Thursday, December 29, 2011

Things under the earth

What is meant by "things under the earth" in Philippians 2?  Do they speak to the fact there is a governmental structure even in Hell? 

Here is what I see from scripture.

Philippians 2:9-11
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Most of the time, when our Apostle Paul uses the term "things" in heaven and/or earth, he is speaking of governmental structure.

Colossians 1:16
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:

As usual, because Colossians and Ephesians are "sister books," they each give light and understanding about the other—Colossians focuses on Christ as the head, and Ephesians on the church, as his body. We can gain even more light about Colossians 1:16, by looking at a similar passage written by Paul in Ephesians; we see clearly that government structure is the issue.

Ephesians 1:20-22
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

So although I do agree that in these two passages Paul is dealing with Christ's authority as having the preeminence over all governmental positions both in heaven and one the earth, I also believe that Paul is focusing in on their operation. That is, these positions of rank and authority will not only be subject unto him and under his supreme rulership, but he will also use them to serve him throughout all eternity—redeemed believing Israel in the earth, and the church, the body of Christ in the heavenly places.

I do not see that as what Paul is saying in Philippians 2. Paul is dealing with how the Lord will use these government positions to serve him in Ephesians and Colossians, but Paul does not however, mention "things under the earth," like he does in Philippians 2.

And I believe that Paul does not use the phrase "things under the earth" in Ephesians and Colossians, because in those two passages, the all "things" will be serving him, and that's not true for the “things’ referred to in the second chapter of Philippians.

Philippians 2:9-11
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This passage is a quote from Isaiah 45...

Isaiah 45:23-24
I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.  Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.  In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

Notice here that in prophecy, at Messiah's return, everyone (in the earth, because this is the focus before Paul's revelation) will both bow before him and confess him as Lord! Notice also that some will do it willingly, but others will do it by force...but either way, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess.

Here in Isaiah, God is not focusing on any governmental offices in the context, per se. The focus is simply all things that have knees and tongues (mankind here...and the angelic/spiritual beings in the heavens and in hell as Paul now tells us) will bow and confess before our Lord!

So what I see in Philippians 2 is that Paul is simply dealing with the subjugation of all things or everything (men and angels and any other creatures that God created) to the Lordship of our Lord.

The things in earth and under the earth will bow and confess at his return to set up his kingdom and at the great white throne (both lost men and fallen angels). And the things in heaven at the Judgment Seat and any other council that take place among the elect angels of God up there.

Paul, here in Philippians 2, is not dealing with how Christ will use these different positions to serve him throughout eternity, like Paul is explaining in Colossians 1 and Ephesians 1. In Philippians 2, Paul is dealing with the subjection of "all things" under his dominion. He is dealing with the fact that through humbling Himself by coming to the earth and going to the cross, the Lord has the exalted, God-given authority over all things, and therefore subdue them under his feet!

I do not believe that there is governmental order in hell, that is, that there is a structure set up by God whereby the people who go to hell are or will be "serving" him.  They will be in 'torments' and then thrown into the Lake of Fire at the great white throne judgment.

So no, there are no verses that I see in all of scripture that say that there is a governmental hierarchy in hell serving God. It is the holding cell of torment for the lost of all the ages until they stand before the Judge.

Hopefully this helps!

Do you have a question for Pastor Ron?

P.S. Here is the only verse that I see from scripture that even comes close to some structure in hell, but hell is still a place of torment and confusion for the lost...

Isaiah 14:9
Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations

Here God is mocking the "king of Babylon," who also represents both the future antichrist and his father, Satan.

Notice that although Isaiah uses terms like "chief ones" and "thrones,” he uses those words in context of "the earth,” and "the nations,” i.e., before they died and went to hell.

He is mocking the antichrist , saying that when he finally goes to hell, he'll get all the worship and claim that he desires from all the chief men who rejected God and followed him. God is mocking that once he gets to hell he'll get his much sought after "glory" in the flames.

So although there are levels in hell, i.e., lowest hell, depths, nether parts of the earth, heart of the earth, etc...based on the punishment doled out until the great white throne judgment, I see no governmental structure serving God (outside of maybe some elect angels who keep/guard the gates).

(Some other words that describe hell in scripture are... "sorrow,”  "destruction,”  "pains," "the pit,” "their shame"). So again, I don't see Paul dealing with Government structure in hell in Philippians 2, like he does in Colossians and Ephesians.

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