The Kingdom of Christ Pt. 2: A Theological Overview

by Aaron Dunlop

imagesIn a previous blog I presented an overview of the biblical data on the Kingdom of Christ. Let’s consider now the theological significance of this kingdom. Christ’s authority to rule in the kingdom is given to him by the Father because He is victorious in the conflict: “His [Jehovah’s] right hand and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory” (Psalm 98:1). Hebrews 7:25 states that Christ is “able to save … to the uttermost” where the word “able” is dunamai from which we get the English word dynamite. As God, Christ is omnipotent. His power cannot be added to. He cannot be exalted beyond Himself or rewarded for any achievement. He is the Almighty God. Matthew 28:18, however, is not speaking about the omnipotence of Christ’s divinity but of the authority of His humanity. The word power in Matthew 28:18 is a different word. It is the word exousia, which speaks of the power of authority rather than that of ability. In other words, the power given to Christ in Matthew 28:18 is the right to exercise his ability as mediator.

All authority is given to Christ by divine election. The Lord said, “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth” (Isaiah 42:1). It is an authority given to Christ by divine anointing.  Christ said, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach …; to bind up …, to proclaim liberty” (Isaiah 61:1). He was given authority to rule because He was given ability to redeem by the attendant Spirit of God. With the power of the Spirit of God, our Redeemer then is given authority by divine reward. The prophet said it was contingent on victory in the atoning work of Calvary: “When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed” (Isaiah 53:10, emphasis added). Paul shows us that this reward was not given to Christ in “the form of God” (Philippians 2:6) but because He humbled Himself and took upon Himself the “form of a servant” (verse 7). Finally, this authority is given to Christ by divine pleasure. “He received from God the Father honour and glory,” and He said of this Son and our Saviour, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (2 Peter 1:17).

This article first appeared in the LTBS Quarterly, December 2013, under the title; Jesus: A Mediator With Authority. 

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