of Kings and Lord of Lords
The very center of God’s plan,
which he invites us to cherish with him, is the greatest story
ever lived—the life of Christ—the story of the King
of Kings and Lord of Lords…
This story of the King of Kings and
Lord of Lords carries our thoughts back, beyond the very beginning
of earth’s experiences, before the time when the heavens
were still being charted and the stars were forming, and even
beyond that—back to the very beginning of beginnings, when
God was all alone. This was the time when God began to plan his
work of creation.
First, he would create an intelligent
being, someone to arrange and supervise the outworking of his
purposes. And so we read of this beginning of beginnings in John
1:1, 3: “In the beginning was the Word (Greek, Logos)…All
things were made by him; and without him was not anything made
that was made”—for he was, as John further declares
in Revelation 3:14, “the beginning of the creation of God.”
He it was—this Logos, the Son of God—who was destined
to be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in the divine plan of
the ages. He it was who carried out every plan of his Maker through
ages of creative work in the realms of heaven; and he it was who
rejoiced with all the angelic hosts when the due time came in
God’s plan to create Adam on the earthly plane.
chart above is an outline of man’s journey through the past,
the present, and the future. The first small complete pyramid
could illustrate Adam as a perfect human being. But Adam sinned.
And it was this same Logos who saw Adam commit the act of disobedience
in the Garden of Eden—and saw Adam plunge the whole human
family into the depths of sin and death. We illustrate this by
the incomplete pyramid placed on the lower line.
thousand years of earth’s continuing history found man still
trapped hopelessly in the way of sin and death—longing for
a path of return to the favor of God. Finally, the time had come
for this great Logos to carry out a further feature of God’s
plan. He left his heavenly home to die on the cross in Adam’s
place, as a “ransom for all” that man might live.
John tells us: “the Word (Logos) was made flesh.”
(John 1:14) This great change from a spirit being to a human being
came at a time when the nation of Israel was under the Roman yoke.
“And it came to pass in those days that there went out a
decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.”
(Luke 2:1) In response to this decree, the people went into the
larger cities to be assessed—among them a familiar couple,
Joseph and Mary, en route to Bethlehem. Weary and worn, they arrived,
only to find the city crowded to overflowing. Every place was
taken. The only shelter they could find was in a stable. There
“she brought forth her firstborn son, …and laid him
in a manger.” In this lowly setting Messiah was born.
memorable announcement of this event was made to but a handful
of shepherds. “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born
this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord…Glory
to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Remember, it was the angels who sang and rejoiced. There was no
other choir, there was no other singing. The world was in slumber.
God did not waken them. He reserved this special announcement
and heavenly singing for only a few lowly shepherds to hear. Why
such secrecy? The people in general did not know. Yet the angels
had said that the “good tidings of great joy…shall
be to ALL people.” Sometime, someday, ALL would know that
this was the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
time later, we find our Lord at the age of thirty beginning his
ministry. And, being King and Lord, his ministry was concerned
with a kingdom. He gathered twelve apostles and sent them forth
with the same message he himself was preaching: “The kingdom
of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 10:7) A heavenly kingdom?
This was indeed a mystery! Had not the Law taught them to center
their hopes in a Kingdom on earth? And yet, here was their promised
Messiah proclaiming that his domain included heaven as well as
earth. The disciples were unable to think in terms of such greatness!
Nonetheless, their hopes continued to rise. Still, a shadow of
doubt lingered—for there were no visible signs of his kingdom
in sight. Far from it! Jesus even remarked, “The foxes have
holes, the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath
no where to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20
five days before his crucifixion, things changed spectacularly.
Jesus assumed regal authority. Riding into Jerusalem, he said:
“Behold, thy King cometh unto thee.” To the joy of
the disciples, as Jesus entered Jerusalem the multitudes responded
with great enthusiasm—strewing palm branches before him,
they shouted: “Hosanna to the son of David!” Surely
this was the hour of exaltation! He began to exercise kingly power!
He went to the temple and claimed it for his own! He acted as
a King, he spoke as a King, he commanded as a King!
opposition forces were plotting to crush our Lord. Brought before
Pilate, Jesus seemed indifferent to the danger. He deliberately
turned into the path of death. The people who before had heard
him gladly, now clamored for his life. His disciples could not
understand this turn of events, and soon they saw him led away
to judgment. Their Lord was taken from them as a lamb to the slaughter.
mocked, crucified, nailed to the cross between two thieves, our
Lord was a deserted and forsaken King! Finally, the fateful words:
“It is finished” and his head bowed in death. There,
by the grace of God, he gave his own precious life as a ransom
for all. God’s law of justice is an eye for an eye, and
a tooth for a tooth—a perfect life for a perfect life. (Matthew
5:38; Deuteronomy 19:21) Adam had sinned. Jesus died to take his
place that man might live.
at our Lord’s death the disciples’ hope faded again.
Three days of uncomforted mourning followed. On the third day,
Mary was weeping at the sepulchre. Together with the other sad
and disillusioned disciples, she was left to interpret events
as best she could. What could they all conclude? Their Lord was
gone. Their hope of a kingdom was buried with him. What a thrill
of rejoicing came to her heart when she beheld her risen Lord!
Her King was alive! His kingdom was still to be! Breathlessly,
she hurried back to Jerusalem, reporting to the other disciples
that the Lord was risen.
days of weakness and humiliation were forever past. The Scriptures
tell us plainly, “Christ being raised from the dead dieth
no more.” (Romans 6:9) Not only was Jesus raised from the
dead, but he arose in majesty and great glory! He was set down
at the right hand of God, “far above all principality, and
power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named.”
have traced how our Lord as the Logos, the Son of God, the beginning
of all creation, left his heavenly home to be born at Bethlehem,
suffered persecution, died for man’s sin, was raised in
glory and power, and yet his kingdom was not put into operation.
The question still remains, “When will he establish his
promised kingdom and just what will that kingdom be like?”
will that kingdom be like? This kingdom promises good tidings
to ALL people. The angels of the Lord declared it to the shepherds.
The prophet Haggai describes these good tidings as “the
desire of all nations shall come.” The desire of ALL nations—the
desire of ALL people—among other things, includes peace,
health and life.
people desire peace. God has promised that our Lord in the kingdom
to come will establish peace. Our generation especially has had
its bath in the blood of war. God says: “They shall beat
their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks:
nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall
they learn war any more…for the mouth of the Lord of hosts
hath spoken it.” Micah 4:3, 4
people desire health. God has promised that through our Lord in
the kingdom to come sickness shall be no more. Sickness, suffering,
and death have plagued mankind since Adam was condemned. But in
the world to come, God has promised, “the inhabitant shall
not say, I am sick.” “And there shall be no more death,
neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain…Write:
for these words are true and faithful.” Isaiah 33:24; Revelation
people desire life. God has promised through our Lord in the kingdom
to come life, and an end to death. This goes beyond the fondest
dreams of man. God promises: “there shall be no more death.”
(Revelation 21:4) And “all that are in the graves…shall
come forth.” (John 5:28, 29) “He will swallow up death
in victory; …for the Lord hath spoken it.” Isaiah
have described what the kingdom will be like. But when will the
kingdom be put into operation? Our Lord died over 1900 years ago.
all Christians believe in and expect a heavenly salvation, but
many have overlooked that its very purpose is to bring earthly
salvation to the remainder of humanity. The good tidings were
to be to ALL people. In other words, this is exactly what the
Lord taught: that there were to be two parts to his kingdom—the
heavenly and the earthly. Before setting up his kingdom on earth
to bless ALL people our Lord had to perform another part of God’s
plan—to select a Bride to reign with him. This Bride class
is composed of Christians called out from all nations and denominations—called
to follow in the footsteps of Jesus—to suffer with him now,
that they might rule with him later.
in the 24th chapter of Matthew, quoting from the prophecy of Daniel,
chapter 12, instructed his disciples concerning four outstanding
events which would mark the end of this evil order and the establishment
of his kingdom.
time of trouble.
running to and fro
return of Israel
Bible students, as well as secular historians, agree that these
signs are unmistakably fulfilled in our generation. To those who
have faith, these four fulfilled signs give fresh courage. Thus
we realize that we are now on the threshold of God’s promised
present evil order, having accomplished its purpose of teaching
man the exceeding sinfulness of sin, will be set aside as our
Lord begins to exercise his kingly power and might in establishing
peace on earth and good will toward men. To the raging nations
the Creator will declare: “Be still, and know that I am
God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in
the earth.” (Psalm 46:10) Then shall our Lord be recognized
by all as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
is the kingdom for which he taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom
come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” This
kingdom will come. And spread from shore to shore, and from the
rivers unto the ends of the earth. “Of the increase of his
government (kingdom) and peace there shall be no end.” (Isaiah
9:7) And the part of this story we love best to tell is, you will
be there, because this kingdom is for you—and not only for
you. “Jesus tasted death for every man.” Everyone
who ever lived will have an opportunity for a place and a part
know now what the angels meant when they sang those “good
tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL people.” They
had in mind the King and his kingdom. Although men did not sing
with the angels that wonderful night of his birth, it does not
mean they never shall. No, in the kingdom we see ALL people—ALL
nations—and as we listen, we hear them sing as the voice
of many people and as the voice of many waters saying, “Alleluia:
for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice.”
Revelation 19:6, 7