He is risen!... Now, what?
Updated: Apr 14, 2020
He reigns! “…he (God the Father) raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms… (Ephesians 1:20b)” (see also Hebrews 8:1; 12:2) From Heaven, he rules, empowers and leads his kingdom on earth through his Spirit, poured out on us at Pentecost… “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear (Acts 2:32-33)” Yet, there is still a time to come when all will be made right in his kingdom… “But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 and since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool (Hebrews 10:12-13).” Jesus longs for that time, as he prayed to his Father just days before his crucifixion… “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began… “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. (John 17:5, 24).” And oh, how right it will feel when every knee bows and every tongue confesses that Jesus is Lord! “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 acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).” The scene in Heaven will be beyond glorious! “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever (Revelation 5:13)!” Jesus longs for that time! The earth and all God’s creation long for that time! And we, his servants, long for that time as well! What will it be like? Will it all start with a coronation ceremony followed by a royal feast to celebrate? We cannot possibly know for sure, but here is Blaine Eldredge’s inspiring vision of what that glorious time might be like! Picture the scene in “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” (the last one in the series) where Aragorn is crowned King! It's triumphant - with great pageantry and fanfare, honor and praise! Read this piece with awe and wonder – and let it fill your heart with longing…
The Procession (Original work by Blaine Eldredge, included here with permission.) How do you picture the entry into the new Jerusalem? It is an event Paul anticipated, that stunning moment when all of us, he wrote, are caught up in the air, like the people of a liberated city rushing out to take part in the victory parade. And it is a military parade. This is not a crowd of holiday revelers. This is the liberating army of heaven itself, the full martial force of God, holy, sanctified, right. The tone is more than exultation. It is the forceful, jubilant, vindicated relief of the innocent and right in every contested case. It is like pride, if it were not full of worship. It would be like fury if its force were not so wholly loving. Picture the city, the new Jerusalem: high towers, domes, banners, flags, flowers, windowsills overflowing with gardens and hung billowing fabric. The city is packed. The mood triumphant, and on the main road to the palace the crowd has left a wide space bare for the parade. Here come the cherubim. They land like little mountains descending. Huge, polymorphic creatures, with the heads of eagles and bulls and lions, and wild, winged bodies, leading the parade. They are snorting, bellowing, crying, full of the fierce satisfaction of evil overthrown. The lions roar and toss their heads, the eagles shake and fold huge wings. When they land, the ground shakes. There are unknown creatures seen only in rare visions, beautiful, wonderful, creatures of smoke and wind and fire. There are seraphim descending like huge fantastic ships, and with them, the angels. Their bodies are like human bodies. Their faces are like human faces, but only in the way that every human face is like God’s face. Their motions are strong and sure and confident, the turn of the wrench, the ratchet of the lever action, there is no mistaking it, these are vessels ready to be filled with God’s own power. The archangel Michael is there, taller even than the city walls. He bends his head to pass the gates, glorious enough that he could be the city’s uncontested king did not his whole being exist to affirm that honor in another. His very name is a question with no answer, shouted into the abyss: “Who is like God?” But look there is Gabriel. There are the angels who crushed the Assyrian army. There are David’s allies. And while the procession comes in, there are people in among them. There are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Hagar, and Leah. There is David, who delivered when the rescue of humanity depended on a sword fight. There are Deborah and Gideon, striding together to shake hands as commanders in a common cause. There are warriors with unburdened shoulders, there are good kings though no nation regarded them, there are the true leaders of the faith, who you recognize without ever hearing their names. Lewis is there, Craig McConnel is there, Saint Augustine is there. There are snapping banners and the standards of companies of allies forged in noble cause. You could run laughing into every set of arms. You know the splendor of every face. This is every tribe and tongue, and raising the general noise is the thunder of the chariot, the cry of the horse, the bellow of huge uncertain creatures vanished long before our chapter in the story began. Adam is there, and every note of glory in his face is Christ. There is no forgetting this is the power of heaven. This is God’s mighty right arm. And the creatures are coming. Lord of the elk, king of the eagles, the disappeared American lion. Behemoth is there, bears are there, and overhead a cloud of birds so tremendous its top is well above the thunderheads. They are creation, and all creation has called out, and of their own free will they gladly offer allegiance. And then a shout will go out, starting far outside the city—dogs yapping, lions sounding out, human, cherubic, angelic voices, winged creatures rising in the air, for as far as you can see beyond the city walls the cry goes up, the word is hallelujah, and every other hallelujah is an anticipation of this one note, the choir in the church, the wind in the branches, the roar of victorious armies and the thunder of water and the wordless cry of stars across millennia, hallelujah, the bell, the gong, the sudden rush of every brass horn, bull elk, elephant, the drum, the wave, the cry of the mother delivering, the whale, the storm, the sweep of the dancer’s leg rising, rising, rising hallelujah, Moses, Jeremiah, Deborah, Mary, Peter, Paul, Priscilla, the laughter of young boys, the play of young girls, the feet of the runner, and the gasp of the sunrise, every word, exhale, song of each unconquered martyr, it is the elevation of the lowly ones, it is the aching of the stones, it is the song of creation, proceeding unbroken year after year and now coming to its peak because the gates are swinging wide, and you can hear them: huge wooden gates creaking on new hinges, opening up so that the king of glory may come in. Jesus. He will be mounted. The blood-stained steed now washed clean under him. Though he is not tall among the crowd there is no mistaking him, because here before you is the Son of Man. Cloud rider, earth shaker, son of the Father for whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. He is desire itself. He is the sacrificial king. Not one opposes him. His face is grave and merry and ageless. You know him from a hundred battles together. You know his face better than you know your spouse, your child, your own, your eyes were made to look upon this one face. All creation rests upon him and no thing encumbers him. At the steps of the palace he gets off his horse and hands off the reigns. He mounts the steps. Eternity has waited for this one moment. The mightiest cherubim stand beside the throne, terrible angels are there as officers. He will nod at each one, shake hands, he will mount the final steps. In the moment you have waited for your whole life, the moment your every dream rests on, your victory, future, your desire when you woke in the night, you will see the crown go up, and when it comes down, the exultation is loud enough to shake the universe, for it lands upon his head, and he is king.