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Psalm 110 & Hebrews 9:11 by Robert Dean
Series:1st Corinthians (2002)
Duration:1 hr 9 mins 56 secs

The High Priest and the Session

We can now go to some New Testament passages to see how the Hew testament writers handled the psalms in reference to the current session of Christ. Hebrews 1:2 NASB "in these last days [church age] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. [3] And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." As soon as we see that terminology, "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high," we should think of Psalm 110:1. Once redemption was accomplished Jesus Christ sat down. It is a picture of the completedness of His work on the cross; it is also a picture of His being completely accepted by God the Father. [13] "But to which of the angels has He ever said, 'SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET'?" So in verses 3 and 13 we see a direct reference back to Psalm 110. The point is that Christ in His ascension has been elevated above all creatures and He currently outranks everyone. He is also the one who is ruling; He upholds all things by the Word of His power. Jesus Christ is at the helm of the universe.

Hebrews chapter six picks up the priestly nature of His reign. Hebrews 6:19 NASB "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a {hope} both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, [20] where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." Notice the emphasis on the present session. It is not on His royalty, not on His kingship, not on His reigning; it is on His being a priest. The emphasis now is on His priestly work which is in preparation for the kingly work. The kingly work does not come until He is given dominion, until He is given the kingdom, which doesn't happen until the second coming. So the emphasis, then, is not what we saw in Psalm 2:9, that He would reign with a  rule of iron, but it is on His priesthood. So there is clearly a gap between what was accomplished at the cross and what will be accomplished when he comes to reign. There is no present reigning of the kingdom. There is a mystery form of the kingdom but He is not reigning on the throne of David and he has not yet been given dominion. Hebrews 9:11 NASB "But when Christ appeared {as} a high priest of the good things to come, {He entered} through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation. [24] For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a {mere} copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." These verses all emphasise the present session of Christ as a function, not of His royal reign, but of His priesthood. As a function of His priesthood we are going to see that this has to do with not only His intercessory ministry but with the distribution of spiritual gifts.

But before we get there we have to understand why this is taking place. What is God accomplishing during this present age? Hebrews 1:3-5 tells us about who Jesus is and what he is doing. Hebrews 1:5 NASB "For to which of the angels did He ever say, 'YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU'? And again, 'I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME'? The first quote comes from Psalm 2, the second from Psalm 89, and these two together relate the context of Hebrews 1:3-5 to the Davidic covenant and the present session of Christ to His place in the Davidic covenant as the royal Son of God who is fully God, undiminished deity.

Having looked at this we have to address the question: What is going on in this session where Jesus is seated at the right hand of God? In terms of our culture probably the best thing is the Supreme Court imagery. God is the supreme judge of the universe. He is the one who is ruling and in charge of everything. Jesus Christ comes and sits at the right hand of God the Father who is pictured as ruling over all of human history. He is seated at the right hand of God for a reason and we are told in the passage that it is "until I make your enemies a footstool." So God the Father is working out something, working out His purposes in human history to accomplish something. This relates to the angelic conflict.

The defeat of Satan at the cross is the strategic victory of the Lord Jesus Christ over Satan. That sets the stage, then, for what is being accomplished tactically in the life of the individual believer in the church age. As each individual believer lives out the Christian life and applies the principles of the Christian life then they achieve tactical victory and become a witness against Satan in the angelic conflict. When Jesus Christ secures the strategic victory at the cross it is based on His qualifications which were established during His lifetime. Jesus Christ was qualified to go to the cross, not because He was God, but because He was a man who goes through all the various tests and sufferings that every human being goes through and he always succeeds because He applies the Word. If Jesus Christ had relied on His deity at any stage to solve His personal problems then He would have been defeated. The point was for Him to demonstrate as a man that he was passing all of the tests in His humanity by relying exclusively upon the power of God, relying upon the Holy Spirit. He was in complete contrast to Adam who relied own thinking and His own resources to solve the temptation in the garden.

Matthew 26:36 NASB "Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.' [37] And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed." Verse 37 tells us something about His humanity. [38] "Then He said to them, 'My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me'." This is a profound statement. Jesus Christ is experiencing sorrow, he is distressed and agitated emotionally." This is not sin; Jesus Christ did not sin. So this tells us that at times there can be a sorrow and a sadness that is not sin. But at the same time we know that Jesus Christ had a perfect joy, a perfect stability and a perfect tranquillity that under girded this momentary sorrow and struggle that he endured in His humanity. How is He handling the sorrow? This is where our problem-solving devices come into play. It is not wrong to experience certain sorrows and emotions at times; what is wrong is how we handle it and letting that dictate our course of action. [39] "And He went a little beyond {them,} and fell on His face and prayed, saying, 'My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will'." So he is wrestling with the fact that this burden of bearing the sins is so overwhelming that in His humanity he wants to step aside. But He does not let that cause Him to fail and He recognizes, "not as I will, but as You will." [40] "And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, 'So, you {men} could not keep watch with Me for one hour?' [41] Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak'."

This whole passage in Matthew 26 reveals to us a tremendous struggle that is taking place inside the soul of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the test. Is He going to solve the problem by relying on His deity, or is He going to solve the problem in His humanity by relying upon the power of God the Holy Spirit and claiming promises of Scripture? We know that he could have resolved this whole situation in His deity because of what he says in Matthew 26:53 NASB "Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" He doesn't rely on deity or use His deity to resolve His own personal problems. He did use His deity to solve the problems of other people, as at the wedding at Cana, as when he stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee. There is a difference between Jesus performing miracles in His power for other people and Jesus performing miracles by means of God the Holy Spirit and living His own spiritual life in dependence upon God. The fact that Jesus Christ in His deity performed certain miracles does not violate this principle. He had to perform miracles in His own deity because he was demonstrating that he was who He claimed to be. The apostles performed many of those same miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit in Acts during the apostolic age.

In all of this, when Jesus relied on God the Father He was demonstrating His qualification to go to the cross. Hebrews 2:10 NASB "For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation [Christ] through sufferings." He is made perfect, that is, made complete, mature in His own spiritual life as related to His humanity, through suffering. So the sufferings in the spiritual life of the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the same function as the suffering that you and I go through. It gives us an opportunity to rely upon God the Father and to rely upon the various problem-solving devices that he has given us so that we can be mature. So Jesus is matured through this process of suffering and he is a pioneer for the spiritual life that we have today. This is also seen in Hebrews 5:7-9 NASB "In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. [8] Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. [9] And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation."

This brings to bear two key doctrine related to the person and the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The first is the doctrine of the hypostatic union. The word comes from the Greek word hupostasis [u(postasij] and this has to do with substance or nature. The doctrine of the hypostatic union which was hammered out over 300 years of theological investigation and thought recognized that Jesus Christ is fully God, undiminished deity. He didn't give it up. This is united with His humanity. It is not fallen humanity, it is perfect humanity, the kind of humanity Adam had prior to the fall. These are united together in one person, so that He is the one person, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to be careful how we talk sometimes. We may have heard people say, well he did such and so out of His deity. That is not technically true. He is not a split personality. He is not saying He is going to do this as God and that as man. Some things that he does demonstrate that He is fully God. He also hungered, was thirsty, became tired, sorrowed; this indicated that he was true humanity. But the whole person hungered. He is two natures but one person. This is the difficult thing for us to articulate. There is one person suffering on the cross. It is the human nature that is paying the penalty for the human race because humanity must die as a substitute for humanity. But the whole person suffers. Because the whole person is suffering the deity is present, it is not absent from the cross; but deity can't suffer. Furthermore, the deity is omnipotent and at the same time that he is on the cross he is upholding all things by the Word of His power. So we have to be very careful not to so distinguish between the two that he becomes two persons and not to so blend the persons that he has one nature. We talk about the fact that there are two natures united together in one person without mixture of attributes. There is no bleeding over of His human attributes into His deity or His divine attributes into His humanity. He is fully human, He doesn't just have a human body. He has a human soul and a human spirit.

The second doctrine that under girds all of this is the doctrine of the Kenosis. Kenosis comes from a Greek verb, kenao [kenaw]. Philippians 2:6 NASB "who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, [7] but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, {and} being made in the likeness of men. [8] Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

The problem with the idea that He "emptied Himself," is that is makes it sound as if He gave up those attributes, some of His deity. The other problem is how this has been traditionally articulated. The way we have heard it in the past simply states that Jesus willingly restricted the independent use of His divine attributes. That's fine, but it doesn't say anything. Think about it. The eternal Son of God in eternity past was not independent of God the Father. He never executed His attributes in dependent of the Father's plan, such would indicate that He was not one with the Father. So when we articulate the doctrine of Kenosis, that Jesus voluntarily restricted the independent use of His divine attributes it falls short of the real issue. The real issue is that He doesn't use His humanity to solve the problems that he faced during the incarnation. So let's amend our doctrine of Kenosis by saying that Jesus restricted the independent use of His divine attributes to solve the pressures of life, and he accepted a creaturely dependent existence during His lifetime. He trusted God the Father just as we trust God the Father in every problem that we face in life. So the doctrine of Kenosis is a description of how Jesus Christ handled the testing in His own spiritual life and demonstrated that only by one hundred per cent dependence on God could man, the creature, be successful. He made Himself of no reputation or He limited the use of His attributes; He didn't do away with them completely because in His deity he cannot change.

Philippians 2:9 NASB "For this reason also, God highly exalted Him…" This is what happens at the ascension when Jesus Christ ascends above all the authorities and powers. God honours Him and exalts Him. "… and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name." He is then seated at the Father's right hand. So by being qualified to go to the cross Jesus Christ is then qualified for that future reign, but something has to happen in the meantime. He has accomplished the strategic victory on the cross; He now has to build a people. We have seen in Daniel seven that there is a group of saints who come with Him and will rule with the rod of iron, so he has to prepare them. This is what is taking place during the church age.

John 14:15 NASB "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. [16] I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; [17] {that is} the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, {but} you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you." So we learn that His ascension is related to the coming of another Helper, and part of the function of that other Helper is the function of revelation. We wouldn't have the New Testament to study if Jesus Christ had not ascended, so part of the function of the ascension and session is to send the Holy Spirit and the giving of new revelation. [26] "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." So there is going to be a new dimension to the spiritual life based on this indwelling of God the Holy Spirit and the giving of new revelation that we call the New Testament. That is part of the results of the current session.

John 16:7 NASB "But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you." The ministry of God the Holy Spirit is distinctly connected to the ascension of Christ. He must be seated at the right hand of God the Father and it is following that ascension in Acts chapter one that we have the descent of the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter two. And it is when the Holy Spirit comes that he indwells believers.

So we ask the question: How does this session relate to believers? It relates to believers because we receive the Holy Spirit, we are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit who establishes a temple inside of each believer for the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ. Something is being accomplished during this time. In 1 Samuel 17 Samuel anoints David as king of Israel. That occurs when David is approximately seventeen years old. It is not until David is about forty that he becomes the king of Israel. During this time he is under persecution from Saul, the legitimately recognized king but under divine discipline. David has been anointed and appointed to be king but God hasn't elevated him or promoted him to that position yet. During this interim time David serves in Saul's court, he is a military leader and has some tremendous victories over the Philistines, he developed a tremendous reputation with the people and was very popular, and so Saul turned on him and began to persecute him. David had to flee and live in the wilderness. It was during this time that various outcasts and various other political refugees departed the administration of Saul and linked up with David down in the wilderness area. It was from those outcasts that David later appointed the key leaders in his administration. So what was going on between the anointing of the king and his actual taking of the throne was this interim period that is analogous to the church age. Jesus Christ came at the first coming but He is not going to inaugurate the kingdom until he comes back at the second coming, and during the period in between He is gathering to Himself a group of outcasts, people who are looked down upon by the world. It is from those outcasts who join up with Jesus Christ by faith alone in Christ alone, that are saved and enter into the body of Christ, who are going to rule and reign with Jesus Christ when he returns at the second coming. So the period of the ascension followed by the session is directly related to the formation of this body that will eventually rule and reign with Him. It is during that time that Jesus Christ functions as an advocate for the believer, because the moral problem is going to be faced, the sin problem is going to be faced, and Satan is going to continuously challenge Jesus Christ about how He can let these sinful believers be a part of His body. This is where 1 John 2:1, 2 comes in: NASB "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for {those of} the whole world." That is what is going on today. Every time Satan charges us with being unqualified Jesus Christ refers to the fact that He died and paid the penalty for our sins. Romans 8:34 NASB "who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us."

Five significant things about the ascension of Christ

1)  It ended the period of the limitation of His divine attributes and the use of His deity, and brought to an end His life as a man on the earth.

2)  The ascension is the occasion for His exaltation and glorification.

3)  It is important because it marked the entrance of resurrected humanity into heaven. it is a Man who is elevated above all powers and authorities in the universe.

4)  It began His present work in heaven, His intercessory work for believers as our advocate.

5)  It set the stage for the entrance of the Holy Spirit into history through the church, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every believer, the filling of the Holy Spirit, and the giving of spiritual gifts which then become the basis for our training and service and is the basis for our preparation to rule and reign with the Lord Jesus Christ in the Millennial kingdom.