In identifying Jesus, the apostle John calls Him "the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth" (Rev. 1:5). John saw Him, having "on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS" (Rev. 19:16).
So accustomed are we to having everything demonstrated before us in living color and recognizing things by our five senses, that the present glory and power of Jesus are hardly considered by any and generally rejected by many. The popular concept in religion today is that Jesus has yet to begin His reign, that He is king-elect but has not taken office yet. It is widely taught that when He does begin to reign, He will obliterate all evil and exalt all Christians to places of comfort and pleasure. The Epicurean thought prevails that since the world is in such a. terrible condition, Jesus could not be reigning now, for if He were in control He would not allow things to get into such a mess.
By this reasoning we would have to deny that God has ever been in control. Was He in power after creation? Then how could the terrible sin of Adam occur? Was He in control during the time of Nebuchadnezzar? Then how could such evils as then existed be allowed?
That Jesus is now reigning as king is one of the prominent doctrines of the Bible. Daniel wrote, "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came unto the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed" (Dan. 7:13, 14).
This was fulfilled when Jesus ascended to heaven in the clouds: "When he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight" (Acts 1:8, 9).
His enthronement as King was one of the main themes on the day of Pentecost. Peter cited the promise of God that one of David's descendents would sit on his throne, then quoted David's own prophecy in Psalms 16, concerning the resurrection of Jesus. According to Peter's sermon, Jesus ascended to sit on that throne. "For David ascended not into the heavens; but he saith himself 'The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet.' Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified" (Acts 2).
Jesus Himself claimed the authority of King of kings before His ascension, when He said to the disciples, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. (Matt. 28:18). Anyone making such a claim would have to be insane, a deceiver, or else the very King of kings with sovereign power over all heaven and earth.
The apostles delighted in affirming that Jesus is in power. Peter wrote that He "is on the right hand of God, having gone "into heaven; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him" (1 Peter 3:22). Paul wrote that when God raised Jesus from the dead He made Him "to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come" (Eph. 1:20,21).
We are not to be deprived of the great honor and joy of having such a King by those who insist that Jesus is not the King and has not yet established a kingdom. The fact that He is not physically present and visible to the eye does not mean that He is not "real" nor that He does not literally reign. God, though invisible, has always had power over His creation. The world in the day of Noah was in violent rebel lion against Him, but He had sovereign power over it and exercised His power over the elements to bring the flood that destroyed all but the family of Noah. He was invisible to the citizens of Sodom, but His laws which they violated were well known. While demonstrating His power to destroy the evil cities, He also used His power to bring out Lot and those of his family who would go with him.
God has always had sovereign power over the world, and at the ascension of Jesus "he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church" (Eph. 1:232). Paul wrote that He will continue to reign "until he hath put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be abolished is death" (1 Cor. 15:25, 26).
Because He reigns, we can take seriously His admonition: "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." Because He is in sovereign power, we can believe that "all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28).
When the Jews were trying to have Jesus killed, Pilate brought Him out to the crowd and said, "Behold your king." But the people prompted by the Jews, cried out, "Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him." Pilate asked them, "Shall I crucify your King?" They answered, "We have no king but Caesar" (John 19: 14, 15).
The world has always preferred the simulated glory of sinful rulers to the real glory of God. Today, rather than seeking "first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness," men seek government regulation, government control and government security. Charity is as signed, not the good Samaritans, but to self-serving bureaucrats who make a career of spending other people's money. Children are turned over to the state as soon as they are able to enter day-care programs and left there until they are grown. Let Caesar rear the children, provide employment, care for the aged and sick, and be responsible for us from the cradle to the grave. Self-discipline and responsibility appear as evils, rather than privileges given to man in God's image. For the most part, the world wants no king but Caesar.
True glory is not in such things as Caesar provides. The glory of our King is in His perfect submission to the Father, when He took our sins and bore them in death. His glory is in His perfect self-control, under severe temptation and the pressure of His enemies. His glory is in His compassion, His mercy and His faithfulness. His glory is in His sinlessness that enabled Him to rise from the dead victorious over death and the grave. Such glory makes even the angels stag: "Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing" (Rev. 5:12).
Popular millennial teaching has many believing that Jesus must return to Jerusalem to begin His reign. They say there must be a terrible war, with blood filling the valley of Jezreel, and that there must be a military battle to win the victory for Christ and His kingdom. Such teaching ignores a vast portion of scripture and denies the present authority of King Jesus.
Jesus reigns NOW, and all who are in Him are citizens of His kingdom. His reign knows no geographical bounds, and there is no one who does not come under His authority. We do not fight our battles with bombs or bullets: "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal (2 Cor. 10:3), but the "sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17).
The fact that multitudes in the world deny Christ and walk in their own lusts does not negate the fact of His sovereignty as King. David prophesied that He would "rule in the midst of (His) enemies" (Ps. 110:2). He rules by law, the commands clearly recorded in scripture: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48).
At present He allows us to obey or disobey, but when He appears again, He will exercise His kingly power in judgement to destroy all who reject His sovereign rule (Luke 19:27; 2 Peter 3:7-12; 2 Thess. 1:7-9). God's purpose to have man in His image, living in harmony with His sovereign will, must ultimately be accomplished.
Therefore, "let us keep the commandments, without spot, without reproach, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in its own times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality ..." (1 Tim. 6:14-16). - The Witness