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The Heavenly Enthronement of Jesus Christ

 

After the Ascension, some time in the ten days before Pentecost, Jesus was enthroned in Heaven on the throne of David, at the right hand of the Father. Ancient courts often had a number of thrones and co-regents alongside with the main ruler. So the enthronement did not mean that Jesus replaced God on the throne but rather that He co-reigns with Him in Heaven in the most significant position "at the right hand of the Majesty on high". Later in this article we will find that faithful believers also get thrones and co-reign with Christ!

This was instituted by means two mysterious pronouncements of the Father found in Psalm 110:
A. "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." which institutes Him as King over the nations and over the earth and the course of human history.
B. " The LORD has sworn And will not relent, "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek." which institutes Him as an eternal High Priest with authority over the heavenly realities and the salvation and redemption of all creation.

This enthronement was a reward for His obedience, suffering and death on the cross and resulted in Him being given "the name that is above every other name" (Philippians 2:5-11) and becoming King of Kings and Lord of Lords, with all authority in Heaven and on earth being given to Him. (Matthew 28:18, 1 Timothy 6:15). It also results in His kingship over the nations (Matthew 25:31-33) and His high priestly ministry for believers (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 8:1)which is discussed more fully in other article s on the Ascension and on the High Priestly Ministry of Christ.

There are many passages referring to the throne of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures and we will try to deal with most of them (excluding parallel passages) in this article.

The Angel Gabriel announces to Mary that Jesus would occupy the throne of David:
(Luke 1:32-33 NKJV) "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. {33} "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."

When did this enthronement take place?

Mark and Hebrews put it very simply - after the cross and resurrection, before Pentecost and the present time of writing:
(Mark 16:19 NKJV) So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

(Hebrews 10:12-14 NKJV) But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, {13} from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. {14} For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Peter preaches on this theme of resurrection, ascension and enthronement as having already happened during his sermon during the day of Pentecost using Psalm 110 as his text:
(Acts 2:30-36 NKJV) "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, {31} "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. {32} "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. {33} "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. {34} "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, {35} Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."' {36} "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."

And three chapters later Peter hammers home the exaltation and enthronement of Jesus to the very people who had Him humiliated and killed:
(Acts 5:29-32 NKJV) But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. {30} "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. {31} "Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. {32} "And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."

Stephen seems to have got a glimpse of Jesus in His new role:
(Acts 7:55-56 NKJV) But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, {56} and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!"
This is a slightly unusual reference as Jesus is seen as "standing" not sitting and some commentators say He was standing to receive the first martyr of the Church.

Hebrews sees the enthronement as a reward for the cross.
(Hebrews 12:2 NKJV) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Paul expands on the enthronement as a reward for suffering in Philippians 2:
(Philippians 2:8-11 NKJV) And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. {9} Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, {10} that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, {11} and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Paul sees the enthronement as a demonstration of the mighty resurrection power of God and the authority of Jesus Christ:
(Ephesians 1:19-23 NKJV) and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power {20} which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, {21} far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. {22} And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, {23} which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Paul also sees the throne as Christ's present position in the heavenly realms:
(Colossians 3:1 NKJV) If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

For believers the exalted position of their Savior means the assurance of grace:
(Romans 8:34 NKJV) Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

(Hebrews 4:14-16 NKJV) Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. {15} For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. {16} Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

(Hebrews 8:1-2 NKJV) Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, {2} a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.

All other thrones are subsidiary to this Throne of Christ, Jesus is the King of Kings:
(1 Peter 3:21-22 NKJV) ... through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, {22} who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

(Colossians 1:16 NKJV) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.

(1 Timothy 6:13-16 NKJV) I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, {14} that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, {15} which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, {16} who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.

(Revelation 17:14 NKJV) "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."

(Revelation 19:11-16 NKJV) Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. {12} His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. {13} He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. {14} And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. {15} Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. {16} And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

The post-resurrection authority of Jesus is also the basis of the mandate of the Church:
(Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV) And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. {19} "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

And the author to the Hebrews uses the enthronement of Jesus, and His consequent authority, as one of the reasons why He is superior to the angels:

(Hebrews 1 NKJV) God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, {2} has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; {3} who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, {4} having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

{5} For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him a Father, And He shall be to Me a Son"? {6} But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him." {7} And of the angels He says: "Who makes His angels spirits And His ministers a flame of fire." {8} But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. {9} You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions."

{10} And: "You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. {11} They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; {12} Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail."

{13} But to which of the angels has He ever said: "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"? {14} Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

Many of these passages quote Psalm 110 which prophesies of the Messiah being enthroned as both King and a priest "according to the order of Melchizedek". It is one of the most quoted Psalms in the NT:
(Psalms 110 NKJV) The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." {2} The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! {3} Your people shall be volunteers In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth. {4} The LORD has sworn And will not relent, "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek." {5} The Lord is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath. {6} He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries. {7} He shall drink of the brook by the wayside; Therefore He shall lift up the head.

Jesus uses this Psalm to confound the Pharisees:
(Matthew 22:41-46 NKJV) While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, {42} saying, "What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?" They said to Him, "The Son of David." {43} He said to them, "How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying: {44} 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool"'? {45} "If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his Son?" {46} And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.

The most puzzling and difficult passage is in 1 Corinthians where Paul is discussing the resurrection of the dead and the course of history:
(1 Corinthians 15:23-28 NKJV) But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. {24} Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. {25} For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. {26} The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. {27} For "He has put all things under His feet." But when He says "all things are put under Him," it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. {28} Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

How does Jesus as King put an "end to all rule, authority and power"? The Scriptures give us a few hints of the Kingdom of God shattering the kingdoms of this world as a giant rock or an iron bar:
(Daniel 2:34-35, 44 NKJV) "You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. {35} "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.... "And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

(Revelation 11:15 NKJV) Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"

(Revelation 12:5 NKJV) She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.

(Revelation 19:15 NKJV) Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

This judgment of the nations will occur at the Second Coming:
(Matthew 26:64-66 NKJV) Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."

(Matthew 25:31-33 NKJV) "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. {32} "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. {33} "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

Those who faithfully follow Jesus will reign with Him in the new Kingdom that follows the destruction of the "kingdoms of this world" and replaces them.

(Matthew 19:28-30 NKJV) So Jesus said to them, "Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. {29} "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. {30} "But many who are first will be last, and the last first

(2 Timothy 2:12 NKJV) If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.

(Revelation 2:26-28 NKJV) "And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations; {27} 'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels'; as I also have received from My Father; {28} "and I will give him the morning star.

(Revelation 3:21 NKJV) "To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

(Revelation 20:4 NKJV) And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

His disciples James and John understood that Jesus wold occupy the throne of David and so their mother asked:
(Matthew 20:21 NKJV) And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom."

Jesus corrects this love of self-exaltation while retaining the promise of a kingdom for believers - who, like He did, suffer for God as sacrificial servant-leaders:
(Matthew 20:22-28 NKJV) But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able." {23} So He said to them, "You will indeed drink My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father." {24} And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. {25} But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. {26} "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. {27} "And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave; {28} "just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

(Luke 22:25-30 NKJV) And He said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called 'benefactors.' {26} "But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. {27} "For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves. {28} "But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. {29} "And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, {30} "that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."

Finally believers will reign with Christ forever

(Revelation 5:9-10 NKJV) And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, {10} And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."

(Revelation 22:5 NKJV) There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

Final Comments

The path to the throne lay through service and the cross for Jesus - and for all His disciples down the ages!


Because Jesus has been enthroned we know that God is just and rewards those who suffer patiently for Him. The Jesus we now pray to is a King - the King of Kings, the Lamb upon the throne. His days of humiliation are over. He has been exalted and pours out the Holy Spirit from on high.

Because Jesus has been enthroned we can know that He is in the process of establishing His kingdom and destroying all resistance to His will. Jesus is in the process of subduing His enemies either through repentance and the gospel or by final force at His coming. Jesus will either convert the nations or judge the nations. Finally Jesus will be the only authority, the final authority in human history.

Because Jesus has been enthroned we can know that we have a faithful High Priest , a king priest of the order of Melchizedek. We can find grace and help in time of need and come to a throne where Christ Himself intercedes for us and justifies us.

Lets worship Him in spirit and in truth!