Tag Archives: Dominion Theology

The Nature of God: The King of Kings

The Son

We see that the three Persons of the Godhead love and honor one another: Jesus honored the Holy Spirit by warning that blaspheming Him would not be forgiven (Matthew 12:31, 32), both the Father and the Holy Spirit honored Jesus by showing up at His baptism (Matthew 3:16, 17), and Jesus continuously glorified His Father by doing and speaking only what His Father instructed (John 8:28, 29).

As it was Jesus’ greatest pleasure to glorify His Father while here on earth, even so, it is the Father’s greatest pleasure to glorify His Son.  Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3)– the highest place of honor that is possible in heaven.  Hundreds of years before the incarnation (the point in time when Jesus became man), King David prophesied of Him, “The LORD said to my Lord [Jesus], ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool'” (Psalm 110:1).

He is seated there as both fully God and fully man.  He has a glorified human body, which still bears the nail and spear scars, the marks of His crucifixion (John 20:24-27) — a forever testimony to His selfless love for mankind.  A new thing took place when God the Son walked the earth in human flesh, and now a new thing has also taken place in heaven, where the Son of man retains His humanity while at the same time exercising His full function within the Godhead, which is to rule and reign over the universe.  He is the “firstborn among many sons” (Romans 8:29), for He has paved the way so that we will one day also walk heaven’s halls in glorified bodies.

In heaven, God the Son has been honored with all reverence from eternity, but in ways which we cannot fully understand, He now receives still greater honor and glory than the limitless glory which was already His. Philippians 2:8 tells us that this greater glory is due to His humbling of Himself in becoming a man and His obedience to the Father in enduring the cross, “Wherefore God [the Father] also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

Jesus bears the formal title of KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:16), He holds all power in both heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18), and at this time He is preparing for the day when all things will be put in subjection to Him, and even His enemies will acknowledge His Lordship with complete obeisance.

In 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, we are told that in the end of time, a shift in absolute Lordship from the Son to the Father will take place.  Christ will hand over the Kingdom to His Father, after He has subdued and abolished all opposing dominions and powers.  Before the Kingdom is transferred, He must finish the task of utterly conquering his enemies, including death, the final enemy. In essence, this was already a finished work at the time of His triumph at the cross and His subsequent resurrection. He already holds the keys of death and hell (Revelation 1:18). But here we are talking about the mop-up operation — enforcing His victory by ensuring that all rebellion will cease.  “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject to him [the Father] who put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).

What will Jesus be doing after He has handed over the Kingdom to His Father? We may have a hint, in Revelation 21.  This is the era of the Bridegroom fully enjoying His union with His bride, the Church.  Verse 4 tells us He will wipe away all her tears.  Verse 3 says that “the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, … and God himself shall be with them ….”  We will fully know Him as Immanuel, “God with us.”

The Nature of God Index    
Previous: The Restorer
Next: The Breath 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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The Nature of God: The Restorer

The Son

Jesus the Son is the Restorer of all things.  We talked in an earlier post about Him being the “last Adam,” a man without the sin nature, Who, unlike the first Adam, retained His purity throughout life, never once doing anything that displeased His heavenly Father.  By His victorious life, atoning death on the cross, and triumph over the grave, He restored back to man dominion over the terrestrial realm, which the first Adam had abdicated through his rebellion against God.

How do we know He has restored man’s original position?  That is a lengthy topic in itself, but the short answer is this: Jesus said to his disciples after His resurrection, “All authority is given to me in heaven and in earth.  Go, therefore …” (Matthew 28:18, 19).  Before the cross, He had promised, “I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).  He did not give them this wholesale “whatsoever” authority to bind and release then.  He said, “I will give you ….”  But once he held all authority because of His triumph over sin, death, and hell, he delegated to us his authority in the earth realm.  The last Adam restored what had been abdicated by the first Adam.

While on earth, Jesus demonstrated His role as Restorer through healing, delivering people from demons, raising the dead, and bringing people out of sin and into transformed lives.  He has commissioned us to join with Him in His restorative work: “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, now freely give” (Matthew 10:8) and, “He who believes on me, the works that I do he shall do as well; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go to be with my Father” (John 14:12).

The Son’s role as Restorer is a progressive work.  Although at the cross, He declared the full victory, “It is finished” (John 19:30), we do not yet see the restoration in its completeness. Hebrews 2:8 tells us God the Father “has put all things in subjection under his feet. For in putting all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.”  Paul also mentions in 1 Corinthians 15:24-27 the progressive nature of the restoration: “Then shall the end come … when he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign, until he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he has put all things under his feet….” 

The full restoration will be revealed when Jesus returns to earth as the conquering King.  Peter mentioned a coming day “when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.  And he shall send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21).

We eagerly anticipate that day, and say with the Apostle John,  “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

The Nature of God Index
Previous: Jesus the Intercessor
Next: King of Kings 

Excerpted from Before Whom We Stand: The Everyman’s Guide to the Nature of God — available in print from Full Gospel Family Publications and Amazon and in e-book form from many fine ebook sellers.

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Is There Still Going to Be a Rapture?

Lately, I’ve been in some discussions and received some questions about whether there is going to be a “Rapture” of the Church, whether the “Great Tribulation” of Revelation has already happened, and whether Jesus is really going to return and physically rule on the earth. 

I am by no means an eschatology expert. There are many scholarly people who know much more than I do.  I will state upfront that I do not have a formal Bible school education.  But I do read my Bible carefully, and ponder what it says.  I believe God meant for His Word to be understandable to the common man, and that we can expect to know truth if we prayerfully seek it out in His Word. 

I am really saddened by the confusion, disappointment, and anxiety that I sometimes hear from people who have long been awaiting Jesus’ return with great eagerness, who have now encountered new teaching that there will be no literal Rapture and that Jesus isn’t coming back for a long time yet.  What I want to say to them is, continue to look for and long for the return of Jesus.  You are on solid ground.  The Apostle Paul mentioned those who “love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).  It is right and godly to want Jesus to return, and to be ready for Him at all times. 

There are so many theories on what the actual sequence will be for the end time events, and it is hard to fit all the Scripture references together correctly.  I think some things we will only understand fully once they have happened.  Before the time of Jesus the Messiah’s birth, there must have been a great deal of confusion about Him.  He was to be called a Nazarene (Isaiah 11:1 — clearer in the Hebrew), Hosea said God would call His Son out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1), and yet Micah 5:2 announced that the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem.  We know today that Jesus fulfilled all three of these prophecies (see Matthew 2), but can you imagine how confusing it must have been at one time? 

So it is with some of the end time prophecies of the Scriptures.  There is a large movement of people, especially in the prophetic circles, who no longer seem to believe in a literal Rapture, in an end-time Great Tribulation, or a literal antichrist.  They tend to say that most of Revelation was fulfilled a long time ago, and they believe much of Revelation is strictly metaphorical, not literal.  This is all part of Dominion Theology (also called Kingdom Now and Reconstruction Theology).  Although there are some extremes that I would not at all agree with in Dominion Theology, much of it is good.  The focus is on bringing the Kingdom of Heaven into the earth now, doing the “greater works” that Jesus said the Church would do (see Matthew 10:1, 8 and John 14:12), and living the power-filled life that Jesus always intended for us to live.  There is nothing wrong with that! 

I believe in the Kingdom of Heaven being established here on the earth according to the Scriptures I just mentioned.  However, I still believe in a literal catching away of the Church (commonly referred to as “the Rapture”).  We need to hold to what the Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, particularly v. 17 “then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  Whether that will be pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or right at the end of the tribulation, I do not know for sure.  (Neither does anyone else.)   My own leaning is toward a pre-trib Rapture, partly because in Matthew 24:37-41, Jesus likened the devastation of the end times to the days of Noah.  In Noah’s time, the righteous were spared from destruction.  Also, Jesus said, in Luke 21:36, “Watch therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.”  Sometimes the accusation against pre-trib believers is that we are escapists.  We aren’t, necessarily.  I believe in “occupying until He comes” (Luke 19:13).  But if Jesus said we should pray that we would be worthy to escape these troubles, then I think it must be OK to want to escape them.  If those of us who favor a pre-trib Rapture are wrong and must go through part or all of the Great Tribulation, we will endure, stand with Jesus, and just plain do it! 

Some prophetic teachers are saying that the “catching away” (Rapture) is not physical and permanent.  They say it is having third heaven experiences, being “caught up” in our spirits into the heavenlies, even corporately so, and then returning to earth and our bodies.  That is not what the Scripture says.  We can have such third heaven experiences.  Paul did, and talked about it in 2 Corinthians 12:2-4.  But 1 Thessalonians 4:17 speaks of something entirely better: “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them [the resurrected dead] in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”   

Some people in the prophetic movement think that through growing in new revelation about health and healing, the Church will come into greater longevity, and eventually the ability to not die at all.  They feel that the Lord has revealed this to them through current prophetic visions.  But that is not what the Bible teaches.  1 Corinthians 15:24-26 says, “Then comes the end, when he [Jesus] will deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; having put down all rule, and all authority and power.  For he must reign, until he has put all enemies under his feet.  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”  Jesus will reign physically upon the earth, as is clearly stated throughout the Scriptures — notably in Isaiah and  Zechariah.  Even Job, who is thought to have lived at the time of Jacob or shortly thereafter, was convinced of the physical return of Jesus to the earth: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth” (Job 19:25).   At the end of Jesus’ reign, right before He hands the kingdom over to His Father, death will be destroyed.  

1 Corinthians 15:51-56 is necessary reading if we are going to understand the Rapture as taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.  In 1 Corinthians 15:52 we find that both the dead and living Christians, at the last trumpet call, will be changed into our glorified bodies in the twinkling of an eye.  This is not a gradual coming into new revelation about how to live longer and eventually not die.  It is about completely changed, glorified bodies, and it will happen suddenly. 

What about the book of Revelation?  Did most of it happen already?  Throughout the Bible we find that many prophecies are partially fulfilled, as a foreshadowing of what is yet to come.  Yet, the complete fulfillment happens at a later time.  John the Baptist was a partial fulfillment of the coming of Elijah, as mentioned in Malachi 4:5Joel 2:28, 29 was partially fulfilled at Pentecost (Acts 2).  A more literal fulfillment of both these prophecies will be accomplished in the end times.  There are many examples in the Scriptures of partial fulfillment of prophecy, with the more complete fulfillment coming later.  It does not take a great amount of genius to see that much of Revelation has not yet happened.  There have been some partial fulfillments, yes.  

One argument used to negate Revelation still needing fulfillment is that the language is almost entirely metaphorical, and that we should not expect literal fulfillment.  But that is almost never the way prophecy in the Bible works.  Time after time, the words of the prophets have been literally fulfilled, right down to the last jot and tittle.  Why should Revelation be any different? 

I am of the opinion that we can still anticipate a literal, physical catching up to Jesus in the air to be with Him forever, we can still believe that much of Revelation is yet to be fulfilled literally (even though there are many symbolic themes there), and that we should eagerly look forward to Jesus’ return, however the sequence of events works out.

For those who have become disillusioned and distressed by some of the current “Raptureless” teaching, I would like to encourage you to not let anyone take from you the delight of looking forward to Jesus’ return.  Prepare for coming generations by actively building God’s kingdom here on earth.  This is wisdom.  Realize that it is possible Jesus may not come for His Church in our lifetime — but also realize that it is very possible He will.

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World, by Lee Ann Rubsam