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EPHESIANS - Chapter 1 - Verse 21

Verse 21. Far above all principality. The general sense in this verse is, that the Lord Jesus was exalted to the highest conceivable dignity and honour. Comp. Php 2:9; Col 2:10. In this beautiful and most important passage, the apostle labours for words to convey the greatness of his conceptions, and uses those which denote the highest conceivable dignity and glory. The main idea is, that God had manifested great power in thus exalting the Lord Jesus, and that similar power was exhibited in raising up the sinner from the death of sin to the life and honour of believing. The work of religion throughout was a work of power; a work of exalting and honouring the dead, whether dead in sin or in the grave; and Christians ought to know the extent and glory of the power thus put forth in their salvation. The word rendered "far above"— uperanw—is a compound word, meaning high above, or greatly exalted. He was not merely above the ranks of the heavenly beings, as the head; he was not one of their own rank, placed by office a little above them, but he was infinitely exalted over them, as of different rank and dignity. How could this be if he were a mere man, or if he were an angel? The word rendered "principality" —archv—means, properly, the beginning; and then the first, the first place, power, dominion, pre-eminence, rulers, magistrates, etc. It may refer here to any rank and power, whether among men or angels, and the sense is, that Christ is exalted above all.

And power. It is not easy to distinguish between the exact meaning of the words which the apostle here uses. The general idea is, that Christ is elevated above all ranks of creatures, however exalted, and by whatever name they may be known. As in this he refers to the "world that is to come," as well as this world, it is clear that there is a reference here to the ranks of the angels, and probably he means to allude to the prevailing opinion among the Jews, that the angels are of different orders. Some of the Jewish rabbis reckon four, others ten orders of angels, and they presume to give them names according to their different ranks and power. But all this is evidently the result of mere fancy. The Scriptures hint, in several places, at a difference of rank among the angels, but the sacred writers do not go into detail. It may be added that there is no improbability in such a subordination, but it is rather to be presumed to be true. The creatures of God are not made alike; and difference of degree and rank, as far as our observation extends, everywhere prevails. On this verse See Barnes "Ro 8:38".

 

Dominion. Gr., Lordship.

And every name that is named. Every creature of every rank.

Not only in this world. Not only above all kings, and princes, and rulers of every grade and rank on earth

But also in that which is to come. This refers undoubtedly to heaven. The meaning is, that he is supreme over all.

{b} "above all principality" Php 2:9

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