And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:6-7)
Our sovereign God ordained that His mighty apostle and evangelist Paul be taken from the mission field and incarcerated for a few years in a Roman prison. We have difficulty wrapping our minds about why God would do such things, but this much is crystal clear: it is always towards the advancement of His kingdom, and for the greater glory.
We are wise to keep this principle in mind as we continue exploring the exalted position God has for His Church remnant in the VERY near future. First, though, as covered last time, professing Christians of lukewarm Laodicean character will be spit out of [His] mouth (Rev. 3:14-22) as persecution reveals which Christians truly know His name and persevere, thereby exhibiting enduring Philadelphian character (Rev. 3:7-13; see Part 5).
In Paul’s case, we come to understand that God had to take His busy servant out of commission in order that he be still and focused enough to receive the pinnacle of revelation – the mystery of “the Christ” (see Intro), as relayed to us primarily in Ephesians (but also in Colossians, both written while imprisoned in Rome):
And he made known to us the mystery of his will… to put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. (Eph. 1:9-10).
Note the order of that last phrase: the bringing about of order in heaven apparently precedes the bringing about of order on earth. That makes sense, [f]or our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:13). The fall of the perfect angel Lucifer (described in Is. 14:12-15 and Ez. 28:12b-17) preceded and incited the fall of man. Because of this, [God’s] intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms… (Eph. 3:10 emphasis added)
Which leads us to this interesting question: What is the kingdom of God? In this context, until Ephesians 1:9-10 (offset above) is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is the overthrow of the kingdom of Satan / the antichrist / the worldly system by the presence of God within us. This is indicated by Jesus’ words in Matt.12:28, But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
So, weaving all this together, although our opening Scripture is subjective truth for us now, we see that in union with our risen Lord as one Body (“the Christ”), the overcoming remnant of Church-age saints will soon be physically enthroned in glorified bodies with our Bridegroom in His Father’s house, establishing order in the heavenly realms before the Millennium! This will be our primary focus from this point onward in the series, and we’ll study both OT and NT Scriptures addressing it.
So, I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation as we set ourselves apart from distractions, set our hearts and eyes on Jesus, and delve into the Scriptures in order that we may know Him and His end-time purposes for us better than we do now. Amen.
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Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, then are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? (1 Cor. 6:2- 3a NASB)
This amazing fact was disclosed to us when Paul rebuked the carnal church of Corinth for taking each other to court instead of submitting themselves to their Lord and letting the indwelling Holy Spirit take control and produce His fruit. Now, as Pastor Doug Riggs, trained at Dallas Theological Seminary and proficient in the Hebrew and the Greek, was studying Daniel chapter 7 a few years ago, the Lord showed him the Greek word “kriterion” that Paul used for “law courts” in that Corinthians passage was the very same word used in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT, ~150 BC) to translate the Aramaic word for “court” twice in Daniel chapter 7 (verses 10 & 26; we’ll read them momentarily). “Kriterion” also means tribunal. Noting also that Daniel 7:9 says that thrones were set up, Doug saw that the heavenly court judging and overthrowing antichrist includes Christ’s raptured Church overcomers! What a revelation from the Lord!
Now, Daniel chapter 7 concerns Daniel’s highly detailed prophetic vision of four progressive kingdoms of mankind, centered about three figures: the little horn of the terrifying last kingdom (the antichrist), the Ancient of Days (God the Father), and one like a son of man (Jesus Christ with the overcoming Church saints in Him, invisible to Daniel! Recall from Part 1 that God didn’t reveal the Church to ANY of His OT prophets – the Church was hidden in the Messiah in the OT.)
The Christ/Messiah is described in the midpoint of the chapter this way:
In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. (Dan. 7:13-14)
This is none other than the coronation of the Christ! I just love how God rewarded His humble and faithful servant Daniel, intercessor extraordinaire (see 9:1-20), captured in Jerusalem as a young man and led away to serve God from the pagan kingdom of Babylon the rest of his life, with this astounding vision of his Messiah being enthroned! Oh, praise Him with me now…
God had first revealed four progressive kingdoms of mankind in a vivid recurring dream to the mighty Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar as parts of a gigantic human statue (Dan. 2). The dream ended as the gigantic statue was smashed by a rock cut not by human hands… the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. (vv. 34-35). It was shortly after King Nebuchadnezzar’s death that God revealed those same kingdoms in this vision to Daniel; this time, the kingdoms were revealed in the form of bizarre beasts, apparently more in line with how God sees them instead of how earthly kings perceive them!
Now, our focus in Daniel 7 is not on the horrific last beastly kingdom of mankind. All I will share about that here is (1) it is the “New World Order” as announced by US President George H. Bush in the early 1990’s, and (2) it was also prophesied as the beast of Revelation 13 and 17:3,7-18. Perhaps more on that later in the series. At this time, however, we’ll focus on God’s purpose for the Church after it is caught up to meet the Lord in the air, avoiding the coming wrath (1 Thess. 4:17; 1:10).
Here, then, are the verses in Daniel 7 describing thrones and the court:
As I [Daniel] looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat…. [God the Father and His throne are described] The court was seated, and the books were opened. [The son of man, the fourth beast, it’s “little horn” and his reign are described] …But the court will sit, and his [the little horn’s] power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. (Dan. 7:9-10; 26 NIV)
Notice that the throne is not singular, but plural, and that they are set in place. So not only is Jesus Christ enthroned, but we are co-enthroned with Him. Recall that this is because Christ, who is given authority to judge in verses 13-14 (see John 5:27 where Jesus refers to this), is a multi-membered Body, and His Church overcomers are one with Him, ruling and reigning with Him – establishing order first in the heavenly realms. He is King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16; 1 Tim. 6:15).
We are the faithful followers with Him, on thrones, in God’s courtroom! We will have been made mature and complete in Him by that point in time, one flesh with our Bridegroom (see last section of Part 4: The Bride of Christ).
Now note this: as we are seated on those thrones with Christ judging the antichrist, we displace him and ALL the demonic rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. They have to leave in the presence of the now fully-mature Body of Christ, the Church (“called-out ones” in the Greek word “ekklesia”) now in heaven, just as all demons had to leave Jesus’ presence when He walked the earth as a Man.
But the court will sit and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him. (Dan. 7:26-28)
[To be continued…]
God bless you as you press deeper into the end-time prophetic Scriptures!