Jesus, the Once & Future King (1)
The terrible attack on Israel
last weekend reminds us
that Jesus has not yet
taken His place on
His own throne
The unspeakably evil attack on Israel this past weekend should cause us as Christians to wake up to the real situation of the world today.
First of all, the attack itself, and the failure of so many Muslim leaders to unequivocally condemn it, shows there is no moral equivalence between the religion of Islam and the Christian faith. While this was indeed a uniquely evil act, Islam has from its inception used violence as a means to spread itself. In contrast, the Christian faith was founded through the sacrifice of its founder, and, in the same way, has often been spread through the suffering and even the sacrifice of Christians, the followers of Christ.
Secondly, and in a larger sense, this attack should remind us that today, Christ does not rule over the world directly; that is why so many evil things can still take place on the earth. In fact, if we call Jesus the “king” today, we are not honoring Him at all, but rather insulting Him, for then we make Him responsible for the mess the world is currently in and all the evil that is within it; what kind of king is this?
This needs some explanation.
Although Jesus was indeed born as a king (Matt. 2:2; Luke 1:31-33), He was rejected by the nation of Israel, and so His kingship, and His kingdom, over the earth have been suspended, in terms of their outward manifestation, for the time being. Thus, after His death on the cross He is not referred to as a king again in the New Testament except in relation to His second coming (1 Tim. 6:14-15, Rev. 17:14, 19:16).
No doubt, He has received “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18), so that He does rule and reign over the world in a general way; and how good it is to thank Him and praise Him as the one reigning in heaven today!
Nonetheless, He has not yet taken His place on His own throne, which will be on the earth; rather, He reigns based on the fact that He is now seated on His Father’s throne in heaven; that is what He tells us when He says, in His epistle to the church in Laodicea,
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
— Revelation 3:21; see Scofield’s note on this verse
So, why has Jesus not yet taken up His position as king over the earth? Because, as soon as He does so, He must deal with all the unrighteous, evil, and improper situations in the world, in order to maintain His righteousness; there can be no more mercy at that point.
We see this in the judgment of the sheep and the goats, which will take place as soon as He returns to the earth:
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”
— Matthew 25:31-32
Here He says that “then He will sit on the throne of His glory,” which again confirms that He is not now seated on His own throne. But also, this word, in Matthew 25:31-46, shows that the first thing He will do in His earthly reign is judge all the nations.
And thus, in order to give people time to repent, He has not yet come as king to judge all the evil that is in the world today. Rather, He is in heaven patiently waiting to take His place on His throne, before He establishes universal righteousness on the earth during the 1,000 years of His millennial kingdom.
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— 14 October 2023 —