We have been considering together results of the exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ to God’s right hand, past and present. It also has big implications for the future, which is what we will ponder this month.
Reception (for us)
The Lord Jesus closed His “upper room ministry” with a prayer to His Father, which included “And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was … Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me” (John 17:5, 24, KJV).
The first part was answered within a few weeks, in His exaltation. The second part is just as certain to be answered, and in the same portion of Scripture the Lord explains how: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3, KJV).
“If I go.” This is not an “if” of doubt, but of argument. Since He has gone, been exalted and demonstrated to be Lord, just as surely, He will come again, for us, and take us to be with Himself, where He is. So His present position in heaven is the guarantee to us of our reception by Him, to be with Him forever.
The writer to the Hebrews speaks of us as having “fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus” (Heb 6:18-20, KJV). The word “forerunner” denotes that He has gone in advance of us, to the place where we too will be, when He receives us to Himself. The reality of His having gone into “heaven itself” means that we will be there too.
Thus Paul could write to the Philippians that “our commonwealth has its existence in the heavens, from which also we await the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, Who shall transform our body of humiliation into conformity to His body of glory, according to the working of the power which He has even to subdue all things to Himself”(Phil 3:20, 21, JND).
Retribution (for His enemies)
The implications for His foes are altogether different. Psalm 110:1 says, “Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” These words are quoted often in the NT, for example, “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool” (Heb 10:12-13, KJV). His having sat down at God’s right hand looks back, as conclusive proof of a work that has been fully done, when He “offered one sacrifice for sins,” but it also looks forward to a work that is yet to be done, when He will subdue all His enemies under His feet.
We would all do well to ponder the word “until/till.” For us, who are saved, it ought to make us so thankful for our salvation, and desirous to see others delivered from sin and its consequences. And, if there be anyone reading these words who is still out of Christ, please consider the solemn reality of that word: the Lord Jesus is in heaven, and for all who are saved He is coming as Savior, to take us to be forever with Himself; but for you, still in your sins, it is only matter of time “until” He will begin to take “vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Thes 1:8, KJV). In light of this, “We pray you … Be ye reconciled to God” (2Cor 5:20, KJV).
Restoration (for the world)
There is another “until” associated with His exaltation, spoken by Peter: “Jesus Christ … Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:20-21, KJV). W. E. Vine writes: “… the ‘restoration of all things’ (Acts 3:21, RV), when, as a result of the second advent of Christ, Jehovah ‘sets His King upon His holy hill of Zion’ (Psa 2:6, KJV), and Israel, now in apostasy, is restored to its destined status, in the recognition and under the benign sovereignty of its Messiah. Thereby will be accomplished the deliverance of the world from the power and deception of Satan and from the despotic and anti-Christian rulers of the nations.”
Conditions in this world are far from what they will be. He has been rejected by it, but received by heaven. However, that is all going to change. In that blessed millennial day there will be restoration, and He will reign as Messiah over Israel, and the world. His present session at God’s right hand is “until” then.
Recognition (for Him)
As we eagerly anticipate that day, let us rejoice in the implications of His exaltation for Him, as far as His future is concerned. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-11, KJV).
His exaltation shows how exceedingly highly the Father honors Him. It is His desire “that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father” (John 5:23, KJV). At present, only a minority do. However, a day is coming when His Lordship will be universally acknowledged. It is not that all will be saved – far from it – but every being in this vast universe will come to recognise Him as Lord, and will bow the knee to Him.