Many of us know Christ as the Savior and Redeemer. But Christ not only died for our redemption, he also rose from death. Scripture tells us that He is the “firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:18). Probably many of us are not yet so familiar with the experience of the risen Christ. In past years, when we spoke about the risen Lord, the emphasis was more on Christ as the last Adam who became the Spirit who gives life (cf. 1 Cor. 15:45).
The Holy Spirit dwells within us, but how many of us really experience the life-giving Spirit in our daily lives? Knowing is one thing, but experiencing it is something else. Paul’s desire was to know the effective power of his resurrection. We all know that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, but does the power of His resurrection work in us? Paul even said in Romans 8:11: “But if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Do we learn what Paul writes in Ephesians 2:6: “… raised together”?
But the most important and wonderful thing that the Lord has accomplished is His ascension to the throne. I suspect that we may have had the least experience with the ascended Christ who now sits on the throne. I would like to remind us again of Ephesians 2. Paul said that we were made alive together with Christ (v. 5) and raised together with Him (v. 6). Not only that, but we are even set down with him in the heavens (v. 6b). How many times have we had the experience of being seated with Him in the heavens? When you woke up this morning, did you have the feeling: Lord, I am seated with you in the heavens? Probably not. This is because we know the doctrine, but we lack the reality of the Word.
The realm is of utmost importance to God. That is why the Lord taught us to pray: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be hallowed, your kingdom come, …” (Mt. 6:9-10a). Is not the first gospel in the New Testament the gospel of the kingdom and the introduction of its King, Christ, the Son of David? In fact, the first mention of the church also has to do with the kingdom. Christ said, “I will build my church,” and immediately after, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 16:18-19). An empire always needs a king. Or can we imagine a nation without a president? That would be impossible: what kind of nation would that be? The Lord has ascended on high and is seated today on the throne at the right hand of the majesty of God. He is our King! But I don’t know if we already have a relationship with Him as our King, since you and I do not yet have the vision of His kingdom on this earth.
We want to be Mount Zion today, the heavenly Jerusalem. In fact, the word “church” is not a name. It denotes a gathering of people who have been called out and are gathering together. But this is not the essence of the church, nor its name. Rather, Zion is a name, just like the heavenly Jerusalem. Zion is the city of the great King. We must come to Zion, to the city of the living God, according to Hebrews 12. It is a heavenly realm, not an earthly realm. So if we say that we are Zion, then this wonderful King must be in our midst. He must be the highest, the most honored. Do we see Him crowned with glory and honor (cf. Heb. 2:7)? So says the Word, but do we also see Him sitting on the throne in our daily lives, crowned with glory and honor? When this happened 2000 years ago, none of us were there. But the angels were present (cf. Rev. 4-5), fell down before Him, laid their crowns before Him and worshiped Him as the King. The only one worthy to sit on the throne is the ascended Christ.
In Revelation 4, we see that God has always been sitting on the throne. But what is God waiting for even before the foundation of the world? He was waiting for someone worthy and qualified to sit on the throne with him. To see and appreciate this we must know the heart of God. That is His plan and purpose in this universe. In Revelation 5, John saw the one holding the scroll with the seven seals in his right hand. But there was a problem there: “…no one in heaven, nor on earth, nor under the earth, could open the scroll or see into it. And I wept greatly, because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it” (Rev. 5:3-4). Why was John crying? He cried because deep in his heart he knew God’s plan for the whole universe.
God wants to establish His kingdom, but Satan, His enemy who cannot be defeated by any human being, wants to thwart this. God, of course, could eliminate Satan at any time. But we must realize that God has chosen man to defeat the enemy and reclaim the earth. Man is to bring God’s kingdom to this earth and rule here together with Him. Remember, even before the foundation of the world, God chose people to do this. However, Adam and Eve were deceived by the serpent. Even among Christians today, there are so many problems because they are deceived by Satan. The whole world is in the hands of evil. We know this and yet we think everything is fine. Unfortunately, we have no compassion for God and His desire to bring His kingdom to this earth. Moreover, we do not recognize the great problem: the power of darkness, Satan, the father of lies, the murderer, the deceiver of the whole world. He wants to destroy mankind, if possible even the whole earth.
The Kingdom of God is an important theme in the Bible. That is why we find in the Gospel of Matthew the call to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mt. 3:2; 4:17). This means that the central task of the Lord Jesus was not to die for our sins, but to bring the Kingdom of God to earth. It is good and wonderful if every person would be saved. Take, for example, the congregation you are gathering with. Maybe there are 40 or 400 saved people there, but can they represent the kingdom? Many of us come from different communities. What did we do there? We had many disagreements, argued with each other and were divided. Is this a place where Christ reigns as King? Can we represent the Kingdom of God on earth in this way and defeat Satan when we meet to pray and still get into arguments? Certainly not. Therefore, we must turn to God, repent, and ask Him to reveal His plan to us.