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Christ the King Category: 1000 years Kingdom of God will come

Kingdom of God will come
According to Fr. Sergei Bulgakov

Christ's earthly enthronement
is the path through history to His reign

Risen, ascended, and sitting at the right hand of the Father in the glory of God, Christ nevertheless continues His earthly ministry. Christ's earthly enthronement is the path through history to His reign, which "will have no end." The Lord abides invisibly with us on earth. … Christ continues to receive the power given to Him together with humanity; and even until the present day, He continues to accomplish His royal ministry. True God, reigning in us and over us on earth, He is being enthroned for His eternal Kingdom, about which we always pray to the Father:
            Thy Kingdom come!
And we call out to the Son:
            Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The Lord's entry into Jerusalem was only a symbolic anticipation of future accomplishments lying beyond the passion and the resurrection. However, the entire fullness of the theophany manifested in Christ would not have been realized if the rays of His glory had not shone forth on earth in the Transfiguration and if the appearance of His Kingdom had not been manifested in His royal entry. His entry was a prophecy about that which is to come; it has an apocalyptic and eschatological significance, and this significance can be fully understood only by putting it in the general context of the doctrine of Christ's royal ministry.

Forces of the Antichrist
against the power of Christ

However, this power that is given to Christ must still be actualized by Him, like the prophetic and high-priestly ministries. The difference is that these ministries are accomplished by Christ in the days of His earthly service (although the high-priestly ministry spills over beyond the limits of the latter). The royal ministry, however, begins and is accomplished only after Christ's departure from the world, that is, after the Ascension. This feature imparts to the royal ministry an especially mystical character. Christ is the King in the world, but He does not reign in it in the fullness of the Kingdom of God. He is still being enthroned in the world.

… The enthronement is accomplished in the battle for the kingdom, in the war of the prince of this world, of the forces of the Antichrist, against the power of Christ. Such a war would be impossible as far as the power of God as the Creator over creation is concerned. However, here it is a question precisely of the Kingdom of Christ the God-Man in the world; and He acts here not by Divine omnipotence and not by the power of this world, "not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit" (Zech. 4:6). (Correspondingly, it is said in 2 Thess. 2:8 that "the Lord shall consume [the Wicked] with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy [him] with the brightness of his coming," that is, by spiritual power.) The enthronement of Christ in the world is a tragedy of the antagonism and separation of light and darkness; this is the fundamental theme of both the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation, uniting the two books despite all their differences.

This enthronement is clearly prefigured in Holy Scripture. The basic text here is, of course, 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 things 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." This text, a true crux interpretum, represents a micro-apocalypse of history and eschatology. It becomes intelligible if we take as our starting point the fundamental premise concerning Christ's royal ministry, namely, that His enthronement takes place during the course of history as a whole, crowned by eschatology. At the extreme bound of history, the Kingdom of Christ is abolished, to be replaced by the Kingdom of the Father and thus of the entire Holy Trinity. This is the Kingdom of Heaven (of God), where there will no longer be a boundary between God and the world that has fallen away from Him and opposes Him. In this kingdom, "God will be all in all."[49] On the basis of this text, one can affirm the continuing ministry of the God-Man in the world even after the Ascension, notwithstanding His sitting at the right hand of the Father. Consequently, this ministry remains unfinished. As a result, Christ's ministry goes beyond the limits of His personal glorification, which thus remains incomplete, and the state of creation remains limited, until God becomes all in all and the final enemy, death, is abolished and all things are made subject by the God-Man to the Father's will. In other words, the glorification remains unfinished as long as Christ's enthronement continues, as long as the Kingdom of Christ has not finished its work and has not been replaced by the Kingdom of God.

[49] Only a christological interpretation, applied to the not-yet-finished royal ministry of the God-Man, excludes the trinitarian-subordinationistic interpretation of 1 Cor. 15:22-28, which otherwise becomes inevitable.

Christ's continuing royal ministry is based on His already accomplished high-priestly ministry: "this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool" (Heb. 10:12-13). Compare this with Hebrews 2:8-9, an interpretation of Psalm 8:4-6, concerning the son of man, who is identified here with the Son of Man: "in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus … for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour."

This general idea of Christ's continuing enthronement,[50] of His royal ministry, which is being accomplished in history, is disclosed in the book of Revelation as the apocalypse, that is, as the revelation of the hidden, inner content of history. In the heavenly vision of the One who sits on the throne and who holds in his right hand a book, in this vision of the historical destiny of the Church and, with her, of the historical destiny of humanity and the entire world, "no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon" (Rev. 5:3). But as one of the elders said, "Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof" (5:5). "In the midst of the throne … stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth" (5:6). And when the Lamb took the book, all fell down before Him, and one heard voices saying, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing" (5:12). This is echoed by the voices of "every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them" (5:13). This is the enthronement of the Lamb on earth, or the beginning of His royal ministry.

[50] One can see Old Testament prefigurations of this continuing enthronement in the theocratic reigns of David and Solomon, the first of which is full of battles and victories over enemies, whereas the second shows the kingdom in all its glory, wisdom, and power (to be sure, in the best epoch of this reign).

Perfectly evident enthronement of Christ on earth
His one-thousand-year reign

The enthronement of Christ on earth for His one-thousand-year reign will become perfectly evident, as evident as His enthronement was during His royal entry into Jerusalem. … This prophecy — contrary to the prevailing doctrine, which it would be erroneous to consider as the dogmatic definition of the Church — refers to the as-yet-unactualized future, … According to the content of this prophecy, one can in any case establish that, during the "first resurrection," the wall separating the world of the living from the world of the dead disappears, as it were, precisely for the souls who have come back to life and who reign with Christ for a thousand years. It is through these souls that Christ Himself reigns on earth. This event, connected also with the enchainment of Satan for a thousand years, represents an important step on the path of Christ's enthronement; and in general it belongs to His royal ministry.

Look up, and lift up your heads

The time of the manifestation of joy is approaching, this joy which distinguished primitive Christianity.

To be sure, "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7), but not its end, for "there is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear" (1 John 4:18), and "herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment" (v. 17). It was love, not fear, that engendered the prayer of the early Christians: "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." At the present time this prayer has grown silent in hearts overwhelmed by fear, but it must radiantly sound again to call for His coming. Over many centuries, this prayer has been growing fainter, and is now almost completely silent. Liturgically, its place has gradually been taken by images of terrorization which express only one side of the parousia and are completely silent about the other side: "look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:28). Of the two sides of the parousia, fear and joy, only fear remains. The time of the manifestation of joy is approaching, this joy which distinguished primitive Christianity.

Sergius Bulgakov
The Bride of the Lamb
Section III. Eschatology, p.495

See also



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