Christ Is Actively Reigning Now
And He reigns. Christ is reigning. Christ is active. On several occasions He is spoken of as having, on His ascension, "sat down" in heaven: He "sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3); He "sat down". But if you notice, whenever it is said that He "sat down," it is invariably related to the finishing of His redemptive work. That is done. On the other hand, He stands. There is no contradiction; it is only an implication of a different meaning. Stephen saw Him - "I see the heavens opened, and the SON OF MAN STANDING on the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56). He is spoken of as "standing." When it is a matter of the work of redemption, it is finished; there is nothing more to do - He can sit down. When it is a matter of the working out of that redemption here in this world, He is on His feet. When there is a challenge to what He has done, He rises up. Stephen is in the presence of that challenge, and the Exalted Lord is on His feet, for the sake of His testimony. He is active, that is the point. He is not just passively sitting down, waiting till His enemies are put under Him: He is putting them under! He stands to work this thing out.
Now, the activity of the reigning Lord is seen in several ways, only to be mentioned. Firstly, He is "taking out from the nations a people for His Name" (Acts 15:14). The great illustration in the Old Testament, of course, is that of Israel in Egypt. The taking out of a people for His Name is a tremendous business - you cannot do that sitting down! He extended the prince of this wold, exhausted all his power and all his resources and all his endurance, and got them out. We are left in no doubt about it that that was the Old Testament demonstration that exceeds that, and that is New Testament - "the exceeding greatness of His power when He raised Jesus from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand." That is exceeding greatness of power! But it was a tremendous thing to get Israel out of Egypt as a people for His Name.
And it is no less a thing to get this people out of the nations for His Name. The prince of this world withstands and challenges at every point, in every way. No soul is going to be released from that bondage and that kingdom without a fight. It is often made out to be far too easy; people are put into a false position by it being made too easy. If we did but know, we have got to stand into the Throne for souls, to get them out. Perhaps you have some experience of those parts of the earth where the prince of this world has a terrible hold, a very terrible hold, and so much at his command; and you know something of what it means to get just one soul out of that. The suffering, the travail, the anguish, the cost bound up with getting one soul out of a nation for His Name! It needs the Throne, the mighty Throne. But, in spite of so much, He is doing it. The point is that there is so much like Pharaoh and Egypt - but even greater than that - set against this; and yet He is doing it.
(continued with # 60)