We Are Risen and Ascended with Him
If professing Christians talk of the Lord at all, it usually is in terms of His earthly life as Jesus of Nazareth, not recognizing that Jesus Himself said His purpose in coming was only to minister to “the Circumcision [Israel]” (Rom. 15:8, Matt. 15:24), not us Gentiles of “the body of Christ” [cf. Matt. 10:5-6). We hear preaching about Jesus’ life as seen in the four gospels as a ‘pattern for our way of living’ … as if we were Jews under “the Law” that Jesus of Nazareth endorsed and heightened.
18 For verily I [Jesus] say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, ONE JOT OR ONE TITTLE SHALL IN NO WISE PASS FROM THE LAW, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:18 (KJV)
8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: Romans 15:8 (KJV)
24 But he [Jesus] answered and said, I am not sent but [except] unto The Lost Sheep of The House of Israel. Matthew 15:24 (KJV)
Actually Paul, “the Apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13), tells us he is our ‘pattern,’ being the ‘prototype’ for grace believers of the Gentile “body of Christ.”
16 Howbeit for this cause I [Paul] obtained mercy, that in me first [Grk. protos, first of a kind] Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting. 1 Timothy 1:16 (KJV)
Paul says we are not under the Law that Jesus of Nazareth endorsed to Israel.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye [grace gospel believers] are NOT UNDER THE LAW, but UNDER GRACE. Romans 6:14 (KJV)
There are some today who will go so far as to speak of a ‘crucified Lord.’ But if they only go that far, they have a dead Lord. They are the so-called ‘deeper life’ believers. They would tell us we need to ‘die to self.’ They do not recognize the Pauline Biblical fact that every grace age believer has already been “crucified with Christ,” being “baptized into His death” … with no water involved.
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were [dry] baptized into Jesus Christ were BAPTIZED [DRY] INTO HIS DEATH? Romans 6:3 (KJV)
13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized [dry] into one body [Christ’s body], whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:13 (KJV)
20 I AM CRUCIFIED WITH Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ Liveth In Me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
So, our hope does not lie in Jesus’ earthly life and ministry, nor does it lie in His death alone. There is no future in worship of a dead body on a cross or crucifix… for He is Risen and Ascended
Only once in a while do we hear someone speak of the “RISEN” Lord. This is usually around so-called Easter time. For it is only in a Risen Lord that there is life eternal. He alone has immortality to share with us.
Jesus Christ, as the King of kings and Lord of lords is the one who has Risen from the dead. He will one day rule over the earth from the New Jerusalem. He is the One who is Messiah, the great expectation of the Nation Israel. He will be the ruler of the Nation Israel in the promised land and Kingdom on earth. Jesus will yet occupy “the Throne of His father, David” (Luke 1:32-33)
It’s rare that we hear of the ‘ASCENDED Lord being preached. Stephen saw the ascended Lord Jesus “at the right hand of God,” now standing, waiting for His people, Israel, to receive Him as their King. He stood in this attitude of expectation all during the Acts period.
But the Nation of Israel fully rejected ‘The Son of God,’ just as they had rejected the Father’s many prophets of Israel, then rejecting Stephen’s Holy Spirit inspired words. After their fall in Acts 7 with the stoning of Stephen to death they were “diminishing” until Israel was finally set aside fully as seen in Acts 28:28. With that the standing Lord saved Saul and made him Paul “the Apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13). In acts 28:28 Paul wrote;
28 Be it known therefore unto you [Israel], that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. Acts 28:28 (KJV)
Nevertheless, some day He will come to meet His people Israel, in the air. This will be at “the great sound of a trumpet” (Matt. 24:31).
It was also the Ascended Lord Jesus who shown as a bright light and spoke with Saul of Tarsus on the road to Damascus, converting him to be Paul, “the Apostle to the Gentiles.” (Rom. 11:13).
From the Apostle Paul we learn of the present dispensational age of “the grace of God” according to “the revelation of the MYSTERY [the ‘secret’ plan of God for the Cross].” Thereby we have the Lord and Savior who Lived, Died, Rose Again, Ascended on High, who is now Seated at The Right Hand of Majesty as Head of “the Church which is His Body” (Eph. 1:22b-23a).
Our hope is not to be in His Kingdom to come on earth. Our hope is not to meet Him in the air and inhabit the New Jerusalem that is coming to the earth.
Our hope is a confident expectation of a higher hope than any of these. It is to ascend to that high place where He is… and be manifested with Him there, above the principalities and powers of the super-heavenlies (Col. 3:4). We shall co-reign with Him eternally in the heavens.
4 When Christ, Who Is Our Life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:4
12 If we suffer [endure by Him], We Shall Also Reign With Him: if we deny him, he also will deny us [from reigning]: 2 Timothy 2:12 (KJV)
1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle [our physical body] were dissolved [decayed in the grave], we have a building of God, an house [glorious spirit-body, like Jesus’ resurrected body] not made with hands, Eternal In The Heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1 (KJV)
Our new heavenly body and position in heaven is only received “by grace through faith” in Christ as our Savior. This is not based upon human improvement, or any religious performance, membership, works, rituals, or rites.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath [already] blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Ephesians 1:3 (KJV)
Among our all-wise God’s purposes in so great a Salvation is that He might make a display of us as blessed recipients and trophies of His boundless grace and love in “the heavenly places.”
10 To the intent that now unto the [angelic governmental] principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, Ephesians 3:10 (KJV)
- The concept and some portions are largely adapted are enlarged from a paper by Oscar Baker that was originally published June 1949 -