Monday, April 11, 2011

KING OF KINGS

Revelation 1:5--"And from Jesus Christ, Who is the faithful witness, and he first begotten of the dead, AND THE PRINCE OF THE KINGS OF THE EARTH.  Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood,"


We're still shining a spotlight upon verse five of Revelation one, today taking a special aim at the phrase which shows Jesus as "the prince of the kings of the earth."  Here, we see Jesus in the HIS OFFICE of KING.

"Prince," as used in this verse, is the Greek "archon" which primarily means "first in rank or order."  PRINCE, used as a description of Jesus, shows Him in the highest position, ABOVE all other kings who have ever ruled upon this earth.  "Archon" is also defined as "chief (ruler)."  Again, this shows a rank and position at the very top, HIGH above any other dignitary or magistrate who has ever held an office.

Jesus is also a PRINCE in the manner of being the TRUE leader, a RULING CHIEF, who is actually THE ONE who directs or UPHOLDS the other kings of this earth.  UH OH!

How can this idea hold up?  When we look at the terrible mess created by worldly governments, HOW can we say Jesus upholds or directs them?

What this means is that Jesus has the REAL power.  Jesus has the TRUE authority.  All other kings on earth maintain their positions BECAUSE Jesus ALLOWS them to rise up to rule countries or regions.  Many of these earthly "kings," "potentates," "Caesars," "presidents," "prime ministers," "czars," "sheiks," "emperors," "governors," "senators," or whatever they might label themselves, may NEVER acknowledge Christ as "first in rank or order," may NEVER consider Christ as the SUPREME ONE, but that does NOT stop Christ from being a King above all other kings.  He is.  And He always will be!

Christ is the SUPREME HEAD above ALL OTHER leaders, and He ALLOWS the other leaders to rule.  Also, at this current point in time, Christ is NOT DEMANDING that HIS WILL be carried out.  Christ is NOT EXERCISING His AUTHORITY!  That's why there are tyrants, and dictators, and megalomaniacs, who in their governing, HARM people--and this happens all over the world, in a wide assortment of nations, and it's been like this since mankind fell into sin.

We might find it impossible to understand that God (or Jesus Christ) allows cruelty to dictate a nation's leadership.  We might NOT see HOW a Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus Epiphanes, Nero, Domitian, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, Yasser Arafat, Kim Jong Il, Bashir al-Assad, Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin, Ahmadinejad, or any other brutal, vicious leader, could be PUT INTO PLACE and ALLOWED to wreak devastation, while God appears to do nothing about it.  But EVEN bad leaders of this earth have a PLACE in God's plan, hard as that is to stomach.

In Romans 13:1, the Apostle Paul writes, "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers.  For there is no power, but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."

We need to remember that Paul wrote this while he was hounded and persecuted by the orthodox Jewish leadership (the same Sanhedrin which called for the crucifixion of Jesus).  Also, Paul was hunted by the cruel Romans.  Paul eventually died for his faith in Jesus!

We, as Christians, are asked to do this--"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and mercy."  1 Timothy 2:1-2.

I'll briefly point out another facets of God's truth concerning government leaders.

Pharaoh was cruel, but God, by using a chosen man, Moses, showed His supremacy over Pharaoh, and brought victory to the beleaguered Israelis--God's glory and dominion made manifest.

Nebuchadnezzar attacked Israel, destroyed their Temple, and took the Jews into a 70 year captivity.  But during the reign of this evil tyrant, God's prophet, Daniel, rose up.  He interpreted dreams that troubled Nebuchadnezzar; he received a potent prophecy about Israel's future; and by the unwavering faith and boldness of Daniel, wicked Nebuchadnezzar came to KNOW Israel's Most High and True God.  Daniel 4:37!

Antiochus Epiphanes (175 to 164 B.C.) is one of a series of wicked rulers who rose to power between the ending of Malachi (last book of Old Testament) and Matthew's Gospel.  He attacked Israel.  In his worst attack (165 B.C.), on a Sabbath day, he entered the Jewish Temple and desecrated it.  He ordered the ceremonies and sacrifices to cease, destroyed the Holy Scriptures, ordered a pagan feast of Bacchus to be observed in God's sanctuary, set up an idol to Jupiter (also called Zeus Olympius)--and he called for a pig be sacrificed on the altar.  By his evil actions, Antiochus Epiphanes became a "type" of the future Antichrist.  The actions of this man are prophesied in Daniel 11:21-35, and are fulfilled in EVERY detail--including "the abomination that makes desolate"--in verse 31.  Israel's outrage over Antiochus Epiphanes led to an uprising called "The Revolt of the Maccabees."  They took back their Temple and cleansed it, which is still commemorated in the Jews' observation of Hanukkah.  Hanakkah, the Festival of Lights, is God's glory and power again made known--as the limited oil in the Menorah (one day's worth) burned for eight days!  A miracle occurred.

At the time of the Apostle Paul (whom I quoted--concerning HOW Christians should respond to worldly rulers), the fierce Roman Empire occupied the known world.  The early Christians had to contend with cruel (or insane) despots, like Nero, and like Domitian.  Jesus' letter to the Church of Smyrna in Revelation prophesies the overwhelming persecutions, in which many Christians were martyred.  They refused to deny Jesus, or bow in worship to Caesars.  Jesus was worshiped and wicked Rome could not prevent it.

Mention Hitler, and many people still get chills.  The man rose to power by mesmerizing the German nation, by promising them a Reich in which they would rule the world for a thousand years.  Hitler deceived many by fluent words and fiery speeches.  People worshiped him, saw him as their country's savior.  A new political system replaced the old one, and Nazis were born (officially, the National Socialist German Worker's Party).  Once Hitler was voted into power, he turned on the old regime and ousted it.  Hitler seized the moment, by use of the tumult, and exerted his dictatorship.  The HOLOCAUST was born, the worst persecution of the Jews up to that time.  Gestapo raids, concentration camps, train rides (like cattle) to oblivion.  A very dark blot on history.  But God fulfilled his plan for the Jewish people, even in this most abhorrent outrage.  AFTER the horrors of World War 2, Israel became a nation again, after almost 2000 years--May 14, 1948, a nation born in ONE DAY (fulfilling Isaiah 66:8).  Yes, God had his purpose, even for a madman like Hitler (the murderer of 6 MILLION Jews)!

We think Hitler was the most wicked man who ever lived, but we fail to consider Stalin, the dictator of World War 2 Russia.  He killed more Jews than Hitler, and he attacked his own countrymen--20 MILLION deaths by his hand.  The resulting pogroms caused thousands of Jews to seek escape from Russia.  They hoped to travel to the new nation, Israel.  Many escaped, but only by terrific acts of bravery.  When Russia finally allowed a free immigration, Jews left by the hordes.  All of this is God's plan--the return of his covenant people to their homeland--and yet another example of God using extremely wicked "kings" for His own purposes.

What wicked ones reign today?  I'll name THREE.  Russia's Putin, Iran's Ahmadinejad, and Syria's Assad.  I believe these prideful and fanatical leaders will take their place to fulfill more of God's prophecy.  I believe it will happen soon.

Isaiah 17 shows a terrible devastation which will thoroughly level Damascus in Syria, and make in uninhabitable.  This has NOT yet been fulfilled.  Syria will be attacked by Israel sometime in the near future (and what happens there, even today, reads like scripture coming alive).  Syria is the doorway through which Hamas and Hezbolla acquire missiles and weapons which are used against Israel.  One day, Israel will say, "Enough!" and attack.  The Bible's description of the aftermath sounds nuclear.

Israel's assault on Syria will enrage other nations, and with Russia guiding them, they will mount a devastating counterattack.  We read of this awesome and violent war in Ezekiel 38 and 39.  Gog and Magog, Meshech and Tubal, ALL refer to Russia--and the former Soviet Republics (which are predominantly Muslim, by the way).  Even now, Putin is rattling sabers over the Middle East!

We've all heard Ahmadinejad, Iran's Muslim fanatic, rant about wiping Israel off the map.  Iran is the ancient Persia which is named in Ezekiel 38:5. 

Other nations will rally with Russia and Iran.  They are Cush--Sudan, Ethiopia, and possibly Eritrea; Put--Libya, Algeria, Tunisia; Gomer--Turkey and possibly Germany and Austria; Beth-togarmah--Turkey, Armenia and Turkic-speaking Asia Minor and Central Asia.  These will be JOINED by "many peoples with you"--possibly Islamic allies. (MOST of the nations listed in this FUTURE WAR have strong Muslim affiliations.)

These enemy nations will go down against Israel.  As they do so, Sheba and Dedan--Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and the Persian Gulf states--will voice a weak protest.  Included in that lily-livered protest will be the "merchants of Tarshish, with ALL the YOUNG LIONS thereof" (these are interpreted as Spain, parts of Europe, and especially Great Britain.  The YOUNG LIONS of Great Britain includes the colonies and former colonies--the United States, Canada, and Australia).

The invading army will be wiped out by a supernatural devastation from God on the mountains around Israel.  These mountains are found in Syria, Lebanon, northern Jordan and the Golan Heights.  Part of the destruction in this prophecy sounds nuclear, but also, parts of it show a massive earthquake and natural upheavals.  The invading army will be almost entirely destroyed.  Only a sixth part of them will be left--Ezekiel 39:2.

Out of the aftermath ( rising up from such a horrendous war), there will come "a man."  He will declare his perfect plan for peace.  He will oversee the signing of a SEVEN YEAR peace treaty between what's left of the Muslim nations--and with Israel.  That man will be "the Antichrist," and the signing of the peace treaty marks the beginning of the SEVEN YEAR Tribulation period.  

In the MIDDLE of those seven years (after 3½ years), the Antichrist will do the "abomination of desolation" (just like Antiochus Epiphanes did).  That act signals to Israel that they need to run, and they'd better pray that it's NOT in the winter or on the Sabbath...as Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:17-21.

Yes, the world has had its fill of despots, dictators and human monsters.  And we see that God ALLOWS them to rule, and that God FULFILLS His Own purposes in them.  But, there is coming a time when all earthly kingdoms will fall.  At that time, the wicked rulers will be judged (at Armageddon--and before the start of the the Millennium).

After that, Jesus will establish HIS Kingdom upon the earth for a thousand years.  Christ's rule of RIGHTEOUSNESS and GOODNESS will fill the earth.

Every time we say the Lord's prayer, we ASK that His Kingdom be established.  I think of this truth each time I petition, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

Jesus Christ is indeed "the prince of the kings of the earth," as recorded in Revelation 1:5.  In Revelation 19:16 we see this truth amplified--"And He hath on his vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."

Oh, my!  I have visions of brightness and golden beauty!  More than royal!  It's DIVINE!

In my mind, I can hear the glorious strains from Handel's "Messiah" in the "Hallelujah Chorus."  And as the memory of that music fills me, I get goosebumps!  It's the nearest representation of heaven that we can experience while yet on this earth. 

The orchestra, along with many voices, rise in praise--"King of kings...hallelujah, hallelujah...and Lord of lords...hallelujah, hallelujah...and He shall rule forever and ever...and He shall rule forever and ever..."

If an earthly chorale can inspire such awe and worship, then think of what we'll experience once we actually arrive in heaven!

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

In bringing out insight concerning Jesus as "the prince of the kings of the earth," I had this recurrent thought:  When I write about the  fulfillments of Bible prophecies, and how NEAR they are, in this PRESENT world system, I find THE SPUR which prompts me to continue this study of Revelation.  With events of the END TIME becoming fulfilled around us, there's an urgency to present the truth--and to post this teaching online.

I hope this gives you pause--think about it.  We are BEGINNING to WITNESS the ACCURATE UNFOLDING of what God has recorded in His awesome scriptures!!!  We see MORE AND MORE of it every day!

Do you feel the excitement and portent of the times in which we now live?  Do you sense the nearness the coming of Jesus?

I do!  It behooves us to put our world and our lives into the proper perspective.  What is REALLY important right now?

Is it Jesus, and the nearness of His appearing? 

Or is it THE HOPE that our wicked world will SOMEHOW get better--so we can continue to enjoy the benefits of society, a satisfying job and the pleasure of entertainment? 

If the choice the LATTER, then be forewarned--this world is NOT going to get any better!  It deteriorates MORE each day.  Mankind slips into a vast valley of darkness and increasing evil.  The ONLY true hope for a better world is the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus indeed reigns as King--and behold, He comes quickly!

I pray you have open eyes, to see the wonders of Bible prophecy.  I pray that you have the incentive to get your lives in order while there yet remains time.

For who knows the day or the hour?  Jesus can descend to catch up His Church in ANY instant, more so NOW, than ever!  Look for Him!  And be blessed....

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

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