(Owen, Christologia, Part 19)

Chapter XIX. The Exaltation of Christ, with his Present state and 
Condition in Glory during the Continuance of his Mediatory Office. 
 The apostle, describing the great mystery of godliness--"God 
manifest in the flesh"--by several degrees of ascent, he carrieth it 
within the veil, and leaves it there in glory--"anelefte en doxei", 1 
Tim. 3: 16; God was manifest in the flesh, and "received up into 
glory." This assumption of our Lord Jesus Christ into glory, or his 
glorious reception in heaven, with his state and condition therein, is 
a principal article of the faith of the church,--the great foundation 
of its hope and consolation in this world. This, also, we must 
therefore consider in our meditations on the person of Christ, and the 
use of it in our religion. 
 That which I especially intend herein is his present state in 
heaven, in the discharge of his mediatory office, before the 
consummation of all things. Hereon doth the glory of God, and the 
especial concernment of the church, at present depend. For, at the end 
of this dispensation, he shall give up the kingdom unto God, even the 
Father, or cease from the administration of his mediatory office and 
power, as the apostle declares, 1 Cor. 15: 24-28, "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. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. 
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all 
things under his feet. But when he saith, All this are put under him, 
it is manifest that he is excepted which did put all things under him. 
And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also 
himself be subject unto Him that put all things under him, that God 
may be all in all." 
 All things fell by sin into an enmity unto the glory of God and the 
salvation of the church. The removal of this enmity, and the 
destruction of all enemies, is the work that God committed unto his 
Son in his incarnation and mediation, Eph. 1:10. This he was variously 
to accomplish in the administration of all his offices. The enmity 
between God and us immediately, he removed by the blood of his cross, 
whereby he made peace, Eph. 2: 14-16; which peace he continues and 
preserves by his intercession, Heb. 7: 25; 1 John 2: l. The enemies 
themselves of the church's eternal welfare--namely, sin, death, the 
world, Satan, and hell--he subdues by his power. In the gradual 
accomplishment of this work according as the church of the elect is 
brought forth in successive generations (in every one whereof the same 
work is to be performed)--he is to continue unto the end and 
consummation of all things. Until then the whole church will not be 
saved, and therefore his work not be finished. He will not cease his 
work whilst there is one of his elect to be saved, or one enemy to be 
subdued. He shall not faint nor give over until he hath sent forth 
judgement unto victory. 
 For the discharge of this work he hath a sovereign power over all 
things in heaven and earth committed unto him. Herein he does and must 
reign. And so absolutely is it vested in him, that upon the ceasing of 
the exercise of it, he himself is said to be made subject unto God. It 
is true that the Lord Christ, in his human nature, is always less 
than, or inferior unto, God, even the Father. In that sense he is in 
subjection unto him now in heaven. But yet he hath an actual exercise 
of divine power, wherein he is absolute and supreme. When this ceases, 
he shall be subject unto the Father in that nature, and only so. 
Wherefore, when this work is perfectly fulfilled and ended, then shall 
all the mediatory acting of Christ cease for evermore For God will 
then have completely finished the whole design of his wisdom and grace 
in the constitution of his person and offices, and have raised up and 
finished the whole fabric of eternal glory. Then will God "be all in 
all". In his own immense nature and blessedness he shall not only be 
"all" essentially and causally, but "in all" also; he shall 
immediately be all in and unto us. 
 This state of things--when God shall immediately "be all in all"--we 
can have no just comprehension of in this life. Some refreshing 
notions of it may be framed in our minds, from these apprehensions of 
the divine perfections which reason can attain unto; and their 
suitableness to yield eternal rest, satisfaction, and blessedness, in 
that enjoyment of them whereof our nature is capable. Howbeit, of 
these things in particular the Scripture is silent; however, it 
testifies our eternal reward and blessedness to consist alone in the 
enjoyment of God. 
 But there is somewhat else proposed as the immediate object of the 
faith of the saints at present, as unto what they shall enjoy upon 
their departure out of this world. And Scripture revelations extend 
unto the state of things unto the end of the world, and no longer. 
 Wherefore heaven is now principally represented unto us as the place 
of the residence and glory of Jesus Christ in the administration of 
his office; and our blessedness to consist in a participation thereof, 
and communion with him therein. So he prays for all them who are given 
him of his Father, that they may be where he is, to behold his glory, 
John 17: 24. It is not the essential glory of his divine person that 
he intends, which is absolutely the same with that of the Father; but 
it is a glory that is peculiarly his own,--a glory which the Father 
hath given him, because he loved him: "My glory, which thou hast given 
me; for thou lovedst me." Nor is it merely the gloried state of his 
human nature that he intendeth; as was before declared in the 
consideration of the 5th verse of this chapter, where he prayeth for 
this glory. However, this is not excluded; for unto all those that 
love him, it will be no small portion of their blessed refreshment, to 
behold that individual nature wherein he suffered for them, undergoing 
all sorts of reproaches, contempts, and miseries, have unchangeably 
stated in incomprehensible glory. But the glory which God gives unto 
Christ, in the phase of the Scripture, principally is the glory of his 
exaltation in his mediatory office. It is the "all power" that is 
given him in heaven and earth; the "name" that he hath "above every 
name," as he sits on the right hand of the Majesty on high. In the 
beholding and contemplation hereof with holy joy and delight, consists 
no small part of that blessedness and glory which the saints above at 
present enjoy, and which all others of them shall so do who depart 
this life before the consummation of all things. And in the due 
consideration hereof consists a great part of the exercise of that 
faith which is "the evidence of things not seen," and which, by making 
them present unto us, supplies the room of sight. This is the ground 
whereon our hope doth anchor,--namely, the things "within the veil," 
Heb. 6: 19, which directs us unto the temple administration of the 
mediatory office of Christ. And it is for the strengthening of our 
faith and hope in God, through him, that we do and that we ought to 
inquire into these things. 
 The consideration of the present state of Christ in heaven may be 
reduced unto three heads:-- 
 I. The glorification of his human nature; what it hath in common 
with, and wherein it differs in kind from, the glory of all saints 
 II. His mediatory exaltation; or the especial glory of his person as 
 III. The exercise and discharge of his once in the state of things: 
which is what at present I shall principally inquire into. I shall not 
speak at all of the nature of glorified bodies, nor of anything that 
is common unto the human nature of Christ and the same nature in 
glorified saints; but only what is peculiar unto himself. And hereunto 
I shall premise one general observation. 
 All perfections whereof human nature is capable, abiding what it was 
in both the essential path of it, soul and body, do belong unto the 
Lord Christ in his glorified state. To ascribe unto it what is 
inconsistent with its essence, is not an assignation of glory unto its 
state and condition, but a destruction of its being. To affix unto the 
human nature divine properties, as ubiquity or immensity, is to 
deprive it of its own. The essence of his body is no more changed than 
that of his soul. It is a fundamental article of faith, that he is in 
the same body in heaven wherein he conversed here on earth; as well as 
the faculties of his rational soul are continued the same in him. This 
is that "holy thing" which was framed immediately by the Holy Ghost, 
in the womb of the Virgin. This is that "Holy One" which, when it was 
in the grave, saw no corruption. This is that "body  which was offered 
for us, wherein he bare our sins on the tree. To fancy any such change 
in or of this body, by its glorification, as that it should not 
continue essentially and substantially the same that it was is to 
overthrow the faith of the church in a principal article of it. We 
believe that the very same body wherein he suffered for us, without 
any alteration as unto its substance, essence, or integral parts, and 
not another body, of an ethereal, heavenly structure, wherein is 
nothing of flesh, blood, or bones, by which he so frequently testified 
the faithfulness of God in his incarnation, is still that temple 
wherein God dwells, and wherein he administers in the holy place not 
made with hands. The body which was pierced is that which all eyes 
shall see, and no other. 
 I. On this foundation I willingly allow all perfections in the 
glorified human nature of Christ, which are consistent with its real 
form and essence. I shall, therefore, only in some instances inquire 
into the present glory of the human nature of Christ, wherein it 
differ either in kind or degree from the glory of all other saints 
whatever. For even among them I freely allow different degrees in 
glory; which the eternal order of things--that is, the will of God, in 
the disposal of all things unto his own glory--doth require. 
 1. There is that wherein the present glory of the human nature of 
Christ differeth, in kind and nature, from that which any other of the 
saints are partakes of, or shall be so after the resurrection. And 
this is,-- 
 (1.) The eternal subsistence of that nature of his in the person of 
the Son of God. As this belongs unto its dignity and honour, so it 
does also unto its inherent glory. This is, and shall be, eternally 
peculiar unto him, in distinction from, and exaltation above, the 
whole creation of God, angels and men. Those by whom this is denied, 
instead of the glorious name whereby God does call him, - "Wonderful, 
Counsellor, The mighty God," &c, - do call him "Ichabod," "Where is 
the glory?" or, there is none that is peculiar unto him. But the 
mystery hereof, according unto our measure, and in answer unto our 
design, we have already declared. And this glory he had, indeed, in 
this world, from the first instant of his incarnation, or conception 
in the womb. But, as unto the demonstration of it, "he emptied 
himself," and made himself of no reputation, under the form of a 
servant. But now the glory of it is illustriously displayed in the 
sight of all his holy ones. Some inquire, whether the saints in heaven 
do perfectly comprehend the mystery of the incarnation of the Son of 
God? I do not well understand what is meant by "perfectly comprehend;" 
but this is certain, that what we have now by faith, we shall have 
there by sight. For as we live now by faith, so shall we there by 
sight. No finite creature can have an absolute comprehension of that 
which is infinite. We shall never search out the almighty to 
perfection, in any of his works of infinite wisdom. Wherefore this 
only I shall say, there is such a satisfactory evidence in heaven, not 
only of the truth, but also of the nature of this mystery, as that the 
glory of Christ therein is manifest, as an eternal object of divine 
adoration and honour. The enjoyment of heaven is usually called the 
beatifical vision; that is, such an intellectual present view, 
apprehension, and sight of God and his glory, especially as manifested 
in Christ, as will make us blessed unto eternity. Wherefore, in the 
contemplation of this mystery does a great part of our blessedness 
consist; and farther our thoughts cannot attain. This is that wherein 
the glory of the human nature of Christ does essentially excel, and 
differ from that of any other blessed creature whatever. And hereon 
other things do depend. For, - 
 (2.) Hence the union of the human nature of Christ unto God, and the 
communications of God unto it, are of another kind than those of the 
blessed saints. In these things--namely, our union with God and his 
communications unto us - do our blessedness and glory consist. 
 In this world, believers are united unto God by faith. It is by 
faith that they cleave unto him with purpose of heart. In heaven, it 
shall be by love. Ardent love, with delight, complacency, and joy, 
from a clear apprehension of God's infinite goodness and beauty, now 
made present unto us, now enjoyed by us, shall be the principle of our 
eternal adherence unto him, and union with him. His communications 
unto us here are by an external efficiency of power. He communicates 
of himself unto us, in the effects of his goodness, grace, and mercy, 
by the operations of his Spirit in us. Of the same kind will all the 
communications of the divine nature be unto us, unto all eternity. It 
will be by what he worketh in us by his Spirit and power. There is no 
other way of the emanation of virtue from God unto any creature. But 
these things in Christ are of another nature. This union of his human 
nature unto God is immediate, in the person of the Son; ours is 
mediate, by the Son, as clothed with our nature. The way of the 
communications of the divine nature unto the human in his person is 
what we cannot comprehend; we have no notion of it, - nothing whereby 
it may be illustrated. There is nothing equal to it, nothing like it, 
in all the works of God. As it is a creature, it must subsist in 
eternal dependence on God; neither has it anything but what it 
receives from him. For this belongs essentially unto the divine 
nature, to be the only independent, eternal spring and fountain of all 
being and goodness. Nor can Omnipotence itself exalt a creature into 
any such condition as that it should not always and in all things 
depend absolutely on the Divine Being. But as unto the way of the 
communications between the divine and human nature, in the personal 
union, we know it not. But whether they be of life, power, light, or 
glory, they are of another kind than that whereby we do or shall 
receive all things. For all things are given unto us, are wrought in 
us, as was said, by an external efficiency of power. The glorious 
immediate emanations of virtue, from the divine unto the human nature 
of Christ, we understand not. Indeed, the acting of natures of 
different kinds, where both are finite, in the same person, one 
towards the other, is of a difficult apprehension. Who knows how 
directive power and efficacy proceeds from the soul, and is 
communicated unto the body, unto every the least minute action, in 
every member of it, - so as that there is no distance between the 
direction and the action, or the accomplishment of its or how, on the 
other hand, the soul is affected with sorrow or trouble in the moment 
wherein the body feeleth pain, so as that no distinction can be made 
between the body's sufferings and the soul's sorrows. How much more is 
this mutual communication in the same person of diverse natures above 
our comprehension, where one of them is absolutely infinite! Somewhat 
will be spoken to it afterward. And herein does this eternal glory 
differ from that of all other glorified creatures whatever. And, - 
 (3.) Hence the human nature of Christ, in his divine person and 
together with it, is the object of all divine adoration and worship, 
Rev. 5: 13. All creatures whatever do forever ascribe "blessing, 
honour, glory, and power, unto the Lamb," in the same manner as unto 
him who sits on the throne. This we have declared before. But no other 
creature either is, or ever can be, exalted into such a condition of 
glory as to be the object of any divine worship, from the meanest 
creature which is capable of the performance of it. Those who ascribe 
divine or religious honour unto the saints or angels, as is done in 
the Church of Rome, do both rob Christ of the principal flower of his 
imperial crown, and sacrilegiously attempt to adorn others with it; - 
which they abhor. 
 (4.) The glory that God designed to accomplish in and by him, is now 
made evident unto all the holy ones that are about the throne. The 
great design of the wisdom and grace of God, from eternity, was to 
declare and manifest all the holy, glorious properties of his nature, 
in and by Jesus Christ. And this is that wherein he will acquiesce, 
with which he is well pleased. When this is fully accomplished, he 
will use no other way or means for the manifestation of his glory. 
Herein is the end and blessedness of all. 
 Wherefore the principal work of faith, whilst we are in this world, 
is to behold this glory of God, as so represented unto us in Christ. 
In the exercise of faith therein is our conformity unto Him carried on 
unto perfection, 2 Cor. 3: 18. And unto this end, or that we may do 
so, he powerfully communicates unto our minds a saving, internal 
light; without which we can neither behold his glory nor give glory 
unto him. He "who commanded the light to shine out of darkness," 
shines into our hearts, to give us "the light of the knowledge of the 
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. 4: 6. The end, I 
say, why God communicates a spiritual, supernatural light unto the 
minds of believers, is that they may be able to discern the 
manifestation and revelation of his glory in Christ; which is hid from 
the world, Eph 1: 17-19; Col. 2:2. Howbeit, whilst we are here, we see 
it but "darkly as in a glass," it is not evident unto us in its own 
lustre and beauty. Yea, the remainder of our darkness herein is the 
cause of all our weakness, fears, and disconsolations. Want of a 
steady view of this glory of God, is that which exposeth us unto 
impressions from all our temptations. And the light of our minds 
therein is that whereby we are changed and transformed into the 
likeness of Christ. 
 But in heaven this is conspicuously and gloriously manifest unto all 
the blessed ones that are before the throne of God. They do not behold 
it by faith in various degrees of light, as we do here below. They 
have not apprehensions of some impressions of divine glory on the 
person of Christ and the human nature therein, with the work which he 
did perform; which is the utmost of our attainment. But they behold 
openly and plainly the whole glory of God, all the characters of it, 
illustriously manifesting themselves in him, in what he is, in what he 
has done, in what he does. Divine wisdom, grace, goodness love, power, 
do all shine forth in him unto the contemplation of all his saints, in 
whom he is admired. And in the vision hereof consists no small part of 
our eternal blessedness. For what can be more satisfactory, more full 
of glory unto the souls of believers, than clearly to comprehend the 
mystery of the wisdom, grace, and love of God in Christ? This is that 
which the prophets, at a great distance, inquired diligently into, - 
that which the angels bow down to look towards, -  that whose 
declaration is the life and glory of the gospel. To behold in one view 
the reality, the substance of all that was typified and represented by 
the beautiful fabric of the Tabernacle, and Temple which succeeded in 
the room thereof, - of all the utensils of them, and services 
performed in them, all that the promises of the Old Testament did 
contain, or the declarations of the New; - as it is the most 
satisfactory, blessed, and glorious state, that by the present light 
of faith we can desire or long for, so it evidenceth a glory in Christ 
of another kind and nature than what any creature can be participant 
in. I shall therefore state it unto our consideration, with some few 
observations concerning it. 
 [1.] Every believer sees here in this life an excellency, a glory in 
the mystery of God in Christ. They do so in various degrees, unless it 
be in times of temptation, when any of them walk in darkness, and have 
no light. The view and prospect hereunto is far more clear, and 
accompanied with more evidence, in some than in others, according unto 
the various degrees of their faith and light. The spiritual sight of 
some is very weak, and their views of the glory of God in Christ are 
much obscured with inevidence, darkness, and instability. This in many 
is occasioned by the weakness of their natural ability, in more by 
spiritual sloth and negligence, - in that they have not habitually 
"exercised their senses to discern good and evil," as the apostle 
speaks, Heb. 5: 14. Some want instruction, and some have their minds 
corrupted by false opinions. Howbeit, all true believers have the 
"eyes of their understanding opened" to discern, in some measure, the 
glory of God, as represented to them in the gospel. Unto others it is 
foolishness; or they think there is that darkness in it whereunto they 
cannot approach. But all the darkness is in themselves. This is the 
distinguishing property and character of saving faith - it beholds the 
glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ; - it makes us to discern the 
manifestation of the glory of God in Christ, as declared in the 
 [2.] Our apprehension of this glory is the spring of all our 
obedience, consolation, and hope in this world. Faith discovering this 
manifestation of the glory of God in Christ, engageth the soul unto 
universal obedience, as finding therein abundant reason for it and 
encouragement unto it. Then is obedience truly evangelical, when it 
arises from this acting of faith, and is thereon accompanied with 
liberty and gratitude. And herein is laid all the foundation of our 
consolations for the present and hope for the future. For the whole 
security of our present and future condition depends on the acting of 
God towards us, according as he has manifested himself in Christ. 
 [3.] From the exercise of faith herein does divine love, love unto 
God, proceed; therein alone it is enlivened and inflamed. On these 
apprehensions does a believing soul cry out, "How great is his 
goodness! how great is his beauty!" God in Christ reconciling the 
world unto himself, is the only object of divine love. Under that 
representation of him alone can the soul cleave unto him with ardent 
love, constant delight, and intense affections. All other notions of 
love unto God in sinners, as we are all, are empty fancies. Wherefore, 
 [4.] All believers are, or should be, conversant in their minds 
about these things, with longings, expectations, and desires after 
nearer approaches unto them, and enjoyments of them. And if we are not 
so, we are earthly, carnal, and unspiritual; yea, the want of this 
frame - the neglect of this duty - is the sole cause why many 
professors are so carnal in their minds, and so worldly in their 
conversions. But this is the state of them who live in the due 
exercise of faith, - this they pant and breathe after, - namely, that 
they may be delivered from all darkness, unstable thoughts, and 
imperfect apprehensions of the glory of God in Christ. After these 
things do those who have received the "first fruits of the Spirit," 
groan within themselves. This glory they would behold "with open 
face;" not, as at present, "in a glass," but in its own beauty. What 
do we want? what would we be at? what do our souls desire? It is not 
that we might have a more full, clear, stable comprehension of the 
wisdom, love, grace, goodness, holiness, righteousness, and power of 
God, as declared and exalted in Christ unto our redemption and eternal 
salvation? To see the glory of God in Christ, to understand his love 
unto him and valuation of him, to comprehend his nearness unto God, - 
all evidenced in his mediation, - is that which he has promised unto 
us, and which we are pressing after. See John 17: 23, 24. 
 [5.] Heaven will satisfy all those desires and expectations. To have 
them fully satisfied, is heaven and eternal blessedness. This fills 
the souls of them who are already departed in the faith, with 
admiration, joy, and praises. See Rev. 5: 9, 10. Herein is the glory 
of Christ absolutely of another kind and nature than that of any other 
creature whatever. And from hence it is that our glory shall 
principally consist in beholding his glory, because the whole glory of 
God is manifested in him. 
 And, by the way, we may see hence the vanity as well as the idolatry 
of them who would represent Christ in glory as the object of our 
adoration in pictures and images. They fashion wood or stone into the 
likeness of a man. They adorn it with colours and flourishes of art, 
to set it forth unto the senses and fancies of superstitious persons 
as having a resemblance of glory. And when they have done, "they 
lavish gold out of the bag," as the prophet speaks, in various sorts 
of supposed ornaments, - such as are so only to the vainest sort of 
mankind, - and so propose it as an image or resemblance of Christ in 
glory. But what is there in it that has the least respect thereunto, - 
the least likeness of it? nay, is it not the most effectual means that 
can be devised to divert the minds of men from true and real 
apprehensions of it? Does it teach anything of the subsistence of the 
human nature of Christ in the person of the Son of God? nay, does it 
not obliterate all thoughts of it! What is represented thereby of the 
union of it unto God, and the immediate communications of God unto it? 
Does it declare the manifestation of all the glorious properties of 
the divine nature in him? One thing, indeed, they ascribe unto it that 
is proper unto Christ, - namely, that it is to be adored and 
worshipped; whereby they add idolatry unto their folly. Persons who 
know not what it is to live by faith - whose minds are never raised by 
spiritual, heavenly contemplations, who have no design in religion but 
to gratify their inward superstition by their outward senses--may be 
pleased for a time, and ruined for ever, by these delusions. Those who 
have real faith in Christ, and love unto him, have a more glorious 
object for their exercise. 
 And we may hereby examine both our own notions of the state of glory 
and our preparations for it, and whether we are in any measure "made 
meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." More grounds of this 
trial will be afterward suggested; these laid down may not be passed 
by. Various are the thoughts of men about the future state, - the 
things which are not seen, which are eternal. Some rise no higher but 
unto hopes of escaping hell, or everlasting miseries, when they die. 
Yet the heathen had their Elysian fields, and Mohammed his sensual 
paradise. Others have apprehensions of I know not what glistering 
glory, that will please and satisfy them, they know not how, when they 
can be here no longer. But this state is quite of another nature, and 
the blessedness of it is spiritual and intellectual. Take an instance 
in one of the things before laid down. The glory of heaven consists in 
the full manifestation of divine wisdom, goodness, grace, holiness, - 
of all the properties of the nature of God in Christ. In the clear 
perception and constant contemplation hereof consists no small part of 
eternal blessedness. What, then, are our present thoughts of these 
things? What joy, what satisfaction have we in the sight of them, 
which we have by faith through divine revelation? What is our desire 
to come unto the perfect comprehension of them? How do we like this 
heaven? What do we find in ourselves that will be eternally satisfied 
hereby? According as our desires are after them, such and no other are 
our desires of the true heaven, - of the residence of blessedness and 
glory. Neither will God bring us unto heaven whether we will or no. 
If, through the ignorance and darkness of our minds, - if, through the 
earthliness and sensuality of our affections, - if, through a fulness 
of the world, and the occasions of it, - if, by the love of life and 
our present enjoyments, we are strangers unto these things, we are not 
conversant about them, we long not after them, - we are not in the way 
towards their enjoyment. The present satisfaction we receive in them 
by faith, is the best evidence we have of an indefeasible interest in 
them. How foolish is it to lose the first fruits of these things in 
our own souls, -  those entrances into blessedness which the 
contemplation of them through faith would open unto us, - and hazard 
our everlasting enjoyment of them by an eager pursuit of an interest 
in perishing things here below! This, this is that which ruins the 
souls of most, and keeps the faith of many at so low an ebb, that it 
is hard to discover any genuine working of it. 
 2. The glory of the human nature of Christ differs from that of the 
saints after the resurrection, in things which concern the degrees of 
it. For, - 
 (1.) The glory of his body is the example and pattern of what they 
shall be conformed unto: "Who shall change our vile body, that it may 
be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working 
whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself," Phil. 3: 
21. Our bodies were made vile by the entrance of sin; thence they 
became brothers to the worms, and sisters unto corruption. To death 
and the grave, with rottenness and corruption therein, they are 
designed. At the resurrection they shall be new-framed, fashioned, and 
moulded. Not only all the detriment and disadvantage they received by 
the entrance of sin shall be removed, but many additions of glorious 
qualifications, which they had not in their primitive, natural 
constitution, shall be added unto them. And this shall be done by the 
almighty power of Christ, - that working or exercise of it whereby he 
is able to subdue all things unto himself. But of the state whereinto 
we shall be changed by the power of Christ, his own body is the 
pattern and example. A similitude of it is all that we shall attain 
unto. And that which is the idea and exemplar in any state, is the 
rule and standard unto all others. Such is the glory of Christ; - ours 
consists in conformity thereunto; which gives him the pre-eminence. 
 (2.) As the state of his body is more glorious than ours shall be, 
so will that of his soul in itself be made appear to be more excellent 
than what we are capable of. For that fulness of the Spirit without 
measure and of all grace, which his nature was capacitated for by 
virtue of the hypostatical union, does now shine forth in all 
excellency and glory. The grace that was in Christ in this world is 
the same with that which is in him now in heaven. The nature of it was 
not changed when he ceased to be viator, but is only brought into a 
more glorious exercise now he is comprehensor. And all his graces are 
now made manifest, the veil being taken from them, and light 
communicated to discern them. As, in this world, he had unto the most 
neither form nor comeliness for which he should be desired, - partly 
from the veil which was cast on his inward beauty from his outward 
condition, but principally from the darkness which was on their minds, 
whereby they were disenabled to discern the glory of spiritual things; 
(notwithstanding which, some then, in the light of faith, "beheld his 
glory, as the glory of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace 
and truth;) "so now the veil is removed, and the darkness wholly taken 
away from the minds of the saints, he is in the glory of his grace 
altogether lovely and desirable. And although the grace which is in 
believers be of the same nature with that which is in Christ Jesus, 
and shall be changed into glory aver the likeness of his; yet is it, 
and always shall be, incomprehensibly short of what dwells in him. And 
herein also does his glory gradually [greatly?] excel that of all 
other creatures whatever. 
 But we must here draw a veil over what yet remains. For it does not 
yet appear what we ourselves shall be; much less is it evident what 
are, and what will be, the glories of the Head above all the members, 
- even then when we shall "be made like unto him." But it must be 
remembered, that whereas, at the entrance of this discourse, we so 
proposed the consideration of the present state of the Lord Christ in 
heaven, as that which should have an "end at the consummation of all 
things;" what has been spoken concerning the glory of his human nature 
in itself, is not of that kind but what abideth unto eternity. All the 
things mentioned abide in him and unto him for evermore. 
 II. The second thing to be considered in the present state and 
condition of Christ is his mediatory exaltation. And two things with 
respect thereunto may be inquired into: 1. The way of his entrance 
into that state above; 2. The state itself, with the glory of it. 
 1. The way of his entrance into the exercise of his mediatory office 
in heaven is expressed, 1 Tim. 3: 16, He was "received up into glory," 
or rather gloriously; and he entered "into his glory," Luke 24: 26. 
This assumption and entrance into glory was upon his ascension, 
described Acts 1: 9-11. "He was taken up into heaven," "anelefthe en 
doxei", by an act of divine power; and he went into heaven, 
"eiselthein eis ten doxan", in his own choice and will, as that which 
he was exalted unto. And this ascension of Christ in his human nature 
into heaven is a fundamental article of the faith of the church. And 
it falls under a double consideration: (1.) As it was triumphant, as 
he was a King; (2.) As it was gracious, as he was a Priest. His 
ascension, as unto change of place, from earth to heaven, and as unto 
the outward manner of it, was one and the same, and at once 
accomplished; but as unto the end of it, which is the exercise of all 
his offices, it had various respects, various prefiguration, and is 
distinctly proposed unto us with reference unto them. 
 (1.) In his ascension, as it was triumphant, three things may be 
considered: 1st, The manner of it, With its representation of old; 
2dly, The place whereinto he ascended; 3dly, The end of it, or what 
was the work which he had to do thereon. 
 [1.] As unto the manner of it, it was openly triumphant and 
glorious. So is it described, Eph. 4: 8, "When he ascended up on high, 
he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men." And respect is had 
unto the prefiguration of it at the giving of the law, Ps. 68: 17, 18, 
where the glory of it is more fully expressed, "The chariots of God 
are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, 
as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast 
led captivity captive," &c. The most glorious appearance of God upon 
the earth, under the Old Testament, was that on Mount Sinai, in the 
giving of the law. And as his presence was there attended with all his 
glorious angels, so, when, upon the finishing of that work, he 
returned or ascended into heaven, it was in the way of a triumph with 
all that royal attendance. And this prefigured the ascent of Christ 
into heaven, upon his fulfilling of the law, all that was required in 
it, or signified by it. He ascended triumphantly after he had given 
the law, as a figure of his triumphant ascent after he had fulfilled 
it. Having then "spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of 
them openly, triumphing over them," Col. 2: 15. So he led captivity 
captive; or all the adverse powers of the salvation of the church, in 
triumph at his chariot wheels I deny not but that his leading 
"captivity captive" principally respects his spiritual conquest over 
Satan, and the destruction of his power; yet, whereas he is also said 
to "spoil principalities and powers, making a show of them openly," 
and triumphing over them, I no way doubt but Satan, the head of the 
apostasy, and the chief princes of darkness, were led openly, in sight 
of all the holy angels, as conquered captives, - the "seed of the 
woman" having now bruised the "head of the serpent." This is that 
which is so emphatically expressed, Ps. 47 throughout. The ground and 
cause of all the triumphant rejoicing of the church, therein declared, 
is, that God was "gone up with a shout, the Lord with the sound of a 
trumpet," verse 5; which is nothing but the glorious ascent of Christ 
into heaven, said to be accompanied with shouts and the sound of a 
trumpet, the expressions of triumphant rejoicing, because of the 
glorious acclamations that were made thereon, by all the attendants of 
the throne of God. 
 [2.] The place whither he thus ascended is on high. "He ascended up 
on high," Eph 4: 8, - that is, heaven. He went "into heaven," Acts 1: 
11, - and the "heaven must receive him," chap. 3: 21; not these 
aspectable heavens which we behold, - for in his ascension "he passed 
through them," Heb. 4: 14, and is made "higher than they," chap. 7: 
26, - but into the place of the residence of God in glory and majesty, 
chap. 1: 3, 8: 1, 12: 2. There, on "the throne of God," Rev. 3: 21, - 
"on the right hand of the Majesty on high," - he sits down in the full 
possession and exercise of all power and authority. This is the palace 
of this King of saints and nations. There is his royal eternal throne, 
Heb. 1: 8. And "many crowns" are on his head, Rev. 19: 12, - or all 
dignity and honour. And he who, in a pretended imitation of him, wears 
a triple crown, has upon his own head thereby, "the name of 
blasphemy," Rev. 13: 1. - There are before him his "sceptre of 
righteousness," his "rod of iron," - all the regalia of his glorious 
kingdom. For by these emblems of power does the Scripture represent 
unto us his sovereign, divine authority in the execution of his kingly 
office. Thus he ascended triumphantly, having conquered his enemies; 
thus he reigneth gloriously over all. 
 [3.] The end for which he thus triumphantly ascended into heaven, is 
twofold: - 1st, The overturning and destruction of all his enemies in 
all their remaining powers. He rules them "with a rod of iron," and in 
his due time will "dash them in pieces as a potter's vessel," Ps. 2: 
9; for he must "reign until all his enemies are made his footstool," 1 
Cor. 15: 25, 26; Ps. 110: 1. Although at present, for the most part, 
they despise his authority, yet they are all absolutely in his power, 
and shall fall under his eternal displeasure. 2dly, The preservation, 
continuation, and rule of his church, both as unto the internal state 
of the souls of them that believe, and the external order of the 
church in its worship and obedience, and its preservation under and 
from all oppositions and persecutions in this world. There is in each 
of these such a continual exercise of divine wisdom, power, and care, 
- the effects of them are so great and marvellous, and the fruits of 
them so abundant unto the glory of God, - that the world would "not 
contain the books that might be written" of them; but to handle them 
distinctly is not our present design. 
 (2.) His ascension may be considered as gracious, as the ascent of a 
High Priest. And herein the things before mentioned are of a distinct 
 [1.] As to the manner of it, and the design of it, he gives an 
account of them himself, John 20: 17. His design herein was not the 
taking on him the exercise of his power, kingdom, and glorious rule; 
but the acting with God on the behalf of his disciples "I go," saith 
he, "to my Father, and to your Father; to my God, and to your God," - 
not his God and Father with respect unto eternal generation, but as he 
was their God and Father also. And he was so, as he was their God and 
Father in the same covenant with himself; wherein he was to procure of 
God all good things for them. Through the blood of this everlasting 
covenant - namely, his own blood, whereby this covenant was 
established, and all the good things of it secured unto the church - 
he was "brought again from the dead" that he might live ever to 
communicate them unto the church, Heb. 13: 20, 21. With this design in 
his ascension, and the effects of it, did he often comfort and refresh 
the hearts of his disciples, when they were ready to faint on the 
apprehensions of his leaving of them here below, John 14: 1, 2, 16: 5- 
7. And this was typified by the ascent of the high priest unto the 
temple of old. The temple was situated on a hill, high and steep, so 
as that there was no approach unto it but by stairs. Hence in their 
wars it was looked on as a most impregnable fortress. And the solemn 
ascent of the high priest into it on the day of expiation, had a 
resemblance of this ascent of Christ into heaven. For after he had 
offered the sacrifices in the outward court, and made atonement for 
sin, he entered into the most holy place, - a type of heaven itself, 
as the apostle declares, Heb. 9: 24, - of heaven, as it was the place 
whereinto our High Priest was to enter. And it was a joyful ascent, 
though not triumphant. All the Psalms, from the 120th to the 134th 
inclusively, whose titles are "Shirei Hama'alot", Songs of Degrees," 
or rather ascents or risings - being generally songs of praise and 
exhortations to have respect unto the sanctuary - were sung to God at 
the resting-places of that ascent. Especially was this represented on 
the day of jubilee. The proclamation of the jubilee was on the same 
day that the high priest entered into the holy place; and at the same 
time, - namely, on the "tenth day of the seventh month," Lev. 16: 29, 
25: 9. Then did the trumpet sound throughout the land, the whole 
church; and liberty was proclaimed unto all servants, captives, and 
such as had sold their possessions that they might return unto them 
again. This being a great type of the spiritual deliverance of the 
church, the noise of the trumpet was called "The joyful sound," Ps. 
89: 15, "Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound; they shall 
walk, 0 Lord, in the light of thy countenance." Those who are made 
partakers of spiritual deliverance, shall walk before God in a sense 
of his love and grace. This is the ascent of our High Priest into his 
sanctuary, when he proclaimed "the acceptable year of the Lord, and 
the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint 
unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the 
oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of 
heaviness; that they might be called Trees of righteousness, The 
planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified," Isa. 61: 2, 3. For 
in this ascension of Christ, proclamation was made in the gospel, of 
mercy, pardon, peace, joy, and everlasting refreshments, unto all that 
were distressed by sin, with a communication of righteousness unto 
them, to the eternal glory of God. Such was the entrance of our High 
Priest into heaven, with acclamations of joy and praise unto God. 
 [2.] The place whereinto he thus entered was the sanctuary above, 
the "tabernacle not made with hands," Heb. 9: 11. It was into heaven 
itself, not absolutely, but as it is the temple of God, as the throne 
of grace and mercy-seat are in it; which must farther be spoken unto 
 [3.] The end why the Lord Christ thus ascended, and thus entered 
into the holy place, was "to appear in the presence of God for us," 
and to "make intercession for all that come unto God by him," Heb. 7: 
26, 27, 9: 24, 25. 
 He ascended triumphantly into heaven, as Solomon ascended into his 
glorious throne of judgement described 1 Kings 10: 18-20. As David was 
the type of his conquest over all the enemies of his church, so was 
Solomon of his glorious reign. The types were multiplied because of 
their imperfection. Then came unto him the queen of Sheba, the type of 
the Gentile converts and the church; when "nedivei 'amim", the 
"voluntaries of the people," (those made willing in the day of his 
power, Ps. 110: 3,) "gathered themselves to the people of the God of 
Abraham," and were taken in his covenant, Ps. 47: 9 - margin. But he 
ascended graciously, as the high priest went into the holy place; not 
to rule all things gloriously with mighty power, not to use his sword 
and his sceptre - but to appear as an high priest, in a garment down 
to the foot, and a golden girdle about his paps, Rev. 1: 13, - as in a 
tabernacle, or temple, before a throne of grace. His sitting down at 
the right hand of the Majesty on high adds to the glory of his 
priestly office, but belongs not unto the execution of it. So it was 
prophesied of him, that he should be "a priest upon his throne," Zech. 
6: 13. 
 It may be added hereunto, that when he thus left this world and 
ascended into glory, the great promise he made unto his disciples - as 
they were to be preachers of the gospel, and in them unto all that 
should succeed them in that office - was, that he would "send the Holy 
Spirit unto them," to teach and guide them, to lead them into all 
truth, - to declare unto them the mysteries of the will, grace, and 
love of God, for the use of the whole church. This he promised to do, 
and did, in the discharge of his prophetical office. And although his 
giving "gifts unto men" was an act of his kingly power, yet it was for 
the end of his prophetical office. 
 From what has been spoken, it is evident that the Lord Christ 
"ascended into heaven," or was received up into glory, with this 
design, - namely, to exercise his office of mediation in the behalf of 
the church, until the end should be. As this was his grace, that when 
he was rich, for our sakes he became poor; so when he was made rich 
again for his own sake, he lays forth all the riches of his glory and 
power on our behalf. 
 2. The glory of the state and condition whereinto Christ thus 
entered is the next thing to be considered; for he is set down at the 
right hand of the Majesty on high. And as his ascension, with the ends 
of it, were twofold, or of a double consideration, so was his glory 
that ensued thereon. For his present mediatory state consists either 
in the glory of his power and authority, or, in the glory of his love 
and grace, - his glory as a King, or his glory as a Priest. For the 
first of these, or his royal glory, in sovereign power and authority 
over the whole creation of God, - as in heaven and earth, persons and 
things, angels and men, good and bad, alive and dead, all things 
spiritual and eternal, grace, gifts, and glory; - his right and power, 
or ability to dispose of all things according unto his will and 
pleasure, I have so fully and distinctly declared it, in my exposition 
on Heb. 1: 3, as that I shall not here again insist upon it. His 
present glory, in the way of love and grace, - his glory as a Priest, 
- will be manifested in what does ensue.

John Owen, Christologia

(continued in Part 20...)

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