We saw last week that Psalms 110 and Daniel 7:13, 14, 27 teach us prophetically that Jesus would arrive in Heaven, coming on the clouds, and He would go before the Ancient of Days. There He would be crowned King and receive God’s eternal Kingdom. David further prophesies in Psalm 110, referring to that same event, that Jesus would take HIs seat at his Father’s right hand at that time.
Remember, the context implies that this would occur at the Heaven-end of the Ascension. Daniel said Jesus would be “coming with the clouds of Heaven”—just like we now know that He left (Acts 1:9)—but in Daniel’s prophecy, He would be coming “to the Ancient of Days” (Daniel 7:13)—to God the Father in Heaven, not to us on the earth.
These prophecies tell us that Jesus would then promptly give that Kingdom to His people, the “chosen ones of God Most High” (Daniel 7:27). Beginning then, Jesus would rule in Heaven, through us, on the earth!
This means that the Kingdom of God would be given to you, right now, in 2023. The Ascension (and immediate coronation) of Jesus has already occurred and is one of the four history-changing, holiday-worthy events that are the pillars of Christianity, along with His Incarnation, Death and Resurrection!
These are Old Testament prophecies, but the New Testament tells us when these events actually happened and how. There are over a dozen references to the Ascension in the New Testament, several of them direct quotes. They tell us that, yes, these verses in Psalm 110 have been literally fulfilled.
For example, Hebrews 1:13, referring specifically to Jesus: “But to which of the angels has He (God) ever said: ’Sit at my right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet’”? The implication is that God did say that to Jesus.
Acts 2:33-36 is Peter’s conclusion to his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, spoken to the hundreds who had just observed the wild experience that accompanied the giving of the Holy Spirit to Jesus’ followers. This occurred only nine days after the Ascension, which Peter had observed personally. In these verses, Peter quotes Psalm 110 in his concluding words to the people:
“Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
At Pentecost, Peter then knew that Jesus had now been enthroned to rule, just as David had prophesied He would be. The coming of the Holy Spirit, that Jesus had foretold (Acts 1:8), the disciples had just experienced. and the crowds had witnessed, was the sign of that enthronement. Peter knew it was now “Game On!” Jesus had just given them the very means to attack—His Holy Spirit.
To put a cherry on top of this wonderful, visionary kingdom sundae, the Holy Spirit we have received is the fruit of the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve rejected this fruit and chose instead the fruit of the performance-based Tree of Good and Evil, to which we, as their descendants, have become addicted.
But, as God’s people, we now have been, not only commissioned at creation (Genesis 1:26), but since this day on Pentecost, we are now equipped by the Holy Spirit as well. When we meet the living God through Jesus Christ, we begin to experience Jesus living His very life through us by this same Spirit, extending His Kingdom through our physical, sinful bodies! That very general commission we were given by God at creation to rule the earth was given specific definition by Jesus in His final instructions before His ascension into Heaven:
Mark 16:15: “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’” This is Mark’s recollection of what we call the “Great Commission,” an amplified, restating of the original one in Genesis 1.
Matthew’s recollection of the same statement is interestingly different: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you”. (Matthew 28:19, 20).
Mark writes that Jesus told us to “preach THE GOSPEL” (the full-on, unconditional grace of God), that concerns our relationship with God who is “above us.” Matthew, on the other hand, says to “make disciples of all of the nations,” not just individuals, but whole nations, teaching them how that gospel affects every area of life around us!. This is preaching THE KINGDOM that is “beneath us.”
According to God’s divine plan, Mark and Matthew would remember Jesus’s Great Commission statement differently, because God wanted us to always remember both edges of that sword of the Word of God.
So, we have been COMMISSIONED, EQUIPPED, and SENT to naturally, spontaneously, and unconsciously swing that sword every day as we, by the life of the Lord Jesus Christ within us, rule over the earth!
Here at the end of this posting, you may be saying, “Robert, I have stuck with you this far, but this is too much. I don’t see how you can say I am ruling over anything. I am mired in problems all around me—family, finances, job, personal bad habits, etc., and the world situation is hopeless. I can’t even find the tunnel to see if there is a light at the end of it!”
I understand completely. I want to discuss that very issue next week in detail—experiencing today, in the midst of all that mess—this glorious vision. Paul says that what we will experience will be only a “down-payment,” or “foretaste” (Ephesians 1:14) of our full inheritance, but that foretaste is a wonderful reality that we will never fully understand. Next week I want to try to serve up a little bigger bite.