Our Lord's Place in Heaven, Continued

What is He doing up there all this time?

Our Lord was raised from the dead and ascended into Heaven from a hill outside Jerusalem. Mark tells us He was “received up.” Luke writes that He was "carried up.” Acts 1:9, He was “taken up and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” Ephesians 4:9 indicates that He went up by His own power, just as He had come down from heaven by His own power.

Jesus is seated and honored beyond anything a created being could accomplish or understand. Hebrews 9:24. "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:" "Heaven itself" is above the clouds; sun, moon, and stars; up to where God reigns on His throne over all the universe.

Jesus actually "appears in the presence of God," face to face, on our behalf. Our acceptance by God the Father is based on His intercession on our behalf, and He has the proof of payment in full for our sins in His nail pierced hands.

Four things our Lord is doing in Heaven: Sitting; standing; serving [or ministering]; and waiting; all on our behalf.

SITTING. Mark 16:19. “He was received up into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” Mark's Gospel characterizes our Lord as a servant in His earthly work, so it's interesting that his is the only Gospel that tells us our Lord is sitting in this heavenly place. This indicates Jesus had completed His physical earthly work.

STANDING. After His ascension, there are several references in Scripture to Him standing. One of the most noteworthy is when He stood to receive the soul of Steven, who was being stoned to death for preaching the Gospel. Acts 7:55-56. "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56: And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."

SERVING, or ministering. When Jesus was on earth, He said in Luke 22:27, “I am among you as one that serves.” During the 40 days between His resurrection and His ascension, He still continued serving. He made shore lunch for the disciples who had gone fishing after His resurrection. John 21:13. "Jesus then cometh, and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise." This wasn't Suchi, He cooked these fish Himself another scripture tells us. Now He's serving us at God's right hand, interceding for the Believer against all Satan's accusations and at the same time ministering to all our daily needs. In
John 14:2-3
He told us, "I go to prepare a place for you."

WAITING. We usually think of ourselves as the ones who are waiting, but our Lord is waiting to receive the bride He won with so much anguish and pain.

He's also waiting for the time when He will return to earth and put all His enemies under His feet. 1 Corinthians 15:24-25. "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25: For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet."

We also saw Him as Head over all things: creation; kings; His Own kingdom; and the church.

HEAD OVER ALL CREATION. Ephesians 1:22. [in part] "And hath put all things under his feet," Colossians 2:10. "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:" There are angelic powers, demonic powers, and cosmic powers in God’s universe. The Lord Jesus Christ is Head over all these. His hands made everything in creation, and, as head over it all, He has authority over it all.

HEAD OVER ALL RULERS. [KINGS] Whether they acknowledge it or not, He is the head over every ruler of all time. Confusion in world government today can be explained by the fact that there is no acceptance of the real head Who is Christ. Romans 13:1: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."

During the coming Tribulation, Satan will try to govern all mankind with a human head, the Beast of Revelation 13. When Christ appears, the Beast and the False Prophet will be thrown into the lake of fire and the Devil will be chained for a thousand years and then join them in hell. The Headship of Christ over all the universe will be established and He'll reign supreme.

HEAD OVER HIS EARTHLY KINGDOM. Revelation 19:12. “On His head were many crowns” The Lord will appear for His inauguration in the millennial kingdom in His glorified body wearing the crown of redemption. He'll also wear the scars from His sufferings on the cross as evidence that He bore our sins.

It's going to be the scene of His glorious triumph.
He'll be recognized by all the universe as King of kings and Lord of lords.

1Timothy 6:15. "Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;"
Revelation 17:14. "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings. and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful."
Revelation 19:16. "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

HEAD OF THE CHURCH. Ephesians 1:22. “The head over all things to the church” God has given no man authority to be the head of the Church. The Lord Jesus is the sole, living Head of the Church.

The Lord supplies our every need every day, every hour, be it physical, mental or spiritual.


Above all these things, is the fact that Jesus is serving us as the Believer's Great High Priest before God.

I think that we, as Christians, in this dispensation of grace, sometimes forget the importance of the high priest of the Old Testament under the Law. The high priest was man's only way to receive relief for his sins. The high priest had to go before God on man's behalf to have those sins set aside until they could be forgiven by the shed blood of God's Own Son many years later. This was serious, it was absolutely the only way, and the high priest was man's only representative before God.

Ever since His ascension back to heaven, Jesus, as our Great High Priest, has been seated at the right hand of God interceding for the Believer.

Don't miss the importance of that.

Jesus Christ is our only access to God and He's there to see that our prayers are heard by God and acted on.
Jesus said, "No man cometh to the Father but by Me." John 14:6

The office of priesthood is as old as man. In the beginning, the head of the family was the priest.

The spiritual and moral collapse caused by man's fall in the Garden of Eden required that someone go into God’s presence on man’s behalf. Man had sinned and could no longer go into God's presence because sin can't enter God’s holy presence.

About two thousand years after the Garden of Eden incident and after many other failed opportunities by man to obey God, He chose to make Israel His earthly people. The law was given and God set the tribe of Levi apart as priests and Aaron's family specifically as high priests.

In the fullness of time, when God became flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ, the period of time when God dealt with mankind through the Law and an earthly priesthood, passed away. Christ became the heavenly High Priest through death while the earthly priest had to be born to that office and gave it up when he died. He then was succeeded by his oldest son.

There are several Scriptures in Hebrews that clearly show the character of Christ's Priesthood that He gained through His death, resurrection, and ascension. This isn't after the Levitical order. Zehcariah 6:12-13. "And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: 13: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both."

Christ is both a priest and a king. These verses say "He will grow up out of His place" which is heaven, and "will build the temple of the Lord" which is the church.

Let's look at some of the truths of His priesthood.

#1. He became a man, just as the earthly high priests were.

Hebrews 2:17. "Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." Our Lord passed through every human experience and trouble known to man and still remained sinless. In His own grief as the Son of Man, He prayed to His Father in Heaven. It's because of these experiences and tribulations in His life on earth that He's such an understanding and sympathetic High Priest for us.

Hebrews 2:18. "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to aid them that are tempted."

Hebrews 4:15: "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

#2. He became our Great High Priest forever.

Psalm 110:4. "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever. Hebrews 4:14. "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession." Hebrews 8:1. "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;"

As the Son of God He has every right to be on the throne in Heaven, and, because of that, the Believer can rest assured of His intercession on our behalf.

His grace, and His ministry in this regard allows us to come boldly to God in prayer. Hebrews 6:16. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." We need both mercy and grace—His mercy forgives us when we fail, and His grace strengthens us so that we won't fail in the same way again.

As the Son of Man, Jesus prayed to God in His time of need, and God the Father heard Him. Our prayers reach God the Father when we pray in the Name of His Son.

#3. He had infinite compassion on us all.

I think of that old hymn, "Helpless and vile as I could be, no hope within." We don't like to see ourselves as being either helpless or vile, but God did and so did Jesus and in spite of it all they still loved us enough that Jesus gave His life for us as a ransom to God for our sins.

Hebrews 5:7-9. "Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared; though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him."

Go back to verses 1 & 2 in this chapter and look at the pictures of ourselves as sinners. Hebrews 5:1-2. "For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity." Verse 2 calls for God's compassion on the ignorant and on them that are out of the way [not living the way they should]. The Lord always showed compassion for those who were in need both physically and spiritually when He was on earth.

When Peter failed, the Lord loved him just the same. "His compassion's fail not." Lamentations 3:22 The Lord will share and bare the burdens of our biggest failures and those of the most down-trodden Believer. He is tender and sympathetic, not hard and critical of our mistakes. Remember how He spoke to Peter when He knew Peter was about to deny that he even knew Him? God wants us to refrain from the sins we willingly commit and He also wants to forgive us for those we unwittingly commit. He wants us to be honest with Him and confess our sins to restore our fellowship with Him again. 1 John 1:9: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

In Old Testament times, a person who unwittingly sinned, or, using the language of the verse we just read "was ignorant," had to bring a sacrifice to God. Leviticus 4:2-3. "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them; 3: If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering."

We are no different than those Old Testament people.We still sin unwittingly today, but now, as our High Priest, He invites us to come to God in prayer in all things.

#4. He's our constant Intercessor in heaven and before God.

Hebrews 7:25. "Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them."

"Saved to the uttermost" means sins we commit after we are saved can't keep us from heaven. His blood sacrifice continues to atone for all our sins until we reach heaven. His priesthood is everlasting and unchangeable and the power of His endless life insures we can live forever.

His Priesthood will never pass to another, as was the case of the Jewish high priests. They surrendered their priesthood when they died. Our Lord remains High Priest forever because “He ever liveth.” Our salvation is assured because of that eternal priesthood of Christ and His constant intercession before God on our behalf.

#5. He ministers to us day and night from a heavenly sanctuary and with a heavenly ministry.

A sanctuary is a safe place where nothing can harm you. Hebrews 8:2. "A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man." He puts His priestly functions into practice from this heavenly safe place which is God's very throne of grace.

Think of the glory of the Tabernacle Moses built in the wilderness, all that gold and silver and fine curtains, cloth, and dyed animal pelts. Think of the magnificence of the Temple Solomon erected in the promised land. But these were sanctuaries which demanded constant upkeep. Anything man builds can crumble or be destroyed. That did take place when the Babylonians destroyed Solomon’s magnificent building around 595 B.C.

The Tabernacle in heaven is maintained in all it's glory just by the presence of our Lord while these tabernacles built by man required constant upkeep and repair.

When our Lord entered the heavenly sanctuary, He didn't go where there was a symbolic presence of God in the Shekinah cloud of glory as there was in the Temple. He went into God’s actual presence. Our Lord is there now, serving as “a minister of the sanctuary,” our safe place for eternity.

Whatever our needs are here on earth below or in Heaven above, our Lord delights in being in the midst of His redeemed people "as One that serveth."

These are just some of the things Jesus is doing for those who have trusted Him as their Lord and Savior. If you haven't trusted Him as your Savior, you are not included in these blessings for eternity.