The Eternal Existence, Work, and Reign of Christ

THE ETERNAL EXISTENCE OF CHRIST

If man was not so deeply enclosed in darkness his inquisitive mind would be intrigued by the thought that there was a Man who lived on this earth who pre-existed. Today the makers of science fiction novels and movies create fictional characters of mystical origins. The response to these fictional portrayals are both enthusiastic and lucrative. Yet in the realm of truth, the only true story of a real Man who pre-existed prior to His birth is largely ignored or ridiculed.

John the Baptist became acquainted with Jesus Christ in the early days of His earthly ministry. Upon first meeting Him, John admits that he did not know Him (John 1:33). In the New Testament account, John’s mother, Elizabeth, was a relative of the mother of Jesus. Mary visited John’s mother while they were both expectant mothers (Luke 1:30-41). Mary remained with her about three months, and then returned home. Elizabeth’s full time came and she gave birth to John (Luke 1:56,57). She delivered her child about six months before Mary gave birth to Jesus Christ (Luke 1:36). Therefore, John was older than Jesus.

Yet John bore witness of Christ and cried out saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after Me is preferred before me, for He was before me” (John 1:15). As John came to know Him and to learn about Him, he was convinced that Jesus Christ existed before He came into this world.

This same truth was also revealed to John, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ. In writing about Jesus, John referred to Him as the Word. Just as we reveal ourselves to others through words, so Christ reveals God to us. John said that the Word (Christ) became flesh (human) and lived among us, and we actually saw His glory, the glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father (John 1:14). He states that He became flesh, verifying that He existed before He became a Man. For this reason, He stated earlier, “He was in the beginning with God” (John 1:2).

There is further evidence of Christ’s eternal existence before He ever came into this world. “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth.....All things were created through Him and for Him. And He existed before all things, and in Him all things are held together” (Colossians 1:16,17). He not only existed before He came into this world, but He made this world (John 1:10). The very first verse in the Bible declares, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Thus we must conclude that this pre-existing One who was born in the manger at Bethlehem is God, the very God, who before the appearance of Christ was not seen by human eyes. “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him or brought Him out where He can be seen” (John 1:18). “He is the image (the exact likeness) of the unseen God (the visible representation of the invisible)” (Colossians 1:15).

THE ETERNAL WORK OF CHRIST

Just prior to Christ’s death, He cried out on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). There are two questions that arise upon hearing this victorious cry:
  1. What was finished? How could anyone, with His hands and feet fastened to a cross, finish anything. In anticipation of His death on the cross, Jesus Christ was able to say to His Father as He prayed to Him, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which you have given Me to do” (John 17:4). As He looked ahead to the final hours of His life, He saw Himself as having completed all that the Father gave Him to do while here on earth. What was the special assignment that was given to Him by the Father that He was about to finish in the final hours of His life? “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things,....but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:18-20). It is made clear, that the eternal Son of God, before this world was made, was destined to be the Lamb of God when He came to this earth. God sent Him for this express purpose and He finished the redemptive work of God for sinful man when He gave His life for us on the cross.
  2. For how long is this work finished? Let us suppose that a man has been painting his house for the past three weeks. One glorious day he makes the last stroke with his paint brush, gets down off the ladder, runs into the house, and proclaims in a loud voice, “It is finished.” It is surely a triumphant day, but we all know that five to ten years later, he will need to pick up his brush, can of paint, and ladder and go out and paint that same house all over again. Prior to the cross of Calvary, sacrifices were never finished. They had to be repeated over and over again. “But this Man (Jesus Christ), after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12). He had offered a single Sacrifice for our sins that will avail for all time and eternity. He was able to sit down because the work of salvation was totally and completely finished.
There are many today who seem to think that Christ started the work of salvation and now it is our responsibility to maintain and add to the work He completed. Let us look “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

“Wherever the believer looks, back upon his guilty past, he sees it blotted out by the precious blood of Christ; if he looks forward to the eternal glory, he sees it secured for him by that precious blood; if he looks within himself, poor, failing, feeble as he is, he can say that the very blood which is upon the throne of God is upon me also and is pledged to bring me into that place of eternal blessedness.” (Samuel Ridout) At the beginning and the end of the last book of the Bible, Jesus Christ declares Himself to be the starter and the finisher of our salvation. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord (Revelation 1:8). “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last (the Before all and the End of all) (Revelation 22:13). It can be said of the Lord Jesus that He never starts anything that He does not finish. He has finished to the end the work of salvation. For me to try to add anything to that work is an insult to the throne of God. To suggest that I could do anything more is a form of foolish pride and a failure to see the worth of the work that was accomplished by His death on the cross.

When He, from His lofty throne, Stooped to do and die,
Ev’ry thing was fully done; Harken to His cry!
“It is finished” yes, indeed, Finished ev’ry jot;
Sinner, this is all you need, Tell me, is it not?
(J. Proctor)

THE ETERNAL REIGN OF CHRIST

Nathan brought these words from the Lord to David, “He (David) shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:13). Again the Lord said to David, And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever (2 Samuel 7:16).

The casual reader of the Old Testament would assume that this promise was never fulfilled. Many years after David, the kingdom fell. Concerning one of his last descendants to sit on the throne, Jeremiah said, “Write this man down as childless; a man who shall not prosper in his days; for no man of his offspring shall succeed in sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah” (Jeremiah 22:30). For centuries now, no one has sat upon the throne of David.

Yet God through the centuries preserved the royal seed of David. Jesus Christ was born into the world, of Whom Isaiah prophesied, “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever” (Isaiah 9:7).

When the New Testament account begins, first of all, it gives the full lineage of Christ through the line of David, pronouncing in the very first verse, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David...” (Matthew 1:1). Paul carefully states in Romans 1:3, “concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh".  It was essential that Christ should be born of the seed of David, because God, who never lies, promised David that his throne would be forever and that promise would be fulfilled by His Son sitting upon that throne.

Yet it appeared, when Jesus Christ was crucified, that the promise failed a second time. In Revelation 12, we read that the woman bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. The dragon, who was Satan, stood before the woman, ready to devour the Child. It appeared that he had been successful and David’s throne was again threatened by extinction.

God never lies; He made a promise. At this point, the most triumphant victory in all the history of time and eternity occurred. Jesus Christ was raised from the dead!! In the great resurrection chapter (1 Corinthians 15), one of the reasons given for His resurrection is: For He (Christ) must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet (15:25).

God addresses His Son in this manner: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom” (Hebrews 1:8). We now learn that God has future plans for the throne of David through His Son. He is coming back to this earth to reign forever and His reign will be a reign of righteousness. All the other kingdoms of this world have been temporary and unrighteous. And thus, as the great clock of prophecy strikes its final hours, Jesus Christ will return to this scene wherein the whole creation groans and labors under the travail and tragedy of the wicked rule of ungodly rulers. When this scene occurs, there will be mighty voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ and HE shall reign forever and ever (for the eternities of the eternities!)” (Revelation 11:15)

Every king who has ever reigned received His kingdom from God. Nebuchadnezzar had to learn this lesson (Daniel 2:21). God also removes kings because in their wickedness, they forget God. Wickedness and corruption brings an end to their reign. Although many wicked rulers defy God and seek to establish an invincible kingdom, they are eventually subdued. They see themselves as great powers whom no one can touch, and they laugh at God, independently seeking to bring everyone to their knees. None has ever succeeded.

There is an astounding narration that accompanies the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. He will succeed!! “Then comes the end....when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power” (1 Corinthians 15:24). He will accomplish that which has never been done before. But when He accomplishes it, He delivers the kingdom over to God the Father. The Father has put all things in subjection under Christ’s feet. However, when everything is subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also subject Himself to the Father Who put all things under Him, so that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:27,28). Christ sits upon an eternal throne, established forever and ever, but He sits upon it in complete subjection to His Father. He reigns supreme, but He reigns in subjection. Blessed be His Name! There never was and there never will be anyone to compare to our Lord Jesus Christ. “Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).