Sometimes we assume something because we don’t know all the facts and we don’t take the time to investigate. We often read scripture and make the same mistake — especially when we’re dealing with the end-times.
Consider this passage:
“And the high priest arose and said to (Jesus), ‘Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?’ But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, ‘I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!’
Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.’
Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!’”
It’s easy to think that Jesus is talking about His second coming here. But look at how offended the high priest was at what Jesus said. The high priest knew nothing of Jesus’ second coming. But, the high priest knew very well what Jesus was saying here. And it offended the high priest so much that he tore his own clothes — something he was commanded not to do (Leviticus 21:10).
Jesus was quoting two Old Testament passages, and the high priest would have known exactly what Jesus was saying as he, the high priest, was an expert in scripture.
“The Lord (the Father) said to my Lord (Jesus),
‘Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.’
The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion.
Rule in the midst of Your enemies!”
“‘I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man (Jesus),
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days (the Father),
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed.’”
Jesus “coming on the clouds” is not referring here to His second coming, but rather His ascension and coronation as King (He came to the Ancient of Days, not to the earth). And notice what was given to Jesus at that time: dominion, all peoples, all nations, and all languages. That happened two thousand years ago. Jesus rules now as King at the Father’s right hand.
And how long will He rule in heaven as King?
“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His (second) coming. Then comes the end, when He (Jesus) delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He (Jesus) must reign till He (the Father) has put all enemies under His (Jesus’) feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For ‘He (the Father) has put all things under His (Jesus’) feet.’ But when He (the Father) says ‘all things are put under Him (Jesus),’ it is evident that He (the Father) who put all things under Him (Jesus) is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him (Jesus), then the Son Himself (Jesus) will also be subject to Him (the Father) who put all things under Him (Jesus), that God may be all in all.”
~1 Corinthians 15:20-28
Jesus is ruling in heaven now and will continue to rule from heaven until God the Father puts all of Christ’s enemies under Christ’s feet. And the last enemy will be death itself. And it is at Jesus’ second coming when all people, saved and unsaved, will be resurrected and judged (John 5:26-29). Then Jesus will hand the kingdom over to His Father.