Is Jesus really the King of Kings? I don’t think He is, at least not yet. And I am sure that makes some of your theological hairs bristle, but let me explain.
I’ve been sharing a message series at our church called “Unwrapping Christmas” including a recent message on Unwrapping peace, and as I studied for this I discovered in Isaiah 9:6 that prophetically Jesus was announced as the Prince of Peace, and I began to wonder if it was possible for a prince to also be a king?
Presently Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and let me assure you that this is the position you want him to remain in during your lifetime. In Acts 5:30-32 we read that Jesus is Prince and Savior, not King and Savior. From the Message Bible it reads like this: “Peter and the apostles answered, “It’s necessary to obey God rather than men. The God of our ancestors raised up Jesus, the One you killed by hanging him on a cross. God set him on high at his side, Prince and Savior, to give Israel the gift of a changed life and sins forgiven. And we are witnesses to these things. The Holy Spirit, whom God gives to those who obey him, corroborates every detail.”
The New King James versions simplifies it a bit with these words, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. 31 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.”
The phrase King of Kings actually only appears three times in Scripture. The first time is in 1 Timothy 6:11-16. “ But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 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, 14 that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 15 which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen.”
In this context, the dialog between God and Jesus is specifically clear in vs 15 where He God the Father will manifest the second coming and appearing of Jesus in His own time, as he is the only Potentate (sovereign) and thus is the current King of Kings. Our Father in Heaven is currently the King of Kings while Jesus is the Prince of Peace.
There are indeed several places in the Bible where it says that Jesus is the ruler over kings and kingdoms, and a good example of this is Psalm 103:19 where we learn that “The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all.” And we could agree that since Jesus and the Father are one, that together they are King of Kings and Lord of Lords, yet their are distinctions that we cannot ignore such as Romans 8 proclaiming that Jesus is at the right hand of God praying for all of us. So if we take the analogy too far, we could say that Jesus is at the right hand side of Himself praying to Himself. And that would make him higher than the Father and we know that is not true.
The Bible gives us word pictures and descriptions to help us understand the roles, processes and legal kingdom procedures. God gave us His son Jesus, who is the Prince of Peace and who will indeed someday be the King of Kings, but that has not happened yet.
In Revelation 5:2-9 we begin to see a transition that is taking place from Jesus as Lamb of God to now the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. “Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read[a] the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose[b] its seven seals.”
6 And I looked, and behold,[c] in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”
There was no one in earth or heaven who could open this scroll, not even the lamb, but as the lamb is transitioned into a Lion, then the scroll can be unfurled, opened, read and the contents carried out with the authority that a Lion carries, that a Lamb does not possess.
In Revelation 1:3-7 we begin to learn about this prophetic word from God to John and to the whole church with these penetrating words, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. 4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed[a] us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings[b] and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
Notice Jesus is called the ruler over the kings of the earth, as early in this book the transition time is being staged for us to read and understand. And we are told that He is coming back but we know He has not come yet, and until He does, he remains as the Prince of Peace. Verse 3 tells us that this is a prophecy and truly the beginning of the end, and in the end Jesus becomes the King of Kings but only for a short duration.
And since this is a prophecy that has not been fulfilled yet, the Father is currently the King of Kings and Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Keep thanking God the Father that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, because once He becomes the King of Kings there is no more opportunity to have peace with God with Jesus atoning work and blood to bring that needed sacrifice. Jesus is the Prince of Peace and as such the ruler over kings and kingdoms, but when He becomes the actual King of Kings concurrently having the same title and position that the father also holds, it will be a season of war and not of Peace.
There are only two ways to provide punishment for sins. One is hell, and the other is through the blood of Jesus, which can be accessed through the Prince of Peace when we are in the season of peace.
The second place in the Bible where this phrase King of Kings is used is in Revelation 17:14, “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.” When this happens the season has changed and there is a war going on and peace is not an option for those who need salvation.
The third and final time that the words King of Kings are used is in Revelation 19:15-16, “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp[a] sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on Hisrobe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.”
At this point the transition is fully complete, and the job description changes and His new title is now in place for this season. However we learn in Zechariah 14:1, 6-9 that this season apparently only lasts for one day. ” Behold, the day of the Lord is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst…It shall come to pass in that day That there will be no light; The lights will diminish. 7 It shall be one day Which is known to the Lord—Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen That it will be light. 8 And in that day it shall be That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, Half of them toward the eastern sea, And half of them toward the western sea; In both summer and winter it shall occur. 9 And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—“The Lord is one, And His name one.”
Notice verse 9 where the Lord is one and His name is one. For one day there is an exception to the rule where the Prince of Peace who is Jesus is also King of Kings and the Father remains as King of Kings. In reality on that day, their name is truly one. But when there is no more need for a Lion, and that terrible day is over, then in Revelation 21 and 22 we learn that Jesus is once again the Lamb of God.
So is Jesus the King of Kings? I don’t believe He is. The Father is the King of Kings and will always be the King of Kings. One day Jesus will also have the title of King of Kings with His Father, but for now He is and remains the Prince of Peace.
(our church website is http://www.kingdomencounters.net )