“That also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (John 11:52).
When we look forward to the blessings of the Kingdom and joint heirship with the Lord, we must remember the pivotal significance of the life, and death, of Jesus Christ. Without his faithfulness, there would be no resurrection of the dead, and no hope at all for the future.
Joint‑Heirs with Christ
Romans 8:16-17 says “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” If the prospective members of the New Creation hope to be joint-heirs with the Lord, then Jesus himself would be the chief heir. Fortunately, the scriptures tell us much about the inheritance of Christ.
Christ’s Inheritance: To be Man’s Savior
The first hint of Christ’s role in God’s plan of salvation is found in the curse upon Satan. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Bruising a heel causes injury, and the Adversary has injured humanity, with a special effort to injure the Lord’s body, or feet-members. However, bruising the head indicates a fatal blow. This prophecy implies that Satan will be destroyed (Revelation 20:10). This glimmer of hope of a redeemer demonstrates both God’s foreknowledge and His plan to rescue his human creation. Part of Christ’s inheritance is to be man’s savior.
Justice Must be Satisfied First
However, divine justice had to be satisfied before mankind could be saved from Adamic condemnation. To accomplish this, Jesus had to be made flesh. Hebrews 2:9,14 provides a concise overview of our Lord’s earthly mission, and its central purpose. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. … Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.”
All of the prophecies of the future blessings of mankind are dependant upon divine justice being satisfied so that the condemnation on Adam and his posterity could be removed. “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). The divine law of “an eye for an eye” (Exodus 21:23-25) required that an obedient perfect man give his life to redeem a perfect man who had fallen into sin. Therefore, Jesus died for Adam, thereby purchasing the entire human race from the
bondage of death.
We call this doctrine “the ransom for all” — and our Lord is the sole provider of that sacrifice (Psalm 49:7). Only Jesus had the ability to do so, not only as a perfect human being, but as one who lived his life without sin. This is made clear in Hebrews 4:15, “but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
Christ’s Sacrifice Insures His Inheritance
Jesus’ earthly mission set the stage for his eternal inheritance. His first advent makes possible his second advent. Before going to Calvary’s cross, Jesus said to his disciples “Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19). Here, Jesus mentioned both his inheritance and that of his footstep followers.
The Apostle Paul referred to our hope in sharing in Christ’s sacrifice and his spiritual inheritance as a hidden mystery. “Even the mystery which … now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:26-27). For the first time in God’s dealings with man, those who make a consecration to do the Lord’s will would, if faithful unto death, receive a glorified, heavenly reward, rather than the earthly inheritance assured by Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. What a hope!
Christ’s Inheritance: Divine Nature
After our Lord’s earthly ministry had been faithfully completed, he ascended to the Heavenly Father as a spirit being, rewarded with the divine nature. This is part of Christ’s inheritance. No longer bound by his earthly form as Adam’s ransom, Jesus is now capable of carrying out his role as man’s savior. While the Lord’s people have the privilege of now discerning Jesus’ invisible second presence, mankind is awaiting (though largely unaware) the epiphaneia (Strongs G2015) phase of our Lord’s return, translated as “the appearing of his presence” in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 (Emphatic Diaglott). This is when the long-awaited work of the Kingdom of God begins.
Christ’s Inheritance: Keys of Hell and Death
“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell [hades] and of death” (Revelation 1:18). Possession of the “keys of death” is perhaps our Lord’s grandest inheritance, for it truly unlocks all of the divine wonders of the Kingdom of God, and the “ages to come.” Together with the divine nature, the risen Christ now has both the authority and the power to raise mankind from the grave. We are told that “the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth” (John 5:28,29).
Christ’s Inheritance: Teaching, Judging Mankind
With the resurrection of the dead, the judgment of God will commence. Fortunately, for the awakened world of mankind, that judgment is not a one-day condemnation, but rather a time of learning, of education, and understanding God’s principles of righteousness. Everyone will be required to align their lives with those principles to receive ever-lasting life.
Since all awakened from the sleep of death plus those living at the beginning of Christ’s kingdom will be restored physically to the perfection lost by our first human parents, and because the Adversary will be bound (Revelation 20:2-3), the process of learning righteousness will be easier than at present. Rather than our “narrow way” of this life, mankind will then enjoy a “highway” to life eternal (Isaiah 35:8).
Christ’s Inheritance: Power Over the Nations
Psalm 2:6-9 prophesies of this time. “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion … the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” The king will be Jesus in glory, and the heathen will be the very ones Jesus purchased through this ransom sacrifice — the entire human race. Jesus’ inheritance includes the authority and power to remove the nations and enforce compliance with the laws of his kingdom. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9).
Christ’s Inheritance: Priest After the Order of Melchizedek
Hebrews 7:15-17 says “For that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
Psalm 110:4-6 expands on this quotation. “The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord at thy right hand shall
strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen.”
Melchizedek (who had no parents identified in the Bible, and had no mention of his death) was a priest and a king. Psalm 110 prophesied that Jesus’ inheritance would involve being a priest similar to Melchizedek, that is, not by genealogy, but by appointment of the Heavenly Father. The Melchizedek priesthood gives Jesus both the religious and civil authority and power to bring mankind back to perfection and thus, harmony with God (Hebrews 7:1).
Christ’s Inheritance: Bind Satan and Bless Mankind
With his priestly and kingly office, our Lord will fulfill his divine inheritance to bless all the families of the earth (Genesis 12:3, 22:18). Christ’s Kingdom will be mankind’s first full and complete opportunity for salvation. Not only will the human family be raised to physical perfection, but also, by their personal obedience to God, to moral perfection. To accomplish this, the great adversary Satan must be restrained from exerting his evil influences. Thus, another portion of our Lord’s inheritance is the authority and power to bind Satan for a thousand years. “He laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:2).
Christ’s Inheritance: Bring Mankind Back to God
With the Adversary bound, humanity will be enabled to progress up the “highway of holiness” to full perfection (Isaiah 35:8). We trust the overwhelming majority of the human family will achieve a true and full resurrection — physical, moral and spiritual perfection. This will enable Jesus to fulfill another aspect of his inheritance, returning mankind to God. “Afterwards, the end — whensoever he [Jesus] delivereth up the kingdom unto his God and Father, whensoever he shall bring to nought all rule and all authority and power; For he must needs reign, until he shall put all his enemies under his feet: As a last enemy, death, is to be destroyed … whensoever have been put into subjection, unto him, the all things, then, the Son himself, also shall be put in subjection unto him who put in subjection, unto him, the all things — that, God, may be, all things in all” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26,28 Rotherham).