For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
– Isaiah 9: 6-7
After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting:
Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,for true and just are his judgments.
He has condemned the great prostitute
who corrupted the earth by her adulteries.
He has avenged on her the blood of his servants.”
And again they shouted:
The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever.”
The twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God, who was seated on the throne. And they cried:
Then a voice came from the throne, saying:
“Praise our God,
all you his servants,
you who fear him,
both great and small!”
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.”
(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)
Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.”
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron sceptre.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.
On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:
King of kings and Lord of lords.
– Revelation 19:1-16
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honour and might forever. Amen.
– 1 Timothy 6:11-16
King of Kings
Some of you know that I’m in a book club. One of the things I love about being in a book club is that I end up reading novels I would never have chosen on my own. This means that I have a much richer experience of different kinds of literature as a result. I think, often, left to our own devices, when we come to read the Bible, we return to our favourite passages. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that but the Bible has such rich variety that we could be missing out.
Doing this YouVersion reading plan is doing for me what my book club does – introducing me to passages from the Bible that I wouldn’t ordinarily choose to read on my own.
So we come to today’s 3 readings. The first, from Isaiah, is the familiar Christmas reading which always sets me humming Handel’s Messiah (no bad thing!) Then we have an interesting reading from the book of Revelation – it is so strange that you feel when reading it that John was struggling to put into words the vision that he saw. I read this today on the bus to work. The sun was rising over Leeds and pouring golden light over the buildings, making the windows reflect and wink. A slight glimpse of the glory of God. Finally, is a part of Paul’s letter to his dear adopted son Timothy. Aren’t Paul’s sentences long?! It ends with a beautiful description of God ‘who lives in unapproachable light‘.
A couple of things struck me:
Firstly it reminded me of the verse in Hebrews 13:8 that tells us
‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.’
The Isaiah reading predicts the birth of Christ, the Timothy reading speaks of how we should respond to God now and the Revelation reading points to the end of time. All speak of the same God who reaches across history – the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end.
All also evoke Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. This is His rightful place. Not in the poor animal feeding trough He chose to arrive in, but enthroned in Heaven high over all.
Here is a picture of the world’s tallest statue (33 metres/108 ft tall) which has just been erected in Poland:
You may not like it much but it certainly shows how Jesus is King of kings, no other statue is higher! (Read more about this statue here.)
Finally let me leave you with a video which I have already shared with a lot of you but seemed appropriate because of today’s readings. As you listen, you may wish to meditate on the Isaiah reading: