10. Seated with the Father

Meditations in Hebrews 1: 10.  Seated with the Father

Heb 1:3b   After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

We now consider the second half of this sentence.  Jesus, now seated at the right hand of the Father is testified to by a number of scriptures. Now I need to make a point here so please be patient: “Jesus … was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honour at God’s right hand.” (Mk 16:19) “Now he sits on the throne of highest honour in heaven, at God’s right hand.” (Acts 2:33) “Then God put him in the place of honour at his right hand as Prince and Saviour.” (Acts 5:31) “Stephen…saw Jesus standing in the place of honour at God’s right hand.” (Acts 7:55) “he …. is sitting at the place of highest honour next to God, pleading for us.” (Rom 8:34) “and seated him in the place of honour at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” (Eph 1:20) “God raised him up to the heights of heaven and gave him a name that is above every other name.” (Phil 2:9) “Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honour and power.” (Col. 3:1) “Our High Priest sat down in the place of highest honour in heaven, at God’s right hand.” (Heb 8:1) “Then he sat down at the place of highest honour at God’s right hand.” (Heb 10:12) “Now he is seated in the place of highest honour beside God’s throne in heaven.” (Heb 12:2) “He is seated in the place of honour next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers are bowing before him.”  (1 Pet 3:22)

How often have you heard sermons about Jesus glory and authority at the Father’s right hand?  I have just given you twelve verses that point this out in the New Testament. That way outnumbers the numbers of verses about him being involved in creation or upholding the world by his word of power. This I would have to suggest to you is a vital doctrine. Now notice various things that are said.

In eleven of those verses it emphasises that this is THE place of honour and in the other verse it simply said he has been given a name above every other name, which is the same intent. A place of honour is given to someone who deserves it or who has earned it. Often this positioning is linked with his work on the Cross and his death and resurrection; other times it is just a statement of fact.

Second, note it is at the Father’s right hand. The right hand was always the hand of authority and so Jesus is sitting in the place of authority next to the Father. Again, notice the equality words – besides, next to – he is there ruling with the Father.

That is the third main point to note, that it is a place where he rules. Prophetically the psalmist declared, The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion; you will rule in the midst of your enemies.” (Psa 110:1,2) Echoing this, the apostle Paul wrote of Jesus, “For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” (1 Cor 15:25).  I think we have commented before on the heavenly anthem recorded in Revelation: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! …..  To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” It is the acclamation of the supreme rule of Father and Son from heaven.

Now the application of this is fairly obvious. The Jesus we worship today is not the meek and mild Jesus of the children’s song; he is the Lord of all Creation and in heaven all bow before both Father and Son.  He has no competitor, he is supreme ruler, all powerful as he administers His Father’s kingdom: “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.” (1 Cor 15:24) i.e. the end product points to the present process.

Now there is a mystery in all of this for we don’t know how Jesus is bringing down all his enemies – sin, Satan and all demonic powers and world authorities. The ultimate end is decreed: “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 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.” (Phil 2:9-11) It may be that he is working within history and things happen that we don’t realise he was behind – e.g. the end of the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and many other major events of recent history (as well as other things that are likely to have been his judgments on the folly of mankind).

We have to make the comment yet again, because the folly and ignorance of so many has produced such a loud voice that needs denouncing, there is NO other figure in all of human history, and certainly not within the world religions, who compares in any ways to the claims of the Bible of Jesus Christ. Nowhere else is there any claim that in any way matches what we have been considering in this study.

One final linked thought before we finish: “Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him.” (2 Tim 2:11,12) This is clearly one of the doctrinal sayings that was taught in the early church, that we are to reign with Jesus. This is confirmed in the heavenly singing: “You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.” (Rev 5:10) How can that be? Well, “God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Eph 1:22,23) As we, his body, respond to the head, so he will lead us into situations where we, his body, take control and take authority and bring change. I have a suspicion that we have a lot to learn here yet. May we be open to be taught.

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11. Power & Rule

Ephesians Meditations No.11

11. Power & Rule

Eph 1:19-21 That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

Here we go again; note the link with what has gone before. “That power” refers to the power Paul has just said is, “for us who believe.” (v.18). Now that is vitally important to note because the power he is just about to speak about is a power which God has put in us who are Christians, who are believers. Now he goes on to let us know something more about this power: it “the working of his mighty strength,” which means God’s strength. Now if he didn’t say anything more that would leave us gasping because we know that our God is the One who created this world and so His power is limitless. Then we might start thinking about some of God’s mighty acts in the Old Testament – the plagues he brought on Egypt , the parting the Red Sea and the Jordan river , as well as vanquishing armies. This is the power that Paul says is in us. That is difficult to take in.

But actually he defines this power by something else: “which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead.” The human side of Jesus was powerless to come back from the dead so it was the power of God that raised him up. Peter said the same thing when he preached on the day of Pentecost: “But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 2:24 ). Paul himself said the same thing when he wrote, “if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” (Rom 8:11). Now Paul says this more to describe the wonder of what God did with Jesus than the impact that it had on us (at least here in this passage), but surely he has that in the back of his mind, that we today are empowered by he same power that energized Jesus. But as he finds himself referring to Jesus, it is he who catches his attention and so he moves away from what has happened to us, to what has happened to Jesus.

It is not just that God raised him from the dead but He also seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms. Now at the beginning of the book of Acts we have Jesus’ ascension described, a mystery but very visual. The picture of Jesus being seated at his Father’s right hand in heaven is conveyed a number of times in the New Testament. The writer to the Hebrews particularly caught this when he first quotes the Old Testament: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” (Heb 1:13) and then, “We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,” (Heb 8:1) and “when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” (Heb 10:2) and “who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:2)

But we find the same thing elsewhere in the New Testament: “Now he sits on the throne of highest honour in heaven, at God’s right hand.” (Acts 2:33) and “Then God put him in the place of honour at his right hand as Prince and Saviour.” (Acts 5:31) and “Stephen…saw Jesus standing in the place of honour at God’s right hand.” (Acts 7:55) and “Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honour and power.” (Col 3:1). This is the clear message that Jesus didn’t just die and didn’t just rise again to die again later, he ascended to heaven again where he is seated, ruling with his Father.

But Paul doesn’t want us to have any doubt about this: “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given,” i.e. he rules over everything and everyone one! There is nothing and no one who is outside Jesus’ rule. Now you may not have taken this in yet, but this is one of those claims of the New Testament that elevates Jesus above any other religious figure and which makes Christianity unique among world religions. If you hear someone say, “All religions are the same,” then simply point them to all these verses (and there are more) that place Jesus as THE ruler over all things above everyone and everything and point out that no other religion makes this claim. We are dealing with THE unique Son of God here!

But Paul hasn’t finished: “not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” This isn’t a short term rule, this is an eternal rule. Yet there will come a time, as we’ve noted before when, “the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, 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 Cor 15:24 -26). Hence the prophetic word in the Psalms, “The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” The LORD will extend your mighty sceptre from Zion ; you will rule in the midst of your enemies.” (Psa 110:1,2). Jesus rules in the midst of his enemies until he has dealt with them all – sin, fear, guilt, shame, death, Satan!

THIS is the one we are called to worship. No mere human being, but God who came in the flesh and then took it back to heaven to continue His rule. Worship Him!