Q26: How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A: Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself (Ps. 110:3), in ruling and defending us (Isa. 33:22), and in
restraining and conquering all his and our enemies (1 Cor. 15:25).
I. The Lord Jesus Christ is a King.
A. The OT prophesied of Christ in this nature (Gen. 49:10; Isa. 11:1-3).
B. He was of old promised to His people under this character (Num. 24:17; 2 Sam. 7:16; Pss. 2; 110; cf. Acts 4:25; Isa. 9:6-7; cf. Lk. 1:31-33; Ezek. 34:23; Mic. 5:2; Zech. 9:9; cf. Jn. 12:12-15), and hence He is called “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 17:14; 19:11-16).
C. He has all the symbolism of a King.
1. A sword (Ps. 45:3).
2. A scepter and a throne (Heb. 1:8).
3. A crown (Rev. 6:2).
4. He has subjects (Ps. 2:9).
5. He enacts laws: His Word.
D. He sealed this truth of His kingship with His blood by His good profession in front of Pilate (Jn. 18:37; cf. 1 Tim. 6:13).
II. The nature of the kingdom.
A. The true nature of Christ’s kingdom: present, spiritual, eternal.
1. Present: Christ’s kingdom already exists (Matt. 12:22-28; 28:18; 1 Cor. 15:25; Col. 1:13).
2. Spiritual: Christ’s kingdom is primarily spiritual (Lk. 17:20-21; Jn. 18:36).
3. Eternal: Christ’s kingdom is never-ending (Dan. 2:44; 2 Pet. 1:11).
a. There is an “already/not yet” tension: the kingdom is here in its beginnings (Matt. 4:17), but not yet in its perfection (1 Cor. 15:24).
B. The false nature of the kingdom: Dispensationalism.
1. This system of interpretation divides biblical history into “dispensations,” in which God dealt with man in different ways. A literal 1000 year kingdom is looked to where Christ will reign on earth.
2. This system teaches that Christ is not yet King. He came and was rejected by the Jews, causing the kingdom to be delayed. The church is now “plan B.”
III. Jesus’ kingdom and the church.
A. The kingdom is not the church. This is the error of Catholicism, where all is sought to be brought under the church (e.g., organizations and institutions). It is asserted that only in this way can Jesus rule over all (via the Pope).
B. The kingdom and the church are closely related. Christ is King and Head of church; He rules over a kingdom larger than the church (Matt. 28:18; Col. 1:15-18; Heb. 1:3).
1. Christ rules over every sphere of life, but the church does not exercise control over other organizations and institutions.
a. The church instructs its people and they work out the principles under the kingship of Christ. In this way Christ rules the hearts of His people via the Word and Spirit, manifesting the invisible kingdom to the world.
IV. Jesus’ millennial reign.
A. There are three basic views to Christ’s millennial reign.
1. Premillennialism: Christ returns, resurrects believers, establishes kingdom for 1000 years, resurrects unbelievers, judgment, and eternity.
a. All dispensationalists are premillennialists, but not vice versa. The premillennialist believes there is a present kingdom of God.
2. Postmillennialism: Christ will advance His spiritual and invisible kingdom until the world is evangelized, 1000 years of peace, Christ’s return to resurrect, judge, and eternity.
3. Amillennialism: no millennial reign, good and evil grow together until the harvest, Christ returns, general resurrection, judgment, and eternity.
B. There are numerous strands of evidence supporting the Amillennial position.
1. “Millennial” is only mentioned in one highly figurative book (Rev. 20:1-7; cf. 11:8)
2. Peter knew of no millennial reign (2 Pet. 3:4, 10-13).
3. Paul knew of no millennial reign (2 Thess. 1:6-10).
4. No one can know when Christ returns (Acts 1:6-7; Matt. 24:36ff).
5. Scripture says these are the “last days” (Acts 2:17; 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 1:2); we cannot expect a millennium after these days are ended by Christ’s return.
6. Christ said the “wheat and tares” will grow together until the harvest (Matt. 13:24-30).
V. Jesus executes the office of a King. A king rules over his subjects, protecting them, administering justice, and providing for their welfare. Christ’s kingship is twofold.
A. An essential kingdom. Christ, as God, is sovereign over all by virtue of His creative and providential activities (Eph. 1:22).
B. A mediatorial and special kingdom. Christ, as the God-man, in whom is invested kingship, is sovereign over His people by His Spirit and Word.
1. Christ calls out of the world a people to Himself, subduing them (Ps. 110:3; Isa. 55:5; Jn. 10:16, 27; 2 Cor. 5:14).
2. Christ gives His people officers (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11-12), laws (Matt. 28:19-20; Jn. 14:15), and censures (Matt. 18:17-18; 1 Cor. 5:4-5; 1 Tim. 5:17, 20; Tit. 3:10), by which He visibly governs.
3. Christ preserves, protects, and supports His people in all their temptations and sufferings (Zech. 9:15-16; 2 Cor. 12:9-10; Rom. 8:35-39).
4. Christ restrains and conquers all His people’s enemies (Acts 12:17; 18:9-10; 1 Jn. 5:18).
a. The devil, the flesh, the world, and death are enemies that are now restrained and will one day be completely destroyed (1 Cor. 15:25).
5. Christ takes vengeance on those who don’t know God and obey the gospel (Ps. 2:9; 2 Thess. 1:8).
a. Christ’s kingship demands obedience (1 Cor. 16:22).
b. The special law of the kingdom is love (Jn. 13:34-35).
6. John Calvin on the kingdom of Christ:
“[T]he happiness promised us in Christ does not consist in outward advantages—such as leading a joyous and peaceful life, having rich possessions, being safe from all harm, and abounding with delights such as the flesh commonly longs after. And, our happiness belongs to the heavenly life! In the world the prosperity and well-being of a people depend partly on an abundance of all good things and domestic peace, partly on strong defenses that protect them from outside attacks. In like manner, Christ enriches his people with all things necessary for the eternal salvation of souls and fortifies them with courage to stand unconquerable against all the assaults of spiritual enemies. From this we infer that he rules inwardly and outwardly.…Thus it is that we may patiently pass through this life with its misery, hunger, cold, contempt, reproaches, and other troubles—content with this one thing: that our King will never leave us destitute, but will provide for our needs until, our warfare ended, we are called to triumph. Such is the nature of his rule that he shares with us all that he has received from the Father. Now he arms and equips us with his power, adorns us with his beauty and magnificence, enriches us with his wealth. These benefits, then, give us the most fruitful occasion to glory, and also provide us with confidence to struggle fearlessly against the devil, sin, and death. Finally, clothed with his righteousness, we can valiantly rise above all the world’s reproaches; and just as he himself freely lavishes his gifts upon us, so may we, in return, bring forth fruit for his glory” (John Calvin, Institutes, II.15.4).
A. Use, of knowledge.
1. Christ reigns externally over all things as Lord of creation and over His church by His laws, officers, sacraments, and censures.
2. Christ reigns internally by His Word and Spirit, subduing and sanctifying His subjects.
B. Use, of testing.
1. Are you familiar with the system of Dispensationalism? What does this system of theology do to the singular plan of salvation and the continuity of God’s people throughout both Testamental periods?
2. Is there a square inch of your life which you are withholding from Christ’s right to reign supreme?
C. Use, of exhortation: sinners and saints.
1. Sinners. If you are strangers to Christ, you are captives of Satan (2 Tim. 2:26) and under a miserable slavery to your lusts. Come under the reign of Christ, whose yoke is easy and burden is light, and bow the knee now lest you are forced to do so on the day of judgment (Ps. 2:11-12).
2. Saints. Consider, Christ your King as: humble and condescending (Isa. 66:1-2); meek and patient (Hos. 11:7); an immortal and everlasting King (Ps. 102:26-27). See that you are striving against sin and Satan, and waging war with your lusts and all Christ’s enemies, against which you have help from your Almighty King.