THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY (10)
Christ our King (a)
“And he hath on his vesture, and on his thigh, a name written, ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lords’ “ (Revelation 19:16)
The third aspect of Christ’s office as Mediator is His reign as King. It is important that we appreciate the connection between the Kingship of Christ and His position as the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity. As King He reigns as God. Therefore He has infinite power and supreme authority. As man, however, he reigns on our behalf. Man at the beginning was granted authority but this was lost as a consequence of the fall. Nature became difficult, even impossible to tame because man had forfeited his exalted place. Christ, the Son of God, as man restores fallen humanity to the place which Adam lost. The elect of God therefore become Kings in Christ, because He is our representative, ruling and reigning for us. We only receive our position, through Christ, who became man for us.
Christ is King in two ways. He is the King over the entire universe. This is why every knee, will bow before Him, even the ungodly. This is His natural reign. His office and work as Mediator, however, relates to His reign over the Church, His Kingdom on earth. This is His primary rule, which we must keep before our minds in the course of this study.
1: The Indication of Christ our King
Throughout the Old Testament the position of Christ as King is indicated of which the following texts are a sample:
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” (Genesis 49:10)
This text anticipates the arrival of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, one who would gather all peoples, not just the Jews, to God.
“Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” (Psalm 2:6)
Of considerable comfort in an uncertain godless society, here we view the King who triumphs over the enemies of God, as the Apostles realised (Acts 4:23-31).
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Clearly Messianic this beautiful passage shows us the dominion of Christ.
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)
As the wise men searched for the new King, Herod’s own advisers discovered this verse, much to the King’s alarm (Matthew 2:6).
2: The Investiture of Christ our King
We understand of course that Christ has been the King of the Universe, serving in that role with the Father, ever since creation; “without Him was not anything made that was made.” His role as King of the Church is different, however, and is one which he has been invested with by the Father, as part of His work as Redeemer.
Paul when writing to the Hebrews indicates that the wedding song, Psalm 45, was indeed Messianic as He writes:
“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” (Hebrews 1:8)
The question is, ‘When was Christ” anointed, invested with regal authority over the Church. Louis Berkhof, in his Systematic Theology is helpful on this point:
“The generally accepted position of the Church is that Christ received His appointment as mediatorial King in the depths of eternity, and that He began to function as such immediately after the fall.”
This is certainly consistent with the Old Testament texts already referred to. It is also consistent with Covenant Theology, which details that the Father gave a people to His Son in eternity (John 6:37). Throughout the Old Testament period, however, this work was carried out through the Moses, Joshua, the Judges and the Kings, because He, as yet had not become a man who would reign over His Kingdom on behalf of men.
Israel, however, was but a foreshadowing of Christ’s spiritual Kingdom, the Church, which would incorporate Jew and Gentile in one body. While Christ spoke about this Kingdom during His ministry, he did not receive the sceptre until His ascension into glory where was seated at the Father’s right hand a “Prince and a Saviour” (Acts 5:31).
Christ’s Kingdom is not physical but spiritual. As such it is the most powerful domain on earth because it holds sway over the hearts of men and women:
“Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”(Luke 17:21)
This Kingdom is entered only by regeneration (John 3:3,5), it is a seed which eventually will conquer the world (Mark 4:26-29), and this Kingdom alone will bring peace to the world (Romans 14:17). The citizens of this Kingdom are ambassadors for their King, whose characteristics are set forth by Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount.
If only the Church of Christ today, could catch the vision, and comprehend our role in the world of men, living for the Kingdom that is not of this world.