JESUS EXALTED ABOVE ALL THE FALLEN POWERS
A. Jesus the Unique Son of God – Yahweh the Creator Himself Made Flesh. In Second Temple Judaism, Yahweh’s place at head of the council was understood in terms of one God in two Persons, both of whom were understood as Yahweh. Yahweh sat on his throne, and He executed His plans through the agency of His vice-regent, identified as the Wisdom and Word of God through whom all things were made. This theology – a monotheism articulated in terms of what Alan Segal and Michael Heiser call “the two powers in heaven” (I think a different term should be used)– was rooted in passages where Yahweh and the Angel/messenger of Yahweh are clearly identified as being one and the same God, but clearly manifest in two distinct persons (e.g. Judges 6). This understanding was considered a completely orthodox expression of Jewish monotheism until the Second Century AD. One of the reasons it was later condemned by Rabbis, is that there was a sect that kept applying the Second Person idea to that crucified carpenter from Nazareth! This is because Jesus revealed himself as such.
John 10:22-39 (NIV)
22 Then came the Feast of Dedicationat Jerusalem. It was winter, 23 and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon’s Colonnade. 24 The Jews gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me (cf. Ex. 23:20-21), 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life (like the Father, cf. John 5), and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” 31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law (Psalm 82, the divine council Psalm), ‘I have said you are gods’? 35 If he called them (the “sons of God” who fell) ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came (the gods who received the decrees in Psalm 82)—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world (i.e. the Son who, as God himself, is above the other “gods” of the council)? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’? 37 Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. 38 But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” 39 Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.
B. In the New Testament, Jesus and the apostles make a big deal about the fact that Jesus has been seated above the rebellious powers who have been exerting their blinding influence over the nations. Now, through the gospel, Yahweh, the Creator and only One worthy of worship, is calling them back to Himself, in Christ. (Diagram 3)
Matthew 28:17-20 (NIV)
17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven (over the powers) and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Ephesians 1:19-23 (NIV)
19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature (or NIV alternative – “in the very form of”) God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature (or form) of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Colossians 2:9-10 (NIV)
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
1 Peter 3:21-22 (NIV)
21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
C. At Babel, God “gave up” the nations to that which they wanted more than Him – the flunky fallen sons of God. At Babel, God “gave up” the nations to the false gods that they wanted. He gave them what they wanted, knowing that many within those nations would eventually get sick of being ruled by demons and “ripe” to return to Him in repentance.
Acts 26:15-18 (NIV)
15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
Acts 17:22-31 (NIV)
22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. 24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth (Israel’s God) and does not live in temples built by hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands (idols – the work of men’s hands, cf. 2 Chron. 32:19), as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live (cf. Deut. 32). 27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked (i.e. was longsuffering) such ignorance (ESV – “the times of ignorance God overlooked”; cf. Ac. 26:17 – blindness/open their eyes; cf. Eph. 4:18 – Gentiles hardness of heart, unto ignorance, unto darkened understanding and alienation from the life of God), but now (shift in season) he commands (through the gospel) all people everywhere to repent (Yahweh the Creator calling the nations out from under the grip of the fallen powers through the gospel; no longer handing them over). 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”
Acts 14:15-17 (ESV)
15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God (NIV, NKJV “the living God”), who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them (turn to Israel’s God, the Creator). 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
1 Thessalonians 1:8-10 (ESV)
8 For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere, so that we need not say anything. 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.
D. It is significant that a Jewish man is seated at the Father’s right hand, because only a Jew could administer the blessings the Jewish covenants to both the Jewish nation and to the Gentiles. As we saw, both groups are addressed in the Abrahamic covenant.
John 4:22 (NIV)
You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.
Ephesians 2:12 (ESV)
remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise
Revelation 22:16 (ESV)
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root (Creator, fully God) and the Offspring of David (fully man, and Jewish – therefore, can administer the blessings of the covenants), and the bright Morning Star (as God Himself, the Bright morning star with authority over all the other created morning stars).”
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NIV)
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
E. In the Day of the Lord, Jesus will punish both the fallen powers and the kings that wielded power through their wicked influence. Revelation 2:28 may indicate that once they have been dethroned, Jesus will fill their role with resurrected saints. (Diagrams 4 and 5).
Isaiah 24:21-23 (NIV)
21 In that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. 22 They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison (Sheol) and be punished after many days (Lake of Fire, cf. Rev. 20). 23 The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the Lord Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously.
Revelation 19:11-12 (NIV)
11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.
Ephesians 1:9-10 (NIV)
9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment (NKJV – “in the dispensation of the fullness of the times,” i.e. God’s plan administered when the time was ripe for the gospel to go forth; Harrigan – “that in the fullness of the times of God’s household administration”; cf. Gal. 4:4)—to bring all things in heaven and on earth (cf. Mt. 28:18-19, Col. 2:10) together under one head (under one governmental authority, Yahweh himself), even Christ (Yahweh incarnate, the arm of the Lord).
Revelation 2:26-29 (NIV)
26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations – 27 ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery’— just as I have received authority from my Father (the Bright Morning Star – Yahweh Himself, Highest Place of Rule in the Cosmos). 28 I will also give him the morning star(place of cosmic rulership lost by fallen morning stars? cf.1 Cor. 6:3; under the leadership of Jesus, who is set apart and distinct as the Bright Morning Star, the Highest Governmental Ruler as Yahweh himself, cf. Rev. 22:16). 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Psalm 29 (NIV) (in first century, sung on the Day of Trumpets, which celebrates the Day of the Lord when God’s triumph over His enemies)
1 Ascribe to the Lord, O mighty ones (Heb. – “sons of God”), ascribe to the Lord (the Creator) glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness (Yahweh, as Creator, set apart from all gods). 3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters (cf. Gen. 1:1-3); the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. 4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. 5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, Sirion (NIV note – Mt. Hermon)like a young wild ox.7 The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. 8 The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” (the whole earth shaken on the day He judges the powers, cf. Ps. 82:5)10 The Lord sits (or “sat”) enthroned over the flood (when some of the sons of God/their wicked seed were punished, cf. Gen. 6, 2 Pet. 2:4, Jude 3:6); the Lord is enthroned as King forever (the sons of God will be judged; God will never be moved from His throne). 11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace (like Noah, the sons and daughters of Yahweh will be delivered in Day of the Lord).
 Edersheim, A. (2003). The Temple, its ministry and services as they were at the time of Jesus Christ. (294). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.