Biographical Sketch of Dr. Stuart E. Lease / Bible Messages by Dr. Stuart E. Lease
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Im speaking this morning on the Victorious Enthronement of Jesus Christ. I want to emphasize this matter of Enthronement that it has to do, not only with a place or a position, but also with a practice. In one very real sense, Jesus Christs throne is eternal. The basic verse for that is found in Hebrews chapter one and verse eight. Actually, we should go back to verse four to get the context. Speaking of the Lord Jesus that He did sit down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, Being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him. And of the angels He said, Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire. [Now heres the verse] But unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God [and in the Greek, thats The God, clearly the Eternal God, thus confirming the Deity of Christ]...Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom. Now while His throne and His power and authority are for ever and ever, He is now seated, not upon His own throne, but upon the throne of His Father; and the distinguishing of that is set forth in Revelation 3 [after the great verse that we often refer to and sometimes apply to a salvation situation but really its sense is that Christ is standing outside the Laodicean church] beginning at verse 20, Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne [Now notice, thats a future expectation.]...in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne. So, that at the present time, the Lord Jesus is seated with His Father in His throne. Actually, the throne of the Lord Jesus will be here upon the earth when Hes seated here as the greater Son of David, and He will be seated here on the earth I believe literally, in Jerusalem as the One Who has the right to rule and to reign here upon the earth. In fact, I believe thats what we have in Revelation 19 when the Lord Jesus is seen riding forth from Heaven and we have this [beginning in verse 11], And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns [by the way, that doesnt mean a stack of crowns necessarily. If you study back in history youll find that when the ruler of one country took over another he would take the distinguishing feature of the crown of that particular realm and incorporate it into his own crown, so that all the distinguishing features of the various crowns was then found in one corporated crown. So, thats what you have in a sense here many crowns]...and He had a Name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His Name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a Name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Thus, He is going to rule upon the earth, and saints are going to reign with Him. In Revelation chapter 20, verse 4, And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus and for the Word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. By the way, since we are in that passage, let me just confirm to you that there is going to be a literal one thousand year reign of Christ upon the earth a literal one thousand year reign during which time Christ will be enthroned upon the earth.
During my undergraduate studies I had a professor, in a Christian college, that was amillennial; and he sought to impress upon us that there will not be a literal millennium. He said, Now you must remember that Revelation is: highly figurative, that certain things do not always mean the same thing in different places, that numbers have varying significances, and the book is highly figurative. Oh, by the way, he asked, Does a thousand always mean a thousand? and he was especially looking at some of us who were pre-millennialists and pre-tribulationalists. Now, if you think a thousand always means a thousand, he said, Turn to Psalm 50, verse 10, The cattle on a thousand hills are mine. Now, will you please tell me, to whom the one thousand one, two, three, four belong? if a thousand is supposed to be a literal one thousand? And I tell you, the problem there is that I never ever heard a pre-millennialist bring that verse up. And then he pointed out that a day in thy courts is better than a thousand, a thousand shall fall at thy right hand. So he said, A thousand doesnt literally mean a thousand. In fact, its just a long period of time; in fact, the reign of Christ is not a thousand years as you see if you go to Daniel 7:18, The saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom [How long?]for ever, even for ever and ever. So right away, he swept away the idea of one thousand year literal reign of Christ. Now, let me just point out something about that. Im convinced that you cannot be an exegete and be an amillennialist. You say, What do you mean? There are six references to thousand years in Revelation 20. It is very interesting, there are three couplets. Now what is a couplet? Well, that means two things together; and its interesting that after each reference, of a thousand years at the end of verse 2, and then you have in verse 3 the thousand; then you have in verse 4 a thousand years and then in verse 5 the thousand years; you have in verse 6 a thousand years and in verse 7 the thousand years. Now the thing to remember a thousand years may be indefinite or the term a thousand may be indefinite as it is in some of these scriptures. But when you have the thousand, you no longer have an indefinite situation but a definite situation. By the way, its in the Greek, the definite article is in the second of these three couplets. An interesting thing also, if you look at the text, after each of the definite references notice what it say till the thousand years should be [What?] fulfilled. Then after the thousand years [you have] were finished and after the third reference in verse 7 when the thousand years are expired. What does that tell you? It cant possibly be for ever and ever, because its fulfilled, finished, and expired. Thus you must have a literal one thousand year reign of Christ.
Now, you say, What do you do with what Daniel says in Daniel 7 that theyre going to reign for ever and ever? All right, theres a slight break after the reign of Christ upon the earth. He does reign literally one thousand years. Now if you turn to I Corinthians 15 beginning at verse 20 [By the way, this is one of the pre-conditions for His present infirment.), Now is Christ risen from the dead [The resurrection had to precede the ascension and exaltation of Christ], and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man can death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christs at His coming. Now after His coming, He reigns upon the earth for a literal one thousand years, 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. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under His feet. But when He saith all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him. 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, that God may be all in all. Now, the Lord Jesus eternally in the plan and purpose of God has been submissive to the Father. It is not true that He was only submissive during His incarnation. He was then. But, in the order of the Trinity, the Lord Jesus has always been willingly submissive to the Father and of the Spirit and both to the Father. And when He has ruled and established and proven and demonstrated His right to reign upon the earth and has put down the uprising of Satan at the end, then He yields Himself to the Father; but I am convinced that He then has a seat upon His own throne with the Father. Lets go back to Revelation 3:21, To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne [Now I believe thats going to be during the millennium, but also we will reign with Him], even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne. Now go back to Revelation 22 beginning at verse 3, And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him. I believe that Revelation 21 and 22 are in that period which we call the Eternal State, that is, this is beyond the Millennium; and thus you have beyond the Millennium the throne of God and of the Lamb. the Lord Jesus ruling eternally with the Father. I feel thats essential to distinguish that, so that we understand something better of His present Victorious Enthronement; and that which I am addressing myself to today is primarily in regard to His present enthronement.
What I want to point out is that thrones are not necessarily literal seats although they may include that. I believe that there is going to be a literal throne upon the earth when Jesus reigns with the Father as Revelation 22:3 indicates The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it.
Now What are the particular involvements of Christs present enthronement? Were just going to touch on these. Then you can look at them later or think about them further. First, why didnt Jesus just stay here in His post resurrection state instead of going on to heaven? After all, He had had this period of time on the earth with His disciples, coming and going, appearing and apparently disappearing. Why didnt He just continue that throughout the church age? Well, there are three things that indicate why it had to be in regard to its origin. First, to allow the Holy Spirit to come and minister on the earth. Jesus had to go to heaven before the Holy Spirit could come and minister on the earth. In John 16:7, Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart [that is, go into heaven, ascending], I will send Him unto you. So He had to ascend and be seated in heaven, enthroned there, for the Holy Spirit to come. Second, to fulfill Old Testament typology. In Acts chapter two there is reference to this concerning the Lord Jesus and His exaltation. In Acts 2:33, Herefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but He saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand, Until I make Thy foes Thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, Whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. This is in fulfillment, specially here of Psalm 110:1, fulfilling a prophecy of the Old Testament. And then thirdly, to fulfill not only prophecy of the Old Testament but typology of the Old Testament. In Hebrews chapter 9 it is indicated that just as the earthly tabernacle had to be cleansed and blood presented for the sins of the people, so the heavenly tabernacle has to be, as it were, cleansed or prepared for the coming of the saints and the presentation of the blood of Christ there. Hebrews 9 beginning at verse 23, It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these [that is, the Old Testament sacrifices]; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us. This is in fulfillment of the Old Testament Type found in the tabernacle.
Now in the operation of His present ministry, His Enthronement first, to open heaven for His saints. In the book of Hebrews 6:19-20, Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entered into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Thus He opened heaven for His saints, went ahead of us, so that we might enter in. According to John 14:2, He went to prepare a place for His saints. He says, I go to prepare a place for you. When we get to heaven, were going to have a place that is prepared. He went ahead and Hes been there long enough for everything to be ready and just right for us when we get there. In His Enthronement, Hes been concerned about us and our place there.
Then also as we saw in the Hebrews 9 passage ...to appear...for us [Hebrews 9:24 and in I John 2:1] where He is, ...the propitiation for our sins. He is the Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous.
Then, to await His return. In Acts 3 it indicates that He is there just until He comes back. Acts 3:20 and 21, And He shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. You see, Hes only there temporarily. His present enthronement is a temporary enthronement until He comes to rule and reign upon the earth.
Now, where is He the place of His ministry? He is in heaven. We saw that in Hebrews 9:24, ...in the presence of God. He is at the Fathers right hand. Ephesians 1:20, which speaks of His mighty power, Which He wrought in Christ, when He 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, but also in that which is to come. Thus, He is at the Fathers right hand and above all things.
How many of you are left-handed? Do you know the Latin word for left hand? The Latin word for left hand, its sinister. People are always afraid of the left hand. I dont know why, but it just goes back in ancient history. The Latin word for right hand is dexter. Thats where you get manual dexterity. Now the right hand was the place of approval, of authority, of acceptance, and honor. The left hand was just the opposite. This is what the ancients felt about the left hand as over against the right hand. The right hand was the place of acceptance, authority, honor, and power. I sort of wondered why the disciples [one wanted to be on the right hand and the other on the left, because the left hand really wasnt too much for the place of the accepted, but at least they were near to the Lord I suppose maybe thats what they wanted most of all. Frankly, I dont care where the Lord puts me, whether its on the right hand or the left. I hope Ill be somewhere near the Lord.
Some of you are familiar with the story of Westley and Whitfield; and they differed theologically and sometimes were slightly critical of each other. When John Westley heard that Whitfield had died, one of his friends came to him and said, Well, do you think youll see Whitfield in heaven? and Westley said, No, I dont think I will. And, they thought, Boy, Hes really glad this guys gone and he probably isnt in heaven. Thats not what he meant. He said, Whitfield will be so close to the throne, and Ill probably be so far away that Ill hardly be able to see him. You know, thats something nice to say about your detractors and, I think in the cause of Christ some of us may differ on some things and even theologically on some points whether Arminian or Calvinistic. Nevertheless, the important thing is that someday well be there before the throne, and with Him in heaven. By the way, if we die, thats where well be with Him. If were caught up in the air, well be with Him in His throne just for a short period of time and return and reign with Him upon the earth.
Now what is the Purpose of the ministry of the Lord Jesus in His present Victorious Enthronement? First, to assure our hope of heaven. In II Corinthians chapter 5 there is a great portion of the Word of God that gives encouragement to us as we face the possibility of death, For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [There is something of reality here that is going to come upon the saint who dies. I dont believe that were just going to be unclothed. By the way, I dont believe that this refers to the resurrection. I think that this is the intermediary state. This is when we pass out of this life, into the immediate presence of the Lord.] For in this we groan [and we do and sometimes, we groan more than at other times] earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, Who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord...[and then in verse 8] We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. There is a man in the glory, a man in a glorified body. Now we will not have our glorified bodies until the resurrection. But, I do believe that we are going to have a kind of a body of reality when we enter into the Lords presence.
While in heaven the Lord Jesus gives us access to the throne of grace. Hebrews 4:14-16, Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. He gives us authority to witness as Acts 1:8 indicates, But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me...; and gives us assurance of His Headship over all things for the church In Colossians 1:1, And He is the Head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the pre-eminence [that is, the first place].
The present Victorious Enthronement of Jesus Christ has Him seated on a throne, the throne of His Father. He also ought to be seated on the throne of our hearts. Indeed, it is here where we are going to see and sense the reality of the rule of Christ in this age. Its in the hearts of His people. What has happened in far too many hearts of people today is that they have limited the power of the monarchy of the Lord Jesus in their lives to the point where the Lord Jesus reigns but does not rule. Hes just a figurehead (as the Queen of England is today) to be paraded out on special occasions. Can you say and mean King of my life, I crown Thee now, Thine shall the glory be. And then we should go back and remember what He did for us to qualify Him for the place where He now is seated, and that He is coming back, and we will one day rule and reign with Him. Right now, He wants to rule and reign in our hearts.
FATHER We desire that the Victorious Enthronement of Christ in heaven will become a reality in our hearts and in our homes, that He will indeed and in truth be the One Who not only reigns but rules in our lives. If there is anything in our hearts or lives that hinders His working, may we confess this and allow the Holy Spirit to deal with us so that we shall be clean and totally committed to our Savior. I pray in His precious Name. Amen.