A Study of the Kingship of Jesus
Introduction: Many claim to worship and serve Jesus, but they deny the real Jesus of the scriptures (see addendum). A large segment of the denominational world deny Jesus' present Kingship by claiming that Jesus' reign as King is yet future. This doctrine is known as Premillennialism. Paul referred to Jesus as "only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords" (I Tim. 6: 15). Notice that Jesus is said to be simultaneously Potentate, Lord of lords, and King of kings (Ibid.). Jesus received all authority (a Potentate is one who has authority) after his resurrection from the dead (Matt. 28: 18, Rom. 1: 4). Jesus was also known to be Lord, one who had authority and must be obeyed (Lk. 6: 46). In connection with Jesus being Potentate, Lord of lords, and King of kings, Paul mentioned that in Jesus resides "immortality" (I Tim. 6: 16, Jesus has the power to save, being Potentate, King of kings, and Lord of lords). Hence, at the time of I Timothy 6, Jesus was King of kings.
I. The Kingship of Jesus was prophesied.
A. There are a number of prophesies that mention the fact Jesus would be King and that also help us to identify when Jesus would assume Kingship (see 2 Sam. 7: 12, 13; Jere. 23: 5, 6; Isa. 9: 6; Dan. 2: 44).
B. Perhaps the most interesting prophesy regarding Jesus' kingship is found in Zechariah 6: 12, 13:
"12: And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: 13: Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." (Jeremiah 23: 5, 6 make it plain that the "Branch" is Jesus.)
C. Zechariah's prophesy not only mentions Jesus would "rule upon his throne" but that also he would "be a priest upon his throne." The Pulpit Commentary comments thus regarding Zechariah's prophesy: " All who heard the words must have understood that they had reference to the 'shoot' of David, the Messiah that was to come, to whom was committed the regal and priestly dignity Messiah should, like Melchizedek, combine the offices of priest and king" (Vol. 14, pg. 59). Jesus was officiating as High Priest at the time of the writing of Hebrews 4: 14-16; hence, Jesus was also King of kings at the same time.
II. The King is born.
A. The angel Gabriel explained to Mary regarding the child she carried within her (Lk. 1: 26-35). Gabriel also explained that Jesus, her child, would be called the "Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (vs. 32, 33). Mary did not know that the child she carried would be King.
III. The King is crucified.
A. The climax of Jesus' life began when he was arrested and subjected to mock trials (Jn. 18). Notice how the Roman ruler Pilate presented Jesus to the Jews who had Jesus arrested and set up for trial and ultimate death by crucifixion: "Behold your King!" (Jn. 19: 14.)
B. Pilate attempted to reason with the mad mob by asking them, "Shall I crucify your King?" (vs. 15.). In connection with the crucifixion we read, "And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross, and the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS" (vs. 19). When the Jews wanted the title changed, Pilate refused to make any change (vs. 21, 22).
a. It is apparent from the dialogue between Jesus and Pilate that Pilate believed Jesus to be the King (Jn. 18: 33-36, 37).
IV. The King is alive.
A. Jesus prophesied of his death and subsequent triumphant resurrection (Matt. 20: 19). Jesus was indeed raised from the grave (Matt. 28: 5, 6).
B. An interesting event took place shortly following Jesus' resurrection that involved the two women named Mary, "And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him" (Matt. 28: 1 ff.). Their behavior and action rendered to Jesus was obeisance befitting a King.
V. The coronation of Jesus, the King.
A. After Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected the third day, he revealed himself for 40 days in order to prove his resurrection (Acts 1: 3). Notice that Jesus spoke to his apostles "of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (a kingdom presupposes a king). When he had spoken to his apostles "he was taken up; and a cloud received him out their sight" (vs. 9).
B. Shortly after the ascension of Jesus, the awaited day of Pentecost came (Acts 2). Peter preached thus to these people about the resurrected Jesus and their consequent need to be saved:
"29: Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30: Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31: He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32: This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 33: Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."
C. Peter affirmed that Jesus had been "raised up" to sit on David's throne (vs. 30). The "raising up" pertained to Jesus' resurrection, Peter explained (vs. 31, 32). Jesus is at "the right hand of God exalted," Peter further injected (vs. 33). Peter is referring to the actual coronation of Jesus. Therefore, the prophetic teachings regarding Jesus' Kingship were fulfilled in Acts 2. Notice also that Jesus was raised up to sit on David's throne (vs. 30). Hence, Jesus' reign as King is spiritual and not temporal.
VI. The King is now reigning.
A. When Peter preached of Jesus' coronation (being officially made King), he presents Jesus as reigning at the time of Acts 2 (vs. 32, 33). The kingdom was in place during the First Century. Regarding the Christians at Colosse, we read: "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col. 1: 13). John later wrote, "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ " (Rev. 1: 9).
B. Jesus is presently reigning on the spiritual throne of David in heaven, where he also serves as high priest (Zech. 6: 12, 13; Heb. 4: 14-16). The scriptures do not teach that Jesus was to physically reign in the literal city of Jerusalem upon the material throne of David, after the fashion of a worldly government (cp. Jn. 18: 36).
VII. The King is coming again.
A. One of the grandest preludes found in the scriptures regarding the Judgement Day reads as follows:
"31: When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34: Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world " (Matt. 25).
B. Notice "Then shall the King say " (vs. 34). The expression "then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory" is not teaching that at that time Jesus will assume Kingship, but is referring to the judgment throne (2 Cor. 5: 10). The Judgment will not be the beginning of Jesus' reign, but the end of Jesus' mediatorial reign. Notice Paul's language: "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father: when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power" (I Cor. 15: 24).
Conclusion: Jesus is now Potentate, Lord of lords, and King of kings. Any doctrine to the contrary attempts to strip Jesus of his regality and is false. In view of Jesus' Kingship, we are obligated to submit to his reign (Lk. 19: 14, 27). Alas, many want to view Jesus as Savior, but not as Potentate, Lord of lords, and King of Kings.
Addendum: The Holy Spirit appears to be making a play on words in the verse. He mentions "another spirit" (heteron he pneuma), "another gospel" (heteron oh evaggelion) but regarding Jesus, he wrote: allon Iesoun. The Greek heteros clearly means "one of a different sort." Hence, a different sort of gospel and spirit. However, Paul refers to another of the same sort (allos) Jesus. The context, though, reveals this mentioned Jesus is not the real and thus efficacious Jesus(vs. 3, 4). The idea seems to be that Paul is saying the "jesus" under consideration is very similar to the real Jesus; though, significantly different. The jesus of the religious world often closely resembles the real Jesus, but is an impostor.