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Jesus Will Reign and Rule


For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may be repaid for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2 Corinthians 5:10, CSB)


The second coming of Jesus Christ will be a personal, visible, and physical return. This Jesus is the  same one who was born in a manger, lived a holy life, suffered death on the cross, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. His return will have consequences. In short, He will return to reign as the eternal King of kings and Lord of lords. He will rule as the only sovereign potentate, for He is God in the flesh, the second member of the triune God forever incarnated in human form. This teaching is the second half of the sixth essential element of the Gospel of the Kingdom.  

For Jesus the Messiah to reign and rule, there are several things that will need to take place. Scripture and biblical eschatology has much, much more to say about this than I have space to deal with here. What I’m going to do is paint in broad strokes seven events that will occur after the second coming of the Messiah.  All of these events are brought about by Jesus. 


First, there will be a final judgment and Jesus the Messiah will be the judge. 


Jesus will judge us because all judgment has been given to him by God the Father. 


“Truly I tell you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he has granted to the Son to have life in himself. And he has granted him the right to pass judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” (John 5:25–27, CSB)


As Jesus has the ability to raise the dead with the sound of his voice, He also has the right to judge. Jesus goes on to explain that he has this right to judge all men because he is the “Son of Man”. This “Son of Man” is a title making reference to the Christ or Messiah. This title is used in 1 Enoch and 4 Ezra, both of these are second temple literature in which a Jew, in the day of Jesus, would be very familiar as referencing the coming Messiah to judge the world and set up the Kingdom of God on earth. Daniel uses the term “son of man” as the one given an everlasting dominion and a kingdom that all people would serve him. 

I continued watching in the night visions, and suddenly one like a son of man was coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him. He was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13–14, CSB)


The apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and used the impending event of having to stand before Jesus as supreme judge to both warn and encourage him in his ministry. 


I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of his appearing and his kingdom: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:1–2, CSB)


This is a warning. We will be held responsible for what we did with what we were given. This is also an encouragement. If we are faithful we will be rewarded. In short, there will be a reckoning of our lives and Jesus will be the one to do it. 


Second, people who did not trust Jesus as Messiah will be judged according to their deeds. 


The apostle Peter, in writing to believers warned them to live as obedient children under the Lord as Father, then he goes on to state: “If you appeal to the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in reverence during your time living as strangers.” (1 Peter 1:17, CSB)


Then we find at the great white throne judgment, those who did not believe in, nor trust in Jesus were judged according to their deeds they did while alive on earth.


 “And just as it is appointed for people to die once—and after this, judgment—” (Hebrews 9:27, CSB)

I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books. Then the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them; each one was judged according to their works.” (Revelation 20:12–13, CSB)


Third, people who trusted Jesus as Messiah will be rewarded for deeds they did in His name. 


These people will not be judged for unrighteousness as the others because they accepted the relied upon the substitutionary atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. Jesus paid their sin debt. Their home is with Jesus and they are given a reward for their labors done out of a loving motivation for the name and fame of Jesus.


Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24, CSB)


As far as rewards, here are a few biblical references on believer’s rewards. 


And whoever gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you belong to Christ—truly I tell you, he will never lose his reward.” (Mark 9:41, CSB)


But love your enemies, do what is good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High. For he is gracious to the ungrateful and evil.” (Luke 6:35, CSB)


Watch yourselves so that you don’t lose what we have worked for, but that you may receive a full reward.” (2 John 8, CSB)

In Jesus’ parable of the talents, he let his followers know that if they were faithful to Jesus in what they had in this life, then He would reward them with greater things in the next. 


“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’” (Matthew 25:21, CSB)


Actually, all of Matthew 25 is about faithful living in reflection of having to answer to Jesus for our lives. 


Fourth, the rebellious angels will be judged according to their deeds. 


This will include Satan, other fallen angels, and demons. They are not redeemable. Their nature is fixed. Their judgment awaits. 


And the angels who did not keep their own position but abandoned their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deep darkness for the judgment on the great day.” (Jude 6, CSB)

Jesus dies for people, not angels. “For it is clear that he does not reach out to help angels, but to help Abraham’s offspring.” (Hebrews 2:16, CSB). This may sound harsh, but the angels who rebelled against God and followed Satan did so with full knowledge. The cross of Jesus is not meant for their salvation, but for their condemnation. They are and still are, and forever will be in full rebellion against God. 


The apostle Paul wrote describing what the cross of Jesus Christ meant to these spiritual forces of darkness. “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him.” (Colossians 2:15, CSB)


Fifth, all whose names are not found in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire.


They will be sent to their final place for all eternity, which is the lake of fire. This includes Satan, the beast, the false prophet, and any person whose name is not found in the book of life. 


But the beast was taken prisoner, and along with it the false prophet, who had performed the signs in its presence. He deceived those who accepted the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image with these signs. Both of them were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.” (Revelation 19:20, CSB)


The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” (Revelation 20:10, CSB)

Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:14–15, CSB)


Those who didn’t choose Christ will have to answer for their own sins before a holy and righteous God. The judgment will be fair, accurate, and exact. Every detail and motivation of their lives will be considered by an all-knowing, all-present and all-powerful God. God has a record of it all.


There are none too great to be exempt or too small to be overlooked. It doesn’t matter where or how they died. It doesn’t matter where they were buried. All of these will stand before God and answer for the life they lived and the choices they made. 


However, those whose names are in the book of life have chosen to receive God’s grace. The judgment, which they deserved for their sin, was paid by Jesus the Messiah through His substitutionary death on the cross. Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, God’s justice was satisfied and forgiveness of sin was granted. Even more, through the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah, those who believe in Him are given new life. Their names will never be erased out of the Book of Life!


Sixth, Jesus will renovate creation into a new heavens and a new earth. 


Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away. Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.”” (Revelation 21:1–5, CSB)

God moves His throne to be with His transformed people; His human family. What was done in part and in symbol with the tabernacle in the wilderness and the temple in Jerusalem, and our bodies as a temple of the Holy Spirit becomes a full-on explosion of reality. At present all of creation is waiting on Jesus to come and rescue us from this decaying existence. 


For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of him who subjected it—in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:19–23, CSB)


I’ve included huge chunks of Scripture in this number six, but nothing describes it better than Scripture itself. Once this renovation of creation and the complete redemption of believers bodies and their freedom from sinful decay is accomplished, it now paves the way for the final state of all things. At long last, the reality of the complete and sovereign rule of Jesus the Messiah over things. 


Seventh, all kingdoms will come under the eternal reign and sovereign rule of king Jesus forever. 


The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying, The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15, CSB) 


I cannot read these words without thinking of George Handel’s Hallelujah chorus from “Messiah.” 


According to popular musical history, Handel composed “Messiah” during a very difficult period in his life. He was deeply in debt and several of his previous compositions received poor reviews.


Handel locked himself in his room and began writing the score. He finished it in a remarkable 24 days. While composing, he went without food or sleep for days at a time. 


After completing the Hallelujah Chorus, the personal comment by Handel was: “I did think I saw heaven open, and saw the very face of God.” 

However, what I reflect on the most is the tradition of audiences standing during the beginning of the “Hallelujah Chorus”. While I do not have actual evidence for this, it is said that it started at the very first performance of "Messiah". King George II was present and when the chorus began, it is said that he was enthralled by the music and these words:

 

“For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth, Hallelujah! The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He shall reign for ever and ever. King of kings and Lord of lords. Forever, Hallelujah! ” 


King George II was so overwhelmed that he stood in honor of Christ. When the king stands, everyone stands. And so they did. And so they have ever since. 


One day, and I pray it is soon. The King of kings and Lord of lords will stand. All of creation will come to attention. All will be made new. 

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