Christ the future king of the world
The object of this pamphlet is to
prove that the time is coming when the Son of God, now in the heavens,
shall return to the earth in visible person, to dispossess all human
governments of their power, secular and ecclesiastical, and establish
himself in their stead as the universal ruler of mankind. The essential
constituent of the Messiahship of Jesus Christ, and the most prominent
element of his character, as portrayed in all the Scriptures is
his kingship. Therefore, any faith which
ignores this phase of his character, is vitally defective, to which
let everyone see for himself as a matter of the highest individual
There is a great deal more said
in the Scriptures about the kingship of Christ than anything else.
In the Old Testament, particularly, we find very little mention
of the shame and the suffering to which he was to be subjected on
account of sin. His sacrificial character is kept pretty much in
the background. That which stands out in brilliant prominence is
the glory which is to cover the earth when he shall reign in righteousness.
This is true also of the New Testament, though it tells us more
of "the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" than
Every professed believer in Christ
is prepared to admit that he is a king. It must be obvious, however,
that this admission is only valid in so far as it recognises the
true idea of that office. If a man say that Jesus is the Christ,
or anointed one, while having an entirely erroneous idea of what
the statement means, his words are an empty sound. When words do
not mean the thing they properly stand for, they have no value.
That this is the case with the popular recognition of the kingship
of Christ will certainly appear. The popular recognition of the
kingship of Christ both expresses a view which is untrue, and ignores
the view exhibited in the Scriptures. By the kingship of Christ,
it means the present exercise by him of a spiritual authority in
heaven; therefore, it is no recognition of Christ’s Messiahship
at all, in the true sense, as we shall presently see.
It is admitted that the Jewish expectation
of the Messiah was that he should appear upon the earth in person,
and visibly exercise the power of a king over all nations: and it
is also admitted that the disciples themselves shared the same view.
The real controversy is as to whether this view is right. Our religious
teachers take upon themselves to say that so far from being right,
it was a mistaken view of a gross and carnal nature. They severely
condemn the idea of a visible kingdom on earth as opposed to the
very spirit of Christianity, calling it Judaical grovelling, "earthly,
sensual, and devilish"; and as the teachers teach, so the people
believe: so the untruthfulness of the Jewish national hope and the
expectation of the disciples, has passed into an unquestioned article
of popular creed; and people look surprised and incredulous when
they are gravely defended.
Now let the merits of the case be
candidly considered. Were the expectations of the disciples erroneous
and carnal? If they were, how is it that they were not so pronounced
by Christ? and how is it that none of the apostles made confession
of the error in the epistles which some of them wrote subsequently
to the time when they are supposed to have had their errors removed?
Those who affirm the misguidedness of the Jews and disciples in
the belief in question, go against the evidence. There is not only
no Scriptural countenance for the popular condemnation, but all
Scriptural testimony is directly in favour of the doctrine which
it is so common to condemn.
Jesus said to those who heard him,
"I am not come to destroy the law or the prophets, but to fulfil"
(Matthew 5:17). Now with this statement in view, we shall look at
a few of the statements of the prophets concerning him:-
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah,
though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of
thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be ruler
in Israel" (Micah 5:2).
Who came out of Bethlehem? Jesus
of Nazareth. Here then is a prophetic warrant for regarding him
as the future "ruler in Israel":-
"Behold, the days come, saith
the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and
a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute
judgment and justice in the earth: in his days Judah
shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely" (Jeremiah
What could be more calculated to
inspire the Jewish national hope? and what more likely to create
the expectations which the disciples are condemned as "carnal"
for entertaining? Who is the Righteous Branch of David? None other
than Jesus: for he claims the designation. He says: "I am the
root and the offspring (or branch: ‘offspring’
being the antithesis to ‘root’) of David, and the bright
and morning star" (Revelation 22:16). If Christ be the Righteous
Branch raised up unto David, and be come to fulfil the law and the
prophets, he must "reign and prosper, and execute judgment
and justice in the earth": for so
the prophet hath declared the Righteous Branch shall do. The idea
is not confined to one or two statements, but appears in the face
of many testimonies, at a few of which we shall look:-
"Behold, the days come, saith
the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised
unto the house of Israel, and to the house of Judah. In those
days and at that time, I will cause the Branch of righteousness
to grow up unto David, and he shall execute judgment and righteousness
in the land" (Jeremiah 33:14-15).
"Unto us a child is born,
unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder;
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty
God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase
of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon
the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order
it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth,
even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this"
"Behold the man whose name
is the branch; and he shall grow up
out of his place...and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and
he shall be a priest upon his throne" (Zechariah 6:12-13).
"He shall judge among the
nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their
swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks:
nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they
learn war any more" (Isaiah 2:4).
"And the Lord shall be king
over all the earth in that day shall there be one Lord, and his
name One" (Zechariah 14:9).
"Behold, a king shall reign
in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment" (Isaiah
"The Lord of Hosts shall
reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients
gloriously" (Isaiah 24:23).
"The earth shall be full
of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. And
in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand
for an ensign of the people: to it shall the Gentiles seek, and
his rest shall be glorious" (Isaiah 11:9- 10).
"Cry out and shout, thou
inhabitant of Zion; for great is the Holy One of Israel in the
midst of thee" (Isaiah 12:6).
"I will make them (the Jews)
one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one King
shall be King to them all" (Ezekiel 37:22).
"The Lord hath sworn in truth
unto David; He will not turn from it; of the fruit of thy body
will I set upon thy throne" (Psalm 132:11).
"The Lord said unto my Lord,
Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion. Rule
thou in the midst of thine enemies" (Psalm 110:1-2).
"I shall give thee the heathen
for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for
thy possession" (Psalm 2:8).
"He shall have dominion also
from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
Yea, all kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall serve
him" (Psalm 72:8,11). (See also Daniel 7:14).
These are a few out of many testimonies
of a common import, and the question for us to consider is whether
they do not amply justify the expectations which the Jews are admitted
to have built on them. Nay, could they have consistently professed
a belief in such testimonies, and not have entertained such expectations?
It is not possible to conceive of language more designedly adapted
to express the one idea of Christ’s visible manifestation
as a king on earth; and if the Jews were wrong in looking for such
a manifestation, it was no fault of theirs. It was not because they
were carnally minded; but because the language of the holy men of
God, who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, was so framed
as to preclude every other but the one idea which they derived from
It may be suggested
that the New Testament interpretation throws another light upon
the statements of the Old Testament, and deprives them of the warranty
which they seem to afford to the Jewish doctrine of the Messiah’s
kingship. It is customary to assume that this is the case;
but the result of an examination will prove that a more unfounded
assumption could not be entertained, and that the New Testament
unmistakably corrobarates the teaching of the prophets on the subject.
We are met on the very threshold by the message delivered by the
angel Gabriel to Mary, in announcing the birth of Christ:
"And, behold, thou shalt conceive
in thy womb, and bring forth a son and shalt call his name Jesus.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and
the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father
David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob
for ever; and of his kingdom there shall
be no end" (Luke 1:31,33).
Here is a distinct New Testament
intimation that it is the purpose of God to give to Jesus "the
throne of his father David". If we would apprehend the import
of this statement, we must know what is the throne of David. Of
David we know something. He was the most renowned of Israel’s
God-anointed kings, holding sway over the twelve tribes of Israel
in the Holy Land, and ruling many tributary nations. He was a mighty
warrior, a distinguished prophet, and a poet of the highest type.
He was the progenitor of Christ, through Mary, who was descended
from the royal house; and was a fitting type of his illustrious
son, whom he acknowledged as "My Lord" (Matthew 22:44).
But what of his throne? Peter said, in his address to the Jews,
on the day of Pentecost:
"Therefore being a prophet,
and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the
fruit of his (David’s) loins, according to the flesh, he
would raise up Christ to sit on his throne"
Christ is in heaven, and cannot
now be sitting on that throne, for nothing that David ever possessed
is in heaven. David himself is not there; for Peter said in his
address on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:34), "David is
not ascended into the heavens". When the time
arrives, the throne of David will be set up again in the earth;
and Jesus will share it with his faithful ones, as intimated in
Revelation 3:21. "In that day will I raise up the tabernacle
of David that is fallen" (Amos 9:11). That time he spake of
when on earth. He said (Matthew 25:31), "When the Son of Man
shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then
shall he sit upon the throne of his glory". Hence, before Jesus
sits upon David’s throne, he will return to earth, appear
in Palestine, and assume the position which David occupied when
he swayed the sceptre of Israel; that is, he will become king of
Look at Ezekiel 21:25-27. The prophet
was sent to Zedekiah, an unworthy prince, who was the last to occupy
David’s throne. He was sent to tell him of coming retribution,
and in the course of his prophecy, he uttered the following words:
"And thou, profane wicked
prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have
an end; thus saith the Lord God, Remove the diadem and take off
the crown; this shall not be the same; exalt him that is low,
and abase him that is high, l will overturn, overturn, overturn
it; and it shall be no more until he come whose right
it is: and I will give it him".
Here was a diadem to be removed,
a crown to be taken off, and a national polity to be completely
abolished, as indicated in the triple repetition of the verb "overturn",
and as expressed by the phrase, "it shall be no more".
The prediction related to things Jewish, even to the things which
constitute the throne of David; and its fulfilment is notorious
to every reader of Jewish history. About a year after its delivery,
Zedekiah was uncrowned by Nebuchadnezzar. The nobles were put to
death; the nation was partly massacred, and partly carried away
captive, and the land given over to desolation. Seventy years after,
a partial restoration took place under Ezra and Nehemiah but not
of the throne of David. The Jews existed as a vassal people thenceforward;
and after varied political fortunes, were overtaken by a storm which
swept away every vestige of their national existence.
The Romans, under Vespasian, invaded
the country, and subdued its fortified places; and Vespasian having
transferred the command to Titus, the latter laid siege to Jerusalem,
which at that time was crowded with people from all parts of the
country. The details of that awful siege are familiar to every one.
The city was tediously beleaguered for months; famine arose among
the inhabitants; civil dissensions divided their counsels, and led
to mutual slaughter, and, finally, the place was sacked and given
to the flames, and upwards of one million Jews perished. The remainder
were sold as slaves, and scattered throughout the Roman empire as
fugitives; and scattered they remain to this day. So awfully has
the prophecy been fulfilled, that for the last twenty centuries,
the throne of David has been a mere idle phrase - a tradition of
the past; his kingdom has been overthrown, his land in desolation,
and his people wandering as homeless exiles, unpitied and unpitying.
But is this condition of David’s
throne to be perpetual? Are the Gentiles for ever to exalt their
proud horns over the fallen kingdom of the Lord? (See 1 Chronicles
29:23; 2 Chronicles 9:8; 13:8; which affirm the kingdom of Israel
to have been the kingdom of God). Nay, saith the prophecy: desolation
shall only continue until - until what?
"Until he come whose right it is".
Who is this? None other than Jesus Christ, to whom the throne pertains
of right, both by lineal descent, and special divine bequest. Observe,
then, what is distinctly proved, that the things overturned are
the things to be given to Christ at his coming. Now, what things
were those? The diadem, crown, throne, and Kingdom of David. Hence,
when he comes whose right they are, he
will enter into their possession in as real a sense as they were
held by Zedekiah. He will become King of the Jews, and Lord of the
whole earth. We thus perceive a striking significance in the words
of the angel:
"The Lord God shall give
unto Jesus the throne of his father
David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob
for ever; and of his kingdom there shall
be no end" (Luke 1:32-33).
Going a step farther in our New
Testament enquiry, we come to the birth of Christ, and we note the
"Now when Jesus was born
in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold there
came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he
that is born king of the Jews"
The enquiry of the wise men was
intelligible in view of all that the prophets had foretold of him
who was to be ruler in Israel; but if Christ is only the spiritual
Saviour of mankind, in a universal general sense, their words have
no meaning. In what sense could Christ be "king of the Jews",
if he only stood in broad spiritual relationship to the human race
as a whole? It may be suggested that he is king of spiritual Jews,
who are not Jews outwardly, but in the heart. The reply to this
is, that Christ is not king of his own people. Of them he says,
"I call you not servants, but friends". They are his brethren,
"joint heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17), destined to reign
with him a thousand years (Revelation 20:6). They are not his subjects,
but aggregately his bride, "the Lamb’s wife"; signifying
the closest communion and identity of relational interest. Christ,
therefore, cannot be king of the Jews in any spiritual sense. He
is king of those Jews of whom David was king; for he is heir to
his throne. That this was the nature of his claim, as understood
by his contemporaries, is obvious from what followed the enquiry
of the wise men:
"When Herod the king had
heard these things he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of
the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be
born. And they said unto him, in Bethlehem of Judea; for thus
it is written by the prophet; and thou Bethlehem, in the land
of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda; for out
of thee shall come a Governor that shall rule my people Israel...And
(Herod) sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem,
and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according
to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men"
Now, whence all this commotion?
If Christ was merely to be a spiritual ruler in the popular sense
- exercising power from heaven in the hearts of men, without at
all interfering with the temporal concerns of kings on earth, it
is not conceivable that Herod should have been so jealous of him;
because Christ’s spiritual dominion would not in any way have
conflicted with Herod’s jurisdiction as a king.
Assuming, however, that the enquiry
of the wise men imported the verity of Christ’s character
as a king, appointed of God to sit on David’s throne, Herod’s
procedure appears in a natural light. He was at that time ruler
in Israel. He was, in fact, "King of the Jews", in the
name of the Roman Caesar. For him, therefore, to hear of the birth
of a rival to that position, was to be touched in the tenderest
part, and to have all his jealousy aroused. He would see plainly
that if he allowed this infant king to live, the people’s
allegiance might become diverted, and his own throne would be endangered.
He therefore conceived the inhuman project of slaughtering the entire
babyhood of Bethlehem, in the hope of destroying the object of his
jealousy - a proof that he recognised in Christ, a prospective claimant
of the literal kingship of Israel.
If we trace the career and note
the sayings of Christ, as further recorded, we shall find constant
indications of the correctness of the view entertained by the apostles
concerning his kingship. For instance, in the course of his sermon
on the mount, he said: "Swear not by Jerusalem, for it is the
city of the great King". Now it would be difficult to attach
a likely significance to these words on the popular supposition.
If Christ is never to return to earth again, except for the purpose
of plunging it in the "judgment fires" and blotting every
vestige of its existence from creation, what possible connection
can exist between him and the city which witnessed his humiliation,
since in that case it must perish in the universal destruction?
In the passage before us Jesus affirms a connection with it, and
accounts that connection so sacred that he prohibits us from using
the name of the city on oath. He is "the great King" -
the "greater than Solomon". Jerusalem is the city. It
existed at the time of Christ when it was a great, prosperous and
magnificent centre of royalty and learning and to this high position
it will return. The testimony is, "I have graven thee upon
the palms of my hands: thy walls are continually before me"
(Isaiah 49:16). For many centuries it was in desolation. This was
predicted by the Lord Jesus. He said:
"They (the Jews) shall fall
by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all
nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles,
until the times of the Gentiles be
fulfilled" (Luke 21:24).
He also said:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto
thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together; even
as a hen gathereth her brood under her wings, and ye would not.
Behold, your house is left unto you desolate, for I say unto you,
ye shall not see me henceforth until the time come,
when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the
Lord" (Matthew 23:37-39: Luke 13:34,35).
Here was a treading down and a desolating
foretold. That this referred to Jerusalem in Palestine is universally
granted. Let it be noted then, that the place involved in the prediction
of ruin, is the same which is related to the "until"
by which that prediction is limited. If Jerusalem has been trodden
down of the Gentiles and left "desolate", she will as
certainly, by the same prediction, recover from her fall when the
period indicated by the word "until" arrives. In one case
"until" arrives with the expiration of "the times
of the Gentiles"; in the other, when the time comes that the
Jewish nation will recognise the crucified Jesus as the name-bearer
of God. The declaration is, that at that time, down-treading and
desolation shall cease. Now both events are certain. The termination
of the times of the Gentiles, or the age of Gentile domination is
decreed (Daniel 7:25-27; 9:24-27; Romans 11:25), and we are informed,
in the following testimony, that the day is coming when Christ will
yet be received by his penitent nation the Jews:
"I will pour upon the house
of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of
grace and of supplications; and they shall look upon me whom they
have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for
an only son, and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is
in bitterness for his first-born" (Zechariah 12:10).
When these have been accomplished,
what then for Jerusalem? Let the following testimonies give the
"The Lord shall inherit Judah,
his portion in the Holy Land, and shall choose Jerusalem again"
"The Lord shall comfort Zion:
He will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness
like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and
gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of
melody" (Isaiah 51:3).
"Awake! awake! stand up,
O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup
of his fury. Thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling,
and wrung them out...Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted and
drunken, but not with wine: Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord, and
thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people. Behold I have taken
out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the
cup of my fury. Thou shalt no more drink it again" (Isaiah
"Awake! awake! put on thy
strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem,
the holy city; for henceforth there shall no more come into thee
the uncircumcised and the unclean... Break forth into joy, sing
together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted
his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem" (Isaiah 52:1,9).
"The Lord of Hosts shall
reign in Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients
gloriously" (Isaiah 24:23).
"At that time they shall
call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall
be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. Neither
shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart"
"For the law shall go forth
of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem; and he shall
judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and
they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears
into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more" (Micah 4:2-3).
Here, then, we learn that the city
of Jerusalem has an important place in the purpose of God. It is
destined to be the seat of that divine government which is to bless
the world in the future age. It will, in fact, be the capital of
the coming universal kingdom, constituting the centre of power,
of law, of enlightenment, for the gladsome nations who will repair
thither for instruction in that glorious age; for it is written:
many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the
mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob,
and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths;
for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord
from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3).
This going-up of nations will be
"And it shall come to pass
that every one that is left of all the nations which came against
Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King,
the Lord of Hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles"
If any nation become refractory,
and refuse to pay this annual homage to the king of all the earth,
they will be summarily dealt with. No need for armies and military
subjugation; a word from the King will withhold the rain, and compel
submission. It is written:
"And it shall be that whoso
shall not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem,
to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts, even upon them shall be
no rain" (v.17).
Now the Lord Jesus was aware of
this glorious destiny in store for the city of Jerusalem, and well
knew the intimate relationship he should sustain to it when the
time should come when his countrymen would say to him, "Blessed
is he that cometh in the name of the Lord"; and, with this
on his mind, he could say with an appropriateness which can only
be appreciated by those who understand the purposes of God - "Swear
not by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King". She
is the city of the great King, though for a long time but a despised
ruin; and those who laugh at the promises of her future glory, are
guilty of a heinous crime against God, for which they may be called
upon to answer. The great King would not allow his friends to swear
by her name; much less will he forbear the jibe of the scornful.
He cometh to his city anon to rule the world in righteousness, and
woe to the despiser; but blessed are all they who are looking for
redemption in Jerusalem (Luke 2:38). To them the words of the prophet
"Rejoice ye with Jerusalem,
and be glad with her, all ye that love her. Rejoice for joy with
her, all ye that mourn for her; that ye may suck and be satisfied
with the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and
be delighted with the abundance of her glory" (Isaiah 66:10,11).
Thus we are enabled to extract from
the words of Christ in his "sermon on the mount", evidence
of a powerful kind of the reality of his kingship in relation to
the earth. Nathanael, the "Israelite indeed, in whom there
was no guile", adds to that evidence in the recognition of
Christ to which he gave utterance on meeting him (John 1:49) - "Rabbi,
thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. "That
the conviction expressed in these words was generally impressed
on the minds of the people by the teaching of Christ, is evident
from the fact that "they wanted to take him by force, to make
him a king" (John 6:15). Their language, on the occasion of
his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, is evidence to the same point:
"Blessed is he that cometh
in the name of the Lord! Blessed be the kingdom of our father
David that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Mark 11:10).
Christ gave them reason for that
conviction in the parable of the vineyard (Luke 20:9). The vineyard,
says Jesus, was planted by a certain nobleman, and let out to husbandmen;
and at the time of the fruit, the nobleman sent his servants to
the husbandmen to get of the fruits of the vineyard: but they illtreated
and killed them one after another (verses 13-15). "Then said
the Lord of the vineyard, what shall I do? I will send my beloved
son: it may be that they will reverence him when they see him; but
when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying:
This is the heir; come, let us kill him,
that the inheritance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vineyard,
and killed him". This parable related to the nation of Israel,
and the rulers thereof. This is evident from the l9th verse, and
also from a statement in Isaiah 5:7: "The vineyard of the Lord
of hosts is the House of Israel".
This being so, let us note the tendency
of its teaching. In the rejected servants we recognise the prophets
who shared the fate indicated in the words of Christ: "O Jerusalem,
which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto
thee". The "Son" was the Lord Jesus Christ, as is
evident from the words of Paul in Hebrews 1:2, which might be almost
accepted as a commentary upon the parable under consideration: "God
who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto
the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto
us by his Son".
If Christ, then, be the "son"
of the parable, of necessity he is also the "heir". Of
what? This is the important point. Answer: Of the inheritance held
by the husbandmen; for said they, "This is the heir come, let
us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours". Now if the
inheritance be the land and nations of the Jews, of which the Pharisees
were the rulers or "husbandmen", and Christ be the heir
of these things, there is no escape from the conclusion that he
is the rightful claimant to David’s throne. "He came
unto his own, and his own received him
not" (John 1:11). Why did they not receive him? What motive
prompted the chief priests and rulers to destroy Jesus? It was not
merely their hatred of righteousness. If Christ had simply been
a teacher of religion, according to modern notions, doubtless they
would have been among his admirers; but then he was the "heir".
He was divinely sent of God to occupy David’s throne, and
put down all opposing authority and power; and his assertion of
this character brought him into instant collision with them, because
they had the inheritance in their possession. Therefore, said they,
in their short-sighted jealousy - "Come, let us kill him, that
the inheritance may be ours".
So they plotted his destruction,
and succeeded in their nefarious plans. They brought him before
Pilate, who finding no fault in him, was willing to release him
(Luke 23:13-16). This inflamed their animosity, and developed the
true nature of its origin. They cried out saying: "If thou
let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh
himself a king speaketh against Caesar"
(John 19:12). This had the desired effect: Pilate gave judgment;
and Christ was crucified, and according to Roman custom, the nature
of the charge against him was specified in writing over the cross:
"Jesus of Nazareth the king of the Jews"
Here again the kingship of Christ
came out in circumstantial prominence. He was crucified because
he "made himself a king". This is the declaration of the
superscription. That superscription was not sufficiently definite
for the chief priests. We read (John 19:20-21), "This title
then read many of the Jews... Then said the chief priests of the
Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he
said, I am King of the Jews". Here is an important
testimony from the chief priests as to Christ’s own assertion
of his royalty. In fact the closing scenes of our Lord’s life
on earth, altogether constitute the most decisive proof that prospective
Jewish royalty was the essential feature of his character as the
Messiah, - a feature which is entirely omitted in popular preaching.
The teaching of the Apostles after our Lord’s ascension was
the same on this important point. We read that the Jews of Thessalonica
accused them to the rulers of the city after this fashion:
"These that have turned the
world upside down, are come hither also, whom Jason hath received;
and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that
there is another king - one, Jesus" (Acts 17:6-7).
Paul made the same proclamation
to the Athenians, in his address on Mars Hill:
"And the time of this ignorance
God winked at, but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent,
because he hath appointed a day in which he will judge (which,
in its political application, means rule) the world in righteouness
by that man whom he hath ordained,
whereof he hath given assurance unto all men in that he hath raised
him from the dead" (Acts 17:30-31).
In fact, the great burden of the
New Testament teaching concerning Jesus is, that he is "the
Christ", that is, the Anointed One foretold by the prophets
as the future king of the world. If you deny to him this kingship,
you deny that he is the Christ; for the anointing refers, not only
to his character as "the Lamb of God which taketh away the
sin of the world", but to his future development as God’s
vicegerent on earth. His "Christing" is prospective, culminating
in "the glory that shall be revealed", which shall "cover
the earth as the waters cover the sea". Whosoever, therefore,
is ignorant of this, and denies the future manifested Christship
of Jesus, cannot scripturally or acceptably confess that he is the
Christ, inasmuch as that confession is empty sound when it does
not import the things signified.
That Christ is the future king of
the world is one of the most gladsome truths of revelation. What
hope else is there for this sin-afflicted world? It has groaned
under ages of mis-rule. The riches of the earth are hoarded away
in the halls of the surfeited few, and the great mass of humanity
are left to welter out a degraded existence of poverty, ignorance,
and misery. God’s goodness has been fraudulently squandered.
The provision, sufficient for competence to all who breathe this
mundane atmosphere, has been rapaciously plundered by the unprincipled
and the strong, and stored away in accursed garners from famishing
millions. This is as true in the present latter-day civilisation
as it was in the ruthless days of yore.
And among the people themselves,
what barrenness and hideousness we behold! How intellectually empty!
How morally destitute! How ignoble and selfish! How small and grovelling!
Flimsiness and frivolity are the order of the day. Thorough-going
good sense and earnestness of moral purpose are confined to a despised
minority. The word of God is of light esteem, and faith hath almost
vanished from the earth.
Where shall we find comfort for
the future? The world is incurable by human agency. Its only hope
lies in the truth expressed in the title of this pamphlet. A great
Deliverer is waiting the appointed time of blessing; Christ at God’s
right hand is the future king of the world; he who endured the shame
of a malefactor’s cross is coming to wear the honour of a
universal crown; and though dark be the clouds that usher in his
august advent, and fierce the convulsions that will attend the earth’s
deliverance, great will be the glory of the day he will bring, and
everlasting the repose that will settle on the everlasting hills.
(Extracted from Christendom Astray
by Robert Roberts with slight amendments to reflect the current
state of affairs among the nations. Copies of this excellent guide
to understanding the Bible are available by contacting