And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”[Matthew 26:63-64]
Jesus came. He lived. He died. He was buried. He was raised. He ascended. He sat down at the right hand of the Power on high, and He will come again. While we understandably emphasize the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, we all too often neglect to appreciate His ascension and session. If we aren’t careful, we can miss both the cosmic scope and universal reign of King Jesus.
The Ascension and Session of King Jesus
After spending 40 days with His disciples, teaching them about the Kingdom of God, our risen Lord was carried away out of their sight on the clouds to heaven. It was another validation that Jesus was the Son of Man, spoken of by the prophets, riding on the clouds surrounded by the shekinah glory of the LORD. He ascended to the preeminent place of power in the entire universe. The ascension of Jesus is essential in understanding His exaltation above every ruler, power, throne, and dominion in heaven and on earth.
Having ascended to the highest position of authority in the universe, the Lord Jesus then sat down (session of Christ), signifying that His work was finished and that His reign had begun.
When it comes to Christ’s ascension and session, the Bible is rich with content. Here are a variety of samples from the New Testament.
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.“[1 Peter 3:18-22]
“And what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”[Ephesians 1:19-23]
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.“[Hebrews 1:1-4]
The Old Testament also provides some vivid imagery of the present reign of the LORD.
Thus says the LORD:
“Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?”[Isaiah 66:1]
“The LORD is high above all nations,[Psalm 113:5-8]
and his glory above the heavens!
Who is like the LORD our God,
who is seated on high,
who looks far down
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
to make them sit with princes,
with the princes of his people.”
The LORD says to my Lord:
“Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath. He will execute judgment among the nations, filling them with corpses; he will shatter chiefs over the wide earth.[Psalm 110:1, 5-6]
This present reality provides so many profound implications for believers. Jesus presently is our Faithful High Priest and Advocate making intercession for us. All power and authority belongs to Him, and He in turn provides what we need to fulfill the Great Commission. Positionally, all believers are seated with Christ in the heavenly places, meaning that we have a seat waiting for us at the table, a place prepared for us! King Jesus is accomplishing His will from heaven until the fullness of time arrives and He stands up — sent by the Father — to come again.
The Return of King Jesus
“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”[Philippians 2:9-11]
The Kingdom was promised. The King was born. The King redeemed sinners by His death and was raised victoriously to life. The King ascended to heaven and then sat down on His heavenly throne. And yes… the King will come again!
Just as the birth of the King was announced by the heavenly host, His return will also be accompanied by loud shouts of joy and the cry of a command from heaven. The last trump will sound along with the voice of the archangel, and the sky will be rolled back like a scroll, as the King leads His army from heaven.
Let us consider a sample of the Biblical testimony concerning this momentous day — the Day of the LORD!
“Lift up your heads, O gates![Psalm 24:9-10]
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts,
he is the King of glory!” Selah
“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”[1 Corinthians 15:22-26]
There are literally too many passages practically to share, so I will leave us with two more. Next time … I will begin examining the series of events connected to the return of the King and the establishment of His Kingdom on earth.
“The LORD reigns, let the earth rejoice;
let the many coastlands be glad!
2Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
3Fire goes before him
and burns up his adversaries all around.
4His lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
5The mountains melt like wax before the LORD,
before the Lord of all the earth.
6The heavens proclaim his righteousness,
and all the peoples see his glory.
7All worshipers of images are put to shame,
who make their boast in worthless idols;
worship him, all you gods!
8Zion hears and is glad,[Psalm 97:1-9]
and the daughters of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O LORD.
9For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.”
“And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”[Revelation 19:14-16]