As the firstborn from the dead, Jesus becomes ruler of the new order—the kingdom of God—the ruler of the earth’s kings. It is conferred upon Him by God the Father. Jesus is the ruler of all rulers—all must ultimately bow to Him.
It’s good to be with you again, as we draw near to the close of this Christmas week. Today I’m going to continue and complete my special series of messages on: Titles of Jesus.
In my talks last week and this week, I’ve presented to you the following titles of Jesus:
Prince of Peace
The Word of God
The Lamb of God
The Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Alpha and Omega
The Bright Morning Star
The tenth title that I’ve chosen for my talk today is: King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Like the two preceding titles, it is taken from the Book of Revelation.
In Revelation, chapter 17 we have a picture of the great global end time conflict in which Satan and the rulers associated with him will actually be ranged in open war against God and His appointed ruler, Jesus. This is part of the description, Revelation 17, verses 12 through 14:
“The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast [the beast is the anti-Christ]. They will make war against the Lamb, [That’s Jesus] but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings — [You remember what we said earlier, the Lamb is also the Lion and here the Lamb is called Lord of Lords and King of Kings. There’s a deliberate paradox in a Lamb that’s the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Then it goes on in that verse] With him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”
It always blesses me that Jesus doesn’t want to win the victory on his own. He wants to share it with his followers. That’s just like Him. He wants to bring us in on everything, His victory too.
Again, the same title is used a little further on in the Book of Revelation, in Revelation 19, verses 11 through 16 where we have the revelation of Jesus ready to return from Heaven in power and glory to judge the earth and to take over its kingdom. John says this:
“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. [That’s Jesus] With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. [The many crowns represent all the kingdoms which are his by right] He has a name written on him that no one but he himself knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. [We’ve already spoken about that earlier in this series of studies] The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”
So you see, Jesus is here presented very clearly and emphatically as the ultimate ruler of the universe and this passage depicts the establishment of his authority against all opposition.
Let’s remind ourselves of the path by which Jesus came to this position. This too is revealed in the book of Revelation, chapter 1, verses 4 and 5:
“Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, [That’s God the Father] and from the seven spirits before his throne, [That’s the Holy Spirit] and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.”
There’s a certain sequence there that we need to observe. Jesus was first of all in his humanity, the faithful witness, the one who never turned from the truth, the one who spoke the truth even about himself, though it cost him his life. He was the faithful witness. Because he was the faithful witness, God vindicated his faithfulness and his righteousness and raised him from the dead. So he became the first born from the dead, the first person ever to rise in resurrection out of death; the first born meaning that others, his believing people were to follow him.
Thirdly, as the first born from the dead, the head of a new creation, he’s also the ruler of the new order. He is the ruler of earth’s kings.
Let’s look at those words once more. He’s the faithful witness, the first born from the dead, and therefore the ruler of the kings of the earth. It’s important to see also that Jesus receives his authority from the Father. He does not rest it for himself. It’s conferred upon Him because He has deserved it. He has merited it. He has fulfilled the conditions for it. This is stated in 1 Timothy, chapter 6, verses 13 through 16, some wonderful and beautiful words. Paul is speaking to Timothy and this is what he says:
“In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, [the Messiah Jesus] who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, [was the faithful witness] I charge you to keep this commandment [his ministry] without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, [Now it’s speaking about his appearing again in glory and power. Paul goes on to say:] which God will bring about in his own time — God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.” (NIV)
So it’s God the Father who will bring about the appearing, the return in glory, of the Lord Jesus Christ and of God the Father it says, “He is the blessed and only Ruler.” Another translation says potentate. It’s a tremendously powerful word. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. It’s interesting because in that particular passage there in the Greek, the language means the King of all who are kinging it and the Lord of all who are lording it, so no matter what men may claim to be, no matter what power they may abrogate to themselves, God the Father is the King of all who are kinging, the Lord of all who are lording and He is going to impart this authority to his chosen and well beloved and faithful son, the Lord Jesus. And so Jesus, out of the impartation of that authority will become the King of kings and Lord of lords.
That beautiful title applied to Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords, has a very specific meaning. Kings and lords are rulers. And what it means is this, that Jesus is the ruler of all rulers. He’s the Governor over all governments, particularly under his authority are all earthly rulers and governments. He is directly over them and all must bow to Him. Hence, he wears on his head those many crowns. The Greek word is diadems. It’s not the crowns that represent victory in the athletic contest, that’s another word, but it’s the royal word, the word diadem. He had many crowns because all kings find their authority and their right to rule from him. And God has a special message to rulers concerning Jesus. I think sometimes we don’t appreciate that God says some things which are specially to rulers and to leaders. It’s found in Psalm 2. I’m going to read the whole Psalm, it’s not very long:
“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. [You remember, that’s His Christ, His Messiah. Notice it’s the kings and the rulers there] ‘Let us break their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off their fetters.’ [They want to reject the Lordship of Jesus] But the one enthroned in heaven [that’s God the Father] laughs at them; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, ‘I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.’ [My King, of course, is Jesus, so no matter what earth’s rulers may say or decide, or attempt to do, Jesus, the Appointed King is already installed on the heavenly Zion. Then the son speaks of the Father’s relationship to him, he says:] I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: [The Lord, the Father] He said to me, ‘You are my Son, today I have become your Father. [That’s the resurrection] Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. [You remember because he’s the first born from the dead, he is the ruler of the kings of the earth] You will rule them with an iron scepter, you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’ [Now, there’s a message for the kings and rulers] Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (NIV)
That’s a special message and I believe it’s a timely one for today, a message to the rulers of earth. Be reconciled with God through Jesus. Kiss the Son because if his anger flares up, He’ll bring judgement on you that you cannot resist.
Let me say this in conclusion. The establishment of the Kingdom of Jesus is the only solution to earth’s problems and the only hope for earth’s peoples. Thank God He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Amen. Lord Jesus, come quickly.
Well our time is up for today. I’ll be back with you again next week at this same time. Next week I’ll be bringing you a series of messages especially appropriate for the beginning of a new year, entitled, Twelve Steps to a Good Year.
At this special season I want to wish everyone of you God’s richest blessings for Christmas and New Year and to thank all those of you who have been sharing with me the financial burden of this radio ministry. May I also ask you frankly to remember the ministry once more with a generous gift before the year closes. This will be a great source of encouragement to me personally and will strengthen me to continue and expand this ministry in the New Year that lies ahead.
To each one who responds I’ll send a copy of my book, Appointment in Jerusalem. This is the dramatic, true-life story of my first wife, Lydia. Countless people have written to tell me that it’s the most moving and exciting story they’ve ever read.
Also, this week’s complete series of messages on “Titles of Jesus” is available in a single, carefully-edited, 60-minute cassette. Stay tuned for details.