Author: Ron Graham
Christ, King Now Reigning
—plus “Back to the Shadows?”
We now look at the evidence in Paul’s letter to the Colossians that the kingdom of God now fully exists and there will not be a future kingdom on earth for 1000 years.
1 We are Now in Christ’s Kingdom
Paul says, "The Father has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. For he rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son..." (Colossians 1:12-13).
We have been transferred into the kingdom, so it clearly now exists. Well then, why would Christ, having transferred us out of darkness and into his heavenly kingdom, later transfer us into another kingdom not of Heaven but on earth?
2 Christ is Now on God’s Throne
Paul says, "Seek those things which are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above not on things of the earth" (Colossians 3:1-2).
Having accomplished accession to his eternal throne in heaven, why would Christ abandon that heavenly throne and set up an earthly one for 1000 years?
Christ’s heavenly reign is far superior to any earthly throne. From heaven at His Father’s throne, he rules the world which he created (Colossians 1:16, 2:10). Is this insufficient? Why does he need to be on earth on an earthly throne?
3 Christ’s Life on Earth is Finished
Not only has Christ sat down with his Father on his throne, but he has been glorified as "the firstborn from the dead" (Colossians 1:18). His mortal body is now immortal and eternal for his work in heaven.
Christ’s life on earth is finished, its purpose accomplished fully. “Now he has reconciled you in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless and above reproach in his sight...” (Colossians 1:21-22).
4 We Go to Glory to Stay
Paul says, "Your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory" (Colossians 3:3-4).
Many say that having finally entered into eternal glory and immortality, we will all have to turn around and descend back to earth to reign with Christ over the mortals of earth for 1000 years.
Paul promises we will be “revealed with Christ in glory” where our eternal life is “laid up in heaven... hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 1:5, 3:3-4). That hope will be fulfilled completely and so shall we ever be with the King.
Meanwhile Christ reigns from heaven and the fulness of his reign is symbolized in a vision as 1000 years (Revelation 20). This is not stating the actual duration of his reign, but the completeness of his present kingship and kingdom awaiting eternity.
5 Christ Won't Bring Back the Law
Paul claimed that we will fully realise our hope “in the word of the truth of the gospel which has come to you as it has also to the whole world” (Colossians 1:5-6).
Again, “The gospel which you heard was preached to every creature under heaven... that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:23,28).
As we shall now see, this gospel replaced the law of Moses which was “nailed to the cross” (Colossians 2:14). Christ will never bring back the law that he abolished by his death.
Back to Shadows?
There was a serious problem in the church at Colossae. Certain teachers were adding to the all-sufficient wisdom and knowledge imparted by Jesus. The additions included the law of Moses, its festivals, food laws, and so forth.
Paul’s opposition to this heresy, and his arguments against it, preclude the supposed 1000 year reign of Christ on earth —when supposedly the law of Moses with all its trappings will be re-introduced.
1 Christ Wiped Out the Old Law
Paul says, "Christ erased the handwriting with its decrees that was hostile to us, and took it out of the way..." (Colossians 2:14). Paul is referring to laws about "food or drink or a festival or new moon or a Sabbath day..." (Colossians 2:16).
Christ broke down the barrier of distinction between circumcised Jew and uncircumcised Gentile, along with all distinctions that might create an elite in the kingdom (Colossians 3:11).
Why would Christ bring back these unwanted distinctions, and why would he add again these contrary laws which he has erased and taken out of the way? If now we have the "full knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom" (Colossians 1:9) how will the law of Moses make it fuller?
2 Christ Nailed the Law to His Cross
Paul says, "He took it out of the way, nailing it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14). Why bring it back again? What Christ accomplished by his cross is fully sufficient:
Can Moses’s law do anything beyond the "all things" accomplished on the cross? No, rather, the cross and the gospel accomplished what Moses’s law failed to do. What then is the point of re-instating the Mosaic law?
3 Christ Replaced Shadows With Substance
Paul says, "These things [of the law of Moses] are a shadow of things to come, but the body is of Christ" (Colossians 2:17). The things of the Old Testament were shadows.
These foreshadowings indicated a mystery to be revealed, namely the things of the New Testament and of the church of which Christ was the Head, and Paul was a minister (Colossians 1:18,25-27). This body of the saved is the real thing of which the law of Moses was merely the shadow.
The shadows are gone; the glory has come; Christ now reigns (Colossians 1:13). All the fullness dwells in him as Head of his body (Colossians 1:18-19). He is now seated at God’s right hand in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).
We will not live among shadows; we live in the light and "share in the inheritance of the saints in light" (Colossians 1:12). What is there left but for Christ to come and take us into glory (Colossians 3:4)?
But people say it's not sufficient for Christ to reign forever in heaven, and he must reign on earth 1000 years. He and the saints in light must leave their inheritance, and endure 1000 years on earth under the shades of Moses!
You be the judge. Will you believe Paul’s true knowledge of Christ now reigning in heavenly glory, or will you prefer the worldly philosophy of a 1000 year reign on earth amid the shadows?