The Opposite of Anabasis.

Cat-ab’-a-sis, a going down: from κατα (kata), down, and βασις (basis), a going.
This is the opposite of Anabasis, and is used to emphasize humiliation, degradation, sorrow, etc.

The Latins called it DECREMENTUM, i.e., decrease an increase in the opposite direction, an increase of depreciation.

Isa. 40:31— “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles,
they shall run, and not be weary,
they shall walk, and not faint.”

The figure Catabasis here illustrates the effect of growth in grace.
At first the believer flies;
but as his experience increases, he runs, and at the end of his course he walks.
Like Paul, who first said, “I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles
(2 Cor. 11:5 ; 12:11).
Later he writes, I “am less than the least of all saints” (Eph. 3:8); while at the end of his life he says, I am the chief of sinners! (1 Tim. 1:15).

Jer. 9:1 — “Oh that my head were waters,
and mine eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!”
(See above.)


Lam. 4:1, 2 — “How is the most fine gold changed!
The stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.
The precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold,
How are they esteemed as earthen pitchers, the work of the hands of the potter!”


Ezek. 22:18 — “Son of man, the house of Israel is to me become dross: all they
are brass,
and tin,
and iron,
and lead, in the midst of the furnace;
they are even the dross of silver.”


Dan. 2—The Figure Catabasis is seen in the four successive world-powers,
showing a deterioration and a growing inferiority. Gold, silver, brass, iron and clay. Not only is this deterioration in power and authority shown in the decrease of value, but in the decrease of specific gravity:—Gold is equivalent to 19:3; silver, 10:51;
brass, 8:5; iron, 7:6; and clay, 1:9. Down from 19:3 to 1:9.*
* See Ten Sermons on the Second Advent, by the same author and publisher.

Amos 9:2, 3 — “Though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:
And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them
out thence:
And though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea,
thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them.”

Thus powerfully is shown the impossibility of escaping from the judgments of God.

Phil. 2:6-8 —  “Who, being in the form of God,
1. Thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
2. But made himself of no reputation.
3. And took upon him the form of a servant,
4. And was made in the likeness of men,
5. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself,
6. And became obedient unto death,
7. Even the death of the cross.”

These seven downward steps in the Saviour’s humiliation, are followed in verses 9-11 by seven steps upward in His glorification.

The word “robbery” is ἁρπαγμός (harpagmos), and means, not the thing grasped or seized, but the act of seizing. The contrast is between the first man and the second:
the first Adam and the last. The Tempter promised our first parents that they should “be as gods”, (i.e., as God Himself), and they grasped at equality with God.

The second man, on the contrary, did not yield to the temptation, but humbled himself, and reached the highest position in glory through suffering and death,
even the death of the cross.

There is also probably a reference to John 6:15. Our Lord was perfectly aware that He was  “a born King” (Matt. 2:2). And Herod and all Jerusalem knew it too. Hence the consequent alarm. But the Lord knew also that Caesar had, for the time, been allowed of God to lord it over His people, for their sins, and the fulfilment of His designs. He would therefore countenance no unauthorized attempt on the part of those who did not believingly own Him either as to His Divine or His human nature and rights.

.Note also as to the words used: “Thought.” The verb ἡγεῖσθαι (heegeisthai), to
one’s self to think. Adam and his wife may have “brought themselves to think,”
at the serpent’s instigation, that the thing he suggested was something to grasp at, and therefore worth the grasping effort. Eve, at any rate, would seem to have thought so. Adam we cannot, perhaps, say the same of, for “Adam”, we are expressly told,
“was not deceived.” Hence, apparently, his deeper guilt. But no “subtil serpent” could for a moment—(notice the Aor. ἡγήσατο, He never once admitted the thought)—induce the  “second Man,” “the Lord from heaven”, to think it possible to become equal with God, any more than he could induce Him to deny or forget that essentially He was so in His Divine nature: Son of God, as truly as Son of Man. Hence we may suggest such a rendering as this: “Who, being originally in the form of God, never considered the being on an equality with God a usurping (or usurper’s) business.” To be what one is is no usurping business. Nor is it so, either, to know and assert that one is so.


From “Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible” by E. W. Bullinger,
(Public Domain) pages 432-434. Adapted for website compatibility.
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