THE UPWARD CALL
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
IN CHRIST JESUS.
(Philippians 3:13-14 NASB)
All in the Christ
January 14, 2012
I have written on this subject before; however, as I listen to what is preached in the Christian world today,
I seldom hear that the heart of God's plan for the eons [ages] is for all things to be headed up in the
Christ, things in the heavens and on the earth, so that God the Father may be all in all new.
Paul was uniquely given revelation of this great fact, which he called a secret (that is now revealed).
(8) In all wisdom and prudence (9) making known to us the secret of His will (in accord with His
delight, which He purposed in Him) (10) to have an administration [plan] of the complement of the
eras, to head up all in the Christ — both that in the heavens and that on the earth…. (Ephesians
1:8b-10 CV [ESV])
Other translations variously express the phrase to head up all in the Christ as to gather together in one
all things (KJV) , to sum up all things in Christ (ASV) , and to bring into one the whole in the Christ (YLT).
In the Greek, at the heart of this expression is the Greek word anakephalaiomai , which is comprised of
two primary words with the first meaning “up” and the second meaning “to strike on the head.” For
comparison, the Greek word often used to describe Christ as the Head of the Body is kephale , which has
a primary meaning of “seizing” with “the head being the most readily taken hold of.” Thus, to head up
seems to be the closest in meaning to the Greek.
Clearly, the secret revealed through Paul has much to do with the Headship of Christ and not simply a
gathering together. A gathering together or a summing up of all does not tell us much about the purpose
for such a thing. However, heading up all things in the Christ tells us volumes, for it reveals that
everything in the heavens and on the earth will be brought under the Headship of Christ. In other words,
the Son of God will be the Head or the authority over all things. After all, He must reign until He has put
all His enemies under His feet, and then He will abolish all rule and authority and power (1 Corinthians
15:24-25). Heading up all things is to bring all into subjection to His rule and authority and power so that
in the consummation of the eons all things in the heavens and on the earth will be brought into subjection
to the Kingdom of God.
But there is more, for as the Head, Christ will progressively lead all creation into the very all of God. Do
not underestimate the word all , for it is a comprehensive word that leaves out nothing. Absolutely
everything in God’s creation will ultimately be brought under the Headship of Christ and be ruled by the
mind of Christ.
The Weymouth Translation adds to our understanding by introducing the concept of the restoration of all
things (the whole creation) and all the nations and all creation discovering their true Head.
(9) And this is in harmony with God's merciful purpose (10) for the government of the world
when the times are ripe for it — the purpose which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring
the whole creation to find its one Head in Christ ; yes, things in Heaven and things on earth, to
find their one Head in Him . (Ephesians 1:9b-10 WNT)
This leads to some questions: How will Christ head up all things? Will He do it by fiat, all at once? Will He
do it by Himself? No, He will not. He will do it through His Body, the complement, and it will be done
progressively throughout the oncoming eons until the very consummation of the eons. Consider the
following from Paul.
(22) [God] subjects all under His feet, and gives Him, as Head over all, to the ecclesia (23) which is
His body , the complement [filling up, completion] of the One completing the all in all . (Ephesians
(6) [God] rouses [raises] us together [the ecclesia, the body of Christ] and seats us together among
the celestials [in the heavenly places] , in Christ Jesus, (7) that, in the oncoming eons [ages] , He
should be displaying the transcendent [surpassing] riches of His grace in His kindness to us in
Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6-7 CV)
(8) To me [Paul] , less than the least of all saints, was granted this grace: (9) to bring the evangel
of the untraceable riches of Christ to the nations [gentiles] , and to enlighten all as to what is the
administration of the secret, which has been concealed from the eons [ages] in God, Who creates
all, (10) that now may be made known to the sovereignties and the authorities among the
celestials, through the ecclesia, the multifarious wisdom of God, (11) in accord with the purpose
of the eons [ages] , which He makes in Christ Jesus, our Lord…. (Ephesians 3:8-11 CV)
All these verses mean that, in God’s wisdom, the Body of Christ has been chosen to be a co-worker with
Christ in the heading up of all , not only on earth but also in the heavens or, as the above translation
states, among the celestials. Paul describes the ecclesia, which is the Body of Christ, as the complement
of Christ. Other translations use the word fullness or completion , meaning that the Body is the full
expression of the Head. Simply, Christ’s Body will be the agent through which He will complete the all in
all so that God the Father may be all in all.
If you will note, some translations state that all things will be headed up in the Christ; that is, the article
the is used in relation to Christ. We might pass this off as being of little significance; however, I believe it
explains how God intends to head up all things. It will be done through the Head and the Body, which
together is the Christ. Consider what Paul wrote about the Christ.
For, even as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the one body,
being many, are one body, so also is the Christ…. (1 Corinthians 12:12 YLT)
In other words, Paul defines the Christ as one body. You cannot have a body without a head if it is to
function. Both Christ, as the Head, and the ecclesia, as His Body, are one body, called the Christ.
To be sure you do not miss the import of what you just read, let me paraphrase Paul’s revealed secret.
In all of His wisdom, God has made known the secret of His will, which He has purposed in His
Son, that in the consummation of the eons, all in the heavens and on the earth will be headed up
in both the Son and His Body, which together is the Christ.
Can you imagine a calling any greater than this? It is tremendous! Those counted worthy to reign with
Christ are destined to be the Christ, the very complement of the One who has been charged with
completing God’s plan to bring about the purpose of the eons. He will subject all things in the heavens
and on the earth through His complement, His Body. For those of the Christ, there is work to be done in
the oncoming eons. It is not a call into retirement, as so many picture it in our day; rather, it is a call into a
glorious vocation with the Head of the universe. The Christ has been called according to God’s purpose.
Our beloved Lord is on a mission for His Father, and He has called and chosen a faithful company of
saints to be His complement to complete God’s plan, which encompasses not only the earthly but also
the celestial realm. His complement will not be restricted to this earth, for the Christ will reign in both the
celestial and the earthly realms or, if you will, in all creation, both seen and unseen.
There is no higher calling, no greater honor than to be the complement of Christ and to be included in the
great work He is doing and will continue to do in the oncoming eons until all is headed up in the Christ.
There is only one true Head in all creation, and there will be only one true Body, the Christ, in which all
will be headed up. May the spirit of God give you revelation of this great truth!
The Upward Call: #06-1204
by: Stuart H. Pouliot