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Jesus Christ – The Sovereign Lord In and From Heaven

According to the God-breathed Scriptures, the risen Lord told his followers that he possesses absolute sovereignty over the entire creation:

“Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘ALL authority has been given to Me IN HEAVEN and on earth.’” Matthew 28:18

The phrase “in heaven and on earth” is an expression used to denote the whole of creation, to every created thing in existence. Therefore, the Lord Jesus was basically stating that every created thing, which exists, is under his sovereign power and influence.

Suffice it to say, this is an astonishing claim for the obvious reason that the Scriptures attest that the entire creation belongs to Jehovah God:

“Indeed, heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it.” Deuteronomy 10:14

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and the earth is YoursYours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head above all.” 1 Chronicles 29:11

“Indeed, heaven and the highest heavens belong to the Lord your God, also the earth with all that is in it.” Psalm 89:11

And even though God has given humans, specifically his anointed earthly kings, authority over the earth and everything contained therein,

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ Then God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is on the face of all the earth and every tree which has fruit yielding seed. It shall be food for you. To every beast of the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that creeps on the earth which has the breath of life in it, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Genesis 1:26-31

“I will declare the decree of the LORD: He said to me, ‘You are My son; this day have I begotten you. Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession. You will break them with a scepter of iron; you will dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ Now then, you kings, be wise; be admonished, you judges of the earth.” Psalm 2:7-10

“Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s son… May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. May those who dwell in the wilderness bow before him, and his enemies lick the dust. May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba offer a gift. May all kings bow down before him; may all nations serve him.” Psalm 72:1, 8-11

“Long ago You spoke in a vision to Your godly one and said: ‘I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people. I have found David, My servant; with My holy oil I have anointed him: By whom My hand shall be established; My arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not take tribute from him, nor the wicked humiliate him. I will beat down his foes before him and strike down those who hate him. My faithfulness and My mercy shall be with him, and in My name his horn shall be exalted. I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. He shall cry unto Me, “You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.” Also I will make him my firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth. In My mercy I will keep him forever, and My covenant shall stand firm with him. His offspring also I will establish forever and his throne as the days of heaven.’” Psalm 89:19-28

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! And cry aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king is coming to you; he is righteous and able to deliver, he is humble and riding on a donkey, a colt, the offspring of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem; and the bow for battle will be cut off. He will speak peace to the nations; and his dominion will be from one sea to another, and from the Great River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:9-10

God has reserved the sovereignty of the heavens for himself:

“Who is like the LORD our God, who dwells on high, who looks down on the things that are in heaven and on the earth?” Psalm 113:5-6

The heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth He has given to the children of men.” Psalm 115:16

He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord ridicules them.” Psalm 2:4

“The Lord is in His holy temple, His throne is in heaven; His eyes see, His eyes examine mankind.” Psalm 11:4

This is why the Hebrew Bible depicts Jehovah as the only One enthroned in heaven, with the heavenly host being subservient to Jehovah, standing in his presence ready to perform his will:

“And he said, ‘Hear, therefore, the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside Him on His right hand and on His left. The Lord said, “Who will persuade Ahab so that he will go up and die at Ramoth Gilead?” And one said this, and another said that. Then a spirit came forth and stood before the Lord and said, “I will persuade him.” The Lord said to him, “How?” And he said, ‘I will go and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.” And He said, “You will be successful and persuade him. Go forth, and do so.” Now therefore, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouths of all your prophets here, and He has spoken evil concerning you!’” 1 Kings 22:19-23

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, who are mighty, and do His commands, and obey the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts; you servants who do His pleasure.” Psalm 103:19-21

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it STOOD the seraphim. Each one had six wings. With two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. One cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory.’ The posts of the door moved at the voice of him who cried, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: ‘Woe is me! For I am undone because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.’” Isaiah 6:1-5

“I watched until the thrones were cast down and the Ancient of Days was seated, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head like the pure wool. His throne was like the fiery flame, and its wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came out from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; and ten thousand times ten thousand STOOD before Him. The judgment was set, and the books were opened.” Daniel 7:9-10

And yet Jesus is depicted as ruling over all creation from above the highest heavens, from God’s very own heavenly throne!

“But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”” Mark 14:61-62

“After the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God. Then they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” Mark 16:19-20

“and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He performed in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and SEATED HIM at His own right hand IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES, FAR ABOVE ALL principalities, 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. And He put all things in subjection under His feet and made Him the head over all things for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all things in all ways.” Ephesians 1:19-23

“Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who was in every sense tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us then come with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

“And the former priests were numerous because they were hindered from serving because of death. But He, because He lives forever, has an everlasting priesthood. Therefore He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, because He at all times lives to make intercession for them. For such a High Priest was fitting for us, for He is holy, innocent, undefiled, separate from sinners, AND IS HIGHER THAN THE HEAVENS.” Hebrews 7:23-26

“Now this is the main point of the things that 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, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tabernacle, which the Lord, not man, set up.” Hebrews 8:1-2

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time He has been waiting for His enemies to be made His footstool.” Hebrews 10:12-13

“Let us look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Therefore, for Christ to possess absolute sovereignty even over/in heaven itself, and for him to rule all creation from God’s heavenly throne, he must be God in the flesh and essentially one with the Father, a fact brought out from the immediate context of Matthew 28:18:

“As they went to tell His disciples, suddenly Jesus met them, saying, ‘Greetings!’ They came and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go tell My brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.’… Then the eleven disciples went away to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw Him, they worshipped Him. But some doubted. ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the NAME of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” Matthew 28:9-10, 16-17, 19-20

The risen Lord is worshiped in the context of his claiming to share the one name belonging to both the Father and the Holy Spirit, and in his promising to be personally (not physically) present with all of his followers till the end of this age.

Since this Gospel has already told us that only God is to be worshiped,

“Then Jesus said to him, ‘Get away from here, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.”’” Matthew 4:10

And since God alone is capable of being personally present with all believers, no matter how numerous they are and no matter where they happen to be, it is quite clear that Jesus is no mere human being. Rather, the risen Lord is explicitly claiming to be God Almighty in the flesh. As the following NT scholars point out:

“Jewish literature only called God omnipresent; Jesus’ claim that he would always be with them, coupled with his being named alongside the Father in baptism (Jewish people did not baptize in the names of people), constitutes a proclamation of his deity.” (Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament [IVP Academic, Downers Grove, Il 1993], p. 131; bold emphasis ours)

And:

“… Usually others approach Jesus. But because the disciples are kneeling on the ground in worship, he approaches them. His claim to have been given all authority in heaven as well as on earth contrasts with the Devil’s having offered to give him ‘all the kingdoms of the world and their glory’ if only he’d fall down and worship the Devil (4:8-9 [compare Daniel 7:14]). ‘Therefore’ makes this claim of universal authority the basis for the Great Commission. The passages 7:29; 9:8; 11:27; 21:23 show that Jesus has had this authority all along. But the present passage confirms that authority and lifts geographical restrictions on his exercise of it. ‘All nations’ corresponds to ‘all authority.’ No nation lies outside the sphere of Jesus’ authority, and therefore nobody is exempt from the obligations to follow his example of getting baptized (see 3:13-15 with comments) and to learn and keep his commands…

“Baptism is the rite of initiation into Jesus’ school. Baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit puts a trinitarian cast on this baptism, especially in that all three are included in ‘the name,’ and thus highlights Jesus’ deity by sandwiching ‘the Son’ between ‘the Father’ and ‘the Holy Spirit.’ ‘In the name of’ indicates acceptance that God is both Jesus’ and your Father, that Jesus is his Son in an unrivaled sense, and that the Holy Spirit (not Beelzebul [12:22-28]!) empowered Jesus. As a whole, this trinitarian formula distinguishes this baptism from John’s baptism, which had to do only with repentance in view of the soon coming of the kingdom of heaven (3:1-12). ‘All things … that I’ve commanded you’ links up with ‘as many as they are’ to underline the obligation of complete obedience (compare Exodus 7:2; Deuteronomy 1:3; 30:8; Joshua 1:7; Jeremiah 1:7). ‘Behold’ underscores Jesus’ presence with the disciples wherever they go throughout the inhabited earth in fulfilling their commission (compare 24:14). He won’t be physically present with them, as he has been heretofore, but he’ll be with them in the way the Lord was with his people to help them in the past (compare 18:20; Genesis 26:24; 28:15; Exodus 3:12; Joshua 1:5, 9; Judges 6:12, 16 and so on) and in this sense will continue to be ‘Immanuel … God [is] with us’ (1:23). (So as to not call such presence into question, Matthew omits an account of Jesus’ ascension to heaven, though the return from heaven in 10:23; 16:28; 24:30; 26:64 implies an ascension.) In line with the deity of Jesus, his ‘I’ in ‘I am with you’ replaces ‘God’ in the echo of ‘God [is] with us.’ ‘All the days’ assures the disciples of Jesus’ uninterrupted presence and implies an extended period of time such as a worldwide making of disciples will take. ‘Till the consummation of the age’ assures the disciples of Jesus’ untruncated presence. They’ll need it especially throughout the time of unprecedented affliction just before the second coming (24:15-30).” (Robert H. Gundry, “Matthew,” Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation [Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI 2010], pp. 135-136; bold emphasis ours)

And this is further brought out by what the Lord Jesus says elsewhere:

“The blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple, ‘Hosanna TO the Son of David,’ they were extremely displeased and said to Him, ‘Do You hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, ‘Yes. Have you never read, “Out of the mouth of children and infants You have perfected praise”?’” Matthew 21:14-16

Here our glorious Lord quotes the words of Psalm 8:2 to justify the children’s praising him, even though that verse describes children and nursing infants worshiping Jehovah God in the presence of Jehovah’s enemies!

What makes this all the more astonishing is that the context of this Psalm speaks of God granting man dominion over his physical creation:

“O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth! You have set Your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength because of Your enemies, to silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have established, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You attend to him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels (elohim), and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatever travels the paths of the seas. “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:1-8

And yet instead of ascribing the part where mankind is given sovereignty over the earth to himself, Christ takes the section about Jehovah being worshiped by children and applies that to his own Person!

However, the only way that this passage could provide justification for Jesus’ receiving praise from children is if he is none other than the very God spoken of in the Psalm!

The late Dr. Robert A. Morey makes the same point:

“The children were praising Jesus as the long awaited ‘Son of David,’ i.e., the Messiah. They used the word ‘Hosanna’… which was an Aramaic word transliterated into Greek. By the first century it had become a Jewish liturgical term used in worship. It was derived from the Hebrew hoshiana and is a prayer to God that He may save us (i.e., Ps. 3:8; 6:5; 7:2; 31:17; 54:3; 59:3; 69:2; 109:26; 119:94, 146).

“Since ‘Hosanna’ was a liturgical term used for worship, the priests and scribes were naturally shocked that Jesus allowed the children to apply ‘Hosanna’ directly to Him. The response of Jesus is significant. He justified what the children were doing by quoting the first part of Psalm 8:2 from the Septuagint…

“Who has perfected praise for Himself? Whose praise comes forth from the mouths of these children? To whom is David speaking? A comparison of the Septuagint and the Hebrew text will tell us:

LXX Kyrie ho Kyrios hemon (O LORD, our Lord)

Heb. YHWH ‘adonenu (Yahweh Adonai)

“The Greek word Kyrios (Lord) is the equivalent of YHWH (Yahweh). Thus, the texts reveal that the Person to whom the words, ‘From the mouth of infants and nursing babes’ are directed in Psalm 8 is God. Of this there can be no doubt.

“What then is the only rational conclusion one can deduce from Jesus’ use of Psalm 8:2? Since it was Jesus Himself who took an Old Testament passage addressed to YHWH and applied it to Himself, then the God to whom David prayed was Jesus.” (Morey, The Trinity: Evidence and Issues [Christian Scholar’s Press, Las Vegas, NV, n. d.], Part IV: New Testament Evidence, Chap. 17 God The Son, pp. 371-372; bold emphasis ours)

This explains why the Father would grant the Son all authority in heaven, as well as upon the earth. The Son is not a mere human being but is Jehovah God Almighty who became flesh in order to serve mankind by offering his life as a vicarious sacrifice to redeem them from their sins:

“She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

“even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

“As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, ‘Take and eat. This is My body.’ Then He took the cup, and after He gave thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.’” Matthew 26:26-28

As such, the whole of creation belongs equally to him jus as it belongs to the Father and the Holy Spirit:

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God and the firstborn of every creature. For BY HIM all things were created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they are thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All things were created BY HIM and FOR HIM. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all fullness should dwell, and to reconcile all things to Himself BY HIM, having made peace through the blood of His cross, BY HIM, I say—whether they are things in earth, or things in heaven.” Colossians 1:13-20

All Scriptural references taken from the Modern English Version (MEV) of the Holy Bible.

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