The Exaltation of Christ
“Far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Eph. 1:21).- Ephesians 1:21
What is the most powerful thing, force, or person (apart from God Himself) that you can think of? Perhaps you would reply, “Satan.” Well, he would be a good contender, but there is something in this universe, besides our Creator, that is stronger than even the Devil himself. What is it? Death. No created being escapes death, for it strikes even the most famous, the richest, and those wielding the greatest political power or clout. Even Satan will experience death, although not in the same manner that physical beings lose their lives in this world. Instead, he will be cast, along with all impenitent people, into the lake of fire, wherein those who refuse to trust in Christ will forever suffer the wrath of God for their sins. Revelation 20:7–15 calls this lake of fire “the second death.”
If death is the strongest force in the universe apart from God Himself, then what is the greatest and clearest way that the Lord can demonstrate His unmatchable power? By overcoming and defeating death, of course. And He did precisely this in raising Jesus from the dead (Eph. 1:19–20). This is the power that we should know, along with the richness of being God’s inheritance, according to Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1. Since the Lord can overcome even death itself, nothing can thwart His plan ordained in eternity past (v. 11). We have nothing to fear from any enemy — people, illness, or the kingdom of darkness — for God works this great might toward us (v. 20), having raised our Lord and Savior from the dead in order that, by virtue of our union with Him through the Holy Spirit, we too might be raised to triumph over all of His — and thus our — enemies (WSC Q&A 26).
In addition to being resurrected, Jesus has been raised to sit at God’s right hand — the place of favor — over “all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Eph. 1:21). The number and variety of names that Paul uses here indicates that no authority greater than Christ can be conceived. In fulfillment of Psalm 110, the divine Son of David has received the honor and authority due Him, and even the strongest malevolent powers are subject to His sovereignty. This is a great comfort indeed, for as our Lord’s willing subjects, we enjoy His special care.
Christ’s reign and protection of His people does not guarantee that we will not face hardship, trials, and suffering as long as this present sinful order exists, for He has promised that suffering will be the lot of His people until His return (2 Tim. 2:3). What we can be confident of, on account of our Savior’s reign, is that we will be vindicated on that last day, proving that our suffering for His sake is never in vain.
Passages for Further Study
1 Peter 3:18–22