Is Jesus the King of the Church?
Is Jesus the King of the Church?
Some Churches teach that Christ is the King of the Church and many modern choruses refer to the Church as a kingdom with Christ as our King. Is this Scriptural? Is this Kingdom Theology? What does the Bible say?
Scripture is very clear that Jesus is the king of the Jews. Gabriel declared to Mary:
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 1:31-32)
The wise men came seeking Him, who was born “King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:2), and the priests quoted Micah saying that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem: “for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel” (Matthew 2:6; Micah 5:2).
When Jesus entered Jerusalem He fulfilled Zechariah 9:9: “Behold, THY King cometh unto thee…” (Matthew 21:5). The crowd cried, “Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Luke 19:38).
When Pilate asked Him if He was a king, Jesus said, “To this end was I born” (John 18:37). Pilate again asked, “Art thou the King of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “Thou sayest” (Matthew 27:11).
The superscription on the cross read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Jesus was crucified because He claimed to be the King of the Jews, and the mocking crowd cried, “If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down…” (Matthew 27:42).
The Old Testament foretold that Messiah would be King in Zion.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion (Psalm 2:6)
Jesus will also be King of kings when He comes in glory at the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 19:16). All kings will serve Him in His kingdom which will be established on earth after His return.
Before Jesus returned to heaven the disciples asked, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). Jesus indicated that the Father would decide that time. When will it be? When the Bride is complete, the Father will tell the Son to come into the air to receive His Bride at the Rapture. Romans 11:25 says it will be when “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (to the Church), ie when the last soul is added and the Bride is complete. The Jewish custom was that the father of the bridegroom decided the wedding day when all was ready.
Now the question is, Is Jesus OUR King?
Since the day of Pentecost God has been working through the Church. The NATION of Israel has been temporarily set aside. The Church is NOT a nation. It is described in Scripture as three things:
- A Building (holy temple) indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:20-22).
- A Body in which Christ is the Head and we are members (Ephesians 1:22-23).
- A Bride. The wife of the Lamb (Ephesians 5:31-32; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7-9; Revelation 21:9-10).
The Church occupies a far higher place than Israel. We reign WITH Christ as His Bride. Jesus told His disciples:
And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Luke 22:29-30)
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together (Romans 8:17)
When an Australian girl married a European Royal Prince she could not be an alien. She was required to accept citizenship in his country, but he is her husband. She is in his kingdom, but not as a subject or servant. She has a totally different relationship with him. When he becomes King, she will sit as the Queen WITH him on his throne. We are joint-heirs with Christ, and when He reigns over this earth we will reign with Him.
Once we understand the true nature of the Church as distinct from Israel and the Gentiles in other dispensations, the New Testament will begin to open up to us.
When people see the Church as a kingdom, they often try to imitate the Old Testament, with cathedrals and altars, priesthoods, garments etc etc. Every believer in the Body of Christ is a priest to God offering spiritual sacrifices of praise to God (Hebrews 13:15). Sabbath-keeping was for Israel but not for the Church. It was part of Israel’s NATIONAL program instituted by God for the orderly running of a NATION; a sign between God and Israel for ever (Exodus 31:17). The tithe was their taxes to support the stranger (Gentile convert), widows and fatherless, as well as the priests.
Today we have “Kingdom Theology” taught and many in the Charismatic churches think they are setting up the kingdom of God on earth in preparation for the King to return. Songs are kingdom centred instead of Christ centred, and they expect a world-wide revival to usher in the kingdom of God on earth whereas the Bible teaches the age will end in apostasy. We are to exalt Christ, not the kingdom.
For this reason some Christians go into politics thinking they can infiltrate government and bring the kingdom on earth. We now have Rick Warren pushing a new Global policy in which he proposes to raise money from Christians to eliminate the debt of poor nations and raise the standard of living for them. It leads to a social Gospel.
The real need of men is the Gospel of saving grace which calls men to repentance and faith in a crucified and risen Saviour. If men will turn to the Lord, He will provide for their needs. Much poverty is the result of sin, and where any society turns to God it is lifted out of poverty. Christ is the answer, not Kingdom Theology.
I believe that the most basic fact we need to understand in order to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), is that God now deals with men in three classes: the JEW, GENTILE AND CHURCH. Paul drew this distinction in 1 Corinthians 10:32.
In the Old Testament era there were Jews and Gentiles. When a Gentile was saved he joined Israel and became a Jewish proselyte or a “stranger in Israel” (2 Chronicles 2:17). In the Church Age there are still Jews and Gentiles, but when we are converted we are baptized by the Holy Spirit, placed into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Jews and Gentiles then cease to be seen as such but become part of Christ’s Bride, the Church. We are “NEITHER Jew NOR Greek (Gentile)…for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
After the Rapture, when the Church is removed, God’s dealings with men will revert to how it was before Pentecost. After the Tribulation the nation of Israel will worship Christ their King, who will reign from David’s throne at Jerusalem. However, He will also reign over all nations in the Millennium as King of kings.
NOW the Church worships Christ our heavenly “bridegroom” (John 3:29), and, at “the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ”, God will show who is “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15). We are in His kingdom, but we have been “espoused to one husband” and one day, at the Rapture, will be presented to Him in absolute perfection. We will then have seven years to prepare for the marriage supper of the Lamb, and the New Jerusalem will be our eternal home. The saved kings of the earth will bring their glory into the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:24-26). Christ is not our King, He’s much more!