Ascending to the Throne

In a later vision Daniel actually foresaw Christ's enthronement as the promised King:

I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a Kingdom,

That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion

Which will not pass away;

And His Kingdom is one

Which will not be destroyed. (Dan. 7:13-14)

It is commonly assumed today that this text describes the Second Coming, and thus that Christ's Kingdom (often called the Millennium) begins only after His Return. Of course, this ignores the fact that Daniel had already prophesied the Kingdom beginning in the days of the Roman Empire. But notice exactly what Daniel says: Christ is seen going up, not down! The Son of man is going to the Ancient of Days, not coming/ro/72 Him! He is not descending in clouds to the earth, but ascending in clouds to His Father! Daniel was not predicting the Second Coming of Christ, but rather the climax of the First Advent, in which, after atoning for sins and defeating death and Satan, the Lord ascended on the clouds of heaven to be seated on His glorious throne at His Father's right hand. It is noteworthy too that Daniel used the term Son of Man, the expression Jesus later adopted to describe Himself. Clearly, we should understand Son ofMan to mean simply Son of Adam — in other words, the Second Adam. Christ came as the Son of Man, the Second Man (1 Cor. 15:47), to accomplish the task assigned to the First Man. He came to be the King.

This is the constant message of the Gospels. Matthew's account of the Nativity records the story of the magi from the east coming to worship the King, and Herod's jealous attempt to destroy Him as a rival to his own unjust dominion. Instead, Christ escapes and it is Herod who dies (Matt. 2). Immediately, Matthew's history jumps 30 years ahead to clinch his point:

Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:1-2).

Matthew then turns to the ministry of Jesus, giving us a summary of His basic message to Israel: "Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). "And Jesus was going about in all Galilee, teaching in theirs ynagogues, and proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people" (Matt. 4:23). A simple glance at a concordance will reveal how central the gospel of the Kingdom was to Jesus' program. And note well that the Kingdom was not some far-off millennium thousands of years in the future, after the Second Coming. Jesus announced: "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel" (Mark 1:15). Jesus clearly told Israel to re pent now, because the Kingdom was coming soon. The Kingdom was at hand. He was bringing it in right before their eyes (see Matt. 12:28; Luke 10:9-11; 17:21), and soon would ascend to the Father to sit on the throne of the Kingdom. This is why He told His disciples:

Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom (Matt. 16:28).

Was Jesus right or wrong? In terms of some modern teachers, Jesus was mistaken. And this was no slight miscalculation: Jesus missed the mark by thousands of years! Can we trust Him as Lord and Savior, and still hold that he was wrong, or that somehow His prophecy got derailed? Jesus was not just a man, like the First Adam. He is God, the Lord of heaven and earth; and if He sets out to bring in the Kingdom, can anything stop Him? Even the crucifixion was not a setback, for it was a crucial aspect of His plan. That is why he said, "I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself" (John 10:17-18). We must believe what Jesus said: within the lifetime of those who were listening to Him, He would come in His Kingdom. And that is exactly what He did, culminating in His ascension to His heavenly throne.

Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem, Matthew says, specifically fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy of the Kingdom's inauguration:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, Humble, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth. (Zech. 9:9-10; cf. Matt. 21:5)

The Apostle Peter understood that the meaning of the Ascension was Christ's enthronement in heaven. Citing a prophecy of King David, Peter said:

And so, because he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne; he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.' " Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:30-36).

It is crucial to understand the Bible's own interpretation of the throne of Christ. According to the inspired Apostle Peter, David's prophecy of Christ being seated on a throne was not a prophecy of some earthly throne in Jerusalem (as some today mistakenly insist). David was prophesying about Christ's throne in heaven. It is the heavenly enthronement that King David foretold, Peter told his audience on the Day of Pentecost. From His throne in heaven, Christ is already ruling the world.

The Apostle Paul agreed: at Christ's Ascension, he wrote, God "seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet" (Eph.

Now, if Christ is seated now above all rule and authority and power and dominion, if all things are now under His feet, why are some Christians waiting for His Kingdom to begin? According to Paul, God "delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us into the Kingdom of His beloved Son" (Col. 1:13). The Bible says the Kingdom has arrived; some modern theologians say It hasn 't. Is there really any question about whom we should believe?

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