Volume 12, Issue 1: Eschaton
Christ's Total Victory
Jack Van Deventer
God’s plan from the beginning was to save the world from sin. When sin entered the world, God pronounced a terrible curse on the serpent, saying “Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life” (Gen 3:14; italics added).
Christ Triumphant, His Enemies are Doomed
That God’s severe curse upon the serpent is indicative of the triumph of the church in history is the interpretation of the prophets, the apostles, and the Lord Himself1. Psalm 72:8-11 reads:
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.... Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
Notice two things about this passage. First, Christ’s dominion is global (all nations serve Him). Second, the curse upon the serpent (“you shall eat dust all the days of your life”) is applied to Christ’s foes (“his enemies shall lick the dust”). Indeed, 1 John 3:8 tells us, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
We see the curse on Satan applied to the enemies of God. The nations that oppose God’s people “shall lick the dust like a serpent” (Micah 7:17). Oppressive kings “shall lick up the dust” from the feet of God’s people (Is. 49:23). In the millennial blessings of Isaiah 65:25, we see the wolf and lamb dwelling peaceably together, the lion eats straw but “dust will be the serpent’s food.” The applied curses on God’s enemies are blessings to His chosen people.
The Gospel as a Weapon for Victory
The preaching of the gospel has a devastating effect on Satan. When the 70 came back from preaching the gospel of the kingdom, they exclaimed:
Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:17-19).
Notice a very similar scriptural analysis from Rev. 12:11 that contrasts Satan’s being cast out with the testimony of the saints:
And they overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony....
Gospel preaching has a devastating impact on satanic activity. It overcomes the power of the enemy. It is the triumph of the gospel, the beginning of the salvation of the world.
The Salvation of the World
The object of Christ’s redemption is the world. John the Baptist recognized Jesus as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Christ didn’t come into the world to condemn it, but to save the world (John 3:17). He reconciles the world to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19). “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). Indeed, He is “Saviour of the world” (John 4:42, 1 John 4:14).
Why does it come as a surprise to some that Christ will save the world? Was this not what was predicted in the Scriptures? “All the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Is 52:10). “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Is. 11:9). “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” (Psalm 2:8). Those who deny that Jesus came to save the world must maintain one of two embarrassing options: either Christ is not worthy of His inheritance or else He forgot to ask for it.
The Growth of Christ’s Kingdom
The Great Commission launched the gospel blitzkrieg. Satan, the strong man, is bound and Christ is plundering his house (Matt. 12:29). All power and authority under heaven and on earth belong to Christ (Matt. 28:18). Christ builds His church such that the gates of hell cannot withstand the onslaught (Matt. 16:18). Thus, the kingdom grows like a mustard seed (Matt. 13:31) and it is like leaven in a loaf, permeating everything (Matt. 13:34).
Daniel prophesied “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Dan. 7:27). In other words, the meek shall inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5).
How long will this God-ordained gospel victory continue? Until all Christ’s enemies are subdued. Until “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” (1 Cor. 15:24-25). Of course, this passage in 1 Corinthians 15 is a reference to Psalm 110:1, the most quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament2. Christ’s comprehensive victory over his enemies is a central theme in Scripture. This victory brings about the redemption of the world. Let us rejoice and thank the God of peace, who promised to crush Satan, the evil serpent, under our feet (Rom. 16:20).
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