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21 January 2019

Jesus Reigns Now

The Apostle Paul links the exaltation and enthronement of Jesus to his Death and Resurrection, and he does so consistently. Christ achieved the right to rule by his faithful obedience unto death. God vindicated his obedience by raising him from the dead and exalting him to reign supreme over the Cosmos from the Divine Throne (Romans 1:1-4, Philippians 2:6-11).
Jesus already is implementing God’s kingdom and subjugating His enemies. This process continues until the end of the present age when Jesus arrives in glory and defeats the “last enemy,” death. That day will mean nothing less than resurrection from the dead and new creation (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).
The sequence of events presented by Paul leaves no room for further partial victories at Christ’s coming or another interim stage afterward; his arrival means nothing less than the culmination of God’s redemptive plan for the ages.
Paul utilizes several messianic passages to portray the exaltation of Jesus, in particular, Psalms 110:1, “The declaration of Yahweh to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your foes your footstool” (cp. 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:22). He also echoes words from Daniel 7:13, Psalm 2:6-9 and Isaiah 45:23-25 (cp. Philippians 2:9-11).
The Old Testament prophets foresaw a Messiah who would begin to reign over the nations upon his arrival. Paul never refers to this scriptural expectation as a delayed promise; instead, he declares it to be a present reality. Jesus has full authority and, therefore, reigns over all powers and principalities, hostile to him or not (Colossians 1:12-20; 2:10-15).
Paul describes how Jesus “humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, -indeed, a crucified death.” God responded by highly exalting him, “giving him the name above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Philippians 2:8-11).
Paul wrote to the church at Rome, “to this end Christ both died and rose, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living…As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:9-11). Once again, the apostle claims Christ’s present reign is based on his past obedient death.
God brought this about when He:
Raised Jesus from the dead and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the coming one; and he put all things under his feet…” (Ephesians 1:20-22).
Far above” means that he already possesses the highest authority; his sovereignty is not limited to heaven, restricted on the earth or delayed until some future point.
Jesus reigns now; his sovereignty began with his resurrection and, since then, he has been subjugating all his enemies, just as promised in the Psalm (“he must reign until he has put all enemies under his feet” – Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28)
This reign continues until “the end” when he will overthrow the final enemy, death. The consummation of this process will coincide with the “arrival” of Jesus in glory. The final defeat of death will mean the bodily resurrection of the righteous dead and the transformation of saints still alive at the time, as well as the arrival of the New Creation (1 Corinthians 15:51-57Romans 8:19-23).
In Paul’s understanding, Christ’s reign had not been postponed until some future event or date.  It began with his past exaltation to God’s right hand as a result of his faithful obedience unto death; His right to rule is based on that past act. Jesus is engaged at present in the subjugation of his enemies, but he does so from his throne at God’s side.
Satanic and hostile forces remain active, but their powers are curtailed; already, all hostile spiritual forces, the “powers and principalities and world rulers,” are subject to the universal lordship of Jesus.

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