John Daille on Colossians 1:20


John Daille (1594-1670) on Colossians 1:20


John Daille was a French Huguenot minister and commentator. His sermons on Colossians were first published in 1648. In his discussion on Colossians 1:20, seeking to explain its connection with verse 19, Daille says:


This [i.e., v. 20] is the great master-piece of the good pleasure of God; the end for which his will was, that the fulness of all divine and human perfections should be seated in Christ. The particle “and,” used by the apostle, signifies this. It does not merely connect the two parts of his discourse, but imports the consecution and dependence of the latter on the former ; as if he had said it was the good pleasure of the Father that in Jesus Christ should all fulness dwell, to the end that he might reconcile all things by him. For all this fulness which was necessary for his effecting this reconciliation. He needed the power, and the holiness, and the wisdom of the Divinity ; and together with it the humility, and the obedience, and the meritorious sufferings of the humanity, that he might finish this design : he could not have been able to reunite heaven and earth with less preparations.[1]


Daille viewed Colossians 1:19 as the basis for Colossians 1:20. In order to effect what verse 20 asserts, the Mediator must be both divine and human. Continuing in his discussion of verse 20, he says:


Let us see then what this work is, this reconciling, of which the apostle speaks, of all things terrestrial and celestial in God by Jesus Christ. It is clear by the Scriptures that Jesus Christ has by his death reconciled men to God, has appeased his wrath, and opened to us the throne of grace . . . But it seems that this is not precisely that reconciliation which Paul means here ; first, because the things in heaven, which he expressly puts among the parties reconciled, have not part therein ; the angels that dwell in the heavens, pure and holy as they are, having never fallen into any alienation from God. Secondly, because of that reconciliation the apostle speaks in the words immediately following, in which he saith, “having made peace by the blood of his cross;” so that the former words must of necessity be referred to some other reconciliation, except we render the language of the divine writer culpable of a vain and fruitless repetition. The truth is, they that understand these words of reconciliation with God find themselves much entangled in the matter, and have recourse to divers means for clearing them of this difficulty.[2]


He mentions some hold that the elect angels needed the Mediator “to merit and obtain their confirmation and perseverance in that state . . .”[3] He quickly discounts this view for three reasons: first, “because a Mediator should partake of the nature of the parties whom he reconciles . . .”;[4] second, “because every mediator intervenes between parties who are at difference ;  whereas the angels are, and ever were, at perfect accord with God . . .”;[5] and third, “because the blood of Jesus Christ was shed only to wash away sin . . .”[6] He mentions a second view, which limits the scope of “all things” to men alone. This view understands by “’the things that are in heaven,’ the already hallowed spirits of the faithful . . . “ and “by ‘the things that are on earth,’ the faithful that yet live here in flesh.”[7] Then he states his view.


. . . these expressions signify the recomposing and reuniting of the creatures, both terrestrial and celestial ; not with God, but among themselves, with each other. . . . As in a state, when some of the subjects rise against the sovereign, those who remain loyal presently disunite from the rebels, and instead of the intercourse they held before with them, make implacable war upon them, while they continue in their disobedience. Such the event proved in the world. Man had no sooner rebelled against God, but heaven, and all that remained in obedience, separated from man. All nature took up arms against this rebel, and would even then had utterly ruined him, if the counsel of God, who would not destroy us, had not hindered it. And as from one disorder there never fail to spring up many others, this first rupture of man with God and the good creatures brought forth innumerable others, rending mankind itself into several pieces, dividing one from the other by diversity of religions, and the aversions and animosities that attend them. Such was the sad and dismal state of the world, the end of which could be nothing else but ruin and eternal perdition ; therefore God, to restore its primitive beauty, yea, to raise it to a perfection higher than that of its first original, reconciled all things by his Christ, both terrestrial and celestial. . . . As for “things in heaven,” it was the good pleasure of the father to reconcile them also by his Son. For after sin entered, the angels, the true citizens of heaven, were our foes ; whereas they are henceforth our friends and allies, united with us under Jesus Christ, our common Head. Aforetime they were armed against us with a flaming sword ; now they fight for us, and encamp about us. They drove us away from the entrance into Paradise ; now they bear our souls thither, at their departure from this life. They take part in our interests, are sad at our disasters, and rejoice at our repentance. And to testify how delightful this reconciliation is to them, they saluted the birth of our Lord, who came to make it, with their songs and melodies. For it they glorified God, and blessed and congratulated men. But as the mischief of our sin communicated itself to all parts of the universe, even to those which are without life, putting them all in disorder, and subjecting them to vanity ; so I account that this blessed reconciliation must be extended also to them. The will of God was to comprehend them also in it ; reuniting the heavens with our earth, and all the elements with us. . . . Thus you see how the will of God was to reconcile things on earth and things in heaven by his Son . . . it is plain that heavenly things were not reconciled to God, for they never were opposed to him. But it is no less evident that their reconciliation with us, in the sense we have explained it, will redound to the glory of God, when this whole universe shall return entirely to its true and due union. When therefore the apostle saith, that it is the good pleasure of the Father to reconcile all things in himself, he intends it shall be for himself, that is, for his own glory.[8]

Daille’s view is that the reconciliation of Colossians 1:20 refers to “the recomposing and reuniting of the creatures . . .not with God, but among themselves . . .” Elect angels are “united with us under Jesus Christ, our common Head.” The heavenly things (i.e., elect angels) “were not reconciled to God, for they never were opposed to him.” Dallie seems to use the word reconcile in its proper sense in this statement.


[1] John Daille, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Colossians (Marshallton, DE: The National Foundation for Christian Education, n.d.), 140.

[2] Daille, Colossians, 140-41.

[3] Daille, Colossians, 141.

[4] Daille, Colossians, 141.

[5] Daille, Colossians, 141.

[6] Daille, Colossians, 141.

[7] Daille, Colossians, 141.

[8] Daille, Colossians, 142-44.