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"Sir, we wish to see Jesus" John 12:21
 
Christ Enthroned   CHRIST ENTHRONED

Though Jesus was taken from his disciples and out of this world by virtue of his ascension back to the Father, his work continues in heaven. There he serves as the prophet, the high priest, and the king.

The role of the prophet is to be the mouthpiece for God. On occasion God spoke directly from heaven with his own voice. But more often God speaks through his prophets. He inspires them by his Spirit and discloses his mind and heart to them. He opens their mouth and they speak his word to the people. Now from heaven Jesus inspires prophets among his people by granting them the Holy Spirit and they speak his words to the people, though they are not his words but the words of the Father. The prophets who preceded Jesus are all superseded by his prophecy by virtue of his more privileged position. They had not seen God nor been as close to the Father as Jesus. Thus John writes, “No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.”

Even at the time of the Ascension there was much that the disciples of Jesus did not know or understand about his work or the Father’s purposes. Upon his Ascension when he was enthroned in the heavens and began to pour out the Spirit from the Father and distribute various gifts, including prophecy, Jesus began to disclose more and more. Some of what was disclosed was written down in the form of gospels and letters. Over time these were gathered into a collection of revelations from Jesus called the New Testament. By the 5th century this collection was closed to further additions. This did not mean Jesus was no longer speaking to his people through prophets he gifted throughout the generations of his church. Rather, this collection became the core prophecy to be read and studied continually by his people for their edification and the standard by which any additional words received by prophets is judged.

The role of the priests who served in the Temple when it stood in Jerusalem was to intercede for the people to God. The High Priest had a special role of intercession on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. He went in before the presence of God in the inner sanctuary to intercede for the remission of the sins of the people. He carried with him the blood of the sacrifices of bulls and goats and sprinkled it there. The priestly intercession occurred daily in the Temple and the High Priestly yearly. By virtue of his ascension Jesus entered the very reality the Temple was meant to represent. There he bought the blood of his own sacrifice for sins that he offered once for all. And there since he is a priest forever he continually offers intercession. Thus the author of Hebrews writes, “He holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Therefore, the church now prays through him, or in his Name, when we pray, for it is through him that we have access to the Father.

The role of the King was to be the shepherd of the people and to lead and guide them. Their destinies depended upon him. When Jesus ascended he was enthroned in the heavens at the right hand of the Father. Thus, he rules together with the Father not only over his people but over the world also. Elevated to the very throne of God he is now King of kings and Lord of lords. As such he controls not only the destiny of his people but of the world itself. John saw this in a visionary experience that he recorded in his Apocalypse when he was shown the Lamb (Jesus) handed a scroll with 7 seals by the Father. This scroll is the scroll of destiny that outlines the events that will take place as this present age comes to an end with the advent of the age to come and its new heaven and new earth. John sees Jesus as the Lamb because he was offered, like a lamb, to ransom all people and save them from power of sin and death. For that reason he was declared worthy to reign for he does not lord it over his subjects, but humbly serves them. John hears the heavenly company singing the praises of Jesus saying, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slaughtered to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” To this the creatures under heaven and on earth respond, “To the one seated on the throne and to the lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the living creatures in heaven respond, “Amen!”

(Icon from Mt. Athos)

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