• Introduction:¬†It was¬†a month ago when our message covered one of the three offices our Lord Jesus holds, that being a priest.¬† As background, Lutheran confessions, which are based upon the scriptures, notes the three offices or roles of Jesus: Prophet, Priest, King.¬† A prophet brings the word of God to us.¬† A priest intercedes between God the Father and mankind.¬† A kingship is probably the most recognizable office, because we have had earthly kings all throughout the history of mankind.¬† Unfortunately, most earthly kings figured their realm was there to serve them instead of following Christ‚Äôs example of serving those to whom He came.
    • Today on Christ the King Sunday, we look into how Christ is our King.¬†In a way, this message is a celebration of the name of our church.¬† Christus Rex is Latin for Christ the King, so this last Sunday of the church year provides definition for what we are about at this church ‚Äď bringing glory to our Lord Jesus, who rules over heaven and earth!¬† In addition to looking into how Christ is our King, we will analyze what that means for us in 2021 and beyond.
  • Let Us Pray: Lord God, Heavenly Father, we are finite people and therefore cannot understand how You are a distinct person of the one true Triune God.¬†You sent Your Son Jesus to redeem us from eternal death, and You sent the Holy Spirit to work faith in our soul, so that we can grasp onto this salvation. ¬†Please send the Holy Spirit so that we grow in knowledge and understanding of the work that Your Son Jesus continues to do in our eternal life while we are still in this Age.¬† And, let us grow in appreciation and trust that nothing happens without it first being allowed or initiated by Your Son, to whom You have given the keys to Your kingdom.¬† We pray this, Father, through Your Son Christ, and through the power of the Holy Spirit.¬† Amen.
  • Background: Just a reminder, scriptural references are detailed in the outline printed upon the back of your bulletin to which I will refer.¬† You may want to have the outline handy to hopefully avoid confusion, because I will bounce between two major source texts used for this message on today.
    • The scriptures interpret the scriptures and so it should be no surprise when we find different writers of books of the bible describing a similar event, each from different perspectives.¬† For example, the synoptic Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke have a lot in common.¬† And yet, they each record the events they hold in common with slightly different wording and focus on different details.¬† That doesn‚Äôt make them inconsistent with one another.¬† That actually enriches the composite account of an event in Jesus‚Äô ministry.
    • We have a similar situation with the events of Dan ch#7 and Rev ch#5.¬† However, unlike the Gospel writers who recorded their inspired observations in dates ranging from 40-70AD, the same occurrence of Jesus‚Äô ascension back into heaven was witnessed by Daniel sometime in the 6th century BC whereas the Apostle John saw the same event sometime around 95AD.¬†
      • Both Daniel and John witnessed God the Father sitting upon a throne in heaven.¬†Both saw thousands upon thousands serving Him and myriads upon myriads standing before Him.¬† Jesus was present before the Father, with John providing greater detail than Daniel.¬† The Holy Spirit was also present, although it is rather oblique in Daniel‚Äôs account.¬† I suspect because John had firsthand experience with Jesus for 3yrs, and also the promised Holy Spirit on Pentecost, he understood more of the vision than Daniel, who only had experience with a pre-incarnate Jesus.¬† Daniel was clearer in his account of the event to express conference of the rule of the kingdom from the Father to the Son.¬†
    • All three persons of the Trinity who greeted us in Rev 1:4-5 are present in the same account of an event in heaven that both Daniel and John recorded.¬†Let‚Äôs spend a moment comparing how each person of the Trinity was presented.
      • The Father is referred to as the ‚ÄúAncient of Days‚ÄĚ by Daniel in Dan 7:9,13.¬† Whenever I read that term and the description of our Heavenly Father, my mind goes to images of ‚ÄúFather Time‚ÄĚ which used to come out around New Years Day each year: garments as white as snow with hair like pure wool.
        • God the Father is the same whom John referred to as the One ‚Äúwho is, who was, and who comes‚ÄĚ in Rev 1:4.¬† John used this wording to indicate the eternal existence of God the Father who never had a beginning, He always existed, and will come again to interact directly with His people at the start of the eternal Age of believers when we get into heaven.
        • As I mentioned a moment ago, both writers saw the Father seated upon His throne (Dan 7:9, Rev 5:1).¬† We deduce this, because in both accounts, Jesus is standing before the throne, and not sitting upon the throne.
      • Jesus is referred to by Daniel as ‚ÄúOne like a Son of Man‚ÄĚ in Dan 7:13.¬†In Rev 1:5, John overtly mentions Jesus‚Äô name, and then adds Jesus‚Äô heritage as ‚Äúthe firstborn of the dead‚ÄĚ.¬†To be a firstborn of the dead is a direct indication of having human attributes in addition to having divine attributes as being the one and only Son of God. ¬†Despite some religions claiming that Jesus was one of many sons of God, we have the scriptures claiming Jesus as *the* Son of God.¬† The Gospel accounts of Jesus‚Äô baptism by John the Baptist indicate all three persons of the Trinity were present.¬† The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove.¬†And God the Father said, ‚Äú‚Ķ‚ÄúYou are My beloved¬†Son; in You I¬†am¬†well¬†pleased.[1]‚ÄĚ ¬†
        • The descending of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus at His baptism was a fulfillment of Isa 11:1-2a - 1Then a shoot¬†will spring¬†from the stem¬†of Jesse, And a Branch¬†from his roots¬†will bear¬†fruit. 2aThe Spirit¬†of the LORD¬†will rest¬†on Him‚Ķ[2]¬† Continuing in Isa 11:2 from a different translation for clarity ‚Äď 2bThe Spirit¬†of wisdom¬†and understanding, the Spirit¬†of counsel¬†and strength, the Spirit¬†of knowledge¬†and godliness. 3aThe Spirit of the fear of God shall fill Him‚Ķ[3] The Holy Spirit has seven (7) attributes of His own which I just read from Isa 11:2b-3a.¬†
      • These seven (7) attributes are critical to understanding the references to the ‚Äúseven spirits‚ÄĚ mentioned in Revelation, because in our Second Reading from Rev 1:4, John references ‚Äú‚Ķthe seven spirits who are before ¬†[the Father‚Äôs] throne‚Ķ¬† That isn‚Äôt the only time in Revelation John used the term ‚Äúseven spirits‚ÄĚ.¬† John wrote about the seven spirits of God also in Rev 3:1, 4:5, and 5:6.¬† The context of the usage of Rev 3:1 aligns with the usage in Rev 1:4.¬† Usage in Rev 4:5 aligns with Daniel‚Äôs observation about the throne of the Ancient of Days being ‚Äú‚Ķablaze with flames‚Ķ‚ÄĚ in Dan 7:9.¬† And the usage of seven spirits in Rev 5:6 aligns well with the Isa 11 text I read a moment ago.¬† On this latter alignment of the scriptures interpreting other scriptures is that the Spirit rests upon Jesus as foretold in Isa 11:2a and later in Isa 61:1-3.¬†We know this because after Jesus persevered through the temptations of Satan after fasting 40 days just to make it fair, He visited His hometown of Nazareth. ¬†He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read.¬† 17¬†And the scroll of Isaiah the prophet was handed to Him. And He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:¬†18¬†‚ÄúThe Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, 19¬†To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.[4]‚ÄĚ ¬†Jesus had read from Isa 61:1-3.¬† He then sat down and said to everyone, ‚ÄúToday this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.[5]‚Ä̬† The amazing things about Jesus proclaiming He was the fulfillment of Isaiah 61 are that He confirmed the Holy Spirit was upon Him since His baptism, and that the people rejected this gospel message so strongly that they literally ran Jesus out of His hometown.¬†
  • Analysis: To reiterate, we have the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in these two different accounts of the same vision, one by the OT prophet Daniel, and the other by the Apostle John.¬† We have this difficult to understand writing from John about ‚Äúseven spirits‚ÄĚ, but we have scriptural confirmation from Isaiah that John indeed saw what he saw and accurately recorded what he saw of heaven.¬† With all these readings from different writers of books of the Bible, we can confidently conclude that God the Father gave all power and authority to the Son.¬† We first encountered the conference of authority in Dan 7:13-14 which I repeat here - 13¬†‚ÄúI kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a son of man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14¬†And to Him was given¬†dominion, Honor, and¬†a kingdom, So that all the peoples, nations, and¬†populations of all languages Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.[6] ¬†This is the authority Jesus meant when He said to His disciples as quoted in Mat 28:18 - 18¬†‚Ķ¬†‚ÄúAll authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.
    • God the Father is pleased with the work His one and only Son completed on behalf of sinful mankind, because no one besides Jesus was found worthy to remit sins.¬† Without the remission of sins, it would be impossible for anyone ever conceived to enter into heaven.¬† The entire Triune Godhead wants all to be saved, so it was unacceptable for God‚Äôs most prized creation, mankind, to never get the chance to spend eternity with Him.¬†This is why the chorus of millions of souls in heaven sang - ‚Ķ‚ÄúWorthy is the¬†Lamb that was¬†slaughtered to receive power, wealth, wisdom, might, honor, glory, and blessing.[7]‚Ä̬†
      • Jesus was proven faithful to lead the armies of heaven and have all of the Father‚Äôs authority, because of His faithfulness in sacrificing Himself for us.¬† The writer to the Hebrews was the source for our confession in the ecumenical creeds that we believe Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father.¬† To be at the right hand of someone is to be a trustworthy individual; a ‚Äúright hand man‚ÄĚ if you will.¬† We read from Heb 10:12 - but [Jesus], having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD[8],
      • We can conclude that Jesus is ruling already at this moment in our time.¬†I say ‚Äúour time‚ÄĚ, because there is no time in heaven.¬† When Jesus ascended back into heaven after making purification from sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Father and has been ruling ever since then (Heb 1:3).¬†You might wonder then how is it Daniel saw God the Father award all authority to Jesus some 5-600yrs prior to Jesus being born?¬† I again refer to the fact that God lives outside of the time dimension and therefore can have dominion or control over time.¬† Daniel saw what he saw, and accurately recorded for all believers what God wanted us to see in order to encourage us in the faith.¬†
  • Implications: The encouragement Daniel and the Apostle John provided in their separate accounts of the same event in heaven is that no matter what is happening in ‚Äúour time‚ÄĚ, Jesus is ruling.¬† Jesus is protecting those who are faithful to Him.¬† He promised in the message to one of the seven churches - 10¬†Because you have¬†kept¬†My word of perseverance,¬†I also will keep you from the hour of the testing, that¬†hour¬†which is about to come upon the whole world, to test¬†those who live on the earth[9]. ¬†Some people want to believe Jesus meant that He would rapture them out of this Age before things really get bad.¬† However, there is no scriptural history of God ever doing that for His people.¬†There is scriptural history for sparing His people from, for instance, the majority of the plagues leveled against Egypt.¬† I‚Äôm sure the Israelites of the time of the Exodus were tempted to cross over to the Egyptian side and not want to leave Egypt, but that didn‚Äôt change God‚Äôs commitment to His people to save them from slavery.
    • With Jesus ruling at this very moment, the Holy Spirit is integral to that work.¬† The Holy Spirit works in us faith in order to believe and trust in the promises of the Lord.¬†Additionally, the Holy Spirit is sent out into all of the earth (Rev 5:6).¬† You might be tempted to look at the Holy Spirit as an enforcer of Jesus‚Äô rule, but the word of God has power and authority.¬† Without faith, that word goes into one ear and out the other on a person determined to deny the testimony of the Holy Spirit.¬† Remember, a sin against the Holy Spirit, that is denial of His testimony in your soul, is the *only* unpardonable sin.
    • The Father has made it clear He will not tolerate the sin of this Age forever.¬† There will come a time when the Father says, ‚Äúenough!‚ÄĚ (Heb 10:13-14)
      • He will send Jesus out on the clouds to reappear for the second and final time in this Age.¬† We know this by faith and trust in the words of Dan 7:13 and Rev 1:7, both of which are in your bulletin to read and re-read any time you have doubts about whether Jesus is in control of things.
    • We will one day be gathered up and be a part of the thousands of thousands and myriads of myriads gathered around the throne that both Daniel and John saw (Dan 7:10, Rev 5:11). Those not confessing Jesus as Lord will be missing from that crowd.¬† Belief in Jesus is righteousness, and we have belief because of the work of the Holy Spirit.¬†Therefore, if we confess we believe Jesus is Lord and that He rose from the dead, we will be saved from eternal punishment (Rom 10:9-10).
      • The alternative to that confession of faith is denying Jesus and the witness of the Holy Spirit that Jesus is Lord.¬† There are books of death and one book of life.¬† You might have missed the subtlety of Dan 7:10 I repeat here - The¬†court¬†convened, And¬†the books were opened[10].¬† There‚Äôs only one book in which you want your name written ‚Äď the Book of Life as mentioned by the Apostle John in Rev 20:12 - 12¬†And I saw the dead, the¬†great and the small, standing before the throne, and¬†books were opened; and another book was opened, which is¬†the book¬†of life; and the dead¬†were judged from the things which were written in the books,¬†according to their deeds[11].¬† Both Daniel and John were also allowed to see Judgement Day.¬†They saw books, but John reported the implication of those books -¬†15¬†And if¬†anyone‚Äôs name was not found written in¬†the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire[12].
    • The Apostle Paul prayed on behalf of the Ephesians, and it is a prayer also for us.¬†He prayed - 17¬†that the¬†God of our Lord Jesus Christ,¬†the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of¬†wisdom and of¬†revelation in the knowledge of Him.¬†18¬†I pray that¬†the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the¬†hope of His¬†calling, what are¬†the riches of the glory of¬†His inheritance in¬†the saints,¬†19¬†and what is the boundless greatness of His power toward us who believe.¬†These are¬†in accordance with the working of the¬†strength of His might¬†20¬†which He brought about in Christ, when He¬†raised Him from the dead and¬†seated Him at His right hand in¬†the heavenly¬†places,¬†21¬†far above¬†all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every¬†name that is named, not only in¬†this age but also in the one to come.¬†22¬†And He¬†put all things in subjection under His feet, and made Him¬†head over all things to the church,¬†23¬†which is His¬†body, the¬†fullness of Him who¬†fills¬†all in all[13].
      • Just remember, when you see all the evil that is taking place in ‚Äúour time‚ÄĚ, Jesus is ruler over all, even kings (Rev 1:5)!¬† Amen!

[1] Mark 1:11b from NASB20 at https://www.blueletterbible.org/nasb20/mar/1/1/s_958001

[2] Isa 11:1-2a from NASB20 at https://www.blueletterbible.org/nasb20/isa/11/1/p1/s_690001

[3] Isa 11:2b-3a from The Orthodox Study Bible, Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, 2008, p.1067

[4] Luke 4:17-19 from NASB20 at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+4&version=NASB

[5] Luke 4:21, ibid

[6] Dan 7:13-14 from NASB20 at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=dan+7&version=NASB

[7] Rev 5:12 from NASB20 at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rev+5&version=NASB

[8] Heb 10:12 from https://www.blueletterbible.org/nasb20/heb/10/1/s_1143001

[9] Rev 3:10 from NASB20 at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rev+3&version=NASB

[10] Last sentence of Dan 7:10 from NASB20 at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=dan+7&version=NASB

[11] Rev 20:12 from NASB20 at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=rev+20&version=NASB

[12] Rev 20:15, ibid

[13] Eph 1:17-23 from NASB20 at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=eph+1&version=NASB