by A.E. Knoch

THE HIGHEST GLORIES of the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, are revealed to us in Paul's epistle to the Colossians. "In the beginning He was the Image of the Invisible God, Firstborn of every creature, for in Him is all created, that in the heavens and that on the earth, the visible, and the invisible, whether thrones or lordships, or sovereignties or authorities, all is created through Him and for Him, and He is before all, and all has its cohesion in Him" (Col.1:15-17). Negatively, this is confirmed in John's account of the Word, that apart from it not even one thing came into being, that has come into being (John 1:3). Can the universality of Christ's creation be more forcibly expressed? In every case the word all is used without any limitation whatever. The divisions noted make up the whole. The heavens and the earth include all creation.

The next paragraph continues to express the universality of His glories in the present and the future. "And He is Head of the body, the ecclesia, Who is Sovereign, Firstborn from among the dead, that in all He may be becoming first, for in Him the entire complement delights to dwell, and through Him to reconcile all to Him (making peace through the blood of His cross), through Him, whether those on earth or those in the heavens" (Col.1:18-20). This predicts the reconciliation of all. A companion passage deals with the subjection of all (1 Cor.15:27): "He subjects all under His feet...Now, whenever all may be subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also shall be subjected to Him Who subjects all to Him, that God may be All in all."

The following is quoted from a booklet written by a brother of exceptional ability, who knows much Pauline truth. He gives his reasons for not accepting the universality of reconciliation. As many who hold advanced truth follow him in this, we deem it our duty to consider his reasoning carefully, and point out where we cannot accept his deductions, We have given his argument careful consideration, and trust that he and his followers will do the same with the facts which we point out in the Scriptures. His chart is also given.

"I want to ask you therefore to realize that the subject which we have before us is very, very fundamental, and that being so the first thing we want to do is to make sure that we understand the word that He used, and then as time permits, to survey its usage, which I think we shall discover can be ranged under five separate headings.

"So shall we now get down to this particular expression "reconciliation." Now the original word with which, of course, we are concerned, is the word 'Katallage,' and the verbal form is 'Katallasso.' You may say, thank you, but that means little to me. Well, we have made a start, because we know the actual sound of the word, and although 'Katallage' and Katallasso' are not exactly the same, you can hear that they have one little part that is identical, the stem 'All.' That is not the word 'All,' not our English word 'All,' but simply the root of the word, which we shall find in practically every way in which this word is subdivided. So although this chart may not be too visible to you, it is the best I can do in the circumstances. You will see the letters 'All' standing out all the way down that particular use of the word. For a few minutes it will not be a waste of time if we just realize that this word can be analyzed and put into its right place by the fact that in all its ramifications and usages, 'All' indicates a division, something on the one hand, something on the other.


Alla But Eph.2:4,13
Allos Other of the same kind
Allasso Change 1 Cor.15:51
Allogenes Stranger Luke 17:18
Katallasso Rom.5:10
Katallage Rom.5:11; 11:15
Apokatallasso Eph.2:16; Col.1:20,21

"Now, the first occurrence, the simplest form of this word is 'Alla,' a little word translated 'But,' and 'But' always means that you come to the end of one part of the argument, and you are turned round and, told to look at the other part. For example we were children of wrath even as others 'but God' (Eph.3:4) you see, that 'but' makes the difference. 'But,' there, is the first use of the word, something which says there is another side of the question. Let us come to the next word in the list, 'Allos,' which means 'Another,' and here we have an important point. There are two words that mean 'Another,' just the same as in our own language. We can say, I have one apple and another apple and another apple. That calls for 'Allos,' but I cannot say that I have one apple and another egg and another brick, unless I use the word 'Heteros,' which we use when we speak about a person who is 'heterodox'. That means another of a different kind altogether.

"Now, here is a point, and I want you to remember this. Those who teach Universal Reconciliation to the extent that they include the devil, the Canaanites, the evil seed, they themselves have put in their grammar that Allos means another of the same kind and never another of the other kind. Reconciliation doesn't teach that the sow that was washed and returned to her wallowing in the mire will suddenly become a sheep. No, Christ came to seek and to save the lost sheep, and it was a sheep whilst it was lost, and it was a sheep after it was found. We must not extend this word one scrap beyond Scriptural limits. However much we may wish that it could be extended, that is not our position. We are interpreters, as far as it is humanly possible, of what God has said and what He means. As far as I can see there is no warrant in Scripture for ever teaching that 'tares' will ultimately change into 'wheat.'"


We firmly believe in what Dr. Bullinger called, "the importance of accuracy in the study of Holy Scripture," and trust that we will be forgiven if we point out departures from it. The stem -Al-, we are told, indicates a DIVISION. No examples are given. But, in Greek, this is indicated by a combination of two stems dia-mer, THROUGH-PART, divide or division (Luke 12:51). It is rendered so uniformly and consistently in the CONCORDANT VERSION. Al is never rendered by divide in the A.V. The compiler of the CONCORDANT VERSION, after carefully considering all of its occurrences, gave it the standard CHANGE, which has been found to fit every case.


What is said about the derivative alla, but, is quite correct, yet it fits far better to derive it from CHANGE than from DIVISION. But not only divides a sentence, like and, but indicates a change, often adversative, as, "Not on bread alone shall a man be living, but on every declaration going out through the mouth of God."


Then we have the point pressed which is in the CONCORDANT VERSION--that allos means another, and differs from heteros DIFFERENT. Then we come to a remarkable reversal. First the position was taken that al denotes different, then that alla, but, indicates a difference. Yet now, in allos, another, there is no difference of any kind! Let us test this usage by the Scriptures. Beginning with 1 Cor.15:39 we have many occurrences: "Not all flesh is the same flesh, but there is one other, indeed of men, yet another flesh of beasts, yet another flesh of flyers, yet another of fishes." We are told that the word other cannot be used of a sheep and a sow, but here it is used of flesh much more different than these, for the sheep and the sow are both beasts, while here other is used of men and beasts and flyers and fishes! The stem Al does not distinguish "the Canaanites" and "the evil seed" from others. In fact, all must be estranged before all can be reconciled.


The meaning or usage of kat all ass oo, DOWN-CHANGE, reconcile, must not be based upon a mistaken usage of al-los; but, first of all, on the two stems CHANGE, and the prefix DOWN. First we will consider allassoo CHANGE, to see if it must be limited to the same kind. In Rom.1:23 we read that "they change the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of an image of a corruptible human being and flying creatures and quadrupeds and reptiles" (Rom.1:23). The main point in this passage lies in the fact that they are not the same. See also the account of our own change from a soulish to a spiritual body (1 Cor.15:51,52). This word is not confined to the same kind by any means.


What is the force of the prefix DOWN, which has been entirely ignored? Depending on the context, it is usually rendered according-to, rather than the literal DOWN. SO DOWN-CHANGE has the sense of a harmonious change, conciliate. The remarkable thing about this word is that it refers to only one party in an agreement. We read in 2 Cor.5:19, "God was in Christ, conciliating the world to Himself." That the world was not conciliated at that time is evident from the fact that, with this as a basis, we are asked to beseech the world to be conciliated to Him.


Finally, when apo FROM is prefixed to DOWN-CHANGE, conciliate, what happens? The only safe test is the context. In Eph.2:16 we read of two parties, the Circumcision and the Uncircumcision united into one body and both reconciled to God. There is peace between the two and with God, so that, not only God was conciliated to them but they were conciliated to God. Double conciliation makes reconciliation.

Our message today is the great truth that God is conciliated to the world. He prays all to be conciliated to Him. Only when they have received the conciliation is there reconciliation.

Finally, through Christ all will be reconciled with God, through the blood of His cross, whether those on earth or those in the heavens (Col.1:20). It is manifestly impossible to reconcile any who are not estranged. Enmity is universal, and includes Satan and the Canaanites and "the evil seed," as well as the writer and every reader of this line. Our hearts cannot praise a defeated god who fails to fulfill the dictates of his love and causes his helpless creatures unutterable suffering and death, to the dishonor of his name. All come short of God's glory, but none are beyond the reach of God's love and the sacrificial death of God's beloved Son! He will subject all to the Father, and be subject Himself, so that God will be All in all. May all be given grace to exult in such a God!

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