Christ’s Ascension — 2018

 

Ephesians 1:17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, 20 which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places,21 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.22 And God hath put all things under His feet, and hath given Him to be the head over all things to the church,

This past Thursday was Ascension day.
 
Ascension Day is the 40th day after the celebration of Easter. Through History, the Church recalls the ascension of Christ into Heaven and celebrates His triumphant rule over all Creation as the Victorious Priest-King who has been invested with all authority on heaven and earth. Ascension day is another high celebratory day in the Church Calendar.
 
In the Ascension Christ’s Exaltation moves towards its apex which finds the Lord Christ sitting in Sessional rule with the Father. You remember in Christ’s Humiliation there was the incarnation, the crucifixion, and the burial so in His Exaltation there is the resurrection, ascension, and session.
 
We remember that the Ascension of the Lord Christ is a necessary aspect of the narrative of the Gospel. We confess the Ascension of the Lord Christ when we confess the Apostles Creed.
 
he ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty,


I.) Ascension and Christ as King

 

Here we see that the Ascension of Christ … The Father’s “setting Christ at His own Right hand,” is an act of enthronement and empowerment. In the Ascension, Christ is lifted  “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. 22 And God hath put all things under His feet, and hath given Him to be the head over all things to the church.”
In the Ascension Christ then is seen as the Father’s assigned King to rule and have dominion. All things. This is why the great Dutch theologian and polymath could say,“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
Dr. Joel Boot notes that this Ascension … this Enthronement of the Lord Christ has become an inconvenient truth in many quarters in the Church today.
“In (a prominent Reformed Theologians) culture of paradox, the Holy Spirit is practically invisible and thus the glorious ascension of our Lord is transformed from the regal setting of Christ at His Father’s right hand and the glorious procession of the Spirit upon the Church, into a tragic absence — and therefore a means of sanctifying inactivity and compromise by restricting the kingdom of God to saving souls from an alien world which God does not govern totally and consistently through His Christ. Instead, God has one rule for His church and another for the world of common grace, or natural law. What is that world? Do sinners share our moral framework? No, they suppress the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18:32).Dr. Joe Boot 
The Mission of God — pg. 393Jesus Christ is the King over the whole cosmos. King over principalities and powers. Christ rules and so Christians are duty bound to walk in terms of God’s Law-Word as the King’s Law. King over all other powers that might contest and current dominions.

But the modern Church seeks to mute that truth or it seeks to claim the rule and dominion of Christ for their pet causes ignoring that with the King’s rule, comes already a pre-established law. Christ, in the total of Scripture, has already set forth what His cause is in terms of His rule.

That rule of the Ascended Christ is NOT merely a spiritual rule without also being a corporeal ruling. Many people hear “Spiritual” rule and they think “not real,” or “Gnostic.” Christ’s rule is absolute and while it begins as a Spiritual rule there is not spiritual ruling that does not have a corporeal correspondence.

Ascension Day should remind us of Christ’s Enthronement. The point of theAscension was to parallel the enthronement Psalms in the Old Testament. Those Psalms praised the King as he is ascending to take the Throne. In Christ’s Ascension Christ as gone up to take the Throne and He, right then and RIGHT NOW, rules over all.

God has gone up with a shout,
Yahweh with the sound of a trumpet.
Sing praise to God, sing praises.
Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth.
Sing praises with understanding.
God reigns over the nations.
God sits on his holy throne.
The princes of the peoples are gathered together,
the people of the God of Abraham.
For the shields of the earth belong to God.
He is greatly exalted!

Here in Psalm 47 we find what looks to be the description of a coronation, with shouts, trumpets and songs of praise.  God takes his place on the throne, not only as king of Israel but of all the earth and all the nations. Jesus is God’s final Davidic King and in and with the Ascension He has taken His place on the throne, as King of all the earth and of each and all of the nations.

The Ascension of Christ thus communicates that Christ has triumphed and that His Kingdom has arrived. Christ rules as the Father’s Mediatorial King and rules to such an end as to constantly advance His already present Kingdom. Because of the Ascension of Christ, the Lord Christ is at the Right hand of the Father presenting His credentials as surety for His people. Because of the Ascension, we have peace with God.

The Ascension reminds us that inasmuch as Christ reigns we reign with and in Him. The reality of the Ascension of Christ should forever deliver us from pessimistic eschatology that insists that the Church will end defeated in time and space History.

We are connecting Christ’s Kingship to His Ascension. Here we desire to attempt to frame a proper juxtaposition of truths.

There are those in the Church who want to talk about Christ’s Kingship as if the Kingdom of God is going to be reflected absent the proclamation of the Cross of Christ. It is as if they believe that the current Kingdom of God will be participated in by men who never understood God’s just wrath against sin yet were brought into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross. This will never do. The Cross is the center of our proclamation because it constantly reminds us of our only solution for sin and our only standing before God. We can not participate in God’s building up of His Kingdom apart from the Cross.

However, on the other hand, there are those who never want to move beyond the Cross to the resurrection and the ascension. Christ is King NOW and just as His humiliation was seen in space and time History, so His exaltation will be embodied in space and time History as He triumphs by His Gospel over the nations until His enemies are made His footstool. There are those who warn against the dangers of an over-realized eschatology (expecting too much dominion now in this life) and in doing so they are warning against a theology of glory where the humility of the Cross is ignored. This is a profitable warning.

But we might also warn against an eschatology that is under-realized and one that diminishes the Ascension of Christ. We might warn against a theology that requires defeat and insists that the victories gained by the ascended Christ are only “spiritual” in nature. We might warn against forgetting the enthronement and Ascension of our Lord Christ and His intent on making his very real enemies into very real footstools. We might warn against a theology that closes the door to God’s reign on earth being made manifest so that all the Nations flow into the Mountain of the Lord’s house (Isaiah 2).

So, Jesus is the Ascended one, who has been given a name above every other name (Phil. 2), now sits at the right Hand of the Father to the end of the fulfillment of all that the Gospel intended to accomplish which is the ongoing extension of His now established rule. In His, Ascension God has set His steward King as regent over the nations until His enemy nations are made His footstool.

Now, none of this truth denigrates the message of the Cross. In order to come underneath the rule of the King one must understand their rebellion against and alienation from the Ascended King. Only the atoning death of Christ can answer that rebellion and alienation. However, once that rebellion is forgiven because of the finished work of Christ and the alienation set aside so that we are now adopted as co-heirs with Christ we now are part of the Kingdom of God and walk in terms of His law Word — a law word that will hold sway over everything once His enemies are made His footstool.

III.)  Ascension as Christ as Priest

With His Ascension, Christ appears on our behalf. He is not only Ascended to the end that He was given to be the head over all things to the church. But Jesus has ascended also to the end of continuing His priestly work on our behalf at the right hand of the Father. If you will recall, the role of the Priest was not only to offer up sacrifices for the people, representing the People before God, but the Priest also was to pray and interceded for the people. Christ made His once for all Priestly sacrifice for His people but He continues His Priestly work in His Ascension by praying for us, His Church.

Hebrews 7:24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely[c]those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Romans 8:34 Who then is the one who condemns?No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Little flock, on this Ascension Sunday we can remember that the Lord Christ is Ascended to the end to continue His Priestly work for us. His presence before the Father pleads our cause. Are you hurt? Downcast? Tempted? Persecuted? Overwhelmed? The Ascended Christ intercedes for His people.

III.) Ascension as Typological fulfillment

Jesus at His transfiguration speaks of His coming Death, Ressurection, Ascension, as an “Exodus” in the Transfiguration accounts in Scripture.
31They appeared in glory and spoke about His departure, which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. That Transfiguration account revealed Christ’s glory prior to the crucifixion, and it anticipated his resurrection and ascension. The Ascension is where Christ complete His Exodus departure. In the OT the Exodus was God’s work to release His people from bondage to Pharaoh into a land flowing with milk and honey. in the death, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Christ what is being communicated in terms of typological insight from the OT and a reasonable reason why the word “Exodus” is used to speak of the redemptive events at the end of Christ’s life is that in the Lord Christ the Spiritual Exodus of mankind is completed. Man, because of sin, and the fact that sin had not yet been fully dealt with was in a kind of bondage. Christ being man’s representative shared in that bondage. But with and in Christ a New Exodus is thus now possible and is inaugurated, and in that New Exodus, we have been delivered from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of God’s dear Son, just as Israel was delivered from Pharaoh’s Dark Kingdom. Christ, in all His redemptive work, including His Ascension is the anti-type to the Exodus of the OT.

As true then Christ also answers Moses as a type to an anti-type. Christ has His Exodus but as He is our representative head we have our Exodus in Him and He leads us to out of bondage into God’s favor.

The Scripture gets at this when it teaches that because of the Ascension, we have the assurance that we ourselves are ascended with Christ and so are ruling with Him.
Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up [b]together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Consistent w/ Federal Theology what is predicated of the Covenant head is predicated of His people.
Christ has ascended and so Federally and Covenantally speaking we have as well.
Compare Ephesians 1:20 w/ 2:6
20 which the Father worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
2:6 — Speaking of believers

6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Conclusion

Re-cap

The Ascension of Christ communicates that Christ has triumphed and that His Kingdom has arrived. Christ rules as the Father’s Mediatorial King and rules to such an end as to constantly advance His already present Kingdom. Because of the Ascension of Christ, the Lord Christ is at the Right hand of the Father presenting His credentials as surety for His people. Because of the Ascension, we have peace with God.

Ascension day should be celebrated with the same verve as the day we celebrate Easter.

Ascension day gives us confidence that all false ideologies and religions  will be crushed underneath the reign of the Ascended Christ.

Kiss the Ascended Son folks, lest he be angry and you perish in the way.

Kiss the Ascended Son Muslims, lest he be angry and you perish in the way.

Kiss the Ascended Son Postmodernists, lest he be angry and you perish in the way.

Kiss the Ascended Son Jewish folk, lest he be angry and you perish in the way.

Kiss the Ascended Son Buddhists, lest he be angry and you perish in the way.

Kiss the Ascended Son Hindus, lest he be angry and you perish in the way.

Kiss the Ascended Son Atheist Humanist, lest he be angry and you perish in the way.

The Ascended Son isn’t playing around. Kiss the Ascended Son.

 

 

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Kinist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture . Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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