After Jesus produced the righteousness needed to save repentant sinners, He was summoned to heaven to be declared “King of Earth.” Centuries later, after being found worthy, the Father exalted Jesus again by declaring Jesus to be “Ruler of heaven and Earth.” The Father, with this declaration, relinquished His throne and sovereign authority to Jesus. For the past 200+ years, unknown to millions of Christians, Jesus has reigned on the throne of the universe as “King of kings and Lord of lords.” This is an important part of the untold story of Jesus, but it does not affect our prayers because praying to the Father is always appropriate.1 Since 1798, the Holy Spirit has merely redirected our prayers to Jesus because Jesus temporarily rules the universe. This is the Father’s will!2
Jesus will continue to reign as almighty God until the end of the 1,000 years. After creating a new heaven and a new Earth, Jesus will give sovereign authority back to the Father so the Father may once again be, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”3 I realize the exaltation of Jesus is a new topic for many Christians, so a healthy amount of skepticism is expected and an open mind is required. Consider these four passages from the Bible:
1. Daniel saw Jesus given authority, glory, and sovereign power: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man [This vision was given ~600 years before Jesus was born. The significance for us is Daniel saw Jesus as a son of man long before Jesus entered the form of a man.], coming with the clouds of heaven [Daniel is not describing the Second Coming. This setting occurred in heaven when the little horn on Earth had fulfilled 1,260 years of power. Because He is the archangel and a member of deity, Jesus is surrounded by a host of holy angels which looked like the “clouds of heaven” to Daniel.]. He approached the Ancient of Days [the Father] and was led into his presence. [After He was found worthy – Revelation 5,] He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; [and a time will come when] all nations and peoples of every language [will worship] worshiped him. His dominion [will be] is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom [of priests – Revelation 1:6] is one that will never be destroyed.”4
2. John also saw Jesus given power in 1798 that He did not possess previously. Notice seven attributes of power given to Jesus after He was found worthy to receive the book sealed with seven seals: “In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive  power and  wealth and  wisdom and  strength and  honor and  glory and  praise!’ Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea [Psalms 145:21, a phrase indicating universal praise – obviously people on Earth or under the Earth (in their graves) knew nothing about this event], and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’ The four living creatures said, ‘Amen [so be it],’ and the  elders fell down and worshiped.”5
3. Bible scholars believe Paul wrote the book of Ephesians about A.D. 62. Paul knew, at the time, the Father planned to give Jesus sovereign authority at a future time. Consider Paul’s words: “He [the Father] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times [when the years] will have reached their fulfillment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.”6
4. Paul also knew a time would come when Jesus would return the sovereign authority the Father had given Him: “Then the end will come, when he [Jesus] hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he [Jesus] has destroyed all dominion, authority and power [at the end of the 1,000 years]. For he [Jesus] must reign [as almighty God] until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”
“For he [the Father] ‘has put everything under his [Jesus’] feet.’ Now when it says that ‘everything’ has been put under him [Jesus], it is clear that this does not include God [the Father] himself, who put everything under Christ [when He was found worthy in 1798 and given sovereign power]. When he [Jesus] has done this [destroyed death, the last enemy], then the Son himself will be made subject to him [the Father] who put everything under him, so that God [the Father] may be all in all [the Sovereign Ruler of the universe once again].”7
Now that you have considered the transfer of sovereign authority between the Father and Jesus, you can easily resolve an apparent conflict! In 1 Timothy 6:15, Paul says the Father alone is “King of kings and Lord of lords, but, in Revelation 19:16, John saw Jesus wearing the title “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” at the Second Coming. This apparent conflict is resolved by the transfer of sovereign authority in 1798. When we know all the bits and pieces the Bible teaches, it makes perfect sense just as it reads!
Why Was Jesus Exalted?
When the time arrived to enter the final phase of His plan to save repentant sinners, the Father assembled the angels and conducted a search to see who was qualified to bring the sin problem to a close. After scrutinizing everyone in the universe, Jesus alone was found worthy to receive the book sealed with seven seals. After He received the book, it became known as, “The Lamb’s Book of Life.”8
The Father gave Jesus sovereign authority over heaven and Earth because Jesus needs it to accomplish the objective that goes with opening each of the book’s seals! The Father recused Himself from ruling the universe and took “a back seat” for these four reasons:
1. Before anything was created, the Father foreknew sin would occur and, according to His plan, Jesus would play the central role in saving sinners. Because Jesus lived in the form of an angel in heaven and then a pauper on Earth, the Father predetermined everyone would eventually see that Jesus is actually a deity like Himself. The exposure of all that Jesus is began unfolding in heaven in 1798.
Soon, Jesus will open the fourth seal. This act and the ministry of the 144,000 will dramatically reveal Jesus is almighty God. This process of breaking the seven seals is called the “revelation of Jesus Christ” and the details are outlined in the book of Revelation. At the end of the 1,000 years, there will be a glorious climax to the revelation of Jesus. At that time, and only at that time, everyone who has ever lived on Earth will be alive. Jesus will appear on a great white throne with the Father before an innumerable host of people and angels. Both Gods will be glorified with the brilliance and sovereign power that normally attends the Father. Jesus will be seated beside the Father who will announce Jesus is no longer the Son of God. He is an almighty God: a self-existing member of deity like Himself. The Father will also declare Jesus as His equal in every way; therefore, everyone will be required to bow down and worship the Creator for who He is! This declaration is the third law of the universe!
“It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge [that Jesus Christ is an Almighty] God.’ ”9 “Therefore God [the Father] exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord [sovereign], to the glory of God the Father.”10
Can you imagine the loathing, the cursing, the grief, and the shame this announcement will cause? Lucifer and his demons will be required to bow before Jesus! Millions of wicked people will be aghast when they see who Jesus really is! What will they say when they see those they hated, persecuted, and put to death standing around Jesus? Imagine the consternation of those who crucified Jesus and the fear that will fill the hearts of those who put the 144,000 to death when they see the 144,000 glorified with Jesus and the Father. What a day of reckoning that will be when false religions of the world are confronted with the truth about Jesus!
It is important to understand why the Father wants Jesus fully exposed as a member of deity. The Father is not a dictator driven to consolidate His power and protect His throne. Instead, the Father wants the universe to know He has an equal who can rule from the throne just as well as Himself. What does this say of the Father’s humility? What does this say about the trust and love He places in Jesus?
2. The Father transferred sovereign power to Jesus in 1798 so Jesus could open two seals prior to 1844. Jesus broke the third seal on The Lamb’s Book of Life in 1844 and since that time, has been going through the books of records, carefully investigating the life of each person who lived on Earth.
Maybe the first person to be judged was Abel since he was the first person to die. As Jesus examines each life’s record, He considers all facts: What a person believed to be right and wrong; what a person believed God’s will was; a person’s honesty, integrity, and love for God and man; and the person’s choices, actions, words, thoughts, and motives. Jesus looks for evidence proving a person is a repentant sinner. For the past 175+ years, billions of angels have been present in heaven’s courtroom, closely watching Jesus decide each case. Now that they have a working knowledge of good and evil and have lived a few thousand years observing the curse of sin on Earth, they are called to witness the “judgment seat of Christ.”11
The Father wants the holy angels to understand His judicial system and government. He wants them to see how law, grace, faith, and love work together; to see His fairness and generosity for saving sinners. He also wants the angels to see why He cannot save some human beings. Therefore, any concern or question about the judgment of an individual is addressed. As they witness Jesus passing judgment, they know how much is at stake. They have observed the curse of sin on Earth for six thousand years. The reality and importance of heaven and eternal life mean everything to them. The Father is educating them with everlasting concepts they will not forget. This courtroom is their schoolroom. This education will allow the holy angels to testify throughout eternity about the love, grace, mercy, and justice of the Father.
Even though He is the Son of God, Jesus was not exalted to the position of “judge” on the basis of nepotism. Jesus was exalted on the basis of hard-earned qualifications:
- On the basis of His love for the Father, Jesus forfeited His remaining rights and prerogatives in order to save sinners. Jesus became “the son” (the subject) of God when Adam and Eve sinned and He willingly came to Earth to do the Father’s will.
- For no other reason than love for sinners, Jesus was willing to perish forever so repentant sinners could have the eternal life that once belonged to Him.
- Jesus faced temptation beyond what mankind will ever experience. In all cases, He was victorious. He produced the required righteousness every sinner needs for salvation and the Father has promised to transfer Christ’s righteousness to repentant sinners through the blood of the Lamb.
- Jesus demonstrated infinite love for the Father when He endured being mocked and beaten before going to the cross. He then demonstrated infinite love for sinners by staying on the cross and dying the second death, even though the Father shocked Jesus by forsaking Him.
- Because Jesus suffered beyond anything sin can impose on an ordinary person, no one is more qualified to judge mankind. Because He is our Creator, no one is better qualified to be our judge. Because He was willing to lay down His eternal life and cease to exist, no one is better qualified to own the people He redeems. Finally, no one is better qualified to be king and high priest over an eternal kingdom than Jesus who saves to the utmost.12
3. The Father stepped aside in 1798 so the curse of sin could be brought to an end by one who had experienced its miseries in His own body. Jesus was born on Earth and lived among sinners. He knows the human condition because He has walked in our shoes. The Father humbly stepped aside because He knew Jesus was qualified and could bring the Plan of Salvation to a close in such a way that would never raise any cause for accusation, scandal, or suspicion. Each act of the Father and Jesus in this drama (including the annihilation of angels and human beings) is legitimate, transparent, and righteous. It has to be because highly intelligent beings will scrutinize each detail for eternity.
4. By giving His sovereign authority to Jesus, the Father proved to the universe He abides by the first commandment. He loves and trusts Jesus enough to give His throne to Him. This is the same love and trust Jesus put in the Father while on the cross. Their actions are so profound! The Holy Spirit is left out of the story intentionally. The silence of the third member of the Godhead reveals the reluctance of all three to be visible. Think about it. The Father is also invisible even though He lives in unapproachable light. No one can see Him but the other two Gods. The Father does this to give His children an estimation of the powers that belong to all three deities. Like the Holy Spirit and the Father, Jesus is also invisible. He does live in the lowly form of a created being so the Godhead can fellowship with their children, but were He to reveal Himself as He really is, no one could look upon His brilliance.13 The Godhead does not lord their abilities or powers over their creation. They reveal what is needed only when it is needed.
The Holy Spirit
There are a few examples in the Bible of how the Holy Spirit has proved He loves the other two deities and His neighbors as Himself. One in particular stands out. When the Godhead formed, the God who became the Holy Spirit also gave up two-thirds of His rights and prerogatives. He agreed to remain invisible forever and to never speak on His own; but to speak only what He was given.14 When Jesus was beaten and hung on the cross, the Holy Spirit was outraged. He felt the same as anyone would when a loved one is treated cruelly; but the Holy Spirit surrendered His righteous indignation to the will of the Father at the cross. He could have instantly killed everyone participating in the crucifixion of Jesus, including Lucifer and his demons, because each member of deity has the ability to give life and take it.15 He could have destroyed them all with a single command, but He loves and trusts the Father to the point that, like Jesus, He complied with the Father’s will and remained silent.
We know the Holy Spirit was present at Calvary. He was able to connect the heart of one thief to Jesus! He also connected with a Roman soldier! “And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’ ”16 The Holy Spirit has been present on Earth from the beginning,17 and has witnessed our every thought, word, and deed. He has seen every abuse and heard every cry, and yet, refused to act on His own. We are so blessed three deities love each other with all of their heart, mind, and soul and their neighbors as themselves. What a joy it will be to witness and study their amazing love and unconventional actions for eternity.
Jesus Received Sovereign Power
The Father gave Jesus sovereign power over heaven and Earth and recused Himself from the throne in 1798 for these four reasons: First, the Father foreknew there would be no better way to expose Jesus as a separate, distinct, equal, coeternal God than by giving Jesus sovereign authority to complete the Plan of Salvation. Second, the Father recused Himself from the throne so Jesus could be the sole judge of mankind. The Father ordained mankind be judged by “a man”18 who has been tempted in all points just as we are.19 Third, the Father gave Jesus His throne because He knows Jesus is better qualified to complete the Plan of Salvation than Himself. This shows the Father’s incredible humility! Finally, the Father recused Himself from the throne to demonstrate to the universe He loves and trusts Jesus with all of His heart, mind, and soul; the same totality Jesus demonstrated for the Father and mankind on the cross. At the end of sin’s drama, Jesus will return the sovereign authority so the Father “may be all in all.”20
Click on the numbers by the reference to go back to where you were reading.
1. Matthew 6:9
2. Ephesians 1:9-10
3. 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
4. Daniel 7:13-14, NIV 1984 edition, insertions and italics mine
5. Revelation 5:12-14, insertions mine
6. Ephesians 1:9-10, NIV 1984 edition, insertions mine
7. 1 Corinthians 15:27-28, NIV 1984 edition, insertions mine
8. Revelation 13:8; 21:27
9. Romans 14:11, insertion mine
10. Philippians 2:9-11, insertions mine
11. 2 Corinthians 5:10; Daniel 7:9-10
12. Psalm 2:8; John 17:6; Revelation 1:6
13. Exodus 33:20
14. John 16:13
15. Exodus 12:12; Acts 5:3-11; Romans 8:10
16. Mark 15:39
17. Genesis 1:2
18. Acts 17:31
19. Hebrews 4:15
20. 1 Corinthians 15:24-28