Christ the King

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son… (Colossians 1:13)

In the study of Colossians 1:12-14, we left off with Paul expressing his thankfulness to the Father, and then he begins bringing us into the wonderful revelation of the person and preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This portion of scripture is indeed the high-water mark of revelation concerning Christ, and could be well-thought of as a singularity, for those of you familiar with mathematics.  (A singularity is when the value of a function “explodes” to infinity.)

Since all of this is such a high revelation, every detail demands as much attention as possible.  The first revelation is that of the kingdom of His dear Son.  In the Old Testament scriptures and the Gospels, the revelation concerning the kingdom of God’s Anointed, His dear Son, is that of David’s throne restored to Israel, and Christ ruling over all nations from Jerusalem.

Charles Baker, in A Dispensational Theology, when discussing the offices of Christ, had this to say regarding the office of Christ as King:

Covenant theologians and Amillennialists are forced to spiritualize David’s throne and make it to be the throne of God in heaven where Christ is now seated. That the apostles did not so understand it is evident from James’ remarks in Acts 15:16 where he makes it clear that at the then present David’s throne was in a state of deterioration, and that it would be after the return of Christ that it would be rebuilt and established. It is indeed difficult to understand how one can believe that Christ is at present exercising His kingly office and that Satan is at present bound in the abyss that he should deceive the nations no more, when sin and ungodliness are rampant in the world and have been since the days of the apostles. Such misinterpretation of the Scripture makes void nine-tenths of the promises of God and at the same time makes a farce of the Kingship of Christ.

A great deal of confusion concerning the Kingship of Christ has arisen because of a misunderstanding of the Scriptural use of the word kingdom. A kingdom implies a king. If there is such a thing as the kingdom of God today, must there not be a king in that kingdom? Assuredly there must. God Himself is King in the Kingdom of God. God’s kingdom, according to Scripture, is at times represented as the entire universe, as in Daniel 4:17; and at other times as limited to those beings who are in subjection to God spiritually, as in John 3:3.  God’s kingdom reigneth over all. Thus the Body of Christ of this dispensation as well as the Messianic Kingdom of the coming dispensation are both a part of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is analogous to the United States as being one and yet comprised of several distinct States. One may be in New York or California and be in the United States, but one cannot be in New York while he is in California. And just as New York and California are separate and distinct parts of the United States, so the Body of Christ and the Messianic Kingdom are separate and distinct parts of the Kingdom of God.

{Baker, Charles F. A Dispensational Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Grace Bible College Publications, 1971. (308-09 in pdf version, 321-22 in book). Print.}                          

In our understanding of our Lord Jesus Christ as King, we must make the effort with due diligence (“study”, 2 Timothy 2:15), to understand when the Scripture is speaking of His Kingship as the King over all creation, or as the promised Messiah, King of Israel, and ruler of all nations.

When Paul speaks of the Kingdom of God, he speaks of it in its “otherworldly” like character.  He speaks of that sphere of sovereignty that is over all creation, but into which not all creation has entered.  This seems especially true in the following verses:

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)

For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:20)

Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. (1 Corinthians 15:50)

 That ye would walk worthy of God, Who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:12)

Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer… (2 Thessalonians 1:5)

And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:18)

Some have made conclusions from this that it clarifies the meaning of the kingdom of God that the Lord spoke of as really being a “spiritual” kingdom and having nothing to do with His earthly reign.  They may also go as far as to say that there is no earthly reign, and that the only thing this world is waiting for is judgment at the last day.  It also makes the promises of God to Israel void, and that all of God’s promises to Israel are being fulfilled to “the Church”, spiritually.  Of course, all of the judgments on Israel will or already have been literally fulfilled on Israel.

The problem, as so often is the case, is that of “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).  “Reformed” theology for the most part seems to recognize Paul’s gospel for “the Church”, but also brings the prophecies specifically belonging to Israel, either as under the Law or in the Kingdom and applies all of it to “the Church”.  In doing so, it has to do away with a literally fulfilled Kingdom on earth, as Charles Baker noted in the above quote.  To be consistent with Scripture, we must accept that “Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1), was born “King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2), prophesied as a “Governor to rule [the LORD’s] people Israel” (Matthew 2:6, c.f. Micah 5:2), was to be given the “throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32), to “reign over the house of Jacob for ever” (Luke 1:33), and is witnessed to be the “Son of God”, and as such the “King of Israel” (John 1:49).

When questioned by Pilate as to whether He was King of the Jews, the Lord answered thus:

My kingdom is not of this world: if My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is My kingdom not from hence. (John 18:36)

Some might take this to mean that He would not have a kingdom here on this earth, but we cannot take this to nullify the plethora of Scriptures that say that He certainly will.  He did make the point that He was not one of the “four kings which shall arise out of the earth” (Daniel 7:17) as was shown to Daniel.  His kingdom is certainly not of this world system.  His kingdom does not come from this world.  It is the kingdom of heaven but it will be established on earth.  When Pilate further pressed our Lord about His Kingship, He replied:

Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice. (John 18:37)

There is a very real sense now though, that our Lord truly is reigning as King.  As He taught His disciples to pray “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10), does this not imply, or rather explicitly declare, that there was at that time a kingdom in heaven where the will of the Father is done?  The words do not speak of leaving earth and going to heaven, but rather that that which is true of heaven would be true of earth.  These words speak of that kingdom coming to earth.

But while the kingdom has not come to earth yet, the present place of Christ now is at the Father’s

…own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, Which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all. (Ephesians 1:20-23)

In His relation to earth now, He is “on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool” (Hebrews 10:12–13).  This is explained by Paul as a revelation of the mystery.  Now by this revelation, it does not do away with the Messianic Kingdom on this earth, but explains where the Lord is now.  The Apostle of the Gentiles reminds us that this Kingdom of Heaven on earth has not been done away with, for the following scriptures give witness that it is yet to come:

Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel… (2 Timothy 2:8)

Reference to the seed of David has everything to do with that position as Messiah of Israel, and referencing the Lord’s defense before Pilate, the Apostle reminds us, and this should strike fear and reverence into all of the rulers of this world now:

I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, Who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in His times He shall shew, Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to Whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. (1 Timothy 6:13-16)

This is the same “Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).  In His position now at the right hand of the Father, His very presence is interceding on behalf of all those who have believed on Him and His death for our sins and resurrection from the dead.  As long as He is seated on the “throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16), He is ministering reconciliation to the world, where all without exception nor distinction can come to God by faith in Him and be saved from every sin.  Do you not want freedom from your sins and to be translated into the Kingdom of the Son of His Love?  He wants to save you, and has set the terms.  Jesus Christ our Lord is truly all that you need, but you DO NEED HIM.

BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED…

2 thoughts on “Christ the King

  1. Pingback: The Synonymous Expressions For “Kingdom” – Distinguishing Truth

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