Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | May 29, 2006

Christ’s Ascension – Part 3

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18

“The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’  The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion saying, ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies.’”  Psalm 110:1-2

“You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them.  Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found.  But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth…In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.” Daniel 2:34-35 & 44

As indicated last week in our 5/23 entry, there are different points of view concerning what Christ’s current rule consists of heaven, heaven and the church or heaven and all of earth.  Today I will attempt to articulate my own view on this issue, which has been somewhat revealed in the passage selections referenced above.  The last two references are prophetic in nature and reveal to us almost an incremental realization of a predetermined reality.  I believe the first reference had to be included in the context in order to rule out the notion that the rule of Christ is being deferred until some future millennial reign.  Thus, the first reference essentially “starts the clock” on the fulfillment of the prophecies in the last two references.

Before we go any further let us examine resume our review of the Apostles Creed with the aid of the Heidelberg Catechism.  Question 50 provides an explanation that is supportive of the conclusion we will continue to explore about the dominion of Christ’s rule:

Q. Why the next words: “and is seated at the right hand of God”?

A. Christ ascended to heaven there to show that he is head of his church, 1 and that the Father rules all things through him.  2

1. Ephesians 1:20-23:  …which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.  Colossians 1:18:  He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

2. Matthew 28:18:  And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  John 5:22-23:  For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

It is our position that Christ’s dominion extends to all things in heaven and earth currently.  This, however, is not to suggest that everyone has acknowledged Christ as there Lord.  Clearly, we see that the majority of humanity on the earth right now do not acknowledge it, yet this does not prove that He isn’t Lord over them.  It is a reality that Christ is Lord over all and it is predetermined that His enemies will eventually become His footstool.  The prophecy in Daniel illustrates this very nicely when it describes the kingdom of God as a stone that destroys the kingdoms of the earth and grows into a mountain that eventually fills the whole earth.

The battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of evil has already taken place and Christ has won the decisive victory on the cross.  It is only a matter of time before the full realization of that victory is accomplished.  Last year Tabletalk magazine published an issue titled “The Exaltation of Christ” the following quote from an article in that issue describes this concept well:

“…the second coming completes the plan of God for history.  Though Christ legally secured the defeat of sin, death and the devil in the first century, all three evils remain with us (Rom 7:18-25; 1 Peter 5:8-9).  They have been vanquished legally before the judicial bar of God (Col 1:13-14; 2:13-15).  They are being vanquished historically through the continuing progress of the Gospel (Acts 26:18; 1 Cor. 15:20-23).  They will be vanquished eternally at the second advent of Christ (Rom 8:18-25; Rev 20:10-15).  “The coming of the King” by Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry, Tabletalk from Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul, March 2005 (emphasis his)

It is through the continuing progress of the Gospel that Christ is advancing His kingdom.  I graduated from Biola University and when I used to tell people my view they would look at me as if I were crazy (maybe I am).  This is not the popular view today among Evangelical Christians who typically subscribe to pre-millennial Dispensationalism.  The Dispensational view consists of many of the popular Christian bookstore sellers like “Left Behind” or “The Late Great Planet Earth”.  Although, it’s probably not an essential to the faith to believe that Christ rules all things now rather than during a millennial reign, it certainly affects your view of the world and the church.  The following is a link to a sermon given by Paul Viggiano, which talks about this very problem:    

http://www.branchofhope.org/audio/remedial/Remedial_1Thes_4_13_18.mp3

Hopefully, you have a chance to listen because I’d like to discuss some of these things further in our next entry.  Until then God Bless.

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