Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Already/Not Yet (Part 2)

While already/not yet is a helpful tool to understand some passages, there are many promises that will find their primary fulfillment in this present age.


The Reign of Christ

One example of this is the reign of Christ. After his resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.


“So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).


“Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).


At his first coming, Jesus was inaugurated as king. Presently, he is already reigning as king, but his reign is not yet perfect.


“Yahweh said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’” (Psalm 110:1).


The Father’s intention is that Jesus reigns until all of his enemies are defeated.


“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool” (Hebrews 10:12-13).


“But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1 Corinthians 15:23-25).


Jesus will remain in heaven ruling until his enemies are defeated. After this, he will return.


Again, our eschatology affects how we view this present age. Because we do not yet see all of Jesus’ enemies defeated, we do not expect Jesus to return yet.


This is the opposite of how most contemporary American Christians think. Many view the world as getting worse and worse and assume that this means that Jesus will return soon.


Yet, the exact opposite is true. Jesus will not return until all his enemies are under his feet. If we see evil triumphing on the earth, this is not a sign that Jesus’ return is getting closer. It is a sign that Jesus is not done ruling from heaven.

6 comments:

Frontier Forest said...

Very deep thinking! On the subject but not really of the subject, here’s a statement that has always deeply troubled me. When we say “The Apostles Creed”, that one very confusing proclamation, “Christ descended unto hell.” I read “JOHN CALVIN'S: INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION” EDITED BY JOHN T. MCNEILL, and Calvin’s exegesis is assured that there is Scriptural basis behind such a statement. But I continually wrestle with why God would send Jesus to hell, when there is no such statement in any of the 4 Gospel accounts. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins, He died to set us free sin’s evil grip, He arose from the grave after 3 days, but nothing about going to hell to do so? In fact, when we recite the ancient creed, I purposely will not repeat such a claim. Am I all wet? I Would like to know your thoughts Pastor Eric?

Eric Adams said...

Yes, you should always recite the full creed, otherwise you are not confessing the same faith as our forefathers.

Christ descended into hell has been understood a number of ways. Here's my take: the creed was written in Greek, and the word "Hell (Gehenna)" is not used. It is "hades," which refers to the grave. This is simply affirming that Christ was buried, something that was denied by heretics.

Others think this refers to 1 Peter 3:18-19: "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison."

Frontier Forest said...

Thank Eric. I am sure if I understood Greek, that phrase would have made perfect sence to me.

Folken Family said...

You stated, "At his first coming, Jesus was inaugurated as king. Presently, he is already reigning as king, but his reign is not yet perfect."

Wow, what a statement! I personally find the statement needs to be explained. Whatever Christ does is perfect because he acts perfectly in accordance to the will of God!

I believe a distinction needs to be made between the rule of Christ in heaven as depicted in Revelations and the rule of Christ on earth which has not taken place. All authority has been given to Christ, but he doesn't choose to exercise it at this point here on earth. Instead, He is calling all men unto Himself.

Once you confuse the two, you have a very, very weak Jesus who currently has trouble ruling and appears to be an incompetent ruler at best.

The world was offered the "kingdom of God" at the triumphal entry and mankind rejected his rule here on earth and crucified Him on the cross. It is apparent to me that God is still calling all men to Himself and earnestly desires for each one of us to call Him Lord.

It just seems to me that dispensationalism better explains the tension.

We are in the church age and the Holy Spirit indwells the Believer in Christ which is our seal until the day of redemption - Eph 4:30.

The millennial dispensation begins the reign of Christ here on earth when Satan is overthrown. Until then, Satan has the power to keep on deceiving the world.

Folken Family said...

“So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).

“Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3).

“Yahweh said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’” (Psalm 110:1).

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool” (Hebrews 10:12-13).

“But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1 Corinthians 15:23-25).

Ironically, none of these verse support your view. On the contrary, it only says that Christ is sitting at the right hand thrown of God. You are making a big jump here.

In addition, 1 Corinthians is talking about the end (of the church age) when Christ rule begins.

I just don't see these verses supporting your view at all.

Eric Adams said...

Folken Family, you should re-examine the meaning of the ascension. In this and other related posts, I explore the meaning of Psalm 110 and how it is used in the New Testament.