We concluded last week’s posting with Jesus’ ascent to heaven after the completion of the task assigned to Him here on the earth by His Father. His work on earth as the God-man is now over: “It is finished!” He cried from the cross.
In Daniel 7:13, after arriving in heaven, He prophetically reports to His Father, the Ancient of Days, seated on His throne: “Mission accomplished, Father. Your people are redeemed and the kingdom usurper has been dethroned!”
In the previous verses in Chapter 7, Daniel’s vision was a prophetic picture of the history of Satan’s rule over the earth, from the Tree in the Garden to the climactic conclusion of that rule at the cross. The ascension and this scene in the throne room in heaven occurred only forty days after the crucifixion and resurrection.
With Satan now stripped of his power and authority, the position of ruling over the earth, reserved for the “god of this world” by God at creation and originally held by Adam, is now vacant.
In verse 14, Daniel now reveals the dramatic climax of Jesus’ ascension. A man is restored as God’s vice-regent to rule over the earth—God’s fulfillment of His eternal purpose revealed for man in Genesis 1:26-28. Listen to these powerful words in verse 14, describing this climax, not only to the ascension, but to the whole earthly mission of the second person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ:
‘Then to Him (Jesus, a man!) was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14).
Peter’s words on the Day of Pentecost, ten days after Jesus’ ascension, describe his interpretation of the events he has witnessed. They correspond to Daniel’s prophecy perfectly: “This Jesus God has raised up…being exalted to the right hand of God….God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:32-36).
Psalm 2 and Psalm 110 are prophetic descriptions of this same event, Jesus’ coronation at the ascension. He has been given the kingdom. Since the ascension, Jesus now rules as King of all kings and Lord of all lords. At that time, all authority was given to Him, and He rules for the first time, as a man, not at some future time but right now, from His Father’s right hand (as Paul tells us in Ephesians 1:20) over both heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18)!
This is one of the most attested events in the Bible. There are at least eight references or allusions to Jesus’ exaltation to the Father’s right hand in the New Testament, all referring to this event prophesied here in Daniel 7:14, and again in Psalm 2 and Psalm 110.
Everyone agrees that Jesus rules right now, as King of kings and Lord of lords, from God’s right hand. We have to believe that, because the Bible clearly teaches it. But what does it mean? Practically, it often means very little. He is nebulously “ruling” in our hearts and He is in some vague way our “Lord,” and we generally try to be obedient and be a “good person” as He rules over us. But, other than that, those terms have little meaning.
However, the scene we have observed in the throne room is not yet complete. Jesus, the newly crowned King, then changes everything for us.
After Jesus had been given the kingdom in Daniel 7, a kingdom that would last forever and that would never be destroyed, listen to His very first act as King:
“But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever “ (Daniel 7:18).
“Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High.
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (Daniel 7:27).
Incredible! Jesus, right there in the throne room of the Ancient of Days, continues to implement His Father’s plan, just as He had done for the past 33 years. He first redeemed us at the cross; we experience the gospel of His grace in our lives; He encourages us as we learn to live more consistently by it; and then, when we are ready, He delegates to us the kingdom—the daily responsibilities over which we rule according to the law of God.
We can now answer the question in the title of today’s posting, “Kingdom, Kingdom, Who Has the Kingdom? We do!
God gave it to Adam first; Satan stole it from Adam in the Garden; God stripped it from Satan at the cross; and then God gave it to Jesus at the ascension. Now, as the verses above clearly tell us, Jesus has delegated the kingdom to us. We now rule for Him as His representatives, His vice-regents, today on the earth.
Yes, we, the corporate people of God, the body of Christ, now possess the authority to rule in the kingdom of God! The body of Christ is on the earth, performing all the functions, the jobs, and the tasks involved in ruling. Christ the Head remains in heaven on the throne, thinking, planning, strategizing, and then communicating all His directives to His body on the earth as to how to fulfill all those responsibilities.
And Jesus has not left us alone to perform this task of ruling for Him while still having to live in our unredeemed, sinful bodies. Have we not learned (and we have if we are at all perceptive) that trying to successfully follow written instructions in the Bible to do what Jesus commands us to do is not fruitful? Ruling for the King in the kingdom is no different.
However, ten days after the ascension, where we were given the kingdom of God over which we would rule, He then then gave us the power to do so! He sent us the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the very same Spirit by which He Himself ruled when He was here. So, we know we can do the job, because He did, and He did not do so from His deity as the Son of God, but as a man, always acting from His humanity because He was the Son of Man!
Is that not shocking?! How else can Jesus say what He said in John 14:12:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes (trusts ) in Me, the works (the works of the kingdom) that I (now) do (here of the earth) he will do also (because he is man, empowered by the Holy Spirit just as I was); and greater works than these he will do (because he is corporate man, covering the whole earth while I was only doing kingdom works in one place), because I go to My Father (and send back the Holy Spirit at Pentecost to endwell him) (John 14:12). Jesus, indeed, is our pattern man.
Next week: what that kingdom rule by the Head in heaven and the body on the earth looks like practically.