King of Kings
Text: Psalm 47
In the ancient past, there was a mighty Babylonian conqueror named Nebuchadnezzar. In the first year of his reign, he destroyed the Assyrian Empire, which was the mightiest empire in the world at that time. He took all the Assyrian Empire’s territory and added it his own territory. He then proceeded to expand his empire, conquering countries that Assyria never destroyed. It took nearly eighteen years for him to bring down the mighty merchant city-state of Tyre which literally had world-wide trade deals. He then conquered the ancient kingdom of Egypt which had stood for thousands of years. Daniel rightly called him the king of kings. “You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all” (Daniel 2:37-38). Nebuchadnezzar was a mighty man, but notice that Daniel said that there was someone greater than he. Daniel said that Nebuchadnezzar only gained his position of power because God gave it to him. “Daniel answered and said: ‘Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him’” (Daniel 2:20-22).
If God makes and breaks kings, and even king of kings, then what does this make God to be?
As often happens when a person reaches a point of having it all, Nebuchadnezzar came to believe that his position was obtained by his own power. “The king spoke, saying, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?"“ (Daniel 4:30). God proved to Nebuchadnezzar who truly was in control by removing something that most people would think was their very own: his ability to reason. “While the word was still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven: "King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses." That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles' feathers and his nails like birds' claws” (Daniel 4:31-33). After seven years, Nebuchadnezzar’s intelligence returned to him and he acknowledged God’s sovereignty. “And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, "What have You done?" At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (Daniel 4:34-37).
Read through Daniel chapter 4 and list the titles or names attributed to God. How are these names significant to God’s position?
God is the ultimate king. It is God who governs the universe as well as the world’s governments. “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly” (Luke 1:52). The very existence of governments is by God’s will and not man’s. “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Romans 13:1).
- Read Proverbs 8:12-16. By what means are rulers able to govern?
- Read Romans 16:26-27. Where is the sole source for this characteristic?
- Read James 1:5 and Proverbs 2:3-6. Where can people gain this characteristic?
- Since a person needs this characteristic to rule and there is only one place to get it, who controls who rules?
- How did God prove this in his dealings with Nebuchadnezzar?
Since God controls the governments, it is proper to say that all governments are merely representatives of God. In reality, the only true ruler, the one who rules by his own authority, is God. “I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen” (I Timothy 6:13-16).
When we address God as “Lord,” it is not merely a term of respect or an acknowledgment that He rules over our personal lives. God is the Lord because He is the one and only ruler of this universe. All the nations with all their rulers serve God. "All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name. For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God" (Psalms 86:9-10).
For further study:
- Read Deuteronomy 10:17. What are the titles of God given?
- Does the title “God of gods” mean there are other gods? What does it mean?
- Read I Chronicles 16:25-26. What does this passage tell us that explains the title “God of gods?”
It is certain that every kingdom of man comes to an end. It happens for the simple reason that the great heroes who establish the kingdom die. Eventually, someone comes to power who is unable to hold the kingdom together and the whole thing collapses. But God is not like man; God is eternal. “But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King” (Jeremiah 10:10).
One of the names for God in the Hebrew language is yahweh. The exact meaning of the word has been lost, though we know that God has called Himself by the name yahweh. What we do know is that it is very similar to the Hebrew word for “I am.” In other words, the word means that God always has, is, and always will exist. When yahweh is translated into other languages, such as Greek, it was translated as “Lord.” For example, Jesus translated yahweh in Deuteronomy 6:5 to the Greek word for "lord" in Luke 10:27. Hence, we also know that yahweh contains the idea of a ruler as well as the idea of eternity. This combination of an eternal ruler is seen in Psalm 10:16: “The LORD is King forever and ever; The nations have perished out of His land.”
God wasn’t claiming kingship over ancient Israel. That kingdom of Israel no longer exists, but God’s reign has no end. “The LORD shall reign forever - your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!” (Psalm 146:10). Since God continues to reign, this implies that His kingdom has no end as well. “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations” (Psalm 145:13).
In Revelation 11:15, an angel announces: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
- In Psalm 89:26-27, what did God promise concerning the Messiah?
- In the parable of the talents, who is the nobleman in Luke 19:12? What was he to receive?
- What was the nobleman able to do after he received what was promised in Luke 19:15,27?
- What was prophesied concerning the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13-14?
- After Jesus’ resurrection, what did Jesus say he now received in Matthew 28:18?
- What is Jesus’ position in Revelation 1:5; 17:14; 19:16?
When the New Testament refers to Jesus as Lord, such as in Ephesians 4:5, it is not a simple, polite title. It is an acknowledgment of Jesus’ position in the universe. Jesus does not just reign over the church. “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
Wait a minute! How can Jesus be “King of kings” if that is God the Father’s title?
- In John 1:1 and Colossians 2:8-10, what is Jesus?
- In Hebrews 1:8, what does God tell the Son?
- Who gave Jesus his authority? (See John 19:11 and Matthew 28:18)
- What will Jesus do with the kingdom one day, according to I Corinthians 15:24-28
What is amazing is that one so mighty and so great in authority takes the time to notice the lowly. “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones’” (Isaiah 57:15). It is the brokenhearted, the lowly of earth, whom God saves. “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
We are here to serve the Almighty King (Ecclesiastes 12:13). Such service is what God expected of His people under the old covenant (Deuteronomy 10:12-13) and it is what He wants of His people today (Hebrews 12:28). Have you submitted to your King?
- What is meant when someone is called a lord?
- By sharing the same titles with God the Father, what is proven concerning the nature of Jesus?
- Use your Bible to find answers to the following questions:
- If Jesus is king, where is his kingdom?
- What are other names for that kingdom?
- Who are citizens of that kingdom?
- Is it possible to be in a kingdom, but not be a citizen of that kingdom?
- When a foreigner visits or lives in another country, does he follow the rules of his native country or the country he is currently in?
- Is Jesus only king of Christians? (See Revelation 11:15)
- Even if someone refuses to become a citizen in Christ’s kingdom, whose laws is the non-citizen obligated to obey?
- Is it just for God to condemn people to Hell for violating the laws of His kingdom even though they did not choose to become citizens?
- Find songs which speak of God’s sovereignty. Ask some of the boys in class to lead a song.