The Crucified One Reigns

The New Testament links the enthronement of Jesus to his death, resurrection, and ascension by applying key messianic texts from the Hebrew Scriptures to him. He qualified to rule over all things because of his faithful “obedience unto death.” God Himself confirmed his Messianic status and vindicated his obedience by raising him from the dead and enthroning him. Not only did He resurrect the Nazarene, but He also seated him “at His right hand” where he now reigns supreme over the Cosmos.

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 where he would be enthroned 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 Messianic calling 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 said to 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 and his entourage understood all too well what Jesus had stated, which 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 and destiny to reign over all things from the Throne of David.

PER PETER AND PAUL


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 had made this crucified and resurrected man both “Lord and Messiah.” Already, he was ruling from God’s “right hand,” and his authority to dispense the “Promise of the Father,” the Holy Spirit, was and remains proof positive of his present sovereignty.

Years later, Peter reasserted his understanding.  Once again, he alluded to Psalm 110. As a result of his resurrection, not only was he reigning from the Divine Throne, but even the hostile spiritual powers had 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).

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

  • (Ephesians 1:17-22) – “… What is 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 ruled over His Father’s Kingdom, and he will continue to do so 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 list 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 wrote how Jesus submitted to a shameful and undeserved death on a Roman cross, and his obedience resulted in his exaltation:

  • (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, so 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” all things means that already he holds the highest imaginable authority. His sovereignty is not limited to Heaven, restricted to the Earth, or delayed until some future date.

Sunset - Photo by Single.Earth on Unsplash
[Sunset - Photo by Single.Earth on Unsplash]

FULL AUTHORITY NOW


In the Book of Hebrews, both Psalms are cited repeatedly to demonstrate the superiority of Jesus and his priesthood 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 place, You are a priest forever according to 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 the Book of Acts, he commanded his followers 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 and whenever his disciples announce the “Gospel of the Kingdom of God.”

His reign must continue until he overthrows the final enemy, Death when he “arrives” from Heaven. That event will mean nothing less than the bodily resurrection of the righteous dead and the appearance of the New Creation.



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