Yeshua Sat Down to Reign with God
(Revelation 3:21)

Paul Sumner

The New Testament says that when Yeshua was raised from the dead, he ascended into God's presence where he "sat down at the right hand" of God (Hebrews 1:3; 10:12; 12:2). The words "sat down" are open to misunderstanding.

On the surface, they may imply that Yeshua entered heaven and sat down to rest after his struggle with sin and death to provide redemption for mankind.

In Revelation 3:21, he says to his followers: "He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne."

Some believe Yeshua patiently awaits the outworking of his labors, leading to the "Period of Restoration" when he will receive orders from the Father to return to earth and set up his Messianic Kingdom (Acts 3:19-21).

There is a sense of resting in these words. But there is more to the imagery when we look at the phrase "sat down" in light of Hebrew Scriptures.


Several times in the Tanakh, God is depicted as sitting on a throne (1 Kings 22:19; Isaiah 6:1; Ezekiel 1:26). These references don't imply that God is resting. Rather, he is actively involved in ruling the universe. In fact, the verb "to sit" [yashav] is often a synonym for being "enthroned" — sitting and reigning as a king.

The ark of the covenant, consisting of a wooden chest topped by the winged cherubim, symbolizes God's mobile throne on earth.

The LORD sits [yashav] forever;
He has set up His throne for judgment. (Psalm 9:8)

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
You who are enthroned [yashav] on the cherubim.
(Ps 80:2, Eng v 1)

The LORD reigns [as king, malach],
He is enthroned [yashav] on the cherubim. (Ps 99:1)


God's Right-hand Prince
In Psalm 2, when the kings of the earth rise up in revolt against the Lord and his Messiah, God will put down their attempted coup d'etat. "He who sits [enthroned, yashav] in heaven laughs; the Lord mocks at them" (v 4).

He thwarts the coup and initiates his own plan: "I have installed my King on Zion, my holy mountain" (v 6). The verb "install" [nasach] also means consecrate or anoint. In Proverbs 8:23, Wisdom says: "From everlasting I was established [consecrated, anointed], from the beginning."

Though God's anointed prince will reign on Zion, he is also enthroned beside God. This is made clear in Psalm 110 where God's "Lord" [adon] is beckoned to "sit" [yashav] at his right hand to rule with him (v 1).

We catch a glimpse of this Two King imagery in Solomon's coronation when he "sat [yashav] on the throne of YHVH as king" (1 Chron 29:23). The seat did not belong to the son of David. It belonged to God. David, Solomon, and their sons were supposed to administer the kingdom of God on earth, as his co-regents. They sit in God's presence.


Active and Waiting
When Yeshua is described as standing next to or sitting on God's throne, it does not imply he is resting (from past endeavors) or waiting (for future responsibilities). Far from it. He is actively participating in the governance of human and supernatural beings, over whom God gave him authority (Acts 7:55-56; Rev 3:21).

All authority has been given to me in Heaven and on Earth.
(Matthew 28:18)

[God] raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the Heavens, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion. (Ephesians 1:20-21)

[Yeshua] is at the right hand of God, having gone into Heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to him. (1 Peter 3:22)


The Present King Will Come
Yeshua is enthroned and aggressively extending his lordship — right now. He's not waiting for a distant time (now already two millennia) to begin the job. He's been in office since AD 33.

Yet his present rule as God's delegated king does not contradict the NT prophecies that a day will come when he returns to earth to be crowned Lord of all, by all (Acts 3:19-21; 2 Thess 1:7).

Some people may assume that Present Kingship somehow undermines Future Kingship, or vice versa: that the "restoration of all things" at the second coming of the Messiah (Acts 3:21) minimizes what he is doing at this moment.

It isn't so.

The King who is now campaigning to win willing subjects to his lordship by persuasive, sacrificial love, will eventually wage an Inexorable, World-changing Campaign on earth to finally defeat the Regime of evil and death that tyrannizes our race.

That Yeshua is now sitting down is — in biblical thinking — an image of profound hope for today...and tomorrow.


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