As we continue our study of historical optimism, a good thing to keep in mind is the need to constantly turn to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. When we think through these issues carefully, we must recognize that the basic issue is really the view we have of the Lord Jesus. “Give the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the king’s Son. He will judge Your people with righteousness, and Your poor with justice . . . (Ps. 72:1-20).
Jesus Christ really is the Lord of all. Consider what Paul tells us in Philippians 2:9-11. At the name of Jesus, every knee is to bow, and not just those in heaven. In heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, let Jesus Christ be praised. And so we are seeking nothing less than to exalt Him in every place.
Jesus Christ is Savior of the world-“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14). Jesus did not come in order to try to save the world, if the uncooperative world would only let it. He came to save the world; He will be satisfied with nothing less than a saved world.
Jesus Christ is the Conqueror of the principalities and powers-“Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. This He said, signifying by what death He would die” (John 12:31-32). Before fallen man was brought to his majority, he was ruled by principalities and powers, and various other mediatorial agencies. God, by definition, has always been sovereign-but in the time of the Old Testament He was pleased to mediate that sovereignty through various celestial powers. But now God reigns through mankind, man in Christ.
Jesus Christ is the re-Creator of the heavens and earth-“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pet. 3:10-13). The Father made the world through the Son, and the Father remade the world through the Son. This is why we observe the first day of the week . . . it is the day on which Christ rested after His world of recreation (Heb. 4:10).
Jesus Christ is the king in the Kingdom of God-“Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:24-26). The Christian church is not a volunteer organization, where we may come and go as we please. The Church of Christ is a monarchy, and we are the subjects of the Lord Jesus.
Jesus Christ is the great Prophet-“For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people” (Acts 3:19-26). Our views of the future should be formed by submission to the words of Jesus Christ. This includes those words which tell us about the nature of the kingdom, and the fulfillment of the prophecies of old. We must believe as we are told.
Jesus Christ is the Conqueror of the kings of earth-“. . . and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (Rev. 1: 5-6). In this, we must take care to avoid the corruptions of Hellenistic philosophy. Christ is not the Lord of some invisible heavenly place; He is the Lord and Master of the Moscow/Pullman area — and, of course, everywhere else. He purchased this world and its inhabitants with His blood, and no impudent magistrate is going to successfully deny Him. He will have it. Fix it in your minds — Christ rules here. But at the same time, His authority is extended by spiritual means, and not by political means. It has political results, but His kingdom does not advance in the same way that other kingdoms do.
Jesus Christ is the Lord of the church-“Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, ‘Let no fruit grow on you ever again.’ Immediately the fig tree withered away” (Matt. 21:18-19; 24:32). Our Lord is the master husbandman of His people. When branches must be cut, He cuts. When the tree must be nourished, He nourishes. He put away the majority of the Jews because of their unbelief. He warns us against similar follies, for He will do similar things. But not only does the Gardener remove branches, He also promises to restore them, the restoration of the Jews being the preeminent example.
And so our eschatological confession is this: Jesus Christ is Lord.