Prior to Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, when believers died their spirits were held in a place called “paradise” in the upper regions of hades. (Luke 16:23)
Jesus told one of the thieves being crucified with Him, that He would be with Him in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
When Jesus died on the Cross, He experienced spiritual separation from God which is spiritual death. Those who leave this earth in that spiritual state go to hell. Jesus went there to pay the price for lost mankind.
Ephesians 4:8-10 NKJV Therefore He says: “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVITY CAPTIVE, AND GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.” (9) (Now this, “HE ASCENDED”–what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? (10) He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
When the Resurrection took place, Jesus was raised out of hell spiritually. On His way to His body, He preached to those held in Paradise and they were Born Again.
1 Peter 3:18-19 NKJV For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, (19) by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
They passed through this earth on their way to Heaven for their final destination as Paradise was moved from the upper regions of Hades to Heaven.
Matthew 27:51-53 NKJV Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, (52) and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; (53) and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
2 Corinthians 12:4 NKJV (4) how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Revelation 2:7 NKJV “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ‘
Jesus had a High Priestly assignment He had to fulfill.
Jesus has an encounter with Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus:
John 20:11-18 NKJV But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. (12) And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. (13) Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” (14) Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. (15) Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” (16) Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). (17) Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ” (18) Mary came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.
Adam’s sin reached all the way into Heaven.
Exodus 25:40 NKJV And see to it that you make them according to the pattern which was shown you on the mountain.
Heaven was affected by Adam’s sin.
Hebrews 9:11-12, 24-28 NLT (11) So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. (12) With His own blood–not the blood of goats and calves–He entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. (24) For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. (25) And He did not enter heaven to offer Himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. (26) If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, He has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by His own death as a sacrifice. (27) And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, (28) so also Christ died once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for Him.
- Satan had been conquered.
- The claims of justice had been met.
- Humanity had been redeemed.
- God, can now, on legal grounds, give eternal life to man.
- Jesus had become the Savior, had dealt with man’s sin, had settled it and saved man.
- Man at last was ransomed and his debt had been paid.
Jesus returns to the earth and ministers to His disciples for 40 days.
John 20:24-29 NKJV Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. (25) The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (26) And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” (27) Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” (28) And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” (29) Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
What Has Jesus Been Up To Since the Resurrection?
When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, it was not the end of His ministry. It actually was a beginning of a new phase of ministry for Him.
Understand this: Easter was a commencement; Easter was a beginning for Jesus.
Some think that once Jesus ascended into Heaven, that He simply sat down and is waiting for the Father to lean over and say that it is time for the end of all things. That simply is not the case.
You may remember when you graduated from high school or college, there was a commencement. We all thought that meant the end but we all found out that it was only the beginning. We may have had a break for a couple of months, but most of us began a new phase of our lives in college or on a job.
We are going to look at the different ministries that Jesus has been doing:
- Jesus, Our Mediator
- Jesus, Our Advocate
- Jesus, Our Heavenly Intercessor
- Jesus, Our Great High Priest
- Jesus, Our Mediator
Hebrews 12:1-2 NKJV Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (2) looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
When Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven, He went and sat down on the right hand of the throne of God.
I believe that there are literally three thrones in Heaven. In the center is God’s throne. On the right hand of God’s throne is another throne where Jesus was seated and on the left is another throne; the throne of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s throne is empty because He is not in Heaven but here in the earth.
Jesus is in Heaven right now.
1 Timothy 2:5 NKJV For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,
Jesus came to earth to represent God to us. He came to earth to tell us all about God. Now He has gone to Heaven to represent us before God.
1 Timothy 2:5 GNB For there is one God, and there is one who brings God and human beings together, the man Christ Jesus,
Jesus is God made flesh. Everything that Jesus had and did was the Father’s.
Why did God have to come Himself? Because you could not save yourself. You and I could not even help God do it.
Jesus had to do that Himself.
This represents the image of God that was Christ Himself. When Jesus was conceived and born, God Himself took His image and pressed it into the earth and when He pulled it back a baby was born who was His exact representation.
In His deity, He is the glory of God. In His humanity, He is the express image of God Himself.
He has to be unique and be God-man because He has to stand between God and man and pull two impossible entities together. It is impossible for man to come to God and it is impossible for God to come to man and so someone had to stand in between the two and pull them together. The only one that can do is Jesus Christ the God-man.
Job 9:32-33 NKJV “For He is not a man, as I am, That I may answer Him, And that we should go to court together. (33) Nor is there any mediator between us, Who may lay his hand on us both.
Job 9:33 AMP There is no umpire between us, who might lay his hand upon us both, [would that there were!] [I Tim. 2:5.]
Jesus Christ is the Mediator for all mankind. He is the only one that could and does bridge the gap between God and man.
Hebrews 8:6 NKJV But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator (Agent) of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
Hebrews 12:24 NKJV to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
- Jesus, Our Advocate
Job 1:6-12 NKJV Now there was a day when the sons of God (angels) came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. (7) And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” (8) Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (9) So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? (10) Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. (11) But now, stretch out (retract) Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (12) And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
Satan does have access to heaven and will until the halfway point in the tribulation period.
Revelation 12:10 NKJV Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
There are some things that we need to understand about Satan.
- He is a fallen angel.
- He is not omniscient.
- He is not omnipresent.
- Satan asks questions because he does not know the answer.
- God asks questions because He knows the answer and wants you to know you don’t.
The Mediator ministry of Jesus is for sinners. The three other ministries of Jesus (Advocate, Intercessor and Priest) in heaven are centered around Christians.
Satan is not the accuser of the sinner. He is the accuser of the brethren.
Sinners are already accused and judged because of sin.
Jesus was our means to the Father when we got Born Again and Jesus is still our means to the Father now.
Jesus Christ is our advocate. He fights for us.
Advocate (Dictionary) – One who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person; a person who pleads for or in behalf of another person; counsel for the defense.
1 John 2:1 NKJV My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
When we sin, Satan tries to bring it before God and accuse us but we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ. He is our defense attorney and pleads our case before God.
In Heaven there is praise and worship going on but in God’s presence in His throne room, it is more like a courtroom situation.
Satan comes into the presence of God with a handful of notes. He is constantly collecting information on us.
Let’s notice something about this courtroom situation. The Judge is your Dad and the defense attorney is your elder Brother, Jesus. Satan, the prosecuting attorney is no relation to any of us and in fact is an outsider.
If you have confessed your sins before the Father (1 John 1:9) when Satan comes into the courtroom to accuse you, the Father immediately informs him that the sin has already been paid for, cleansed from your record and the case is thrown out. All of the work that he did to gather that information is for nothing!
Legal Principle of Double Jeopardy – cannot be judged again.
Colossians 2:14 AMP Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.
Romans 6:10 NKJV For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Romans 3:25-26 NLT For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, (26) for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He declares sinners to be right in His sight when they believe in Jesus.
All of our sins before the New Birth, once we received Christ were nailed to the Cross.