The Enthronement of Jesus

The Enthronement of Jesus

Having ascended to heaven, Jesus entered into His enthronement. This involves several truths which are essential to the Christian faith.

1. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father.

“But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12, also 8:1). 

When He had made purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3).

The right hand of the majesty on high is now the throne of grace to which we may draw near with confidence. For the writer to the Hebrews, the ascension of Jesus is the prelude to His High Priestly ministry on our behalf — He always lives to make intercession for us (Hebr. 7:25).

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Jesus, seated at the right hand of majesty and authority, moving all of time and history to the fulfilling of His purpose, in whom the entire universe is held together — this same Jesus is the High Priest who invites us to draw near and receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. 

Seated at the right hand of the Father is not a literal picture of Jesus seated in a big chair. Sitting down speaks of the completion of His High Priest’s sacrificial duty. The Old Testament priests never sat down in the sanctuary, not only for the sake of reverence but because their sacrificial duties were never completed. There were no chairs in the temple because always, the work of sacrifice had to be repeated for themselves and for the people. However, when Jesus shouted from the cross, It is finished (John 19:30), He meant that His atoning sacrifice on behalf of sinners was perfectly complete, forever. Though He continually prays for us as our High Priest, He needs never again to offer a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. Once and for all, the blood of the spotless Lamb of God has been shed for the sins of the world. Now the sacrificed Lamb, risen from the dead and ascended to heaven, is seated at the right hand of majesty.

Seated at the right hand of the Father also speaks of the acceptance of the sacrifice. It is complete, not only because it is perfect but because it is accepted by God the Father. The Lamb sits on the throne because His work is complete and accepted.

Seated at the right hand of the Father also speaks of the return of the Son of God to shared authority and glory with the other members of the Trinity. In His human incarnation, Jesus did not cease to be God but He voluntarily laid aside the exercise of some of the rights and privileges of Deity in humble submission to the Father. Having proceeded from the Father and having returned to Him, Jesus assumed again the glorious exercise of all the attributes of God. 

On the night before He gave Himself for us, Jesus prayed, Now Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was (John 17:5). Before His ascension, Jesus said, All authority is given to Me in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He was speaking of His future enthronement at the right hand of the Father. In this enthronement, Jesus entered again into shared glory and authority with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

2. He is seated above all other powers in the universe (Ephesians 1:18-23).

Paul prayed for the church that we would understand our hope in Christ, our riches in Christ and the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:19,20).  

The greatest expression of the power of God is revealed in Christ, in His resurrection, ascension, dominion over creation and Headship over all things. God revealed the greatness of His power in raising Jesus from the dead and in seating Christ at His right hand, the position of authority. 

Jesus has been seated, Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named (Eph. 1:21a). The authority of Jesus transcends all governmental power on earth or in the heavenlies, in the visible or spiritual planes, all human or angelic government.

The authority of Jesus transcends all bounds of time — past, present and future, Not only in this age but also in the one to come (Eph. 1:21b). His dominion is like a river overflowing the banks of time into eternity past and eternity future.  

The hand that holds all authority for all time in this universe is not the clenched fist of the hateful tyrant or terrorist but the nail pierced hand of the loving Savior. Ultimate power in this universe is not wielded by the demon gods of death but by the Risen One who triumphed over death and will someday cast death and Hades into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14).

And He put all things in subjection under His feet (Ephesians 1:22). Now all things are under Christ’s feet, that is, subject to His dominion. This recalls the words of God the Father spoken to His Son recorded in Psalm 110:1, Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet. Jesus is not only the exalted Christ but, by virtue of His position at the right hand of God, He is also the triumphant Christ. All things have been placed in subjection to Him. 

The Son of God who humbled Himself in taking human form, who as a baby was laid in a feeding trough, who as a man was ridiculed, beaten and crucified on the cross of a common criminal, this Christ is also King of kings, Lord of lords and Ruler of the universe. This risen, exalted Christ has been given the name above every name in this world and in the world to come so that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and every tongue confess Him as Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10,11). The stone rejected by the builders is now the chief cornerstone of the heavenly temple, seated at the right hand of power.

This also calls to mind Psalm 8 in which the Psalmist speaks of the original purpose of God in creating humanity, Yet you have made him a little lower than God and you crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of your hands, you have put all things under his feet (Psalm 8:5,6).

The writer to the Hebrews quotes this Scripture and adds ironically, We do not yet see everything in subjection to him (Hebrews 2:8). Because of sin, humanity was unable to fulfill our destiny of ruling over earth. Created to show forth the beauty of God, we fell into the miry clay. Created for freedom, we became slaves to sin and death. Endowed with wisdom, we were given up to the futility of darkened minds.

However, we see Jesus, But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone (Hebrews 2:9). Jesus, made in the likeness of man, tasting death for all men, now risen from the dead, takes His rightful place of authority over all creation. Though not all creation recognizes or confesses His dominion today, there is a day coming when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phlp. 2:10,11).

3. In His triumphant exaltation Jesus is, Head over all things to the church (Eph. 1:22).

Headship denotes rulership. Though His authority is not yet visible over all things, it is still true authority. Though many people and fallen angels are in rebellion against the royal Headship of Christ, He is still Head over all things, Ruler over all things, for the sake of His church, His Bride.

4. Jesus in His enthronement is crowned with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9).

It certainly follows that if Jesus has been seated at the right hand of the Father, seated above all rule and power and dominion, then He is crowned with glory and honor. But the writer to the Hebrews links the cross of Jesus with His exaltation, because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor (2:9). In fact, it is Christ’s suffering that is crowned with glory. His suffering was the pathway to His glory.  

The glory of Jesus filled the preaching of the early church. The Apostle Peter proclaimed, The God of our fathers has glorified His servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and disowned (Acts 3:13).

The glory of Jesus was the confession of the early church, He who was revealed in the flesh, was vindicated in the Spirit, beheld by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory (I Tim. 3:16).

The glory of Jesus was the visionary goal of the early church. Paul prayed, That you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thes. 2:14). Jesus prayed that His followers would be with Him in glory so that we would behold His glory (John 17:24) and that we would share His glory (17:22). Indeed, He is glorified in His church (17:10) as we reflect His life, share His works and proclaim His gospel. The church worships and proclaims the glorified Christ, crucified for the sins of the world, risen from the dead, ascended to the Father, enthroned at the right hand of majesty, ruling in glory.

The Glorified Christ:

1. The glorified Christ is Heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2).

The writer to the Hebrews is expressing the truth that someday all the universe will be submitted to the Lordship of Jesus. This truth is presented in Psalm 2:8, as God the Father says to His Son, Ask of Me and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance. However, the inheritance of Jesus is more than just the kingdoms of this world. He is Heir of all things, all of the universe, all of time and space, things seen and unseen, that which is and that which is yet to be, all is His.  

Jesus has the right to inherit all things because, All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being (John 1:3). Not only were all things created by Christ but more, All things have been created through Him and for Him (Col. 1:16). Creation exists not just because of Jesus but for Him. 

Creation is the inheritance of Jesus because He is its Creator.

Creation is the inheritance of Jesus because He is its Redeemer.

In Revelation 5 an angel is holding a scroll which is the title deed to planet earth. It contains the revelation of what God in His sovereign will has destined for this world, the fulfilling of His purpose for this planet and the consummation of history. John is weeping because no one is worthy to break the seals and open the book (and thereby release the establishing of God’s purpose). Then he sees the holy Lamb, Jesus, who takes the book, breaks the seals and sets in motion the chain of events which results in the overthrow of the God-rejecting kingdoms of the world, the establishing of the kingdom of God and Christ regaining His inheritance.

Because Jesus is the heir of all things, His desire is to redeem creation and people. Therefore He entered our human condition and bore our sins, our sorrows, griefs and afflictions, died our death. Because He humbled Himself unto death on the cross, God highly exalted Him and this exalted Christ has been seated above all power and dominion. Someday there will be a great shout in heaven, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He will reign forever and ever (Revelation 11:15).  

Jesus is the heir of creation because He is its Creator and Redeemer. 

And He is the heir of creation because 

He is the goal toward which all of creation is moving.

The Apostle Paul reveals to us that God has made known to us the mystery of His will which mystery climaxes in the summing up (or gathering) of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth (Eph. 1:9,10). Jesus is not only the Creator of the universe with the Father and the Holy Spirit but also the preserver and goal of all creation. Jesus is the goal of time, history and creation — all time and creation flow from Him and to Him, as Paul celebrates, For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen (Rom. 11:36) 

Jesus will ultimately gather all of time and creation into Himself. History is not an endless cycle of violence, depravity and chaos, random events spiraling endlessly into darkness. God is moving all of time, history and creation toward the fulfilling of His purpose in Christ. Christ is the beginning and end of history. All things find their fulfillment in Him. The Father’s purpose that His Son will rule and reign on the earth will someday be established.

Paul goes on to say, In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:10,11). The saints, those who have become children of God through faith in Christ, are joint heirs with Christ, as Paul reminds us, And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17). In union with Christ, we will share in His inheritance. We will rule and reign with Him on the earth. We will work with Him in creative projects as the earth is restored to the fullest expression of the Lord’s purpose — our faithfulness in this life will define our assignments in eternity.

2. The glorified Christ is the Upholder of the universe (Hebrews 1:3).

The glorified Christ upholds all things by the word of His power, that is, by His enabling word (Hebrews 1:3). The same Lord who spoke the universe into being also sustains and maintains, keeps and preserves, all that He created. He does this through the continued exercise of His word of power, that same dynamic word by which He created all things. The farthest spinning galaxies and the smallest particles of the atom are upheld and held together in Christ. Indeed, though there are billions of galaxies and trillions of stars, He counts them all and gives them names (Psalm 147:4). And yet He also heals the broken hearted (Psalm 147:3) and not a sparrow falls without His knowing (Matthew 10:29).

Not only creation but also time and history are sustained, upheld and moved forward by the God who works all things after the counsel of His will (Eph. 1:11). The truth that Christ upholds all things by the word of His power provides us with a portrait of the God who hoists creation, time and history on His shoulders, moving the universe by His power toward the fulfilling of His purpose. 

In the story of the paralytic who was brought to Jesus by his friends, we read, Men were carrying (or brought) on a bed a man who was paralyzed (Luke 5:18-26). The word carrying is the same word (phero) as in Hebrews 1:3, He upholds all things by the word of His power. The paralyzed man wanted to be near Jesus so he could be healed but he could not move himself by himself. He needed his friends to carry him, uphold him to Jesus.

In the same way, Jesus moves the universe — all of space, matter, time and history — toward the fulfillment of His purpose. History is not a random series of events recycling endlessly nor spinning violently and mindlessly out of control. Neither is the universe flying apart in chaos. The same Lord who creates also upholds and moves creation, time and history by the force of His will, the power of His word, toward the fulfillment which He purposed from eternity.

3. The glorified Christ is Preeminent, the One in Whom all things consist. 

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together (consist, endure) (Col. 1:15-17).

The word firstborn, prototokos, can refer to time — one who is born before someone else but it cannot refer to Jesus in this way because He is not firstborn of all creatures — He is the uncreated Creator of all creation. Not only were all things created by Him but also, all things have been created through Him and for Him (Col.1:16). Jesus pre-existed His birth as Son of Mary. He is eternal, uncreated, with no beginning. So prototokos, in reference to Jesus, is not about time but about rank, position, preeminence. It refers to His honor and therefore, His inheritance. 

Firstborn means that Jesus Christ is preeminent over all things. He holds the place of Lordship, primacy, before and over all creation. All things hold together in the glorified Christ, from the smallest subatomic particle to the enormous spinning galaxies, all things consist or hold together in Him. John said in opening his gospel: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being (John 1:1-3)

The glorified Christ is Heir of all things, Creator of all things, preeminent over all things, in Whom all things consist.

After His resurrection from the dead, Jesus visibly ascended to heaven and was enthroned in glory at the right hand of God the Father. The church worships this Savior, crucified, risen, ascended, enthroned in glory. He will someday return for His faithful and we who behold His glory shall be transformed in glory and we will share in His inheritance.

Study Questions

1. What does it mean that Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father and how does this impact the way you pray and live?

2. What does it mean that the glorified Christ is the Upholder of the universe and how does this impact the way you pray and live?