He Is Exalted

What it was like for Jesus while He resided in heaven, before He came to the earth and died for our sins, is uncertain. In John, chapter 17, beginning at verse 24, Jesus continues His prayer to the Father and expresses His desire that all of us who love Him, might be able to see Him is all of His Glory.

Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. John 17:24

This is the section of Jesus’ prayer to the Father that is my personal favorite. He is asking that you and I might be permitted to be with Him, where He is, whether in heaven or any other place in the universe that the Lord might go. His desire is that we might be able to see His glory in its full brilliance and splendor.

Jesus is light that is incomprehensible. His radiance is brighter and more intense than the Sun. To stand for a microsecond in His presence, while in our present bodies, would instantly vaporize us. Only in an eternal, sinless, and perfect body will we be able to sustain our existence when we are in Jesus presence. We are going to see Him the way that He is, in the full measure of His resplendent beauty, and we will be captivated.

When Jesus came to earth in the form of a man, His glory was veiled or covered for our protection. When Jesus was here on earth, completing the sacrifice that He had determined to make for all people of the earth; He was covered with a veil of human flesh that did not allow us to see Him in His full glory. Here, Jesus expresses His desire to the Father—that each one of us who have been “Born Again” by the Spirit of God, might behold Him in all of His glory.

This prophecy from Isaiah 53:12a, describes the time when the Messiah will be exalted to His former place of honor, after He gives His life in redeeming all those who believe.

Isaiah 53:12a Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

When God Became a Servant

Philippians 2:8-11 And being found in appearance as a man, Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

A few years ago, I revisited a movie that forever changed the way that I understood what Jesus felt during His sacrifice for us. “The Passion of the Christ” is without parallel in its ability to demonstrate the terrible suffering that Jesus endured at the hands of evil men. Many people have criticized Mel Gibson for the graphic way in which he exhibited Jesus bloodied and butchered before the whole world. In reality, it appears from the description of Isaiah in chapter 52 that Mr. Gibson did not go far enough.

Isaiah 52:14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men…

When John describes Jesus in the Book of Revelation, he details the appearance of the Lord as like a lamb as though it had been slain. Even after His resurrection, Jesus apparently still bore the scars on His face and body that resulted from His torture and death.

Revelation 5:6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain…

It is difficult to image the Creator of all things; brutally butchered for us. The fact that Jesus allowed these evil men to disfigure Him so profoundly, that He was barely recognizable as a man, gives us a glimpse into the severity with which God hates sin. God must also, love us so greatly that He would permit His only Son to be beaten beyond recognition.

If anyone should ever accuse God of not loving people, every mouth would be immediately silenced upon seeing Jesus’ scarred and grossly disfigured face. Isaiah’s prophecy is that the Messiah would be barely recognizable as a man. His visage or face would be marred more than any man.

When we examine the testimony of those who observed the manner in which Jesus was beaten, we see that He was brutalized in exactly the same way that Isaiah described. Of greater surprise are the details of the events that took place after Jesus was raised from the dead.

John 20:27 Then Jesus said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side…”

Jesus was instructing Thomas to touch the scars that remained where His body had been pierced.

This is incredible when we consider that Jesus will heal the scars of everyone of us, at our Rapture or Resurrection; yet the scars that resulted from His beating and crucifixion will remain on Him forever. We will all be perfect and beautiful, while Jesus will bear the marks of His terrible death, for all eternity. Jesus has the power to heal all our scars, but He will not heal His own. He allows the evidence of His suffering to remain as an eternal testimony of how great His love is for all of us.

It is because of His great love and the tremendous cost that was involved in making our salvation possible, that God has highly exalted Jesus to the place of greatest honor. As we see ourselves in heaven, in the Book of Revelation Chapter 5, after the Rapture has taken place, we are all thanking and praising Jesus for the sacrifice He made for us in redeeming us to God by His blood, out of every tribe and tongue and nation. There will be people from every corner of the earth, even the tiniest of villages, who will have members included in the list of the redeemed; worshipping and praising God for His magnificent salvation.

Revelation 5:9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”

The song that we are singing to Jesus in heaven is described as a new song. This is a declaration to God that has never been sung before by anyone, nor could it be. The lyrics speak of people who have been redeemed by the blood of a Lamb. Only those saved by Jesus can sing this song. It is not a verse of praise that an angel would sing, for no plan of redemption was given to any fallen angel. As the redeemed of the Lord, we are unique and highly favored by God. He has made provision for all of us to have a second chance to live with Him forever in heaven when we die. All of our sins have been forgiven, as they were fully paid by Jesus’ death.

We should notice that those who have been raptured out of the earth and are seen here, in chapter 5, worshipping the Lord before His throne. We see them present in heaven before the seven-year Tribulation begins, in Chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation.

When the horrors described in chapters 6-18 of Revelation are concluded, Jesus is seen in heaven, preparing to return to the earth with His redeemed church, in chapter 19.

Revelation 19:11-16 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

We recognize who these individuals are, as described in verse 14, by what they are wearing: white garments.

According to the Hebrew Talmud, eligibility for service in the first temple as a priest was based on certain qualifications. During the time of the second Temple, eligibility to serve as a priest was determined by whoever paid the greatest amount of money.[1] The Talmud describes the minimum age of those who could serve as priests at 20 years. However, during the time of Herod Agrippa, his son, Aristobulus was placed into the temple as a priest at just 16 years of age by Herod’s order. Aristobulus is described as so handsome that Herod later became jealous and ordered his execution.[2]

Among the qualifications for those who could serve in the temple: A man who had a good speaking voice. A further mandatory qualification for service required that a priest must be able to demonstrate that they were descended from the tribe of Levi. If his father’s name had already been inscribed in the archives of Jeshana at Zipporim, his admittance was certain.[3] All others who were not able to prove their descendancy were clothed in black and permanently removed from consideration as a priest.

After passing the genealogical test, the candidate was examined for physical defects. According to the great Hebrew teacher Maimonides, there were 140 defects that would permanently disqualified a man from service as a priest in the temple, and 22 which would temporarily disqualify him.[4]

All those who were descended from the correct line and were found to be without defects were clothed in white garments, and their names were inscribed in the records of the temple.[5]

From this example found in the History of the Jews, we can understand John’s intended purpose for the description of those in Revelation 19:14 who are seen in heaven, wearing garments of white linen. They are described as singing songs of redemption to Jesus in Revelation chapter 5, because they were saved out of the earth before the seven-year Tribulation began in chapter 6. We see these individuals once again, in chapter 19 in the Book of Revelation, ready to return to earth with Jesus, at the end of the 21 judgments described in chapters 6-18 of Revelation.

It is interesting that those who were qualified as priests to serve the Lord in ancient Israel, had the same qualifications as those who are designated as priests by Jesus, in the Book of Revelation. They must be descended from Jesus by the salvation He provided and be perfect in righteousness. This is of course, the correct designation for everyone who Jesus has redeemed. Their sins, are removed by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross—they exist forever as perfect and without defect before God.

Jesus is described as ready to return to earth with His church

Having been exalted back to the place of honor that He formerly held before His incarnation at Bethlehem, Jesus is seen in Revelation chapter; 19 riding out of heaven with His redeemed Church. Coming again to earth; He will defeat the assembled armies of the beast who wait for Him at the Valley of Megiddo, north of Jerusalem.

Jesus will destroy the waiting armies of the antichrist at the Valley of Megiddo by the words of His mouth. This is the same Lord who called the universe into existence by simply speaking. The blood of this carnage at Megiddo will be to the depth of a horse’s bridle, or about five feet—all across the two hundred mile stretch of the Valley of Megiddo (See: Destroy The Antichrist). Jesus will then set up the kingdom of His father David, that was prophesied many times throughout the Old Testament.

This prophecy from Isaiah 53:12, is fulfilled by Jesus, as we see Him illustrated in the New Testament as highly exalted and given a name that is above all other names.

[1] Talmud Jer. Ioma, I.
[2] Dr. Alfred Edersheim, The Temple, It’s Ministry and Services, Location 866, Kindle Edition.
[3] Ibid, Dr. Alfred Edersheim, Location 874, Kindle Edition.
[4] Ibid.
[5] 1.Ibid, Alfred Edersheim, Location 882, Kindle Edition.
2.Josephus, Ant. xv. 2, §§ 5-7; 3, §§ 1-3; Schürer, Gesch. i. 295.