Christ, Our King (1)

Rev. Key is pastor of the Protestant Reformed Church of Randolph, Wisconsin.

There is yet one aspect of Christ's office as Mediator which we must consider — the kingly aspect. God has ordained His Son, Immanuel, our Lord Jesus Christ, to be King over all the works of His hands.

An Eternally Appointed Dominion

It is clear from Psalm 2 that Christ's kingly dominion was appointed from eternity. His is a dominion exalted far above the kingship of Adam.

Adam, the first man, was created king under God. To Adam God gave dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. To man was given the anointing to serve God as king in the creation. He was to rule in the name of God over all things. 

But in the light of Psalm 2, it becomes evident that Adam's royal office was only a reflection of that which was eternally appointed for God's only begotten Son, the Messiah, our Lord Christ. Adam's dominion was a limited dominion. It was limited to the earth. He had a complete dominion in the earthly sphere; but it was only an earthly dominion. For Adam himself was earthly. He was not the Lord from heaven. 

And Adam fell. We have considered the devastating effects of the fall with respect to the other aspects of his office. The same devastation came upon his royal office. Not only was the royal power of man diminished when God cursed the creation, but man was no longer king under God. 

He remains king. The dominion of man over the creation is still seen today, though that dominion is even limited over the earthly creation. But the real problem for man is that he wants to rule now without God. That is true in every sphere and relationship of life. Consequently there develops in this world a kingdom of Satan, a kingdom that continues to develop and will culminate in that which Scripture exposes as the world-power of Antichrist. 

Apart from the new birth in Christ Jesus and His dominion in our lives, we are all prophets, priests, and kings under the devil. The expression of that truth comes out in our old man day after day after day. 

But it was God's purpose from eternity to raise man to such an exalted position that all things would be subject to him. And that purpose never changed, never could change. All things stand strictly in the service of God and His eternal good pleasure. Christ shall have dominion! God has set His Son upon His holy hill of Zion. 

All pointed to Christ, eternally set in God's counsel. Only in Christ would all things on earth and in heaven be united and belong to His one dominion. 

That Psalm 2 is written by David and refers to personal experience does not change this truth. For David stands as a type of Christ. We ought not forget that Psalm 2 is very specifically prophetic. Proof for that is found in Acts 13:32,33, where Paul preaches, "And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee." The same proof is found in the epistle to the Hebrews, chapters 1 and 5. 

Christ Himself is the root of David. He is the Messiah, anointed to rule in Jehovah's name. He rules according to the will and law of Jehovah God. There is no wrong found in Him. 

Against Him the heathen rage. They say of God and of His Christ, "Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us." 

There seems to be no conceivable reason. It is not that He is an inept governor, who rules wickedly. He is a righteous King. But against Him men rage, simply because He is God's anointed, and they hate God and His precepts, His truth, and His righteousness. They imagine a vain thing. 

Jehovah speaks, the Almighty. "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." The language is very strong. "I have set fast my King. All the raging of the heathen is vain. My Christ reigns," says God. 

And the response of His Anointed is this: "I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel" (Ps. 2:7-9). 

Before the foundation of the world God had ordained His Son to be King over all the works of His hands. Even though it remains true that the first man plunged himself and us all into the abyss of guilt and misery and death by his act of willful disobedience, and for that rebellion was responsible before God; nevertheless, that fall was no accident from God's viewpoint. For it pleased God that in Christ, not Adam, should all fullness dwell. 

Though the powers of darkness set themselves against the Lord and against His Anointed—as far as their own motivation is concerned—and would gather together in their attempts to kick God and His Christ off the throne, "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh." 

The very Son of God, the only begotten, Jesus the Messiah, is eternally ordained to be the Firstborn of every creature, King over all things. And as the Lord of His elect brethren and with them, He shall forever reign over all the works of God's hands. So He reigns as God's Christ, the Anointed.

The Exercise of His Dominion

The exercise of His dominion is unto God's glory and to the salvation of us who believe.

He is King of His church, first of all. 

It is necessary to call attention to this truth, because there are those in the church world—especially dispensationalists and premillennialists—who deny this. They are those who teach that Christ is the King of the Jews, but the Head of His church. They make separation between Jew and Gentile, between the nation of Israel and the church. And, although with some variation, they teach that when the Jews rejected Christ, He turned to the Gentiles with the purpose of gathering for Himself a church of which He is the Head. He is not the King of that church, they say. When Christ has gathered His church from among the Gentiles, He will return to the Jews. And in the nation of Israel He will reestablish the throne of David in Jerusalem and reign as King over Israel.

But this teaching is contrary to the truth of Holy Scripture. 

In the first place, it denies the unity of the church throughout the ages. Scripture clearly teaches the unity of the church throughout all ages, Old and New Testaments. Although in the Old Testament time of types and shadows that church was given a national form, it is clear throughout Scripture that the church of the New Testament is one with the Israel of the Old Testament. That truth will require further exposition when we get to a consideration of the doctrine of the church.

Secondly, the Bible does not speak of the kingdom of God as an earthly kingdom. On the contrary, Jesus gave this testimony before Pilate: "My kingdom is not of this world." 

Furthermore, we read in Ephesians 3 that the mystery of Christ, hidden in ages past, is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, "That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel" (v. 6). There is no longer separation between Jew and Greek. Christ is King over all. All the righteous are the children of God's kingdom, governed and preserved by the eternal King of kings. 

Christ rules in His church by His Word and Spirit. Jesus Christ exercises a kingly authority over and works by the power of grace in all whom He makes subject to Himself by the gospel. Christ establishes His kingdom in the hearts of us His elect by sending forth His regenerating Spirit, making our hearts subject to His rule and ruling in our hearts according to His purpose. 

Not only so, but He sends forth His armies of prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, who are under the leadership of the Spirit, armed with the Word of God which is sharp and powerful, going forth conquering and to conquer. He shakes the hearts of His people right to the foundations, overturning every vain hope and high thought that exalts itself against Him. 

By that rule of His grace, Christ calls us out of darkness into the light of His glory and grace, into the kingdom of heaven. That explains why, even on this earth, we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven. Our great King establishes in the hearts of His people a spiritual rule, even writing His law on our inmost hearts, so that it becomes our delight to do His will. He rules in our hearts by His grace, giving us the desire to repent of our sins and to bow in willing and humble obedience to Him. 

That is the reign of Christ in the hearts of His people. But His sovereign rule embraces much more.