Christ, Head Over All Things

 •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 7
The universal dominion over all the works of God is bestowed upon the man of God’s counsel, as we find in Psalm 8. So the first Adam, the created man, was given a universal lordship over this scene, as it came from its Creator’s hands. This he forfeited when he fell by sin. We read, “Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:2626And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26)). Then, in Psalm 8, this is bestowed on the “Son of man” — the man of God’s counsel: “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hand: thou hath put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea; and whatsover passeth through the paths of the sea.”
I come now to examine how He takes possession of it all. He does so under four titles; namely, as God, Creator of them; as Son, and appointed Heir of them; as Son of man, according to Psalm 8, the Man of God’s counsel; and as redeemer of His inheritance, which had fallen under Satan’s power through the lusts of man when he fell.
In Colossians 1:15-16. “Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature: for by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him.” This refers to all the works of His hands, for the creation of all things is always in scripture attributed to the Son of God.* When the persons of the Godhead are distinguished as to creation, He is always the actor. If we look at John 1:33All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3) we find the strongest expression of this. Nothing came into being which ever did come into being, except by Him. “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” All things were made by Him and for Him, as we see by Colossians 1.
(*No doubt it is written, “In the beginning God created,” but there the expression is general; it does not give details as to the activity of the persons of the Godhead. The New Testament brings out definitely the unity of the Godhead in the Trinity of the persons; and there we get details.
Strange that in the creed, called the “Apostles,” creation is attributed to the Father. Scripture uniformly attributes it to the Son, when it distinguishes the Persons in the Godhead. “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son ... ”)
Then He is called the firstborn or Chief of all, not as to the point of time of His taking a place in creation; but because of the dignity of His person. If the Creator stoops to take a place in that which displayed His handiwork, He must necessarily be first and chief in it, even if He appeared last of all on the scene.
Now, if you turn to Hebrews 1:22Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Hebrews 1:2), you will find the same truth, with another added, “God hath in the last of these days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom He made the worlds.” Here again, creation is attributed to Him who is appointed Heir of all.
But there is a third point, which you will find in Psalm 8, “O Jehovah, our Adon, how excellent is thy name in all the earth, who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” What is man, that thou art mindful of Him? or, the Son of man, that thou visitest Him? For thou hast made Him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned Him with glory and honor. Thou madest Him to have dominion over the works of thy hands: thou hast put all things under His feet.”
Now, with regard to the question which you find in the fourth verse of this Psalm, “What is man?” You will find it asked three times in the Old Testament. In the seventh chapter of Job and seventeenth verse, “What is man that thou shouldest magnify him, and that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment.” The question in this chapter arises in this way. Job, like many, is struggling under the discipline of God’s hand. God is holding Job under His hand for it! And Job is writhing under His dealings, imploring God to let him alone “till he swallow down his spittle!” He speaks in the anguish of his spirit, and asks, in the bitterness of his soul, “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? and that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?” He pours out his plaint to God, desiring to know how it was that the mighty God should set His heart on such a poor worm as man, “whose foundation is in the dust,” and “who is crushed before the moth.”
In Psalm 144 you have the same inquiry, “What is man?” Here it is the cry to Jehovah of the godly remnant of Israel in the last days, pleading the insignificance of man — their foes — as a ground for the speedy judgments of His hand and their deliverance from their oppressors, who are prospering around them. They cry to Him, “What is man?” Why spare them; why not execute judgment, and thus deliver the people of thy hand?
But when we come to Psalm 8, you find that it is the Spirit of Christ in the Psalmist, which asks the question “What is man?” Put to shame and rejected of men — and of Israel — His plaint goes up to Jehovah, and He asks, from His lowly place of rejection, “What is man?” And we get grace’s answer to it all, in man in Christ, according to the counsels of God; and we therefore have what God is as well, because we have God in grace revealed in Him — going down into death, by the grace of God, to connect the creature with his Creator.
Christ was this Son of man — set over all the works of God’s hand — as Adam, the created man, had been at the first, in the dominion of this scene which he lost, when he was drawn aside of Satan, and fell. Thus we find in this question asked three times, though in very different connection, in the Old Testament; and the answer to the question in Psalm 8 is brought out in wonderful development, displacing the first man by the second, the first Adam by the last, three times in the New. (See Heb. 2; Eph. 1; 1 Cor. 15.)
In Hebrews 2:66But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Hebrews 2:6) you find the words of the Psalm quoted, as far as they are fulfilled — the end of the Psalm has actually yet to come. It is touching, too, how the inspired writer of Hebrews will not say, David “in a certain place testified.” How well he knew that a greater than David was there! He writes, “One in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him; or the Son of man, that thou visitest Him. Thou madest Him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst Him with glory and honor, and didst set Him over the works of thy hand: thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet.” Then he explains, “For in that He put all in subjection under him, Hhe left nothing that is not put under Him. But now we see not yet all things put under Him. But we see Jesus [this “Son of man”], who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He, by the grace of God, should taste death for everything. This is the word; not merely “every man.”
He has tasted death in all its bitterness, not only for the glory of God, which required it; and to destroy the power of Satan, who had gotten the power of death over man; and for the sins of His people, if He was to bring many souls to glory — but also for the whole inheritance as His title to bless it. Every blade of grass, every leaf of the trees, He has died for I He takes His inheritance, with all its load of guilt, and dies to redeem it all — tasting death for it, “by the grace of God.” This is a far wider thought than the saints merely, though they are included in it.
The beautiful world, beautiful wherever man’s hand has not marred it, or his foot has not trodden it down; that which came out of the hand of its Creator in all its variety of living beauty, displaying His handiwork in all its lights and shadows — it has been purchased by the blood of Christ. Already redeemed by blood from the hands of the enemy, it has yet to be redeemed by power. The eye of faith turns on high and sees Him on the throne of God, the title to all things in His hand, as God their Creator, as Son and Heir of them, and as Man! Yet more, as the One who has “tasted death” for it! He took the curse that was on the scene; and the day is coining when not a vestige of that curse will remain. The thorns and thistles of Adam (Gen. 3:1818Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; (Genesis 3:18)), and the want of fruitfulness of Cain (Gen. 4:1212When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. (Genesis 4:12)), will give place to the earth yielding her increase (Psa. 67:66Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. (Psalm 67:6)), and the thorn and thistle giving place to the myrtle and the fir tree (Isa. 55:1313Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (Isaiah 55:13)). He will inherit it as its Redeemer-Heir. He tastes death and then goes on high, where God has “crowned Him with glory and honor.”
Thus He is there, “Head over all things” in a fourfold title — Creator, Son and Heir, Son of man, and Redeemer. There He awaits the joint-heirs (His bride for that day of glory), and when all are gathered, He will put forth His great power, and binding Satan, will possess all, and we shall be joint-heirs of it with Him. That interval is marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit dwelling here below.