. . . . And set him at his own right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.Eph. 1:20b, 21.
O, that this prayer be ours!
And that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ may hear us!
This prayer of the apostle in behalf of the Church at Ephesus, which is after all, the prayer which the Spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ wrought in his heart, in his mind, and through Him in the written Word, in order that we, too, might learn to know what to pray for as we ought. . . .
For of what avail can it be that someone prays in our behalf, even though he be an apostle, or though he were an angel in heaven, unless God’s answer of that prayer become effective and manifest first of all in that our hearts, too, yearn and cry out for that very blessing from heavenly places that is the contents of the intercessory prayer?
Let, then, the prayer of the apostle be answered from heaven in the opening of our hearts and the earnest petition on our part for the spiritual blessing he invokes upon the Church!
That we, too, may utter this prayer!
This prayer that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ may give unto us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, and that he may so enlighten the eyes of our understanding, that we may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of his glory of his inheritance in the saints; that we may know, too, what is the exceeding greatness of the power of God to usward, yea, into us, of that divine power that even now is operative in the saints, and that will not cease to work until it has made us heirs of the eternal glory, that power of God, the standard of which is the mighty power which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead; yea, still more, the power of God which was wrought in Christ, when He set him at His right hand in heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that of the eternal future. . . .
O, God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Let this prayer be the constant prayer of the Church!
For, how else shall we know and understand and be victorious and rejoice in this world?
The natural man understands not these things. For not only is he carnal and darkened in his understanding, so that he loves and pursues after the lie, but he is also a mere living soul, of the earth earthy, and these things are spiritual, heavenly, eternal; they belong to the category of things which eye hath not seen, and ear hath not heard, and which have never and could never have arisen in the heart of man!
Only through the revelation of the Spirit of Christ can they be understood.
And that revelation can be apprehended only by him, whose eyes of the heart have been enlightened, so that he may discern spiritual things spiritually!
And that wonder of enlightenment is wrought only through the grace of prayer!
May that mighty prayer be ours!
Marvelous power in us!
For, if you would know what is that power of God that is operative in believers even here in this world, that power whereby they were called out of death into life, out of darkness into light, then you must consider the mighty power of God that exalted Jesus Christ!
Jesus is exalted!
He stands at the pinnacle of all created things!
He rules over all in the name of God, and has an everlasting dominion in heaven and on earth!
For this and no less is the significance of the figure that is implied in the words “set him at his right hand in heavenly places/’ Earthly kings would sometimes exalt someone at the right hand of the throne of their earthly power and majesty. And this would imply, not that the king himself had abdicated, but he had empowered and authorized the one thus exalted with the actual execution of his rule in the kingdom. The whole kingdom would be subjected unto him as unto the king himself. Thus Christ is exalted at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. The dominion is His under God and in God’s name. All power in heaven and earth is given unto Him!
In that He is far exalted even above the first man Adam in his state of integrity in Paradise. The latter, too, had dominion. He was king under God. But he was made a little lower than the angels. His throne was on the earth, and his dominion was limited to the scope of earthly things. But Christ is exalted at the right hand of God, and that in heavenly places. His power and dominion are universal. He stands at the pinnacle of all created things in heaven and on earth.
He rules over all!
For he is exalted far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion. And this includes all authority and might, wherever they may be found. For principalities, and powers or authorities, and mights and dominions are, first of all, the angels that stand before the throne of God and see His face; the heavenly spirits from the viewpoint of their various ranks and orders: also in the angelic world there is order and degree of power and authority. The reference is principally to them. But this does not exclude any other principalities and powers. Also the wicked spirits, that once rose in rebellion against Him that sitteth on the throne in heaven, under the leadership and by the instigation of their evil chief, are called principalities and powers. Col. 2:15. And, besides, there are mighty powers and rulers in the earth. Above them all stands Christ, the Anointed of God!
Far above them!
Their authority and power cannot even be compared with His. They cannot reach up to His exalted position. They are utterly in subjection to Him. Under His feet they are. Him they must obey. Against Him they can never prevail.
And His power is over every name that is named in all creation. Many are the names that are named in this world. And these names denote the creatures in their nature and position, their power and might, their relative significance and purpose, in relation to God and to one another and to the whole of created things. They have been determined and fixed by the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, “of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Eph. 3:15. The creatures, small and great, in all their power and significance, their operation and strife in all the universe, are subjected to the Christ of God.
He has received a name which is above all names!
And that forever!
For, not only in this world, but also in the world to come, that name remains far above all names! He will never be dethroned. Even though in the world to come He will deliver His kingdom to the Father, that God may be all and in all, He will maintain His position at the head of the kingdom of glory, far above every name that is named in the new heavens and the new earth in which righteousness shall dwell forever.
God exalted Him!
The Christ, the Anointed, the Servant of Jehovah, and that in His human nature. It is not the Son of God in His divine nature that was so highly exalted. Nor is it divine power with which Christ is invested at His exaltation. The divine nature cannot be exalted, and divine power cannot be conferred upon any. As the Son of God in His divine nature He is co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit, almighty, exalted over all, with absolute authority and sovereignty over every name that is named. In that nature He could not be exalted. But this Son of God assumed our flesh and blood, was seen in the form of man, humbled Himself into the deepest reproach of shame and suffering of our death and condemnation. And that Son of God in that humiliated human nature is now exalted far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named.
In Him the promise is realized.
In His exaltation the Scripture is fulfilled: “What is man that thou art mindful of Him? and the son of man that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. Thou “hast made him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet,” Ps. 8:4-6.
Man in the first Adam goes down in order that man in the second Adam may be crowned the lord of all!
Now we see not yet all things put under him.
But we see Jesus, who also was made a little lower than the angels. . . .
For the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour!
Mighty power of God!
For let us not forget that this is the real subject of the revelation of the Word of God in this passage.
Indeed, the text speaks of the amazing and glorious exaltation of Jesus Christ at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens; yet only as a manifestation of a mighty divine power that wrought this exaltation.
It is the working of the mighty power which God wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places, that is the main theme of the divine revelation here. God revealed Himself, the mighty God of our salvation is revealed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and in His exaltation at the right hand of God. This the Church must know!
More: it must know the power of God that is operating in her, in the Church, in the hearts of the saints, the mighty power of grace, whereby they have been regenerated and called from death into life, from darkness into light.
For knowing that power, they will know the hope of their calling.
And to know this power that operated within them, they must know the power of God that wrought in Christ, when He raised Him to immortality and exalted Him to everlasting and heavenly glory and power. For the latter is the standard of the other. According to the power, which God revealed in the resurrection and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ, He also works into the saints!
Divine power wrought upon Christ to exalt Him!
And how exceeding great is that power!
It is a power over death and hell and shame and reproach! It is a power that is mightier still than the power whereby all things were called into existence from the beginning; or rather, let us say, it is that same divine power of omnipotence, but now revealed in still greater glory than in the work of creation!
For Christ had emptied Himself! He had no name left in all the world! He had descended into the deepest darkness of death and of hell. He had removed Himself in perfect obedience as far away from this heavenly glory as it is possible to be removed, into that abyss of despair whence there seemed to be no conceivable return. And into that depth reached the power of God. From that depth of nameless despair that exceeding great power of God drew Him. That amazing power of God changed death into life, mortality into immortality, reproach and shame into honor and glory, utter powerlessness to highest power, the reproach of hell into the position of glory at the right hand of the Majesty into the heavens, the position in which He had a name below all names into that in which He has a name above every name that is named.
Exceeding greatness of the divine power!
And this power He wrought not only upon Christ, so that He personally is exalted.
It also works within Him.
For in His exaltation Christ received the promise of the Spirit as the Head of the Church, of all His own, whom the Father had given Him, so that He became the quickening spirit.
And through that Spirit the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ causes that same exceeding great and mighty energy, the power to quicken, to raise from the dead, to deliver from shame and to exalt to glory, to operate in the exalted Christ.
So that He is able to subdue all things even unto Himself.
Impart His own life and glory unto us!
And we may be like unto Him!
Blessed riches of grace!
For the contemplation of the mighty working of God’s exceeding great power in the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus Christ from the dead is designed to cause us to know what is the hope of our calling, and what is the riches of the glory of God’s inheritance in the saints. . . .
And what is the exceeding greatness of His power into us who believe!
It is that power, that wrought upon Christ to exalt Him from the lowest hell to heavenly glory, that power that now operates through the Spirit in Christ, which also works in the Church. For He is the Head of the Church, which is His body. And His own are engrafted into Him, become one plant with Him, and through His Spirit that dwells in the Head and in the body they partake of the power of His death, but also of the mighty power of His resurrection and exaltation into highest glory.
Death is vanquished; eternal life reigns!
Hell is overcome and swallowed up; glory and power and dominion are ours in Christ; with Him we are set in heavenly places!
It is true that all this is ours only in beginning, in principle, as long as we are in the body of this death. But if we know the exceeding greatness of the power of God into us, which He wrought in the resurrection and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, we will also know the hope of our calling; with Him we shall be glorified!
That mighty power cannot rest until by it we shall have been made like unto Him, in body and soul!
And reign with Him forever!