The Enthroned Christ

The Enthroned Christ

David Leathem

The life of Christ in heaven for His people is second in importance only to His death for them on the cross. What a glorious contemplation, that He whom men despised and rejected and to whom they gave a cross of shame and suffering is now on the apex of the universe, on the throne of omnipotence! He has been given a name above every name (Phil 2:9). He has been raised to highest honour and glory. God “raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places. Far above all principality, and power and might, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this world (age), but also in that which is to come. And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church… His body,” (Eph. 1:20-22). Surely, here is seen His supremacy above created intelligences, His sovereignty in the material and moral universe and, in addition, His Headship and Lordship in the Church, His body. Christ, in exaltation art God’s right hand, has undisputed authority. He, the mighty Victor, having overcome His foes, has taken His seat on the throne, (Rev. 3:21).

His wonderful accession is TYPICALLY PREFIGURED in the story of Joseph’s exaltation described in Genesis chapter 41. Joseph found the way to the palace was via the prison. He is brought out of the dungeon, is made the chief ruler of {pb 7the Head over all things to the Egypt, and receives, from Pharoah, three things:

1. A ring, the symbol of authority.

2. Vesture of fine linen, which would speak of dignity.

3. A gold chain, denoting royalty. We have seen, already, how this was all true with respect to the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the second place it was PROPHETICALLY ANNOUNCED in Psalm 110, “The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” The same quotation is made by the writer to the Hebrews in chapter 1:13, and this blessed fact forms part of the subject matter of that wonderful letter.

In the third place it is HISTORICALLY PROCLAIMED in the gospel by Mark, “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God,” (Mk. 16:19). Although seated, as the perfect servant He still works with His own (chapter 16:20). While doing so He does not vacate His throne. The Queen of the British Commonwealth does not cease to occupy the throne of the realm, while engaged in the service of her peoples across the seas. The fact that Christ is seen standing and walking on certain occasions after His ascension is therefore by no means contradictory. In Eternity, He will still occupy “the throne of God and of the Lamb.” (Rev. 22:1-3).

The finished work of Christ has earned for Him the Seat of Rest. “This Man after He had offered one sacrifice for sins, forever sat down on the right hand of God,” (Heb. 10:12). His rest is eternal. He will never be called upon to rise up again in order to offer another sacrifice for sins. At the same time His glorious triumph has won for Him the Seat of Expectancy (vv. 13).

His occupation of the throne is DOCTRINALLY EXPOUNDED in the epistle to the Hebrews. In chapter 1 it is linked and associated with His person:

1. In His superiority to all, “God hath in these last days spoken unto us in the Son,” (vv 2).

2. In His sovereignty, “By whom also He made the worlds,” (vv 2).

3. In His sufficiency, “By Himself purged our sins,” (vv. 3).

4. In His sublimity, “Better than the angels,” (vv. 4).

5. In His supremacy, “Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high,” (vv. 3).

Having made purification for sins on the cross, and having stooped to the lowest degradation in the eyes of both Jew and Gentile, our Lord takes the seat of highest honour on high.

The words of Hebrews 8:1, present Him to us in His priestly ministry. “We have such an high Priest Who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” “Seeing then that we have a great high Priest that is passed into (through) the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession,” (confession) (chap. 4:14). This verse introduces us to the great subject of His priesthood. Under the Mosaic covenant, the priest passed through the court of the tabernacle and the holy place before entering the holiest of all beyond the veil. This epistle shows Chat Christ has entered into God’s presence by virtue of His person and on the basis of His finished work on the cross (chap. 7: 6-27). Suffering and tried saints find succour and consolation in Him, their merciful and faithful high Priest (chap. 2:17-18). A Puritan writer points up the importance of this work when he says, “There is no office of Christ which Satan hates so much as the priestly one, and none which he labours so incessantly to obscure and bring into contempt.”

A third reference to the Lord Jesus on the throne is found in Hebrews 10:12. Undoubtedly His great work of propitiation is before us here. First we see the Peace offering; then the Meal offering, followed by the Burnt offering and Sin offerings (Heb. 10:8). The Burnt offering is Christ for what I should have done; the Meal offering, Christ for what I should have been; the Peace offering, Christ for what I should have enjoyed; the Sin offering, Christ for what I was; the Trespass offering, Christ for what I have done. All these offerings were but shadows, imperfect and insufficient to meet the demands of the throne of God. They could not put sins away before God, nor the remembrance of them from the conscience of the offerer. (vv. 2-3). Christ’s sacrifice accomplishes both and also sanctifies the believer through the remission of his sins (chapter 10:10). How blessed the result! “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more,” (chapter 10:17).

Finally we have the pathway of the Saviour presented to us in Hebrews 12. His human name, Jesus, is appropriately used (vv. 2). The worthies of chapter 11, by their trials and triumphs, witnessed to a faith that overcomes. Jesus Himself is the perfect witness and example of such a faith. He, moreover, is the Author and Accomplisher of faith. In accomplishing the Father’s will, He endured the cross and the contradiction of sinners against Himself, and the God-Man triumphed “and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (chapter 12:2).

“To Him whom men despise and slight,
To Him be glory given;
The crown is His, and His by right
The highest place in heaven.”