Priorities for the Lord Jesus Christ: The "Must" of His Exaltation

Ian Gibson

Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things." This declares His priority to recover all things for His Father.

When the Lord was victor over death in His resurrection, He also irreversibly became victor over the devil: "That through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil" (Heb 2:14). When He left this scene, He ascended up through the domain of the enemy; the "prince of the power of the air" (Eph 2:2), his power annulled, could only step aside to make way for His glorious and victorious ascension, up "through the heavens" (Heb 4:14). But it would not be those aerial heavens, nor the stellar heavens as He ascended onwards, that would ultimately receive Him.

He ascended on up until "higher than the heavens" (Heb 7:26), and He went on "into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Heb 9:24). It would therefore be that third heaven, the eternal and uncreated abode of God, that would receive Him. Peter says "Whom the heaven must indeed receive" (Acts 3:21 Newberry). Hebrews 9 would teach that He went back into the presence of God in the virtue of His precious blood. "By His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption" (Heb 9:12). Heaven must therefore receive Him with absolute priority, and He must be exalted in glory at the very highest place in heaven, the throne of God, in acknowledgement of His great sacrificial work, the eternal value of His accepted sacrifice, and the eternal efficacy of His own precious shed blood.

The Recovery of All Things

Upon His return to heaven, He received that divine invitation from His Father, "Sit on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool" (Heb 1:13). He is yet waiting patiently there, "until the times of restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21), referring to the coming day of His millennial glory. The Lord Himself spoke about this time: "In the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of His glory" (Matt 19:28), when He will be King and all things will be in subjection to His control. The apostle Paul speaks about it as "the dispensation of the fulness of times," when God will "gather together in one (i.e., head up) all things in Christ, both which are in the heavens and which are on earth, even in Him" (Eph 1:10). The apostle also speaks of that millennial day as the reconciliation of all things: "By Him to reconcile all things unto Himself" (Col 1:20), when "all things" on earth and in the heavens are taking character from Christ, and all will be suitable for the divine presence and for divine pleasure. In fulfillment of the trespass offering, based on His sacrifice, He will restore that which He took not away (Psa 69:4) and "add the fifth part more thereto" (Lev 6:5). There will be such universal restitution for divine Persons; this recovery of all things for His Father is a priority for the Lord Jesus.

The "Must" of His Rule (1Cor 15:25)

"For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet." This passage declares His ultimate priority to deliver all things back to His Father.

Christ’s manifested rule over this world in the millennium will certainly be a glorious age of vindication for the Lord Jesus, but He has a further purpose for it in relation to His Father. It is a priority for God the Father to see His Son vindicated in the place of His rejection. The Lord Jesus is the One Who so willingly took those steps down in humiliation when He became a Man. God will highly exalt Him, and ensure that He be acknowledged universally as Lord, "That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow … every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord" (Phil 2:10-11). Yet, in that day of His manifested glory, the continuing priority for the Lord Jesus will be that all will be "to the glory of God the Father" (Phil 2:11).

The Ultimate Priority of the Son

"Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power" (1Cor 15:24). So God’s purpose is to have all enemies subdued under His Son and all realms acknowledging that He is Lord. How will the Son use such universal subjugation? He will continue to demonstrate the true character and dignity of a Son, by placing Himself in subjection to His Father: "And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him" (1Cor 15:28), in accordance with His desire "that God may be all in all." The Son is eternally coequal with the Father, but there will be this administrative subjection by the Son to the Father.

The eternal state will be "the day of God" (2Peter 3:12). No more will there be need for reigning or for kings. There will be no discordant notes and no more opposition or rebellion. God will be all and in all. Everything will be subject to God’s mind and will; God will then dwell with men, the will of God will be expressed by all, and the glory of God will be expressed through all.

During Christ’s kingdom, the Son will be all and in all, but the ultimate object of that kingdom is to bring it all to the Father, that He may be all and in all. So the Son’s ultimate priority will be to deliver all things back to His Father, that all will be to the eternal glory of the Father.

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