Kathy and I would love to go back in time and be on the road to Emmaus, listening to Jesus expound “in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24). What is really interesting: we see by His response to the two sad travelers that the Scriptures themselves are pretty clear. But we are “slow of heart to believe.”
We believe Jesus is being robbed of His present glory by the teaching that He will “enter His glory” at some time in the future. What if the so-called “age of the King” (a physical millennium on earth) never comes? Try to imagine this… Pastors and theologians—not unbelievers—will have systematically taken His glory from Him! Jesus’ own people—not the enemy—will have taken the crown from His head.
Jesus is not waiting to become King. He is King. He will forever be King.
The magi came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is He who is born King of the Jews?” (Matt. 2:1,2). Herod understood what that meant. What had he to fear if Jesus would not be King for another two thousand years or more? He knew this child was “born King.” When Jesus rode a donkey across the Kidron Valley, the prophecy was fulfilled that says, “Your King comes to you, meek, and sitting on a donkey” (Matt. 21:4,5). Their King was meek and sitting on a donkey. He was not waiting to become their King thousands of years later. When they laid palm branches at His feet they said, “Blessed is the King of Israel” (John 12:13). Nathanael said to Jesus, “You are the King of Israel” (John 1:49). Paul and Silas were accused of teaching that Jesus is a King (Acts 17:7), and rightfully so. When Paul “expounded and testified the kingdom of God” to men, he “persuaded them concerning Jesus” (Acts 28:23,31). In the end Jesus wore over His head, on the cross, the title the magi gave Him.
Even His name “Christ” is closely related in meaning to “King” (see Luke 23:2).
Though He was not then, nor is now, the kind of King men are looking for (John 6:15; 18:33-37), He is King no less.
The Bible says Jesus is waiting till all enemies are put under His feet. This is what a conquering King does (John 16:33; Heb. 2:14,15; Col. 2:15; I John 3:8; Gen. 3:15; cf. II Sam. 12:29-31). David wrote in Psalm 110:1: “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:25: “He must reign till He puts all the enemies under His feet.” We understand by this that Jesus is reigning at the right hand of God. David told us, by inspiration, what that means… “The Lord at your right hand” (Ps. 110:5-7) will “crush kings,” “judge the nations,” “heap up the dead,” “crush rulers of the whole earth,” “drink from a brook by the way.” These all reveal His personal intervention in the affairs of men. The last of them reveals His personal visitation in places on earth as insignificant as a brook. All this is done at, or from, the right hand of God (see Matt. 28:18; Acts 2:32-36). This is also reflected in Psalm 2:8-12.
After the παρουσία (coming) of Christ, Paul says, “εΐτα το τέλος”—then the end, when Jesus will deliver the kingdom to God the Father and destroy all earthly rule, authority and power (I Cor. 15:23,24). “For He must reign” (v.25a) more-fully describes the period before the παρουσία while He sits at the right hand. “Till all the enemies are put under His feet” (v.25b) marks His victorious descent at the παρουσία/τέλος (equal to the συντέλεια [consummation of the age] in Matt. 13:39-43): the time of His return and handing-over of “the kingdom to the God and Father.” That will close the curtain on old earth’s kingdom history and open the door to eternity and the new earth. It is a consummation that opens the valve to an eternal sea and is therefore only a beginning (II Pet. 1:11; Luke 1:33; Dan. 2:44). This is “the restoration of all things” in Acts 3:21 and “the rebirth/renewal/new age” Jesus spoke of in Matthew 19:28 that will mark a virtual return to Eden, only, so much better! There will be no possibility of sin or death there, but eternal righteousness, holiness, bliss, and free access to the Tree of Life. Jesus will remain in heaven until then (Acts 3:21), as Paul wrote: “the parousia, then the end.”
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (I Cor. 15:26). Death is the last enemy to go under His feet at the right hand, according to David, Paul, and the writer of Hebrews (Ps. 110:1; I Cor. 15:25; Heb. 10:12,13). Once that lies beneath His nail-pierced soles and He drops through the clouds, only a timeless, incorruptible, and immortal kingdom remains, not an old-earth millennium (I Cor. 15:50; John 3:5-7). Therefore the present earth waits for the revelation of the sons of God (see Romans 8:19-23), not a millennial age. It eagerly longs for our transformation, which takes place at the coming of Jesus (I Cor. 15:51,52), because, when we are released from earthly corruption at His coming, the creation too will be delivered from corruption to share our glorious liberty. So, naturally, we look for new heavens and a new earth at His return (II Pet.3).
When Jesus comes, the present age will end in judgment and the new earth and the eternal state will begin (see II Thess. 1:7-10; James 5:4-7; II Pet.3:3,4,7,10-15; I Thess. 5:2-4; Luke 17:24,26-30; Acts 17:31; I John 4:17; Jude 6; Matt. 10:15; 25:31-46; 13:24-30,36-43,47-50; 28:20; I Cor. 15:22-24,51,52; Rev. 10:5-7; 11:15,18; 6:15-17; I Thess. 4:16,17; John 5:28,29; 6:39,40,44,54; 11:23,24; 12:48; Job 14:12; 19:25; I Pet. 1:5-7; 2:12; Rom. 2:5-12,16; I Cor. 1:7,8; 3:13; 5:5; II Cor. 1:14; Phil. 1:6,10; 2:16; II Tim. 1:12,18; 4:1,8; Acts 24:15; Heb. 10:25-27; Matt. 16:27; 24:3,30,31,36-51; Rev. 1:7; 22:12; Dan. 12:2,3,13; I Pet. 4:7).
Returning to the road to Emmaus… Jesus asked the two disheartened disciples, “Was it not necessary for Christ to suffer these things and enter His glory?” (Luke 24:26). New Testament writers would find it odd that Christians today believe Jesus enters His glory thousands of years after His crucifixion. To them this would be a strange teaching. They taught that Jesus entered His glory when He sat down at the right hand of God. He is presently glorified (John 17:24).
When Peter wrote of the prophets “[testifying] beforehand the suffering of Christ and the glories that should follow” (I Pet. 1:11), he tied Jesus’ resurrection securely to the glory which was given Him at His ascension to the right hand: “God raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory” (I Peter 1:21). So did Jesus Himself (Luke 24:26,46).
John wrote that while Jesus was with His twelve disciples, “the Holy Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:39). Jesus said, “If I go not away [to my Father], the Comforter will not come; but if I depart, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7; also notice Acts 2:33). This reveals that Jesus’ ascension to the right hand was recognized by His disciples as His glorification.
John brings this out again in John 12:16: “When Jesus was glorified, [His disciples] remembered that these things were written of Him.” Peter concurred, after Jesus ascended to the right hand, by proclaiming in Jerusalem: “God has glorified His Son Jesus” (Acts 3:13). These Scriptures reveal that Jesus’ glorification (“entering His glory”) was something the disciples lived to experience. And so, we see the “glory” closely linked to the “hour” of suffering: “Father, the hour is come; glorify your Son” (John 17:1; also 12:23,24). The “suffering” and “glory” were not separated by thousands of years. This is the New Testament point of view, as given by the Spirit and seen by the first-century eye. It sheds new light on the words, “Was it not necessary for Christ to suffer these things and enter His glory?”
“The glories to follow” flow from the resurrection of Jesus which was the greatest glory of all, like he splendor of the morning sun when it bursts over the horizon!
For further study:
Evidence pointing to the first-century fulfillment and present reality of Psalm 2:
Compare verses 1-3 with Acts 4:24-28
verses 4,5 with I Thessalonians 2:14-16
verse 6 with Hebrews 12:22-24; Acts 2:33-36; Revelation 1:5
verse 7 with Acts 13:32,33; Hebrews 1:5; Romans 1:4
verse 8 with Matthew 28:18; John 17:1,2; 13:3; Isaiah 8:18; Hebrews 2:13; John 6:37
verse 9 with Revelation 2:27
verse 10 with Psalm 110:5,6
verse 11 with Hebrews 12:28,29
verse 12 with John 3:35,36; Acts 3:23; John 20:29
© James Unruh 2015 and beyond