|The Present Reign of Jesus Christ|
The Psalmist David wrote: “The Lord said unto my Lord, ‘Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of Thy strength [Wonder what that is?] out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies [emphasis mine]. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power’…” (Psalm 110:1-3a.)
Unbelievably, in the face of clear scripture, there still is a debate over whether Christ is presently reigning on this earth, and if not, when? And if presently, how? Furthermore, did Jesus “bind” Satan or not? What do the Scriptures say – present or future?
In chapter 20: 1-2 of the symbolic Book of Revelation, we read: “I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years.” Immediately, most will be entertaining the concept of a futuristic millennium with these verses. That is not my subject matter at present. This is not an article about the millennium and its various schools of thought. However, if you believe it to be a literal thousand years in the future, you are still in eschatological infancy.
“And bound him”: Jesus came first to bind Satan then to destroy him. This binding was for the purpose of restricting his power to totally throw entire nations into complete idolatry. (I am not saying that this stops individual temptation.) History records nation after nation, civilization after civilization which existed under one form or another under Satan’s complete deception, i.e., Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and the Romans. The boasting of Satan is clear during the temptation of Jesus. “And the devil, taking him up into a high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luke 4:5-6). However, the Scriptures and history reveal that Christ turned the tables. The great historian, Will Durant, observed:
“There is no greater drama in human record than the sight of a few Christians, scorned or oppressed by a succession of emperors, bearing all trials with a fierce tenacity, multiplying quietly, building order while their enemies generated chaos, fighting the sword with the word, brutality with hope, and at last defeating the strongest state that history has known. Caesar and Christ met in the arena, and Christ had won.”
The Story of Civilization III, “Caesar and Christ,” p. 652.
Jesus came and demonstrated his commission by signs and wonders, especially by displaying His authority over demons. He said, “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you” (Matthew 12:28). Jesus proved His kingdom authority by casting out devils. However, the people reacted and accused him of doing these wonders by the authority of the Devil. Immediately Jesus responded, “…how can one enter into a strong man’s house and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house” (Matthew 12:29). The message is clear, first “bind” then spoil the other’s dominion. This, Jesus did. Please note: The word “bind” here is the same word which appears in Revelation 20:2. Christ, in this present reign, has bound the devil. It’s just that simple. (Other verses which vindicate this understanding are: Lk. 10:17-19; Jn. 12:31; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14; Eph. 4:8 and 1 Jn. 3:8.)
God’s true Israel needs to awaken to her identity and to the realization that she has the power to do a better job. Our power has been drastically limited by Dispensationalism’s “other gospel.” This “other gospel” bemoans a concept that evil is becoming stronger. It lies and tries to convince us that the world is coming more and more under the control of the Devil. Wake up! Satan is bound, and we know it not! Christ has given us this great chain of circumstance. We can tighten the chain but do it not!
Now that we are brought into remembrance concerning the binding of Satan and the plundering of his strong house by Jesus, we turn to the concept of reigning. The “my Lord” of David’s Psalm is proclaimed by Scripture to have Zion ruling (reigning) in the midst of her enemies. Remember, “Thy people” are the rulers. Was this authority for only some blissful millennial age in the future, or is it present? I assert that we are reigning with Christ now in the midst of our enemies!
Paul reminded Timothy that “the word of God is not bound” (II Timothy 2:9). He went further and proclaimed a “faithful saying” which has major implications concerning our present reign with Christ. “For if we died with him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful; he cannot deny himself” (II Timothy 2: 11-13). Have we died; are we living; do we suffer, and are we reigning – presently? What sayeth the scriptures? Did Paul address these situations?
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death…” (Romans 6:3-4a). Yes, we have died. Furthermore, Paul states that we are now living with Christ: “…Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4b). During this living with Christ, we “shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12b). Therefore, the reward of this death, suffering and life: “For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:17).
J. Marcellus Kik, in his excellent book, raised the following question:
“An individual Christian may ask himself this question: What more could the popular [futuristic] conception of the millennium give me than I already possess? I have a Savior who is my Prophet, Priest and King. God the Father is my covenant God. I have the forgiveness of sin. I have the promise of eternal life . . . I have the Holy Spirit as my Teacher, Sanctifier and Comforter. I have security against my greatest enemies: Death, Hell and the Devil. I am standing on Mt. Zion and am a citizen of the Holy City. I belong to the commonwealth of Israel and am not a stranger from the covenants of promise. What more does a Christian desire? More material prosperity? Is not the Lord wealth enough? Perhaps we desire less ‘tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?’ But are we not in all these things more than conquerors through Him who loves us?” J. Marcellus Kik, An Eschatology of Victory, p. 206.
“And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou was slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God, kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10).
There are two critical points to be addressed in these verses. First, the word “us” in verse 9 is correctly translated “them.” And in verse 10, “us” again is correctly interpreted as “them,” and “we” should be “they.” Why the reason for this adjustment? Simple, angelic beings have no need of redemption. Angelic beings will not reign upon this earth – we will. Let’s read this with the proper pronouns inserted: “For thou wast slain, and has redeemed them to God. . .and hast made them unto our God, king, and priests: and they shall reign . . .” Second, the proclamation, “they shall reign upon the earth,” means just what it says. It is our commission to reign, even now, in the midst of our enemies! Christ purchased Israel not only to redeem them from sin but to equip them to fulfill God’s original dominion mandate for His people – ruling upon this earth. And regardless of the destruction still caused by the Devil, we who are in “heavenly places in Christ” rejoice at the self-evident continual growth of the Kingdom of God. Remember:
The following verses should help you grasp the present reality of Christ’s reigning through Zion and His growing Kingdom. It does not instantaneously appear in total power. Remember Isaiah 9:7, “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end.” Furthermore, Daniel revealed that “there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him [some initially won’t]: His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His Kingdom that shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:14). Now, fundamental question: Has Christ been given this kingdom yet? YES HE HAS! Wash that Dispensationalism out of your minds with the “water of the word.” Luke 22:29 states, “I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed unto me.”
By Robert Caringola
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"TO SERVE THE PRESENT AGE,
MY CALLING TO FULFIL,
O MAY IT ALL MY POWERS ENGAGE,
TO DO MY MASTER'S WILL!"
MAYNARD G. JAMES