Thursday, December 8, 2011

The End of Jesus' Kingdom

Here’s an interesting theologically conundrum:

Does the kingdom of David end?

On the one hand we are told that this kingdom is forever.

On the other hand we are told that David’s descendant sits at the right hand until...

and...
1 Cor. 15:24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 
25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 

Here we have both the ‘handing over’ and the reigning ‘until’

So should we say the kingdom does not end but it changes in phases... at the ‘end’ the vice-regent establishes regency for the son.

The exercise of his reign will lose his judicial enemy-crushing-quality about it. Jesus’ reign doesn’t stop--but their is a time point where Jesus’ reign finally defeats his enemies. He moves from a King reigning in military might--to King who has established peace and can rest from his throne.

But if the reign of Jesus actually ends in the sense of stops--then the David promises would find themselves winding down to a close. Forever would not really be forever.

Luke promises: Luke 1:33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.

Jesus hands over the kingdom to His Father, because as the vice-regent He has finally and fully established the reign of God. He has exercised His authority and finished executing justice and righteousness. He has ushered in the eschatological new creation.

Jesus continues to reign in the eternal state. It is of sort a new phase of his reign. He no longer reigns over a cursed creation, he no longer reigns in the presence of his enemies with sin and death lurking amongst creation. His throne is there and death and the curse are vanquished.

Revelation 22:1 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 
2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 
3 There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; 

Thus the kingdom moves from Jesus ‘reigning in the midst of his enemies’ to reigning in the fullness ‘Sabbath rest,’ the eschatological peace has been established over all creation. It is now enjoyed with presence of the King on his throne.

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