Friday, January 27, 2012

Implications of Psalm 110:1 on the ascension

The first half of Robert A. Peterson's book on the work of Christ, aptly titled Salvation Accomplished by the Son, focuses on the events of Christ's salvific work. These include: the incarnation, a sinless life, death, resurrection, ascension, session, Pentecost, intercession, and his second coming. Compared to some of these works, the ascension of Christ is an oft overlooked but vitally important accomplishment of Christ. Peterson begins his discussion of the ascension by looking at Psalm 110. In particular, the first verse is important and one should note that it was quoted by Peter in his Pentecost sermon. It reads,

“The LORD said to my LORD, 
Sit at my right hand, 
until I make your enemies your footstool” 
(Acts 2:34–35) 

Peterson moves to an explanation of how this verse works with the ascension:

There are three implications that we can draw from the connection between Psalm 110 and the ascension.
First, the destination of Christ’s ascension is the right hand of God, the Father, the place of greatest honor and authority. He ascends not merely into heaven or into the clouds, but to the dwelling place of God.
Second, the ascension is connected to kingship. Christ’s ascension marks him as the true Davidic King, who is greater than his father David. I will explain this theme further in the chapter on Christ’s session.
Third, the ascension is connected to Christ’s victory over his enemies. Christ by his selfless sacrifice won the definitive triumph over the powers on the cross, but the cross is the beginning of that victory, not the end. As Christ takes his rightful place seated at the right hand of God, he also awaits the culmination of his triumph when all his enemies will be placed under his feet in subjection. (emphasis and line breaks mine)
This is fascinating! Christ sits in at the pinnacle of power and the apex of authority. He is the King of kings. And he is victorious. Clearly the ascension is an aspect of Christ's work that warrants more study on our part. Peterson has done us a fine service in dealing with this in his book!

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