King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Rv1911As North Americans we may be fascinated with British royalty when it involves princesses, princes, and weddings, but we have a history of being less appreciative of kings. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted a declaration, which alleged: “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.” Included in the list that follows was, “He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.” One might wonder what the members of that Congress would have thought of our present Federal bureaucracy in comparison to the one that triggered their war, but I digress. Although Independence Day is this week, this morning’s message is not about that event. Rather, it is about the great, final battle fought by the King of kings, as recorded in Revelation 19:11–21. Our history may make it difficult to appreciate the importance of a true king, but both Lewis and Tolkien, with strong Christian roots, make clear in their fiction that for things to go right, the true king needs to be on the throne: sons of Adam and daughters of Eve on the four thrones in Cair Paravel, and Aragon in Minas Tirith, the capital of Gondor.

“The wars of earthly armies typically leave much unjust suffering and destruction in their wake. This war, however, is utterly just, because of the supreme power and justice of the One who wages war.” (Vern S. Poythress, The Returning King, p. 174).

“Throughout Revelation we have been forewarned that the cosmic conflict is not only between Satan and his beast and God and his Christ. Rather, each stands in the midst of a community, and the destiny of each community rests with the success or failure of its champions. . . . [J]ust as Christ’s white horse promises his certain victory, so the white horses of the riders who follow him assure the church that his triumphs will be ours as well.” (Dennis E. Johnson, Triumph of the Lamb, p. 275).

“[T]hat no one knows the name mentioned here except Christ means that the prophecy of Isaiah 62 and 65 has not yet been consumately fulfilled. But Christ’s ‘name’ will be known to his people when they experience the fulfillment of prophecy in a new, consumated covenantal marriage relationship with Christ.” “In the OT to know a name means to have control over the one named. Therefore, the confidential nature of the name here has nothing to do with concealing a name on the cognitive level, but alludes to Christ being absolutely sovereign over humanity’s experiential access to his character.” (G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation, pages 953, 956).

Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC.

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