Consider this as we start. I know I must adjust my thinking but that is what Jesus always challenges me to do. Jesus is now the King of Kings. Jesus is in charge. Jesus is Master. This is current tense.
I command [you] in the sight of God, who gives life to all things, and of the Messiah Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that as spotless, [that is] unimpeachable, you keep the command until the epiphany of our Master, Jesus the Messiah, 15 which [epiphany] he [God] will exhibit in his own times—[he being] the blessed and only Potentate [one who is in a position of authority to command others], the King of those who exercise kingship and Master of those who exercise mastership, the only one having immortality, inhabiting unapproachable light, whom no human being has seen or can see, to whom [belong] honor and eternal might. Amen | 1 Timothy 6:13-16 Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 847). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
Jesus, as we know, proclaimed the kingdom of God. What that means only really makes sense in the context of prophecies like Daniel, but the New Testament details – which usually seem to be simply ignored – show how it applies to the totality of biblical teaching. If I’m honest, for most of my life I’ve regarded God’s Old Testament kingship as an honorary title (the world being in an ungodly chaos), and the kingdom of the Messiah as a future promise. But that’s not what the Bible teaches.
Future consummation of the kingdom there certainly is, but the New Testament is unanimous in saying that Jesus has already been raised to the right hand of God as King. But if God has always been the king and judge of nations, then Jesus should now be judging the current political systems, not merely being a ruler-in-waiting. And indeed, Rev 1:5 asserts that the risen Jesus is not only the faithful witness, and the firstborn of the dead, but the “ruler of the kings of the earth.” This thought might alter our understanding of Jesus.
Once it’s accepted that God is truly the King of kings, and not merely a constitutional monarch, the point of Jesus’s elevation to the right hand of God can be seen to be this: the intention of God, from Genesis 2 on, that man should govern the world with him has been fulfilled, not in Adam, and not in Israel, but in the man Jesus the Messiah as the forerunner of the redeemed at the final resurrection.
True, before the Incarnation the Son shared the Father’s glory and ruled the nations with him, but the “rod of iron” with which Jesus rules (as a couple of NT passages say) is a humanly wielded rod. The business of judging the nations – the government of the history of sinful humanity’s powers, in other words – is the same as it always was. But now, it is the business of a righteous, loving, human king as well as a righteous, loving Trinity.
There is therefore no divide between the “Old Testament God” and the “New Testament God” in their respective theologies of divine government. Certainly we are in a different era since the resurrection, known as the Last Days, when the message of salvation in the Messiah is complete and is offered to all mankind.
- Revelation 12:5 — 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.
- Revelation 19:15 — 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
- Isaiah 9:6 — 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
- Psalm 72:8–11 — 8 May he also rule from sea to sea And from the River to the ends of the earth. 9 Let the nomads of the desert bow before him, And his enemies lick the dust. 10 Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. 11 And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him.
- Psalm 110:2 — 2 The Master will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
- Zechariah 6:13 — 13 “Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the Master, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.” ’
- Zechariah 9:10 — 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.
- Revelation 2:27 — 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;
- Psalm 2:9 — 9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’ ”