At Paris Bible Church, we’ve been learning about the kingly office of our Lord Jesus Christ since the first of 2014. There are many sincere Christians who believe that Jesus will be king someday, in the Millenium. They believe that Satan is now king over the earth, that the rule of the earth was handed over to him when Adam and Eve fell. One of the great problems with this view of Christ and Satan is that it is not endorsed by scripture. No where in the Bible do we read that Adam handed over lordship of the earth to the devil.
Those who believe this appeal primarily to the passage in Matthew 4: 8-10 where Satan tempts Jesus by showing Him all the nations of the earth. Satan says, “All these things I will give you if you will fall down and worship me.” Those who believe that Satan now rules the earth say that, if Satan did not have the power to turn the nations over to Jesus, this would not have been a real temptation.
I don’t know if that even matters. It sounds like a very weak argument to me. I do know that our Lord tells the Pharisees that “[Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8: 44
After this temptation, the Lord Jesus Christ tells Satan–and this is a command from the God who wrote the passage He, Himself, is quoting–”You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.” Again, this is a direct command to the devil. Jesus is not simply stating a general principle about worship. He is commanding His servant, a created being, a fallen and outcast angel who, in the only conversation we have between God and Satan in scripture, in Job 1 & 2, simply does as he is commanded.
Of course, there are many passages where the present sovereignty of Christ over His creation are clearly taught in scripture. Psalm 45 is messianic and tells of the absolute power of King Jesus, and we know that it is Him of whom the psalmist speaks because Hebrews 1 directly quotes Psalm 45: 6-7 in vss. 9-10 and tells us that the reference is to Jesus. There are many passages in the psalms, the prophets and the New Testament, that speak of Jesus Christ in his present kingly office, but Revelation 1: 5-6, where John’s greeting to the seven churches of Asia includes: “from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.” This greeting was given around 95 A.D. to the churches of the same age.
We could give a long list of passages on the absolute sovereignty of Jesus, but that should be unnecessary for any student of scripture. Simply searching a concordance for the word “King” should yield many of these references or, even better, searching using an online Bible database like Bible Gateway.
Instead of piling up references, I think it’s better to talk about the importance of this doctrine and the spiritual damage that can result from getting it wrong. Of course, the first tragic result of believing that Jesus is not presently, in this present age, King of kings is that it yields wrong doctrine concerning the Son of God.
In fact, some as a result of error concerning Jesus, also believe an error concerning Satan–that he has power that only belongs to Jesus. The lack of understanding of the Matthew 4 passage I mentioned above results from this error. This is the worst effect, because it leaves Christians, and there are many who have a wrong understanding of this truth, believing that Jesus is less than He is, less than the God and Lord that the Bible teaches us that He is. How very tragic for those who have believed in Jesus for salvation to believe Him less than He is, less than the sovereign Lord of heaven and earth.
There are other implications for the Christian as well. If we believe that Jesus will someday (in the Millenium) be King over the earth, but that Satan is a “usurper”–I’ve actually seen that word applied to him–who rules in this present age, then the individual Christian and the church in the world are defenseless against an implacable enemy. I often hear believers talk about how God is in control, how He will “never give us more than we can bear.” But this doesn’t make any sense if Satan is in charge of this world and Jesus is not.
This is why doctrine is important to the everyday life of the Christian. If we believe the biblical truth about the kingship of Jesus, then we don’t to constantly deal with the dichotomy between fearing that Satan is in charge of everything around us and irrationally also attempting to comfort ourselves with the hope that Jesus is in charge of everything around us.
What a comfort, then, to believe the words of this great hymn:
Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
Behold the islands with their kings,
And nations their best tribute bring;
From north to south the princes meet,
To pay their homage at His feet.
People and realms of every tongue
Dwell on His love with sweetest song;
And infant voices shall proclaim
Their early blessings on His Name.
Blessings abound wherever He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;
The weary find eternal rest,
And all the sons of want are blessed.
Let every creature rise and bring
Peculiar honors to our King;
Angels descend with songs again,
And earth repeat the loud amen!