Jesus as King of Kings in the Millennium

King Jesus Separating the Wheat from the Tares

Jesus being referred to as the King of kings is well known by many of His followers.  A common assumption is that the title is for the purpose of emphasis.  It is certainly true that Jesus is a king well above any there ever has been or will be.  However, Jesus is literally the King over other kings because He will destroy those with the power of kings (1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:12-14).  He will strike down the nations and shepherd them with a rod of iron (Ps. 2:9; Rev. 19:15).  It is for this reason that Jesus has the name, King of kings and Lord of lords written on both His robe and thigh (Rev. 19:16).  Likewise, Jesus is the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4) over shepherds after His heart (Jer. 3:15). In shepherding the nations, there will be many lower level rulers under Jesus.  Many of these individuals are kings in the traditional sense (e.g. Ps. 72:10-11), while others are in that they will be given a significant amount of responsibility.  Jesus is the King over lower kings, rulers and shepherds during the Millennium.

Jesus’ monarchy is of such necessity that He could not even be the Messiah without it.  Consider Isaiah 9:6-7:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

The Messiah was to arrive as a male baby gifted by God to the Israelites for the purposes of ruling (v. 6).  He was to be wonderful or supernatural in addition to being the perfect counselor and even the Mighty God (v. 6).  In many ways these truths were fulfilled by Jesus with His incarnation through a virgin and through His teachings and sacrifice that bring life (Luke 1:31-33; John 1:14; 6:63).  In some respects the remaining aspects of this prophecy are in operation now but they are still working toward a greater realization.  The government has not yet been put on Jesus’ shoulder in relation to Him reigning from David’s throne.  Once Jesus does occupy this earthly throne He will bear the weight of governance and it will increase along with peace.  At present the world is sick with sin.  When Jesus fulfills His role as the Son of David He will uphold His government with justice and righteousness (v. 7; Jer. 23:5; 33:15).  The LORD promised that the Messiah would bring justice to the nations (Is. 42:1) and not grow faint or be discouraged in doing so (Is. 42:4).  The increase of peace and dominance of righteousness will begin in the Millennium but continue forever.

The Messiah being referred to as a king is defined by Him reigning over all of the earth from Jerusalem.  Psalm 2:6-8:

“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.

While Messiah the King is to rule from Jerusalem, His authority is not limited by Israel’s borders.  Because Messiah is the Son of God, He inherits control over all the nations.  The entirety of the earth is to be Jesus’ estate.  The King of kings will sit in faithfulness from His throne established in steadfast love, pursuing justice and quick to do righteousness (Is. 16:5).

It is of no doubt that Jesus currently rules the Universe from the Father’s throne in Heaven (Heb. 12:2; Rev. 3:21).  Therefore, in the proper context, it is even correct to say that Jesus is currently King of the earth (and always has been).   It is for this reason that we must be careful not to confuse passages mandating an earthly rule of Messiah as already being fulfilled.

The necessity of such prophecies being realized only after Jesus’ Second Coming can be seen in places such as Zechariah 14:9:

And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.

Messiah will not only be King of the earth but He is even referred to using God’s holy name Yahweh (translated here as LORD).  The words on that day refer to the same day spoken of in Zechariah 14:4:

On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.

This remarkable verse reveals the place where Jesus’s feet will first touch the ground at the Second Coming (cf. Acts 1:9-12).  Therefore, it is on that day when Jesus returns that He will become King over the earth and establish His government.

Much of what it means for Jesus to be King of kings in the Millennium can be found summarized in Isaiah 24:21-23:

On that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the LORD of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.

The Lord Jesus will demonstrate Himself as the only Sovereign by conquering the kings of the earth (v. 21; 1 Tim. 6:15; Rev. 17:12-14).  He will imprison the heavenly host and the kings that opposed Him for a period of many days, which is the Millennium (v. 22; Rev. 20:2-3).  Afterwards, they are released only to face the final punishment (v. 22; Rev. 20:7, 10-15).  Immeasurable glory is to be found in Jesus reigning from Mount Zion and Jerusalem in the presence of His elders (v. 23; Rev. 20:4, 6).

The crowning of Joshua in Zechariah 6:9-15 is a shadow of the coronation of Jesus at the beginning of His reign in the Millennium.  Zechariah 6:12-13:

And say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.  It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’

King Messiah the Branch (cf. Jer. 23:5) will build the millennial temple and His consolidated offices of priest and king will be on full display.[1]  During His crucifixion, Jesus wore a crown of thorns (e.g. Matt. 27:29).  During His reign in the Millennium, Jesus will wear an ornate crown of silver and gold (Zech. 6:11).

[1] See Psalm 110 and Hebrews 7 for more on Messiah being both a priest and a king like Melchizedek.

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