How can you publish as fact that Jesus Christ is a yet future king, when scripture plainly reveals that He is right now, and was in the first century, a king? I would appreciate your comments in light of the texts that follow.
(The italicized Scriptures were submitted by the reader, below each is the answer of Megiddo Church)
1) Psalm 2:6 “Yet I have (note the past tense) set My King on My holy hill of Zion.” Also, Zechariah 9:9: “ …Behold, your King is coming (note the present tense) to you…, lowly and riding on a donkey,” And Matthew 21:5, 7: “…Behold your King is coming to you… They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them.” Christ’s Kingship was verified by the fulfillment of the Zechariah prophecy even before Christ was crucified.
The tenses utilized in prophecy are often totally unrelated to their time of fulfillment. An obvious example of this is in Isaiah 9:6, where the prophet says, speaking of Jesus, “for unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.” To take this literally would mean that Jesus was born during the time of Isaiah. There are many other examples such as this (see Isa. 61: 1-2 & Luke 4:1-21 also Heb. 2:8-9 & Psalm 8) which renders determining the time of fulfillment by the tense used; perhaps Paul’s words are fitting here; that God “calls those things which do not exist as though they did” (Rom. 4:17).
Furthermore, could Jesus have been “the King” in authority in Matthew 21:5? In a matter of hours He was crucified. And He said just before His crucifixion, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John18:36). The “world” Jesus spoke of is translated from the Greek word kosmos: “an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government” (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, 1995). His kingdom is not of that order, it is yet future, and when established will be universal, as stated in the verse following the prophecy you site: “his [Christ’s] dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth” (Zech. 9:10).
If Zechariah’s prophecy of 9:9 was fulfilled in Matthew 21:5, 7, and were we to judge by the tense used, it would lead to the conclusion that Jesus was King as fully in Zechariah’s time (about 400 BC) as He was in Matthew 21, because both passages are in the present tense. But no, God works according to an orderly plan, which He reveals to His prophets, who describe future events using similes, word pictures, illustrations and dramas.
2) Matthew 2:1-2: “Behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?’” The wise men acknowledged the first-century kingship of Christ.
There is no evidence that the wise men were acknowledging Him as their king at that time. Herod certainly felt threatened by a newborn child’s being called “king” but that does not mean that He had the authority to command and rule. God foreknew that Jesus would be the King and in this sense He was a King although His authority was promised and not actual. When the prophet Zechariah said, “The Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—’the Lord is one,’ and his name one” (Zech. 14:9). This tells us that when the Lord is King, there will only be one king “over all the earth.” This prophecy was not fulfilled in Jesus’ time, nor is it true today. Jesus was designated “king” even before His birth, but His career had many steps between, including crucifixion, resurrection, and a crowning at the Father’s right hand, before He would return to take His kingly throne and reign.
3) Mark 1:15: “Jesus came to the hour…saying ‘the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand’” (Mark 1:15; cf. Matt. 4:17). The Kingdom was at hand two thousand years ago. The King was also at hand at that time. No kingdom, no king. Where there is a kingdom, there is a king.
“Kingdom” in this passage, is translated from the Greek “basileia” which can apparently be used to refer to the realm or the ruler. (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament by Fowler, Arndt and Gingrich). Wilson’s Diaglott favors placing the emphasis on the ruler, who was speaking: “The time has been accomplished, and God’s royal majesty has approached; reform, and believe in the good message.” This seems likely, since the passage follows the announcement that John had been imprisoned and Jesus was coming into Galilee to begin His ministry (Mark 1:14). The beginning of an era, (His royal presence) would be among them for the first time, even though nothing happened at that time that would make Him be recognized as a ruler. It would be ridiculous to say Jesus was literally sitting on “the throne of His father David” and ruling “over the house of Jacob” when He was first born and the wise men were searching for the “King of the Jews.” Once Jesus’ kingdom has begun, it will continue uninterrupted and be without end; and be sure, when it does come, everyone will know it.
4) Matthew 12:28: “But if I cast out demons by the spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Jesus Christ did indeed cast out demons by the spirit of God, therefore the Kingdom of God did come upon them. It was a present reality in the first century and triumphant over the demons. Thus, the King was a present reality and triumphant.
Again, the word “kingdom” here, can be translated as meaning the kingship, the ruler and not necessarily the literal kingdom. (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon). Jesus did perform many miracles and did cast out demons by the spirit of God, but this demonstrated not the presence of His kingdom but His Divine authority. Jesus was saying, in effect, If you see me perform miracles, then you can know that the majesty of God is in your midst, that I am indeed here by Divine authority.
5) Luke 10:8-11: The Kingdom of God was a present reality in the first-century. Christ said so. King Jesus Christ was a present reality at that time. Read Luke 10:8-11. “Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you, and heal the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is come near to you.’ But whatever city you enter, and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘the very dust of your city which clings to us we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God is come near to you.’”
In Luke 10, Jesus appointed seventy and sent them out in His name, to go “into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.” They were His emissaries, His forerunners, as it were, preparing the way for Him to come and preach. He sent the seventy in advance of Himself, to tell the people that the basileia (His royal power, kingship), was “coming near,” i.e., literally approaching their town (10:1). Isn’t it more logical that they would announce that the man Himself, i.e., His royal majesty, would approach or “come near” than that an entity such as “the Kingdom of God” was coming?
6) Matthew 28:18: What did Jesus mean in Matthew 28:18? “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Christ Himself tells us that He is right now in charge of heaven AND earth.
At the time Jesus spoke the words recorded in Matthew 28, He had been crucified and resurrected, and was at the point of ascending to heaven. At this time, He was commissioning His disciples to go out and teach in His name. To do this work He promised them power and authority from heaven, which they received on the day of Pentecost. If Jesus was literally given “all authority in heaven and on earth” at that time, He should still have that authority today. Why, then, do we have a world with many nations, many rulers, and many who oppose law and order altogether? If He has all authority, shouldn’t He have fulfilled the promise of the angels at His birth, “peace on earth, goodwill to men”?
In John 17:2 we have a partial explanation of what Jesus may have meant. Perhaps He was speaking of a specific type of the authority which the Father was giving Him, i.e., the authority, to “give eternal life” to as many as the Father had given Him. In John 5, Jesus explained more about this authority: He was to have power to execute judgment, and to give life to whomever He chose (John 5:21-22, 26-27).
Jesus being at the center of the plan of God for this earth, God gave Him the authority to fill that role once His earthly career was completed. But He was not immediately in a position to exercise that authority. Many events had to take place before He could assume His kingly role or exercise His kingly powers. He would be going to heaven, to be at the Father’s right hand, “till I make Your enemies Your footstool” (Acts 2:35). In the meantime, the Apostles had the task of carrying the Gospel “to the ends of the earth” (the then known world). Only when the time was right would He return to restore all things and set up His kingdom (Acts 3:20-21).
7) Matthew 27:11: “And the governor asked Him, saying, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ So Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you say’ ”(Matt. 27:11). Christ acknowledges His kingship. “Pilate said to Him, ‘Are you a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say rightly that I am a king.’” (John 18:37). Once more, Christ acknowledges His present kingship.
Why did Jesus allow Himself to be crucified if He was an all-powerful King? Why would He allow His kingship to be destroyed in this way? Jesus had to cooperate with His Father’s plan. That is why He said when being tried, “My kingdom is not of this world”(John 18:36). (This cosmos, this present arrangement.)
8) Ephesians 1:19-22 “[God] worked in Christ Jesus when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all [things] under His feet… ” Paul proclaims and witnesses that Christ has all power above everything.
Recall the parallel paragraph in Hebrews 2 discussed above, where the author says that “He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him” (verse 8), as though it was an accomplished fact, a past event; then goes on to say, “But now we do not yet see all things put under Him.” How are we to understand this if Jesus is already the reigning King?
Truly, Jesus is “King of kings and Lord of lords,” just as He described Himself in Revelation to John on the Isle of Patmos. When He makes war with the nations of earth and overcomes them, He will be “Lord of lords, and King of kings” (Rev. 17:14), with authority above all “principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named.” But were we to say that He is now in this position, exercising this authority, we would be making a false statement, a statement obviously not true. For what kings today recognize Christ’s authority? What lords are under His rulership? At the present time He is not a reigning king but our Advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1).
The Psalmist knew the plan and said of the time when He will take dominion, “All kings shall fall down before Him: all nations shall serve Him” (Ps. 72:11). This prophecy will be fulfilled, and when it is, everyone on earth will know and acknowledge Jesus as the one and only “King of kings, and Lord of lords.”
9) 1 Peter 3:22: “[Jesus Christ] …has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” One more witness. Peter in effect says that Christ is in charge.
Truly, the Bible writers agree that Jesus is at the right hand of God. But is He ruling the earth from that location? Again, the book of Revelation pictures Him standing on Mount Zion with His saints when He returns to take the reins of government. The saints will share His authority, they will sit with Him on His throne (Rev. 3:21). In another account, they are pictured as singing, “We shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:10). When He is King, all people everywhere will be ascribing praise to Jesus, acclaiming Him worthy to “receive power, riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12). Who is doing this today?
10) Hebrews 1:8: “But to the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your Kingdom.’.” More testimony as to the Kingship of Christ.
Hebrews 1:8 is another prophetic description of the future world under King Jesus. In verses 5-7, the author describes the role of the angels. Then in verse 8 he speaks to the Son, that His throne is “forever and ever,” and a “sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of [His] Kingdom.” Then in verses 10-12, he addresses God the Creator. Verse 13 speaks of Jesus’ singular present position: (in heaven, at the Father’s right hand). “To which of the angels has he ever said: ‘Sit at my right hand till I make your enemies your footstool?’” Jesus is now in heaven, waiting for the day when He will return to claim His kingship. This passage (Psalm 110:1) is quoted several times in the New Testament (see Matt. 22:44; Acts 2:34-35; 1 Cor. 15:25; Heb. 1:13; Heb. 10:12-13). Not once does it suggest that Jesus is now ruling as supreme King of the earth. He is waiting for the time to come, when His enemies will be subdued, and He will be able to take command of the earth.
11) 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.… ” We cannot be a “royal” priesthood without a King or Kingdom. But we have a King.
Why did Peter compare the faithful ones to “a royal priesthood” if they are without a King or Kingdom?
We do indeed have a King, if we are part of the royal priesthood. But again, the dominion of our King is future—or the prophecy has failed of its fulfillment. When He was on earth, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come,” not, now is Your kingdom here. We are part of a “royal” priesthood because we are preparing to be part of the coming Kingdom. The King is already chosen, His territory is established. He simply has to take the throne and reign. Revelation 11 describes this auspicious time, when Jesus will assume the role of King, and “the kingdoms of this world” shall become “the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15).
When Jesus is King, all the governments of earth will become His Kingdom. There will not be many independent nations as we see today. All will be under the rulership of Jesus Christ.
12) Revelation 1:5: “Grace to you and peace from Him… and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. ” A ruler over kings is called a ‘King of kings.’ Jesus Christ is that great King.
You are right, a ruler over kings is a “King of kings,” and Jesus Christ is that great King. But He has not yet taken His throne. Revelation is a picture of “things to come,” and if Jesus became King during the time of His earthly ministry, that statement in Revelation would not be true. Jesus gave this Revelation to “show His servants-things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John” (Rev. 1:1). If Revelation is revealing things which “must shortly take place,” the Kingdom was still future at the time of its writing, and Jesus is yet to be the “ruler over the kings of the earth.”
13) Revelation 1:6: “ …and has [past tense] made us kings and priests to His God and Father. ” We cannot be kings (lesser, under Christ) without King Jesus who is over all. He is also our ruler (v. 5).
Here again, we are citing the Revelation which was given to reveal future events, not events already accomplished. Even though they are stated in the past tense, the events are future and prophetic. The tense was merely the style of the writing. Servants of Jesus were not already “kings and priests.” They were not even all chosen at that time. This is the recognition which all faithful servants of Christ will receive.
14) Matthew 10:33: “’Whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father who is in heaven’” And Paul adds, “If we deny Him, He also will deny us” (2 Tim. 2:12). These are obvious warnings that we ought to consider before dismissing anything.
We agree heartily, these are obvious warnings that we must consider and not dismiss. If we do not uphold Christ’s cause now, we will not be part of His Kingdom when it is established.