The Exaltation of Jesus Christ
Eph. 1:20 – 23
After Christ’s resurrection from the dead, He ascended into heaven. There God the Father exalted Him to a position I would say a very supreme position. Sometimes I wonder why churches today mentions very little about His ascension into heaven. True, His death, burial, resurrection, must be preached to all but let’s not forget to teach about His ascension also for it is the prelude to His exaltation. We will talk about His ascension in the future (if the Lord wills), but today as we continue our reading on this wonderful letter, we will study about His exaltation.
I. After His resurrection God the Father set Him at His own right hand (Eph. 1:20)
A. He was sitting in God’s right hand. What does this term mean?
1. It means exaltation and pre-eminence.
2. It implies a fulness of honour and glory, of dignity and respect
3. It means Christ’s rule, dominion, and power, put into his hand, to govern all things both in heaven and on earth.
4. It places all things under Christ’s feet
5. Headship over all creation including the church.
II. Far above all principality and power and might and dominion (Eph. 1:21)
A. These are terms designating angelic beings or spiritual powers. Ryrie describes them as:
1. Rulers or principalities. These words, used seven times by Paul, indicate an order of angels both good and evil involved in governing the universe (Rom. 8:38; Eph. 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:10, 15).
2. Authorities or powers. This likely emphasizes the superhuman authority of angels and demons exercised in relation to the affairs of the world (Eph. 1:21; 2:2; 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:10, 15; 1 Peter 3:22).
3. Powers. This word underscores the fact that angels and demons have greater power than humans (2 Peter 2:11). See Ephesians 1:21 and 1 Peter 3:22.
4. Place of rule. In one place demons are designated as world rulers of this darkness (Eph. 6:12).
5. Thrones or dominions. This designation emphasizes the dignity and authority of angelic rulers in God’s use of them in His government (Eph. 1:21; Col. 1:16; 2 Peter 2:10; Jude 8)
B. He is given a name above all name:
1. That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; (Phil. 2:10)
a. The knee should bow, or bend, in token of honour, or worship; that is, all men should adore him.
b. Of things in heaven: the angels there, and the souls of departed saints, with those who are already clothed with their bodies:
c. And things in earth; both good men, and bad men:
d. And things under the earth; or “in the abyss”, as the Ethiopic version renders it; meaning either the devils in the bottomless pit; or rather the dead bodies of men in the grave, which shall come forth and stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (John Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible).
e. The Lord Jesus Christ’s name will be far higher, not only in this world but also that is which to come. This also emphasizes supremacy of Christ’s name.
Illustration: Names for Christ
There are two hundred and fifty-six names given in the Bible for the Lord Jesus Christ, and I suppose this was because He was infinitely beyond all that any one name could express. (Billy Sunday).
III. God the Father hath put all things under His feet. (Eph. 1:22)
A. How can all be under His feet?
1. In the Gospel of Matthew He said “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”. (Mt. 28:18)
2. Paul tell us He is “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;” (1 Tim. 6:15)
3. John in the Book of Revelations wrote “ And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. (Rev. 19:16)
4. Peter identifies him as: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. (1 Pet. 3:22).
5. The Scriptural evidence is overwhelming. Everything, everyone, physical, spiritual, heavenly, etc., the whole universe. All is under Christ’s rule, command, and authority. All things are under His feet. What a powerful God we have.
Illustration: When We are Neediest
When you are the neediest, He is the most sufficient.
When you are completely helpless, He is the most helpful.
When you feel totally dependent, He is absolutely dependable.
When you are the weakest, He is the most able.
When you are the most alone, He is intimately present.
When you feel you are the least, He is the greatest.
When you feel the most useless, He is preparing you.
When it is the darkest, He is the only Light you need.
When you feel the least secure, He is your Rock and Fortress.
When you are the most humble, He is most gracious.
When you can’t, He can. (Anonymous)
IV. God the Father had made Him head over all things to the church (Eph. 1:22)
A. Important truths about the Church in the New Testament.
1. The word “church” is used 115 times in the KJV. In 114 of those passages the Greek word translated “church” is ekklesia which means a lawful, organized assembly
2. The church is built by Christ (“I will build”). This is one of His most important present occupations.
3. The church is built upon Christ. The Rock upon which the church is built is Christ Himself-not Peter ( 1 Cor. 3:11; 10:4; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:6; 1 Cor. 10:4) as believed by the Catholics.
4. The church did not exist until Christ came. It is an entity distinct from Israel (1 Cor. 10:32).
5. The church belongs to Christ (“I will build my church”). This means that Christ is the sole Head of the church. He has given this position to no man, not even Peter and his so-called successors! Christ is also the sole legislator, law-giver, of the church. The church itself has no law making powers; its sole purpose is to obey those laws that Christ has given in His Word.
6. The church will be preserved through all generations (“the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”).
7. The church is the only institution blessed with Christ’s authority (“And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven…”). Mt. 18:18 makes it clear that this promise of authority is to the church and not just to Peter.
God the Father has exalted Christ above all. He has put everything under His feet and He is the Head of the church which is also His body. He is all powerful and given a name that is above all name. Will you trust Him? He can change your life and your future. Repent from your sins and receive Him as your personal Saviour.