CHRIST'S KINGSHIP
All Bible quotes from Young's Literal Translation unless otherwise noted.

(Young's Literal Translation uses the word "messengers" for "angels)

 

INTRODUCTION

It is common knowledge in Christian circles that Jesus Christ is our Heavenly King. Many individuals, however, are confused as to what this means in matters of worship, mediation, and heavenly authority. The purpose of this essay is to explain these matters clearly, straight from the Bible.


CHRIST'S KINGSHIP

Jesus Christ received his position as King of God's (Jehovah / Yahweh) Kingdom when he returned from his mission on earth (1 Peter 3:22), which gave him a higher ranking than any of the angels, as shown at Hebrews 1:3-4:

3 who being the brightness of the glory, and the impress of His subsistence, bearing up also the all things by the saying of his might -- through himself having made a cleansing of our sins, sat down at the right hand of the greatness in the highest, 4 having become so much better than the messengers, as he did inherit a more excellent name than they.

Christ is to retain his kingly position until he has defeated all God's enemies:

Psalm 110:1-2:
1 A Psalm of David. The affirmation of Jehovah to my Lord: `Sit at My right hand, Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.' 2 The rod of thy strength doth Jehovah send from Zion, Rule in the midst of thine enemies.

Hebrews 10:12-13
12 And He, for sin one sacrifice having offered -- to the end, did sit down on the right hand of God, -- 13 as to the rest, expecting till He may place his enemies [as] his footstool

The Almighty Father instructed Christ to subdue all other authorities and powers, including death itself. After he defeats the last enemy - Death - Christ will hand the Kingdom back to his Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). During this time of Christ's rulership, God has subjected everything - except for Himself - under Christ's rulership (1 Corinthians 15: 27)(NIV). After Christ defeats all of God's enemies, then Christ will step down from the throne and return the rulership to Him (1 Corinthians 15:28).

Since death continues to occur right now, we know it has not yet been thoroughly defeated. Although we don't know the exact timing of events, we do know the basic events that lead up to the defeat of death, as spoken of in Revelation Chapters 20 and 21:

Satan is to be bound and imprisoned for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-3). During this thousand years the faithful martyrs will be resurrected. These resurrected ones will rule with Christ during this millennial time period (20:4,6). This, however, this is not the end of death yet, for other faithful ones will remain dead, though only until after the thousand years have ended (20:5). These later resurrections are those who died faithful, but weren't martyred (i.e. sickness, accidents, age, etc.)We know this, because the previous verses mentioned that the martyrs would already be resurrected.
Before this second resurrection occurs though, Satan will be released from his prison for a short period to give one final testing to humanity (20:7-9). At the end of his time period, Satan and his associates will be destroyed forever (20:10)(NIV). When this is finished, the time of judgment occurs (20:12). According to this passage, this is when Death and Hades relinquish their dead for judgment according to their deeds (20:13). Those who are judged unworthy will be permanently destroyed in the same way that Satan, death and Hades are destroyed (20:10,14-15).* When this is accomplished, then New Jerusalem will come to earth, and death will no longer exist (21:1-4).
This would mean that all who are living will always continue living. Since the last enemy, death, will have been defeated at this point, Christ returns the Throne to God, who will rule on the earth forever (21:3-4).
*Note the information given in these passages: The dead are not judged until after Christ's millenium, and then they are immediately destroyed along with Satan. Since they are not judged until Satan is, and are immediately destroyed with him, there cannot be dead souls in a fiery hell at this time because nobody has been judged yet. For further details regarding Hell, Hades, and the Lake of Fire, please click here.

 

THE FATHER'S AUTHORITY

Since Christ is currently sitting as King in God's Kingdom, does this mean that he is now Almighty God?

Not really.

Remember, Scripture tells us the only thing not subjected under Christ's kingship is The Almighty Father Himself. It also tells us that Christ will subject himself to The Father when his time of rulership ends (1 Corinthians 15:27). In other words, The Father is the only one with the right to absolute authority. Since Christ remains in subjection to someone, i.e. The Father, that automatically disqualifies him from being the Almighty God. Scripture tells us that there is only one God: The Father, and only one Lord: The Christ (1 Corinthians 8:6), showing a specific distinction between the two. This specific distinction is evident throughout the New Testament as shown in Scriptures such as Matthew 23:9-10, Ephesians 6:23, Philippians 1:2 . Other Scriptures also support the fact that The Father holds absolute authority over all things (1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 4:6). Christ himself also referred to The Father as his God (Matthew 27:46, John 20:17), and mentioned his own obedience to The Father's commandments (John 12:49-50, 14:31), showing recognition of his own submission to the Father. Notice, the Father has never referred to any one as His God, further showing His absolute position. These facts, however, don't weaken Christ's dominion over us as King.

Since Christ is our King, yet The Father holds absolute authority, what does this mean when it comes to matters of prayer and praise?

 

PRAYER & PRAISE

Christ himself promoted prayer to the Father at Matthew 6:9-13. On other occasions, after Christ's resurrection and heavenly coronation, Christians continued to offer prayer and praise to the Father (Romans 15:5-6, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Ephesians 3:14). In fact, Scripture shows us that we are to approach the Father, though we are to do so through Christ, who mediates for us (Ephesians 2:18, 5:20, Philippians 4:19, Colossians 3:17). In other words, our prayers are to be directed to the Father, but they must go through our Mediator, Jesus Christ, in order to get there. Christ himself told us these things while he walked the earth (John 14:6, John 15:16, John 16:23).

Christ also said that if we request of the Father anything in the name of Christ, then Christ himself will do it to the Glory of God (John 14:13-14)(WE, Darby, YLT, ASV, KJ21, NKJV, KJV) . Note, Christ does not say the prayer should be directed to himself, he simply says that a prayer made in his name will be answered by him. Unfortunately, some Bible translations render the verse as saying "ask me anything in my name", making it sound like one should pray directly to Jesus Christ (Contemporary English Version, English Standard Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, New Century Version, New American Standard Bible, New International Version, New International Reader's Version, New Living Translation, Today's New International Version) . However, if you check the original wording with an interlinear Bible, you will see that the passage does not have Jesus directing the prayers to himself.

 

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Therefore, although Christ is our heavenly King at this time, we are not to view him as if he were Almighty God, because he does not have that absolute level of authority. However, this does not absolve us from giving Christ his due honor as our King and Mediator. Scripture tells us what our responsibilities are regarding our heavenly King:

1 -- We are to commemorate Christ's inauguration of the New Covenant in remembrance of his sacrifice, (Communion; The Lord's Supper) (Luke 22:19-20).
2 -- We are to actively show our faith in him (John 3:16, 6:40) without shame (Mark 8:38).
3 -- We are to accept him as mediator between ourselves and the Father (1 Timothy 2:5).
4 We are to direct our prayers to the Father (Matthew 6:9), in the name of Jesus Christ (John 14:13-14).
5 -- We are to acknowledge him as head of the Christian congregation (Ephesians 1:22, 5:23-24, Colossians 1:18).
6 -- We are to do all that Christ commanded us (Matthew 28:18-20).

Christ's commandments include:

a) Loving God completely and to love all people (Matthew 22:36-40)
b) Making Christian disciples, along with
c) Baptizing believers, along with
d) Teaching them Christ's teachings (Matthew 28:19-20).
e) Commemorating the Last Supper (Luke 22:19-20)
f) Having love amongst ourselves as disciples (John 13:34)

Interestingly enough, if we do that which Christ commanded of us, then we are considered to be his friends (John 15:14-15).

 

CONCLUSION

So, putting it all together, we can see that Scripture tells us Christ is currently ruling as King of God's Kingdom. Christ will continue to rule until he vanquishes the curse of death. Although he is not Almighty God, he still is to be shown the proper respect and honour due him as God's chosen King. This includes obedience to the commandments Christ gave. In doing so, we can be counted as a part of Christ's circle of friends. We can think of no better position to be in than to be counted as friends of God's chosen King. Praise God for such a grand provision!

 


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