How was Jesus victorious over the enemies of God's kingdom in the inauguration of God's kingdom?

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Jesus is victorious over his enemies on half a dozen different levels. Many people expected the kingdom to come along with a big bang and all of the enemies would be crushed and you'd already be into the new heavens and the new earth and resurrection existence. But the kingdom has started, it is here, but it is still wending its way, forging its way until the consummation. So, in what ways, then, the question asks, is Jesus already victorious over his enemies? Well, first of all, the most crucial victory is in the cross itself so that he defeats Satan. The accuser of the brethren, as it were, cannot come along and say, "Oh God, you can't possibly put up with that miserable lot. You say you're so holy and yet you're having dealings with creeps like them who are idolaters and inconsistent and self-lovers, they don't love you with heart and soul and mind and strength, their neighbors as themselves. You really must condemn them all, blot them all out." But, in fact, Satan is silenced because Christ has paid for the sins of his own people. In that sense, the crucial battle has been fought and won. And that's why, for example, in Revelation 12, the saints respond to the accuser of the brethren, they overcome him by the blood of the Lamb. They overcome Satan, described metaphorically in Revelation 12, they overcome him by the blood of the Lamb. And, so, that battle has already been won. But, like Hitler toward the end of World War II, when he could see that the war was over, he didn't quit. He was filled with fury because he knew his time was short. That's what is said of Satan. So, Satan is more virulent now, and every time the gospel advances, more people are converted, righteousness is established in individual lives, in the local church, in any sort of subculture. That is already an ongoing defeat of Satan and of all those who love darkness. And the ultimate trajectory toward the ultimate victory is when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ, and he will reign forever. And that's the way the Bible ends up in Revelation 19:22. Yet, at the same time, this is also a victory over evil people who want to undermine the kingdom of God or overthrow the moral order, or disdain Christ, and so on. The point is that the trajectory has been set in place so that, as Philippians 2 puts it, every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, and the fundamental victory has been won. That's still got to be worked out in some respects. It's being worked out in the lives of many who do, joyfully, by the power of the Spirit, bend the knee. But everyone will bend the knee on the last day. So, the gospel of the kingdom is already demonstrating its transforming power in overcoming the hosts of darkness, the darkness of the human heart, the darkness of the God-damned world in anticipation of what is yet to come.

Answer by Dr. D.A. Carson

D.A. Carson is Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL, and Co-founder of The Gospel Coalition