the provided propitiation. Here the Father “reconciles” by constituting His Son the all-sufficient and all-acceptable Lord of Peace. See further our note on Ephesians 2:16.

all things] For similar language cp. Matthew 17:11 (“Elias … restoreth all things;”) Acts 3:21, (“the times of the restoration of all things which God spake by … His holy prophets;” i.e. the bringing back of Paradise, and of the Theocracy, in their heavenly and eternal reality). The word “all” is at once glorified and limited by the words, in apposition, just below, “whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens:” see note there. The human and angelic “worlds” are the objects of the “reconciliation” in view here; not “all things” apart from those limits, but “all things” within them. See the closely parallel passage, Ephesians 1:10.

unto himself] Lit., “unto Him.” But the reflexive English pronoun rightly represents the Greek non-reflexive, in the light of N.T. usage. See Lightfoot’s note.

Here the “reconciliation” of the “all things” is seen to be not (as some expositors, ancient and modern, take it) a reconciliation to one another, so that e.g. angels, alienated by man’s sin, shall again be perfectly harmonized with man. It is a reconciliation of the “all things” to God, in the way of propitiation.

by him, I say] An emphatic resumed reference to the Reconciling Son, standing alone and “preeminent” in His wonderful work.

whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven] Lit., “whether the things,” &c. He refers back to the “all things” just above; see note there.—It is significant that “the things under the earth” are not mentioned in this great phrase. It is surely revealed (1 Corinthians 15:28) that all created existence, in the amplest sense, shall in some supreme way be “subdued unto” the Son and unto the Father in Him; there shall be order before the Throne in all the depths as well as heights of being. See Php 2:11, and our note there. But this is another thing from “reconciliation” and “peace.” The universalism of this passage is no negation of the awful warnings of Scripture about the final and irremediable exclusion from “peace” of the impenitent creature.

What then do the words here actually import? We answer with Alford (see the whole of his careful note here): “No reconciliation [of angelic beings] must be thought of which should resemble ours in its process—for Christ … paid no propitiatory penalty [for angels] in the root of their nature, as including it in Himself. But, forasmuch as He is their Head as well as ours … it cannot be but that the great event in which He was glorified through suffering should also bring them nearer to God … That such increase [of blessedness] might be described as a reconciliation is manifest: we know from Job 15:15, that ‘the heavens are not clean in His sight,’ and ib. Colossians 4:18, ‘His angels He charged with folly.’ In fact every such nearer approach to Him may without violence to words be so described, in comparison with that previous greater distance which now seems like alienation; and in this case even more properly, as one of the consequences of that great propitiation whose first … effect was to reconcile to God, in the literal sense, the things upon earth, polluted and hostile in consequence of man’s sin. So that our interpretation may be thus summed up: all creation subsists in Christ: all creation therefore is affected by His act of propitiation: sinful creation is, in the strictest sense, reconciled, from being at enmity: sinless creation, ever at a distance from His unapproachable purity, is lifted into nearer participation … of Him, and is thus reconciled, though not in the strictest, yet in a very intelligible and allowable sense.”—The implied need, even in the angelic world, of the Son’s Work of peace, would have a special point for the Colossians.

Observe, in leaving Colossians 1:20, the order of the words in the Greek: And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, making peace through the blood of His cross—through Him, whether the things, &c.Colossians 1:20. Ἀποκαταλλάξαι, to reconcile) Ephesians 2:16.—τὰ πάντα, all things) Ephesians 1:10.—εἰς αὐτὸν, unto Himself) i.e. unto God, Colossians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:19.—εἰρηνοποιήσας, having made peace) Ephesians 2:14; Ephesians 2:17. The nominative depends on He has been well-pleased.—διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ σταυροῦ αὐτοῦ) by the blood shed on the cross, and therefore by His death on the cross; or there is an apposition with a Metonymy [see Append.]: by the blood, that is, His cross. The effect of the crucifixion (although not of the crucifixion alone) is the shedding of blood.—διʼ αὐτοῦ, by Him) This repetition both adds to the emphasis, and shows that the all things are straightway explained by it, whether the things which, etc. This phrase, all things, includes also the dead.—ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, on the earth) It was on the earth that there had arisen the beginning of the enmities; therefore the earth is put first.—τὰ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, the things which are in the heavens) Luke 19:38. It is certain that the angels, the friends of God, were the enemies of men, when they were in a state of hostility against God.Verse 20.

(d) And through Him to reconcile all things unto Him, having made peace through the blood of his cross, - through Him,

(c) Whether the things on the earth, or the things in the heavens.

I.

(a) In virtue of his relation to God, Christ is at once

(b) ground of creation,

(c) both in heaven and on earth, and at the same time

(d) its means and its end; he is, therefore,

(e) supreme over the universe, preconditioning its existence, constituting its unity.

II. In a similar sense he is

(e) Head of the Church,

(a) in virtue of his new relation to man, which makes him

(b) ground,

(d) means, and end of reconciliation also,

(c) whether on earth or in heaven. Having made peace (εἰρηνοποιήσας)

Only here in the New Testament. Having concluded peace; see on John 3:21. The participle is parallel with to reconcile, and marks peace-making and reconciliation as contemporaneous. The kindred εἰρηνοποιός peacemaker, only in Matthew 5:9. The phrase making peace, in which the two factors of this verb appear separately, occurs only Ephesians 2:15.

To reconcile (ἀποκαταλλάξαι)

Only here, Colossians 1:21, and Ephesians 2:16. The connection is: it was the good pleasure of the Father (Colossians 1:19) to reconcile. The compounded preposition ἀπό gives the force of back, hinting at restoration to a primal unity. So, in Ephesians 2:12-16, it occurs as in Colossians 1:21, in connection with ἀπηλλοτριωμένοι alienated, as if they had not always been strangers. See on Ephesians 2:12. Others explain to reconcile wholly. For the verb καταλλάσσω to reconcile, see on Romans 5:10.

All things (τὰ πάντα)

Must be taken in the same sense as in Colossians 1:16, Colossians 1:17, Colossians 1:18, the whole universe, material and spiritual. The arrangement of clauses adopted by Rev. is simpler.

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