The Present Kingdom (part 9) – The King’s Authority

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations”                Matthew 28:18

I know a kingdom must have a king. However, I have never really understood Jesus as King and I cannot remember how I got started on this study topic. I have always prayed that God would send the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom and understanding. Can I try and share my present understanding of Jesus as King, which is very limited but I’m still overwhelmed and not sure I have the words to honour God who is teaching me.

Why is Jesus given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) when He is the Son of God and is equal to God the Father already? If Jesus is given all authority in heaven and on earth was His authority taken away and then re-established? For what purpose? What does ‘all authority’ mean?

I can’t say I really understand the majesty of what God did by exalting Jesus and giving Him all authority but the little understanding I have gained is majestic indeed. I submit this post for discussion so we can get to the truth.

This story, I liken to the coronation of a King, Jesus by the Father and is so majestic I’m sitting in our pray room stunned by wonder. In this coronation event (Jesus humbled Himself, died and was raised by the Father) scripture teaches me that something changed in heaven and on earth. First in heaven, Jesus was exalted by the Father, Jesus now has a more excellent name (Hebrews 1:4), Jesus became much more superior than the angels (Hebrews 1:4), Jesus received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit which He poured out at Pentecost (Acts 2:33). Second, on earth this coronation event ushered in a new order of existence established by God (the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit). I believe this coronation event is one of the endless expressions of the divine love of the Father and Son poured out for all to see and marvel.

I believe Jesus’ nature as God has never changed either as the Son of God or the Son of Man (the God-Man). Jesus is always God.

Part 1 of the coronation event (something changed in Heaven):

We must understand what Jesus did as the Son of Man when the incarnation happened.

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”                                                                                              Philippians 2: 5-8

  • Jesus as the Son of Man still had the nature of God (the form of God which is the fullness of the attributes that make God God).
  • Christ set His mind to lay aside His divine privileges and become completely dependent of the Father and pay whatever price is necessary to love people.
  • Christ set His mind to become a servant (bondservant). One who gives Himself up to another’s will. Even to death.

What was the outcome of Jesus’ decision? When you see a ‘therefore’ you find the answer (Philippians 2:9-10). Therefore, the Father exalted Jesus and gave Him a name above every name. This scripture suggests to me when Jesus set His mind to these conditions it was part of His coronation as King. As I said above something changed in heaven when the Father raised Jesus from death and I believe it had something to do with Jesus as the Son of Man (God-Man); God called Him His Son, this created being with the glorious nature of God was called His Son (Hebrews 1:5). I believe this change in heaven has something to do with Jesus’ humanity. Moses could not stand before the glory of God (Exodus 33:22) and Daniel marvelled when he saw in a vision a man standing before the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7). Yet there is much more here, because Jesus has been exalted (raised to supreme majesty) to the right hand of the Father, and the Father calls Jesus His Son.

Part 2 of the coronation event (something changed on earth):

When I study scripture, I believe this coronation event (Jesus humbled Himself to death and was raised by the Father) ushered in a new order of existence on earth.

  • God established a Kingdom to rescue people out of the dominion of Satan.
  • The New Covenant was established.
  • Jesus can now come as Messiah at His second coming to establish His righteous kingdom and fulfill the Daniel 7 prophecy.
  • The glorious identity of Jesus is now made known to the world (Matthew 26:64).
  • Jesus delegated His authority to make disciples of all nations. This is a new stage of salvation history where the opportunity is made available for all nations to serve Jesus not just Israel.
  • The Holy Spirit is given to Jesus to pour out on the world (Acts 2:30-36) etc. etc. etc

This coronation event establishes Jesus as King with authority over:

  • All flesh (the world)                                                                            John 17:2
  • Heaven and earth (the universe)                                                        Matthew 28:18
  • His unstoppable mission to gather His sheep from all peoples         Matthew 28:18

I have come to believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection is not only about the salvation of the world but is also about the coronation of a King, a God-Man King.

This is why we refer to Jesus as Lord and His ultimate goal as sovereign King is the subjection of every hostile power (i.e., to remove every obstacle to love or to place all His enemies are under His feet; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26). While Jesus rules in heaven and this rule is unseen by the world and ignored by many, the Second Coming of Jesus will mean nothing less than the disclosure to the world of His sovereignty and lordship which is already His.

‘All authority’: the extent of this authority

  • Jesus created all things as the Son of God                                    John 1:3
  • Jesus sustains the world                                              Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:17
  • Jesus governs all of nature                                          Matthew 10:29; Luke 8:25
  • Sovereignty over Satan and demons                           Mark 1:27; Luke 22:31-32
  • Governance & oversight over affairs of history         Revelation 17:14; Daniel 2:21; 4:17; 35; Psalm 33:10-11. NOTE: every decision made by every ruler against the church and mission of Christ in time will fail.
  • Authority over all disease                                            Exodus 27:28; Matthew 8:1-18
  • Over the sinful acts of men                                        Acts 4:27-28; Romans 8:28. No matter what evil comes against God’s people; God means it to serve His plan.
  • Sovereignty over conversion                                      Mark 10:23-27; Ephesians 1:3-4; Ezekiel 36:26-27.
  • Authority over death – my death                                Romans 8:35-39; 1 Cor 15:54-58
  • Absolute authority & power over the mission of the church

There is probably much more than this but you get the picture of ‘all’?

The King’s Authority over the Church:

“And He has put all things under His feet and has appointed Him the universal and supreme Head of the church [a headship exercised throughout the church], Which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere withHimself]”                         Ephesians 1:22-23 (Amp Bible) 

Scripture teaches us that:

  • The church is ‘a body’ with Christ as the head and all true believers as members.
  • The church is a house, Gods dwelling place (1 Corinthians 3:16;2 Corinthians 6;16).
  • The church as a body is God’s executive agent and personal representative (Matthew 10:40; 28:18-20; John 20:21). ‘Executive agent’ is a term used to indicate a delegation of authority by someone senior to a subordinate to act on their behalf. Jesus transfers His authority to the disciples to make disciples of all nations by (Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:23):
    • Baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit
    • Teaching them to observe everything Jesus has commanded.
    • Giving them authority to impart the Holy Spirit and to retain and forgive sins.

The Church Reigning now with Christ: our responsibility in the Present Kingdom

“And they sang a new song, saying:”You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”                       Revelation 5:9-10    

After a review of different Bibles, and checking with scholars I trust, I believe the most accurate translation of verse 10 is ‘a kingdom of priests’. Additionally, I believe a kingdom has only one King not multiple kings. What does it mean to be a priest? If God’s ultimate purpose is to establish His kingdom on earth, are we part of this as priests? How is it that after forty years walking with Christ, I still do not understand the privilege and responsibility of this calling? Finally, scripture suggests to me that we reign with Christ (a kingly role) in the future (‘we shall reign on the earth’ is future tense; Revelation 2:26-27; 2 Timothy 2:11-12; Revelation 20:6), therefore, I have to consider that God is preparing us as priests in the present kingdom so we can reign with Christ in the future Millennial Kingdom? I do not want to be unprepared, so I must understand my role as a priest to be a capable minister in this role and to allow God to prepare me to live with Him in His glory in the future kingdom (Moses could not; Exodus 33:18-20).

The kingly function is to reign or rule with Christ under His authority, in the future Millennial Kingdom. The Priestly function is to offer sacrifice (prayer and a life devoted to Christ in the Present Kingdom; for example a priest’s lips should guard, keep pure and speak the knowledge of truth Malachi 2:7). Therefore, before we can reign as kings we must minister as priests (Derek Prince). Is it possible that we are being prepared to reign in the future through prayer and devotion in the Present Kingdom (1 Peter 2:4-7)? Prayer as described in scripture:

  • worship, and praise. 
  • prayer (adoration, devotion, focusing on the greatness and majesty of God), 
  • supplication (earnest sharing of our needs and problems; asking), 
  • thanksgiving. 
  • intercession (standing in the gap; seek first His kingdom; to love what Jesus loves above all things).
  • living a life devoted to Christ. 

As I study the role of the church under the King’s authority, again I have discovered a vast and controversial topic. In this post I’m trying to focus on the key role I have in Jesus’ church, to be a priest. It appears to me that this is my primary role because it is about an intimate relationship with God that places the first commandment in first place. I believe Jesus gave this top priority. 

Summary of the Priestly Role:

  • To minister to the Lord through prayer, worship, intercession. God has changed the expression of my faith in these areas. I had to learn and understand how to apply these responsibilities in my life according to God’s definition and not my ignorant and naïve understanding. I wanted to go after Jesus’ heart on these assignments.
  • A life devoted to Christ. I believe there are many lenses through which we can examine this topic. I have a future post prepared on Kingdom Values for example. However, in this post a brief discussion of another lens; the offering of spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God in Christ. 

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”   1 Peter 2:4-7.

  • Prayer, worship and intercession that are acceptable to God. Acceptable: what is pleasing and welcomed by God so I need to understand the scriptural definition of these responsibilities. I came from a church system that promoted intercession on individual and corporate needs of the church. This is not wrong but priority must be given to the things of God (seek first His kingdom). I don’t want my prayers rejected by God. I want my heart connected to Jesus’ heart in prayer. One example is found in 1 Timothy 2:1-7 where Paul advises Timothy to give first priority to pray for all in authority, government. Do we have the governments we have because the church rarely gives this priority? We have seen governments in this nation rage against God (Psalm 2) to push God out of society and we have seen the persecution of Christians in Australia like never before (check the Australian Christian Lobby site for evidence). Why pray for all in authority? So the gospel can go out to all.
  • Devotion to Christ (what we do; if we love Jesus, we will obey His commands).
    • Present your body as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). The two words associated with scripture on this topic are ‘holy’ and ‘pure’. The Greek for purity covers physical and moral purity (i.e., obedience to God’s commands). I was taught the method of what I call ‘doctrine and discipline’. This is what scripture teaches so go and do it. However, the harder I tried the more I failed. God has taught me that the correct motive behind ‘present your body’ is ‘the way of the heart’, that is an intimate relationship with God (March 28, 2022; August 23, 2020).
    • Acts of love (Philippians 4:18; Hebrews 13:16). How can I discuss a topic so vast from giving someone a glass of water who is in need (Matthew 10:42) to the offer of your life for Christ (John 15:13)? God gives us daily opportunities for acts of love and all we have to do is say ‘yes’. Jesus is the author and perfector of our faith so in each ‘yes’ Jesus pours His divine love into our hearts (Luke 6:37-38; 2 Peter 1:4).
    • There is a basic requirement to obey God’s voice (Exodus 19:5; Jeremiah 7:22-23; Romans 10:17; post 14 April, 2022).

Written by John and Shirley Ray, edited by Joel Ratcliffe

Picture by Pixabay

References:

“Reigning now with Christ”                                              Derek Prince

“All Authority in Heaven and on Earth”                           John Piper

                              

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