It has been divinely ordained that our Lord should fill three great offices -- the Prophetic, the Priestly, and the Kingly. As Prophet, He acts as God's Spokesman: revealing God's mind, communicating God's will, unveiling God's heart. As Priest, He acts as Mediator between God and men, and by means of His atoning sacrifice He reconciles believers to God, represents His peoples' interests before God, interceding for them and pleading their cause. As King, He will reign over men, enforcing God's laws, and upholding on earth the claims of His Throne. It is of Christ as King we shall now speak.
Toward the close of David's reign, the word of the Lord came to Nathan, bidding him go to the king and, among other things, tell him, |And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy Seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish His Kingdom. He shall build an house for My name, and I will establish the throne of His Kingdom for ever| (2 Sam.7:12, 13). At a later date, in one of the great Messianic prophecies, it was announced concerning our Lord that |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| (Is.9:6, 7). Hence it is that the very first verse of the New Testament reads, |The Book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, (thus linking Him with Israel's throne) the son of Abraham.|
Just before our Lord was born, an angel appeared unto Mary and said, |And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever: and of His Kingdom there shall be no end| (Luke 1:30-33).
Sometime during our Lord's infancy certain wise men, who were led by a star, came to Jerusalem (the royal city), asking, |Where is He that is born King of the Jews?| (Matt.2:2). Our Lord, then, was born King of the Jews, but as the inspired Word informs us, |He came unto His own, and His own received Him not| (John 1:11). Israel would not own Him; instead, they cried, |We have no king but Caesar| (John 19:15). And when Pilate wrote an inscription and placed it over the Cross -- |This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,| they desired him to alter it and substitute, |He said I am King of the Jews| (John 19:21), which is further proof that the Jews had rejected Him as their King.
It was announced then, in Old Testament prophecy, and confirmed by the angel to Mary, that our Lord should occupy the throne of David. In order to the fulfillment of this our Lord, according to the flesh, sprang from one who was a lineal descendant of David, and therefore, He was born |King of the Jews.| But as we have seen, Israel rejected their King and crucified Him. And what we now desire to emphasize is, that, Jesus Christ has never yet assumed the Kingship! On the contrary, He taught His disciples to pray, |Thy Kingdom come.| Furthermore, He said, |A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for Himself a Kingdom, and to return.** And it came to pass that when He was returned, having received the Kingdom| etc. (Luke 19:12-15). Christ's receiving of the Kingdom and His return synchronize (cf.2 Tim.4:1). Christ, then, is not King today, for He has not yet received the Kingdom, nor has He yet occupied the throne of His father David. Nowhere in the Epistles do we find Him denominated |The King of the Church.| Jesus Christ is Saviour of the Church, Lord of the Church, Head of the Church, but He is not King of the Church, for He has not yet entered upon His Kingly office, and He will not do so until the beginning of the Millennium. In the Millennium Christ will rule and reign over the earth, not only as King of the Jews, but as King of kings and Lord of lords. It is then that the prophecy of Zechariah shall be fulfilled |And the Lord shall be King over all the earth: in that day (a yet future day -- see the context) shall there be one Lord, and His name one| (Zech.14:9). Our Lord's Kingship over all the earth leads us to the consideration of another important line of truth.
When Adam was created God said, |Let us make man in our image, and let them have dominion.| At the beginning, earth's scepter was committed into the hands of man (see Ps.8:4-8). But right on the scene of his creation came one who disputed Adam's right to earth's sovereignty, and who succeeded in wresting the scepter from his hands. Satan brought to bear upon him a diabolical temptation: Adam succumbed, and falling, he forfeited his dominion over the earth. As the consequence, Satan became |The Prince of this world,| and as such approached our Lord in the temptation, when he took Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and |sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto Him, All these things will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me| (Matt.4:8, 9). But on the Cross, the Lord Jesus re-gained the scepter which Adam lost; and here is the key to Rev.5.
In the fifth chapter of the Apocalypse a remarkable scene is brought before us. The beloved apostle sees a book -- |written within and on the back side, sealed with seven seals| -- in the right hand of Him that sat on the Throne. Then he hears an angel saying, |Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?| Next we are told, |And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.| Many have been the conjectures concerning this mysterious |book,| but by comparing Scripture with Scripture we think there can be no doubt as to what is here in view. In Jer.32:6-15 we read of a field being bought, and the receipt(the |evidence|) of the purchase is termed a |book,| and this book was |sealed.| It is to a similar transaction that Rev.5 refers. The book seen by the apostle contains the title deeds to this earth. These title deeds which Adam lost have been recovered by Christ. They have been recovered by |purchase,| and the price paid was the precious blood of the Lamb. In Matt.13:44 we read of a Man who |goeth and selleth all that He hath, and buyeth that field| and in verse 38 of the same chapter we are told |The field is the world.| Hence it is that the apostle was told, |Weep not: behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof| (Rev.5:5). What is seen in vision in Rev.5 becomes actual fact when the Lord Jesus returns to the earth. It will be at that time the |purchased possession| -- the earth -- is |redeemed| (Eph.1:14). Hence, when He comes back, His first act will be to eject Satan from it, establish His Kingdom upon it, and exercise |dominion| over it.
Another Scripture which throws light upon the Millennium in relation to Christ is 1 Peter 1:13. Here the second coming of our Lord (to the earth) is termed, |The Revelation of Jesus Christ.| This is in contrast to the first advent. When He was here before, His Divine glory was veiled and much of His power and majesty were concealed. But when He comes back again His Divine glory shall be fully manifested. Instead of appearing as the gentle Lamb, He will come as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Instead of standing before human tribunals to be judged of men, He will summon all nations before Him and sit in judgment upon them. Instead of appearing in humiliation, weakness, and shame, He will be revealed in regal power and majesty. Instead of coming to be the Victim, He will return as the Victor, to sit upon the Throne of His Glory. So, then, the Millennium is the time when our Lord enters into the exercise of His Kingly office, when He will reign in power and exercise dominion over all the earth, and when His personal Glory shall be fully manifested. We turn now to consider,