In the New Testament Scriptures the Lord Jesus Christ, by noun and pronoun is mentioned nearly seven thousand times. The same unique, supernatural story of this One, whom God, in Isaiah 9:6, calls Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, is woven into every part of those Scriptures. In them is recorded His unity and equality with God, His sinless life, His Divine utterances, His miraculous works, His death (in fulfillment of Scriptures), His burial, His resurrection, His ascension, His exaltation to God’s right hand and His many promises to return to earth in glory.
For our study let us get this four-fold vision of the Lord Jesus Christ,
1. Hanging on the cross.
2. Standing at God’s right hand.
3. Seated in the upper-heavenlies.
4. Sitting on the throne of His glory.
“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.”
2—Acts 7:55 and 56:
“But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.”
“And said, Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
3—Ephesians 1:19 to 23:
“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.
Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places,
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come;
And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church,
Which is His Body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.”
4—Matthew 25:31 to 36:
“When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory:
And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats; And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
For I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in
Naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.”
As we search the Scriptures concerning Christ on the cross, Christ standing at the right hand of God, Christ seated in the upper-heavenlies and Christ sitting on the throne of His glory, we are immediately reminded of the statement found in I Peter 1:11, “searching what, or what manner of “time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” Peter had not forgotten the rebuke of the resurrected Christ, as recorded in Luke 24:25 and 26; “O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophet have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?” “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”
It is quite interesting to observe that the same Apostle Peter, in the same first chapter of his first epistle, declares that Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world to be the slain Lamb of God.
So then we know that the suffering of Christ on the cross was not only in fulfillment of the Old Scriptures, but that He was delivered according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Acts 2:23. Israel and Rome, in nailing the Son of Man to the tree, “were gathered together for to do whatsoever thy (God’s) hand and counsel determined before to be done.” Acts 4:27 and 28. Right before the Saviour went to Calvary to die He said, “the Son of Man goeth as it is written of Him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.” Matthew 26:24. So it was after they had fulfilled all that was written of Him that they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a sepulchre . . . But God raised Him from the dead.” Acts 13:29 to 31. Christ died for our sins, “according to the Scriptures.” Christ was raised the third day, “according to the Scriptures.” I Corinthians 15:3 to 5.
After the Son of Man, on earth, had been associated with Peter and His other disciples for several years He told them that He was going to die and be raised the third day. Luke 18:31 to 33. “And they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.” Luke 18:34. The Lord Jesus had spoken to them very little about His death on the cross; but He had spoken to them very much concerning the throne of His glory, concerning Himself as King and His kingdom. It is not difficult to appreciate their bewilderment and perplexity, for truly all of us have done much thinking in our endeavors to understand how Jesus could have been born of Mary to be both a King on David’s throne and the foreordained Lamb of God on the cross of Calvary.
That Jesus was for a little while made lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour, that He should by the grace of God taste death for every man, is definitely and clearly stated in the Bible. Hebrews 2:9. He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. Hebrews 9:26. That Jesus was born of Mary to be a reigning King on David’s throne, the Word of God is just as definite and clear. Luke 1:29 to 33. He was born to establish on earth that Kingdom which was prophesied since the foundation of the world. Luke 1:67 to 73. So then we cannot avoid this question; “if the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were inevitable, that the foreordained will of God might be accomplished and the Scriptures from Moses and in all the prophets might be fulfilled, how could Christ have offered to Israel, in good faith, a literal earthly kingdom?”
It is not so difficult to understand how Jesus can and will come again, as the Son of Man, and sit on the throne of His glory, as King, as He surely must. If the Old Testament Scriptures contain the promises of the infallible and omnipotent God, and if His gifts and calling are without repentance, then God must, by Christ Jesus, restore the kingdom to Israel, give to them their land, and by the earthly reign of David’s Seed bring about the restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. Matthew 19:27 and 28. Luke 21:27 to 34. Acts 3:19 to 21 Acts 15:15 to 18. Isaiah 9:6 and 7. Ezekiel 36:25 to 35. Ezekiel 37:24. Amos 9:11 to 15 Neither is it difficult to see that no prophecy of the Old Testament Scriptures could have prevented the return of Christ from heaven to take the throne of His glory on earth at the time Peter gave God’s message to Israel contained in Acts 3:14 to 24. or when Stephen saw the Son of man standing. The Old Testament Scriptures were not fulfilled when Christ sat down in heaven to be Head of the Church which is His Body. That Christ was to be seated far above in the upper-heavenlies as Head of the Body, was known to God before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 1:3 and 4. II Timothy 1:9. But so far as the sons of men in other ages were concerned the present position, relationship and ministry of the risen and seated Christ was a secret Ephesians 3:1 to 9. It was hid in God. It was hidden from men. Colossians 1:24 to 28. It was quite significant that the Son of man was standing in Acts 7:55 and 56.
Thus far in our study we have learned that the Son of man died on the cross, according to the Scriptures, and that He was foreordained from before the foundation of the world to be the slain Lamb of God. We have also observed that He is to sit as a King on the throne of His glory for the judgment of nations, at which time He will bless, with a place in His Father’s Kingdom. those who have ministered to the needs of His brethren. This kingdom was prepared from the foundation of the world. The King and the kingdom were prophesied by all the holy prophets since the world began. Luke 1:70. Acts 3:21. The Son of man, as King; will be on the throne of His glory, according to the Scriptures, though not foreordained. We next saw Christ, as the Son of man, standing at the right hand of God. He was willing and ready to return as King to sit on the throne of His glory, first restoring the kingdom to Israel, and then bringing about the restitution of all things.
Let us not confuse the past ministry or future ministry of the Saviour with His present position, relationship, and ministry He is seated in the upper-heavenlies. He is the Head of the Body. During this particular age God is making a New Man of Israelites and Gentiles. Ephesians 2:13 to 17 These members of the Body of Christ are not, and could not be, those who are to be blessed when the King shall sit on the throne of His glory; for those nations are to be blessed with an entrance into His Father’s kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world— for ministering to the brethren of the King—whereas, the members of the Body of Christ were chosen in Him from before the foundation of the world; and are saved wholly and solely by grace, without works; and are already in the kingdom of the Son of God’s love; and have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies. Ephesians 1:3 and 4. Ephesians 2:8 and 9. Colossians 1:13 and 14.
Thus. we see the great blunder of confusing the position and ministry of Christ as King on the throne of His glory, with the position and ministry of Christ as Head of the Church, which is His Body.