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									            The Ascension And Coronation Of Christ.....Hugh Fulford


"Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified,
both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36)


Throughout the centuries of the Christian era much emphasis has been given to the birth, life, death,
burial, and resurrection of Christ. This is as it should be since Scripture affirms that these events--and
specifically the death, burial, and resurrection--lie at the very heart of the gospel (I Cor. 15:1-5).
However, attention also needs to be given to the ascension of Christ and His coronation as King of kings
and Lord of lords. Without a Biblical perspective of Christ's ascension and kingship, one cannot
appreciate the formal inauguration of the Christian faith and the nature of Christ's kingdom.

After giving final instructions to His apostles, Christ "led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up
His hands and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them
and carried up into heaven" (Luke 24:50-51). Among other reasons, the ascension of Christ showed that
His mission on earth had been completed. In a special prayer uttered shortly before His arrest, trial, and
crucifixion, Jesus said to His Father: "I have finished the work which You have given Me to do" (John
17:4). While at that moment He still faced death on the cross for the sins of the world and His
subsequent burial and resurrection, so sure was He of their accomplishment that He could speak of His
mission as being finished. In His dying breath He proclaimed: "It is finished" (John 19:30). Following
His burial and resurrection, and after another forty days during which He appeared to His apostles and
numerous others (Acts 1:1-3; I Cor. 15:5-8), Christ's mission on earth indeed was completed and He
returned to the Father in heaven.

In one of His first post-resurrection appearances, and in a passage that has been enigmatic to many,
Jesus said to Mary: "Do not cling to Me (do not hold on to Me, NIV), for I have not yet ascended to the
Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to
My God and your God' " (John 20:17). Because both the King James and the American Standard
Versions of this passage have Jesus saying: "Touch me not..." some have thought that there was some
kind of mystical prohibition to anyone touching the resurrected body of Christ prior to His ascension.
However, later in this very chapter, Jesus invites Thomas to "reach your finger here, and look at My
hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side" (John 20:27). Thus, as the New King James,
the New American Standard, and the New International Versions, as well as the footnote of the
American Standard Version, all indicate, Jesus apparently is only saying to Mary: "You do not have to
hold on to Me, you do not have to cling to Me, as though I am about to leave. I have not yet ascended to
the Father, and there will be an adequate amount of time for such touching, holding to, and clinging to
Me. However, at the appointed time, I will ascend to My Father and your Father, and to My God and
your God."

The ascension of Christ is described as follows: "And when He had spoken these things, while they
watched, He was taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight" (Acts 1:9). In beautiful predictive
imagery and anticipation of this very event, the prophet Daniel (c. 600 BC) had written: "I was watching
in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man (Christ--Luke 19:10), coming with the clouds
of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days (God), and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him
was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve
Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which shall not pass away. And His kingdom one which
shall not be destroyed" (Dan. 7:13-14). In this magnificent prophecy we see both the ascension of Christ
and His coronation as the King of His kingdom.

When the angel Gabriel had announced to the virgin Mary that she would have a Son, he had said of the
Christ: "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the
throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there
will be no end" (Luke 1:32-33). This promise is irrevocably tied to the covenant God made with David
recorded in II Sam. 7:12-13. Christ was "of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Romans 1:3), and
following His ascension to heaven He was seated on the throne of David, which also is said to be God's
throne. The Old Testament clearly states that "Solomon sat on the throne of his father David" (I Kings
2:12), but with equal clarity it states that "Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord" (I Chronicles 29:23).
Thus, David's throne and the Lord's throne were one and the same throne.

Now consider this: In Revelation 3:19 Christ commanded the lukewarm church in Laodicea to "be
zealous and repent," and then promised: "To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My
throne, as I also overcame and sat down (both past tense verbs) with My Father on His throne" (Rev.
3:21). So, Christ is now on His throne, which also is the Father's throne. But the Father's throne is
David's throne (see above Old Testament references); therefore, Christ is now on David's throne, which
obviously means that David's throne from which Christ now reigns is not physical or earthly, but
spiritual, and His kingdom is not physical, earthly, or national, but spiritual. That is precisely what
Christ affirmed to Pilate: "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). That is what Paul stated
concerning the spiritual realm in which Christians live (Col. 1:13). And that is what the apostles, by the
power of the Holy Spirit, preached on the memorable Day of Pentecost when Peter declared: "For David
did not ascend into the heavens, but he (David) says himself: 'The Lord (God) said to my Lord (Christ),
"Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool" '(quoting Psa. 110:1). Then with an
inescapable conclusion, Peter affirmed: "Therefore, let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God
has made (past tense verb) this Jesus, whom you have crucified both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:34-36).
Indeed, as this same apostle elsewhere wrote concerning Christ: "...who has gone into heaven and is at
the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him" (I Pet.
3:22).

The New Testament book of Hebrews speaks often of the ancient Melchizedek, and describes him as
"king of Salem (an older name for Jerusalem, hf), and priest of the Most High God" (Heb. 7:1). It is
likewise affirmed numerous times in this same epistle that Christ is "a priest forever according to (after)
the order of Melchizedek" (Heb. 5:5-6; 7:15, 17, 21; et al). And just as Melchizedek was both king and
priest, so Christ is both king and priest. Indeed, as the prophet Zechariah (c. 520 BC) predicted of the
Christ: "... He will be a priest on His throne" (Zech. 6:13). Inasmuch as Melchizedek was both king and
priest, and inasmuch as Christ is a priest after the order of Melchizedek, and inasmuch as He would be
on His throne at the same time He was a priest--"a priest on His throne" (Zech. 6:13), and inasmuch as
Christ is now priest (Heb. 8:1), we may know of a certainty that Christ is now on His throne! In one
further note regarding the fact that Christ is now reigning His throne, we call attention to Paul's
statement in I Corinthians 15:25: "For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet." (In
connection with this phrase, see again Peter's quotation in Acts 2:34-35 from Psalms 110:1: "Sit at My
right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool"). Continuing, Paul says: "The last enemy that will
be destroyed is death" (I Cor. 15:26). Since people are still dying, we know that death has not yet been
destroyed. Paul goes on to explain that death will not be destroyed until the resurrection of all the dead
at the second coming of Christ (I Cor. 15:51-55). But Paul has already said that Christ must reign until
death is destroyed. Therefore, as long as men are still dying, Christ is still reigning. But He could not
still be reigning if His reign has not yet begun!

In summary, we have learned:

    1. That following the completion of His earthly mission to accomplish human redemption from sin
       by means of His death, Christ ascended back to heaven (Acts 1:9).
    2. That when Christ returned to the Father, He was "given dominion and glory and a kingdom"--He
       was crowned as King of kings and Lord of lords (Dan. 7:13-14).
    3. That Christ's throne is not earthly or physical, but spiritual; neither is His kingdom earthly,
       physical, or national, but spiritual (John 18:36).
    4. That Christ combines His priestly function and His kingly office into one role, serving as "a
       priest on His throne" (Zech. 8:13).
    5. That all who surrender to the Lordship of Christ in obedience to the gospel are "delivered...from
       the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Col. 1:13).


This is one of a series of "Basic Bible Studies" brother Fulford is providing by email.
huford@bellsouth.net

								
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