His Present Reign

The New Testament links the enthronement of Jesus to his death and resurrection by applying key messianic texts in the Hebrew Bible to him. He qualified to rule over all things because of his faithful “obedience unto death,” and this fact God confirmed and vindicated by raising him from the dead. Not only did his Father resurrect him, but He also seated him “at His right hand” where he now reigns supreme over the entire Creation.

Crown of Thorns - Photo by BBC Creative on Unsplash
[Photo by BBC Creative on Unsplash]

Two passages from the Psalms figure prominently in describing his present reign. The Psalmist foresaw that the reign of the Messiah would commence 
upon his arrival before Yahweh and his enthronement at His right side”:

  • (Psalm 2:4-8) – “He that is sitting in the heavens will laugh, My Lord will mock at them. Then will he speak to them in his anger, and in his wrath confound them. Yet I HAVE INSTALLED MY KING ON ZION, my holy mountain. Let me tell of a decree, Yahweh has said to me: You are My son. I, this day, have begotten you. Ask of me and let me give nations as your inheritance and as your possession the ends of the earth” – (Hebrews 1:1-14, Revelation 1:4-6, 12:1-5).
  • (Psalms 110:1) - “The declaration of Yahweh to my Lord: SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND until I make your foes your footstool.”

Jesus confirmed his status as the Messiah of Israel by alluding to this very Psalm in his testimony before the High Priest in Jerusalem. He also included a passage from the Book of Daniel:

  • (Matthew 26:63-65) – “And the high priest said to him, I adjure you by the living God, tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saito him, You have said; nevertheless, I say to you, henceforth, you will see the SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.
  • (Daniel 7:13) – “I saw in the night-visions, and behold, there CAME WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN ONE LIKE UNTO A SON OF MAN, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

The High Priest understood all too well what Jesus said. That is why he “rent his garments, saying: He has spoken blasphemy!” Not only did he identify himself as the Messiah, but he also asserted his right to reign from the Throne of David.

ACCORDING TO PETER


In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, Peter cited the same Psalm to confirm what God had accomplished only a few weeks earlier when he raised Jesus from the dead:

  • (Acts 2:32-36) – “This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we all are witnesses. Being therefore BY THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured forth this, which you see and hear. For David ascended not into the heavens: but he said himself: THE LORD SAID UNTO MY LORD, SIT THOU ON MY RIGHT HAND, TILL I MAKE THINE ENEMIES THE FOOTSTOOL OF THY FEET. Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.

According to his application of the passage, God made this crucified and resurrected man both “LORD AND MESSIAH.” Already, he reigns from God’s “right hand,” and his right to dispense the “Promise of the Father,” the Holy Spirit, was and is proof positive of his sovereignty.

Years later, Peter reasserted the present reign of Jesus. Once again, he alluded to Psalm 110. As a result of his resurrection, not only is he reigning from the Divine Throne, but even the hostile spiritual powers have been subjected to him - “HE IS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, having gone into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him.” – (1 Peter 3:22).

ACCORDING TO PAUL


Likewise, Paul presents his reign as a present reality. Since Jesus possesses full authority, he reigns over all the “powers and principalities” whether hostile to him or not:

  • (Ephesians 1:17-22) – “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, would give you a Spirit of wisdom and understanding in gaining a personal knowledge of him, the eyes of your heart having been enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what the surpassing greatness of his power unto us who believe, according to the energy of the grasp of his might which he energized in the Christ when he raised him from among the dead, AND SEATED HIM AT HIS RIGHT HAND in the heavenlies, over-above all principality, authority, and power, and lordship, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the coming one, and did PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION BENEATH HIS FEET” - (See also - Colossians 1:12-20, 2:10-15).

When Paul applied clauses from both Psalms to the exaltation of Jesus, he used verbs in the past tense. Since his resurrection, he has been implementing His Father’s Kingdom and subjugating all His enemies, a process that will continue until his “arrival” at the end of the age:

  • For he must reign UNTIL HE SHALL PUT ALL HIS ENEMIES UNDER HIS FEET. And the last enemy, death, will be destroyed; FOR HE PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET” - (1 Corinthians 15:20-26).

The listed sequence of events in 1 Corinthians leaves no room for further subjugation and victories over his enemies after his “coming.” That day will mean nothing less than the cessation of death, the consummation of the Kingdom, and the arrival of the New Creation.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul describes how Jesus submitted to a shameful and undeserved death on a Roman cross, and his obedience was why he was exalted:

  • (Philippians 2:8-11) – “And in fashion being found as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient as far as death, yea, death upon a cross. Wherefore also, God uplifted him far on high and favored him with the name which is above every name, in order that, in the name of Jesus every knee might bow, of beings in heaven and on earth and underground, and every tongue might openly confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord for the glory of God the Father.” - (Compare Romans 14:9-11).

That he now is “far above” means he already holds the highest imaginable authority. His sovereignty is not limited to Heaven, restricted to the Earth, or delayed until some future date. He reigns over all things now.

ACCORDING TO HEBREWS


In the Book of Hebrews, both Psalms are cited repeatedly to demonstrate the superiority of Jesus over the now obsolete Levitical system. For example:

  • (Hebrews 1:3-5) - Having achieved the purification of sins, HE SAT DOWN ON THE RIGHT HAND OF THE MAJESTY ON HIGH; having become by so much better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels said he at any time: YOU ARE MY SON; THIS DAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN YOU?
  • (Hebrews 5:5) – “So Christ also glorified not himself to be made a high priest, but he that said to him: YOU ARE MY SON; THIS DAY HAVE I BEGOTTEN YOU; as he said also in another placeYou are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” – (Psalm 110:4. See also Hebrews 8:1, 10:12, 12:2).

In his final address to the disciples, Jesus echoed the second Psalm when he declared that he has absolute sovereignty - “All power in Heaven and on the Earth has been given to me.”

For this reason, he now sends his disciples to proclaim the Good News of his Kingdom “to all the nations of the Earth.” Likewise, in Acts, he commanded them to become his “witnesses,” beginning in Jerusalem, “and in Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost part of the earth” – (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).

In short, Jesus REIGNS NOW. His sovereignty began with his resurrection and subsequent exaltation to God’s “right hand.” Ever since he has been subjugating his enemies wherever his followers announce the “Gospel of the Kingdom of God.”

His reign in the present age must continue until he overthrows the final enemy, Death when he returns from Heaven. That event will mean nothing less than the bodily resurrection of the righteous dead and the arrival of the New Creation.


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