A King for a king

shutterstock_63206776Is Jesus currently a King? The following quote from Left Behind series author and Dispensational Pre-Tribulation advocate Tim LaHaye shows how some in Churchianity views this question:

“When Jesus comes, He is going to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Could anyone even suggest that for these last 1,900 years Jesus has been Lord and King over the kings of this earth – kings who have persecuted Christians by the millions (an estimated 50 million martyrs have been slaughtered for their faith)? To say that Christ is ruler now is a statement that reaches almost blasphemous proportions.” (End Times Controversy: 2nd Coming Under Attack? Page 11)

Notice that LaHaye is claiming that the issue of Jesus being King and Lord of mankind is contingent upon whether or not all men obey His rule. He then reasons that because a certain number of men and women do not obey Jesus then He is not yet ruling over the affairs of this world. Please, keep in mind that a believer’s power is limited to the degree of Jesus’ power. As a result, if Jesus is not yet enthroned as the King, then His Church would be at constant risk of being overthrown by both the spiritual kingdom of darkness and the rebellious kingdoms of this world. Such a view is in direct opposition to the power promised to the Church, which is to enable them to fulfill Jesus’ Great Commission (see Matthew 28:18-20).

Believers in Jesus Christ must not allow the political or spiritual climate of this world to govern what they believe about Truth. Rather they must lean to what the Bible says and use its unchanging Word as the stability of their beliefs. Scripture shows true faith comes by hearing the Word of God (see Romans 10:17). Because of this the Church must look to what the Bible tells them concerning the current status of Jesus and His Church. The Bible does now say that Jesus was conquered during His first coming and because He was His Church is now left to live a less than victorious life. Yet this is what LaHaye’s view would lead us to believe. The Bible also does not say that the faithful in Christ are a conquered people waiting to escape this world. Instead it says that Jesus’ people are more than conquerors through their victorious King and Savior, Jesus Christ (see Romans 8:37).

All NATIONS AND PEOPLES ARE ANSWERABLE TO JESUS’ WILL

The issue of man’s sovereignty has been debated in various intellectual and ecclesiastical circles since the time of Eden. At that place of creation, man received both life and the free will to choose his own direction. The trouble with this autonomy happened when Adam and Eve rejected God’s Kingship by opting instead to govern themselves. Remember, God established His authority over Eden when He gave man duties to perform (dress and keep the garden) and a law to obey (“do not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil…”) (see Genesis 2:15, 17). Through obeying this plan God gave man joint rulership of Eden by giving him “dominion” (rulership or authority) over all the beasts living there (see Genesis 1:26-28). Even though man’s position of authority was an established reality, the devil persuaded Adam and Eve to believe they would better themselves if they were their own god (see Genesis 3:1-7). This self-exaltation caused mankind to loose their authority and place in this God-created paradise. Even in this act of judgment we see God’s authority stretching over both rebellious man and the remainder of the regions of the world to which they were banished.

A descendent of Adam was Abraham. He was given a covenant with God. This agreement was established with the understanding that God would govern both Abraham and all of his heirs.

Genesis 17:7
(7)  And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.

Though some of the fulfillments promised in this covenant came through Abraham, God still retained full authority over both Abraham and the heirs of this promise. Though this is true, Abraham’s people, in their various countries, lived in differing degrees of obedience or disobedience to God’s authority. One such occurrence took place with a descendent of Abraham named Moses. If you’ll recall, this took place while his people were fresh from Egyptian deliverance. While Moses went into Mt. Sinai to receive the Law from God, his people built an idolatrous golden calf to worship. Their willingness that day to reject the sovereign rule of God in their lives was a first step toward Israel eventually accepting a human king to rule over them. Through God’s omniscience He knew that one day His people would ask for an earthly king. Because so, God spelled out His description of the type king Israel should have.

Deuteronomy 17:14-20
(14)  When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;
(15)  Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.
(16)  But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way.
(17)  Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away:
neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
(18)  And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites:
(19)  And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
(20)  That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

These stipulations should have caused any man to remember that he was nothing but a servant to the true King, which is the Lord God. This same job description was written for all the kings of Israel as well as those of the later nation of Judah. Being told to rule through the Law of God would give him a check and balance so he would not exalt himself above the people and thus become a godless dictator.

In later years the people became disillusioned and desired a king just like the other nations. This means they did not want a king according to what God spelled out in Deuteronomy 17, but instead an autocratic, despotic king like their neighbors Babylon, Assyria, or Egypt. The people must have thought such a powerful man in control would make their lives easier; but when you disobey God’s commandments the conclusion is always the same since you become enslaved to your rebellion. The conclusion of their decision is found in 1 Samuel 8:

1 Samuel 8:7-9
(7)  And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected methat I should not reign over them.
(8)  According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.
(9)  Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

We see here Israel acting as the compromised woman or whore. She rebels and rejects her marriage vow to God, because She wants her benefactor and husband—God—to have no say in her life. Such a decision is just like the decision that Adam and Eve made when they declared that they were their own king. They thought this decision would set them free from God’s rule, but they were wrong. Similarly, Israel’s decision removed their separation from the world, and made them just like another nation in the earth. For that reason she no longer acted as a type of the Kingdom of God on earth.

LIMITS TO HIS SOVEREIGNTY

At His trial, Jesus said that at that time His kingdom was “NOT OF THIS WORLD,” but He also added, “NOW is my kingdom not from hence” or “not of the world” (see John 18:36). This confirmed He planned to establish and reign in His Kingdom, but not the way that other Kings ruled. His did not take long to fulfill His promise because He soon after did return and establish His kingdom. Remember that in His “Great Commission” Jesus said that He had all power

Matthew 28:18
(18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ALL POWER IS GIVEN UNTO ME IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH.

Jesus said this right after His resurrection. On this fulfillment Paul wrote:

Romans 14:9
(9) For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, THAT HE MIGHT BE LORD BOTH OF THE DEAD AND LIVING.

Concerning the phrase, “That he might be Lord,” Barnes Notes states the following:

“That he might ‘rule over.’ The Greek word used here implies the idea of his being ‘proprietor’ or ‘owner’ as well as ‘ruler.’ It means that he might exercise entire dominion over all, as the sovereign Lawgiver and Lord.”

The Bible states emphatically that Jesus does rule through the Spirit!

1 Corinthians 15:23-25
(23) But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.
(24) 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.
(25) For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

This passage does not say Jesus rules AFTER He conquers all His enemies, but that He rules TILL [until] He puts all His enemies under His feet. Since Jesus’ Kingdom is everlasting we can see that His rule will remain for all time.

RULES OR ISSUES THAT ALLOW JESUS THE RIGHT TO RULE

What gives God the right to rule is His Sovereignty. Though few in Churchianity would question God’s authority, many still wrestle with God’s grip on political issues in those circles commonly referred to as “Political Christianity.” From such sources the Church is told that “we need to elect ‘moral leaders’ with Christian values.” So which is it? Is it a Christian’s responsibility or is it God’s to “empower” such leaders? Let’s look at what the Bible says about such things:

God alone put Pharaoh—an Egyptian—in power…

Exodus 9:16
(16)  And in very deed for this cause have I RAISED THEE UP, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

God alone put Nebuchadnezzar—a Babylonian—in power…

Jeremiah 27:5-6
(5)  I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have GIVEN IT UNTO WHOM IT SEEMED MEET UNTO ME
(6)  And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, MY SERVANT; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.

God alone put Cyrus—a Persian—in power…

Isaiah 45:1-4
(1)  Thus saith the LORD TO HIS ANOINTED, TO CYRUS, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;
(2)  I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:
(3)  And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
(4)  For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I HAVE EVEN CALLED THEE BY THY NAME: I HAVE SURNAMED THEE, THOUGH THOU HAST NOT KNOWN ME.

Neither America nor any other country’s political/religious condition should be used as an affirmation for or against Jesus’ authority over the world’s governments and leaders. The type sovereignty that Jesus has as the King is what the Bible referred to in the following passages:

Colossians 1:16-17
(16)  For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.  All things were created through Him and for Him
(17)  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

Colossians 2:9-10
(9)  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
(10)  And ye are complete in him, which is THE HEAD OF ALL PRINCIPALITY AND POWER:

Romans 13:1-3
(1) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. FOR THERE IS NO POWER BUT OF GOD: THE POWERS THAT BE ARE ORDAINED OF GOD.
(2) WHOSOEVER THEREFORE RESISTETH THE POWER, RESISTETH THE ORDINANCE OF GOD: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
(3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

Titus 3:1-2 AMP
(1)  REMIND PEOPLE to BE SUBMISSIVE TO [THEIR] MAGISTRATES AND AUTHORITIES, TO BE OBEDIENT, to be prepared and willing to do any upright and honorable work,
(2)  To slander or abuse or speak evil of no one, to avoid being contentious, to be forbearing (yielding, gentle, and conciliatory), and to show unqualified courtesy toward everybody.

1 Peter 2:13-17
(13)  SUBMIT YOURSELVES TO EVERY ORDINANCE OF MAN FOR THE LORD’S SAKE: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
(14)  Or unto governors, AS UNTO THEM THAT ARE SENT BY HIM for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
(15)  FOR SO IS THE WILL OF GOD, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
(16)  As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
(17)  Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

Tim LeHaye and those prophecy teachers that believe like him are wrong when they say that the status of Jesus’ kingship is contingent upon the level of this world’s stability. They forget that when Jesus rode into Jerusalem He was her King regardless of what the people then thought of Him (see Matthew 21:5). Pilate had it right when he wrote “King of the Jews” over Jesus’ cross (see John 19:19-22). What the people then (as well as LeHaye and prophecy teachers like him today) missed is that Jesus was not there to establish an earthly kingdom with palaces, armies, and a general population of citizens. Instead, Jesus was seeking to conquer one human heart at a time. Jesus builds His kingdom in the earth through those who come into His Church. The Scripture says that He came to “seek and save that which was lost” (see Luke 19:10). As each sinner is translated from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Jesus they become ambassadors of His kingdom. This transformation thus establishes the current sovereignty of Jesus’ kingship (see Colossians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 5:20). This is why believers are said to be “more than conquerors through Christ” (Romans 8:37). For a person to be led by the true King, they must  believe Jesus to be both their Lord and their Savior (Acts 2:36). Such surrender allows them to receive the greatest King ever known to man—Jesus Christ!

 

© 2005 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.
www.tkburk.com

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