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14 December 2019

Jesus Reigns Over All – No Exceptions!

SYNOPSIS - Jesus received all authority to reign over the Cosmos after his death and resurrection, and has reigned ever since on the Messianic Throne.

Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash
Pro Church Media on Unsplash
Nebuchadnezzar, the absolute monarch of the Babylonian Empire, at the height of his power boasted before heaven and earth - “Is not this Babylon the great and exceptional kingdom that I built by the MIGHT OF MY POWER and for the glory of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:28-29).

The presumptuous words of the King received an immediate response by an angelic figure - “O King Nebuchadnezzar the dominion has departed from you…until you come to know that it is the Most High who has dominion over the kingdom of men, and to whomever he pleases he gives it” (Daniel 4:28-33).

Consequently, Nebuchadnezzar lost his rational mind and was driven from Babylonian society to live like an animal. After “seven seasons,” his mind returned, and he lifted his eyes to heaven and declared--
  • (Daniel 4:34-35) - “And at the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, mine eyes unto the heavens did uplift, and mine understanding unto me returned, and the Most High I blessed, and to him that liveth, age-abidingly, I rendered praise and honour,—whose dominion is an age-abiding dominion, and his kingdom lasteth from generation to generation; And all the inhabitants of the earth as nothing are accounted, and according to his own pleasure dealeth he—with the army of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth,—and none there is who can smite upon his hand or say to him, What hast thou done?” – (The Emphasized Bible).
From time immemorial, kings, emperors, dictators, premiers and presidents have engaged in this kind of conceit - The boast of the Babylonian king was nothing new. Apparently, his empire was the greatest and most exceptional political power the world had ever seen.  Yet within two generations, it collapsed and was replaced by an even greater world power, Persia. Thus, has it been throughout history.

Nebuchadnezzar should have known better. He had learned the same lesson in a previous incident when he had received a troubling dream of a great image with a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and iron feet mixed with clay. A “stone cut out without hands” struck the image, pulverized it, and became a “mountain that filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:31-45).

The Hebrew prophet Daniel interpreted the king's dream. The image represented four successive kingdoms, starting with Babylon, but a final kingdom was destined to replace all of its worldly predecessors. The end of Babylon was inevitable - Imperial power would pass from one regime to another until the day God “set up a kingdom unto the ages that shall not be destroyed.”

The stone that pulverized the image symbolized the everlasting kingdom of God which was destined to replace ALL EXISTING POLITICAL POWERS despite their (apparent) economic, political, and military might.  The victory of this final realm would be total and universal.

Daniel declared that God alone “changes times and seasons, removes kings and sets up kings” - He gives dominion to even the “basest of men,” as He sees fit. At the end of the day, Nebuchadnezzar himself declared - “Your God is God of gods and Lord of kings." The king acknowledged that his authority was derived from a higher one - He ruled at Yahweh’s pleasure.  Political authority comes from God and no regime can reign without His say so - THERE IS NO EXCEPTION TO THE RULE.

This is a central theme of the Book of Daniel:  God gives rulership to whomever He pleases to achieve His purposes. The theme begins in the first paragraph of the book when it declares that the capture of Jerusalem, the captivity of Judah, and the destruction of its Temple occurred in accord with God’s purposes. The “Lord gave the king of Judah into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand with the vessels of the House of God” (Daniel 1:1-2).
Despite Israel’s national disaster, Yahweh used Daniel to direct the policies of the great king of Babylon. He was divinely enabled to do what none of the astrologers, priests, or soothsayers of Babylon could do – recount and interpret the king’s dream. The result was the elevation of Daniel to a high position from which he influenced the course of the Babylonian Empire.
Thus, God revealed the course of history for centuries to come as He unveiled four great empires that would dominate the world, beginning with Babylon. Two major powers were named long before anyone could imagine their rise to global power – the kingdom of the "Medes and Persians" and the Greco-Macedonian conquests of Alexander the Great. His visions even foretold the fourfold division of Alexander’s empire into smaller realms after his death (Daniel 7:1-88:20-2511:1-4).

The plans of kings and kingdoms are irrelevant. God uses His sovereign power to accomplish His purposes regardless of human intentions and machinations. Yahweh cannot be surprised by the plans of men.  Kingdoms last only as He allows; rulers who presume too much and trespass on His prerogatives risk their downfall and removal from power.

History eloquently attests that all human kingdoms, empires, and regimes, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, fall. Greece, Rome, Byzantium; all rose to great heights before collapsing, often under their own weight.

Map Pins - Photo by Timo Wielink on Unsplash
Photo by Timo Wielink on Unsplash

None of today’s nations and governments are exceptions to the rule - NOT one is indispensable to God and His kingdom. His redemptive goal is to fill the whole earth with His glory, righteous reign, and His people under the rule of His Messiah. All other governing powers are impermanent realities; all will be supplanted by God’s universal rule.

Yahweh promised a day when His anointed ruler would sit at His right hand and rule until He made all his enemies his footstool. God would give His Son the “uttermost parts of the earth for his possession.” Though the nations might rage and the “kings of the earth set themselves against Yahweh and His anointed one,” he was destined to rule them all with a “rod of iron” (Psalm2:6-9110:1-4).

The New Testament is explicit and uncompromising. Not only is Jesus this very Son and messianic ruler, but his reign also began after his Death and Resurrection. The risen Jesus declared to his disciples, “ALL authority in heaven and on the earth has been given to me.” Noteworthy is Matthew’s use of the aorist verb tense, indicating a past action; not, “will be given,” but, “was given” (Matthew 28:18-20Acts 2:34, 1 Corinthians 15:25, Ephesians 1:20-22, Heb 1:1-4, 1 Peter 3:22).

Before his ascent to heaven, Jesus commanded his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received the Spirit, then they would be his witnesses “unto the uttermost part of the earth,” an echo from the Psalm ( “uttermost parts of the earth for his possession”). As the gospel goes out, so the reign of God’s anointed king extends over the earth (Psalm 2:7-9, Acts 1:7-9).

Having received the Spirit, Peter declared that the very man the Jews rejected God raised from the dead and installed him to rule at His right side. It was not King David who ascended into heaven but Jesus; therefore, God made him “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:34-36).

When God raised Jesus from the dead, He placed him “far above all rule, authority, power, dominion, and every name that is named, and he put all things in subjection under his feet.” Because of his obedience, God gave Jesus a “name with is above every name” (Ephesians 1:20-22Philippians 2:6-11).

By his death, the Son “despoiled the powers and principalities,” triumphing over them. By the resurrection, he became the “firstborn of the dead” and is in “all things preeminent.” Already he reigns; already all angels, powers, and authorities are subjected to him (Colossians1:16-18, 2:15, 1 Peter 3:22).

The “firstborn of the dead” is now the “ruler of the kings of the earth,” the same group that conspired against Yahweh’s anointed in the second Psalm. He is the “living one” and possesses the “keys of Death and Hades”; he opens and “no one shuts.” In his death, he “overcame,” expelled the Dragon, and received the authority to “shepherd the nations” (Psalm 2:1-9, Revelation 1:4-6, 1:18, 3:21, 12:1-10).

In the whole Cosmos, only the Lamb who was slain is declared “worthy” to open the sealed scroll to release God’s redemptive plan for the entire created order. Just as the God of Daniel ruled over the kingdoms of men, so His anointed Son reigns over all things. No nation, government, political party, or ideology is beyond his reach or indispensable to his kingdom purposes. Jesus Reigns Over All!

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