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1 Timothy 3:16 – Taken up in glory

05-01-2024 - Posted by Hans

And avowedly great is the secret of devoutness, “which was manifested in flesh, justified in spirit, seen by messengers, heralded among the nations, believed in the world, taken up in glory”.

What we have seen so far is that the first five stanzas of the confessional song that Paul quotes are neatly arranged in chronological order. Since His birth, Christ was “manifested in flesh.” He became “Justified in Spirit” at His resurrection from the dead. “Seen of angels” since He took His position in the heavens. He has been “heralded among the nations” ever since Paul was sent to the nations. And “believed in the world” He is wherever that word finds an echo.

The last stanza, “taken up in glory,” seems completely out of place in this chronological series. Because if this referred to Christ’s ascension, we would not have expected this stanza as sixth but as third. But of course this placement at the end is not a dissonance or a mistake. For anyone who is aware of “the secret” that Paul was able to reveal, knows that the Christ is not complete without his body, the ecclesia. Paul already taught in his first letters (as a secret!) that we will all go to meet the Lord in clouds at the same time (1 Thes. 4:17). Yes, “taken up in glory”!