10. Jesus the Risen King of Glory

Audio (42:28)

Detail of 'Resurrection' stained glass window, Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston, 2008, full size is 40ft x 20ft. Designed and constructed by Mellini Art Glass and Mosaics in Florence, Italy. Photo © 2010, Lea McNulty, used by permission.
Detail of 'Resurrection' stained glass window, Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, Houston, 2008, full size is 40ft x 20ft. Designed and constructed by Mellini Art Glass and Mosaics in Florence, Italy. Photo © 2010, Lea McNulty, used by permission.

As I write this, my wife and I are looking forward to hearing our daughter sing in a great community production of Handel's Messiah, which is full of arias and choruses putting to music the great messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, including most of those we've studied in this series. And I know that I will hear the stirring chorus: "Who Is the King of Glory" taken from the messianic Psalm 24. I can hardly wait!!

"7 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD of Hosts -- he is the King of glory." (Psalm 24:7-10)

There's a sense in which it was fulfilled when David brought the ark into the city of Jerusalem with shouting and celebration (2 Samuel 6). And then I think of Jesus riding a donkey as he rode into Jerusalem to take his rightful place as Messiah in the City of his God (Matthew 21:1-11). But there is a sense in which it will be ultimately fulfilled in the Last Day, when the Messiah returns to reign at his Second Coming and enters the New Jerusalem, having defeated all his foes (Revelation 11:15). The King of Glory is coming!

We studied Jesus as Messiah, the Son of David. The Jews expected the Messiah to overthrow the Romans and set up the Kingdom of God again in Jerusalem. When they realized that Jesus had no such intentions, they saw him as a threat to their power rather than the Romans, and they delivered him up to be crucified. And so Jesus fulfilled part of his Messianic role, to deliver his people from their sin.

But in this final lesson we'll explore Jesus the King of Glory, who conquers all enemies and reigns forever. We've looked at many titles of Jesus, mainly from the perspective of his earthly ministry. Here we see him primarily in his final resurrected state, the Glorified Christ. We'll be looking at eschatological titles, those referring to his role in the Last Day. ("Eschatology" is from eschatos, "last," a study of the Last Days.)

God's Shekinah Glory

We'll begin to study the Glorified Christ by reviewing what we know about the Shekinah glory of God.

Throughout the Old Testament we read about the "glory of God," which was sometimes manifested in fire and brightness, what the Jews called the "Shekinah," the dwelling or settling of the divine presence. In Hebrew "glory" is ḇô, from ḇē -- "to be heavy," hence "wealth, honor, dignity, power," etc. In the New Testament, ḇô is translated by doxa, "reputation."

The concept of glory is first developed in Exodus. God reveals his glory and enhances his reputation in his defeat of Pharaoh in Egypt (Exodus 14:4, 17-18) and in other marvelous deeds (Exodus 15:11). When the Israelites grumble about not having food, God not only provides food, but "they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud" (Exodus 16:10). The glory appeared as both a cloud and fire:

"The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain... To the Israelites the glory of the LORD looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain." (Exodus 24:16-17)

One day, Moses asked Yahweh,

"'Now show me your glory.'
Then the LORD said, 'There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.'" (Exodus 33:18, 21-23)

Moses himself was changed by communing with God.

"When Moses came down from Mount Sinai ... he was not aware that his face was radiant[147] because he had spoken with the LORD. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him." (Exodus 34:29-30)

The Jews call this dwelling presence of God the "Shekinah glory," from the Hebrew root shakan, "settle, inhabit, dwell," and is seen in the noun, mishkān, "dwelling place, tabernacle."[148]

We see this idea of Shekinah reflected in the Gospel of John.

"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

John had seen that very Shekinah glory upon Jesus during the transfiguration, and, with Peter and James, "were eyewitnesses of his majesty" (2 Peter 1:16-18).

"After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light." (Matthew 17:1-2)

The New Testament uses the same concept in Greek as Hebrew ḇô. The words are based on the Greek root doxa, from which we get our word, "doxology," a liturgical expression of praise to God. The noun doxa means "the condition of being bright or shining, brightness, splendor, radiance" and the idea, "honor as enhancement or recognition of status or performance, fame, recognition, renown, honor, prestige."[149] The verb doxazō means "to influence one's opinion about another so as to enhance the latter's reputation, praise, honor, extol" and "to cause to have splendid greatness, clothe in splendor, glorify," of the glory that comes in the next life.[150]

Now that we've explored the concept of glory in the Old Testament and considered the Greek words in the New Testament, we're ready to look at the glorified Christ.

Jesus' Glory

As we saw in Lesson 9, John's Gospel speaks of Jesus as Light, evoking the Shekinah glory of God who "dwells in unapproachable light" (1 Timothy 6:16). Three of his disciples saw just a glimpse of it at Jesus' Transfiguration..

Jesus' glory is intended to spill out and be revealed by means of the miraculous signs that he performs. They are sign-posts that point to who he is -- the Son of God. At Cana, where Jesus changed the water into wine, John says, "He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him" (John 2:11).[151] Jesus plainly acknowledges that his glory comes directly from his Father, a fact that he does not hide from those who listen to his teachings.[152]

The cross especially -- along with his subsequent resurrection and ascension -- are seen as the means of his glorification in John's Gospel. After his resurrection, he explained to two men on the road to Emmaus: "Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" (Luke 24:26)

Glory at the Coming of the Son of Man

Glory is particularly associated with the Son of Man because of the passage in Daniel:

"One like a son of man ... was given authority, glory and sovereign power" (Daniel 7:13-14).

This is fulfilled at the Second Coming of Christ.

"For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels...." (Matthew 16:27)

"For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other." (Luke 17:24)

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory." (Matthew 25:30-31)

On that Day we will see fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy:

 "And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 40:5)

Where is the title in all this, you may ask? Here it is:

"The Son is the radiance of God's glory...." (Hebrews 1:3)

"Radiance" (NIV, ESV), "brightness" (KJV) is apaugasma. Most translators see it in an active sense: "radiance, effulgence," in the sense of brightness from a source, though some see it as passive: "reflection," that is, brightness shining back.[153]

Q1. (Hebrews 1:3; Matthew 17:1-2) In what ways did Jesus show the Father's glory in his ministry? Why do you think Jesus allowed Peter, James, and John to see his Transfiguration? How do you think Jesus will appear in heaven?

While there are few titles related to Jesus' glory, you can see it is a major theme in the Gospels. Now, let's move on to some of the grand, universal titles that apply to the risen, glorified Christ.

 Jesus the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega

While Jesus' earthly life was temporal, the glorified Christ is eternal, everlasting. His full glory is revealed when he is exalted on high to where he was before the beginning of time.

Yahweh's name, as mentioned in Lesson 5, seems to be constructed from the Hebrew verb "to be." When Moses asked his name, he revealed himself as "I AM THAT I AM." God is! He always was, he is with us now, and he always will be! Hallelujah!

One way this is expressed in the New Testament is God's presence at the beginning and the end. In fact, he is the beginning! He is the end!

Revelation 1:8 seems to be spoken of God the Father, but there isn't clear separation, since the verse is in the context of the coming of the Son of Man on the clouds (verse 7), and many of the same titles are repeated to make clear reference to the Son later in Revelation.

"'I am the Alpha and the Omega,'
says the Lord God,
'who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.'" (Revelation 1:8)

"Who is, and who was, and who is to come" (Revelation 1:4, 8) reflects God's eternal nature, the I AM, which is shared by Jesus. Jesus is present in the now; he always was; and he is coming again! Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet; omega is the last letter. We might say the A and the Z.

The one like a Son of Man among the golden lampstands (the seven churches of Revelation), reveals himself with similar titles.

"Do not be afraid.
I am the First and the Last.
I am the Living One;
I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!
And I hold the keys of death and Hades." (Revelation 1:17b-18)

He reveals himself to the Church in Smyrna in this way:

"These are the words of him who is the First and the Last,
who died and came to life again." (Revelation 2:8)

In the New Jerusalem, the one seated upon the throne says:

"It is done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the Beginning and the End.
To him who is thirsty I will give to drink
without cost from the spring of the water of life." (Revelation 21:6)

At the end of Revelation, these titles clearly rest on Jesus Christ:

"Behold, I am coming soon!
My reward is with me,
and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End." (Revelation 22:12-13)

"Beginning" in these verses is archē with the meaning, "the commencement of something as an action, process, or state of being, beginning, that is, a point of time at the beginning of a duration."[154]

Author and Perfecter of Our Faith

The writer of Hebrews picks up this theme in a slightly different way:

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...." (Hebrews 12:2a, NIV, NASB)

This pair of words can be translated "the pioneer and perfecter" (NRSV), "the founder and perfecter" (ESV), "the author and finisher" (KJV). The first word in the pair is archēgos, "one who has a preeminent position -- leader, ruler," then "one who begins or originates, originator, founder."[155] The second word in the pair of "pioneer and perfecter" (Hebrews 12:2a) is "one who brings something to a successful conclusion, perfecter," from telos, "end, termination," then "goal, outcome."[156]

Archēgos is also found at Hebrews 2:10 as "author of their salvation" (NIV) or "pioneer of their salvation" (NRSV), "founder of their salvation" (ESV), "captain of their salvation" (KJV), which we explored in Lesson 7.

Q2. (Revelation 1:17-18; Hebrews 12:2) What do the titles First and Last, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End teach us about Jesus' nature? How does knowing that Jesus is the Author and Perfecter of our faith help build our trust in him?

Christ the Firstborn

Christ is not only "first," he is the "firstborn." He was Mary's firstborn son (Luke 2:7). One passage at the beginning of Colossians is especially rich in titles and descriptors of Christ's existence both before and after his life on earth. We've examined aspects of this passage before, but here we're looking at the idea of firstborn. We looked at Christ as Head in Lesson 8 and Image of the Invisible God in Lesson 5. This passage is like an early Christian hymn of Christ.

"15 He is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers
or rulers or authorities;
all things were created by him and for him.
17 He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." (Colossians 1:15-20)

Verses 15 and 18 use the Near Eastern concept of "firstborn" (prōtotokos). "Firstborn" can suggest both birth order (as verse 18b) as well as the special status accorded the firstborn son (as in verse 15[157] and in Exodus 4:22). Thus, "firstborn over all creation" (Colossians 1:15) doesn't mean that Jesus is the first created being, but that he is preeminent over all created beings. In the great messianic psalm that looks to the descendent of David, the psalmist says:

"I will also appoint him my firstborn,
the most exalted of the kings of the earth." (Psalm 89:27)

It is well known that David himself was not the firstborn, but the eighth son (1 Samuel 16:10-11). Firstborn is used here in the sense of preeminent over all other kings, in somewhat the same sense as "One and Only Son" or "Only Begotten Son," which expresses the supreme honor and uniqueness of the Christ.

In Romans, Paul calls him "the firstborn among many brothers" (Romans 8:29). Jesus is referred to as "the firstborn" in Hebrews 1:6, to whom the writer attributes the worship of all so-called gods (referring to Deuteronomy 32:43).

Firstborn from among the Dead

In Colossians 1:15-20, in addition to the concept of Christ's preexistence ("he is before all things"), Paul emphasizes Christ as "the beginning" as we saw earlier in this lesson. Here is another nuance of the word "firstborn;" that which relates to birth order.

"He is the beginning[158] and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy." (Colossians 1:18)

We see this title in Revelation:

"... Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,
the firstborn from the dead,
and the ruler of the kings of the earth." (Revelation 1:5a)

Jesus is firstborn from among the dead in the sense that he is the first to be resurrected from the dead. Jesus, prophets, and apostles raised some from the dead in their mortal bodies, however, they later died a natural death. Jesus' resurrection is the first of a kind since he took on a changed resurrection body.

His resurrection from the dead encourages us that we, too, will be raised at his coming. He is our hope. Jesus told Martha,

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." (John 11:25-26)

"The prophets and Moses said ... that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles." (Acts 26:22-23)

"But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep...." (1 Corinthians 15:20)

"Christ the firstfruits...." (1 Corinthians 15:23)

"Firstfruits"[159] refers to the Jewish religious practice of acknowledging that the land and all its products are a gift of God. It consisted of offering the first portion of the harvest -- cereals, tree fruits, grapes (or prepared oil, flour, dough, etc.) -- after which Israelites were at liberty to use the rest.[160] It was used figuratively of first converts in a particular place, etc., and here of Christ, who is the first to rise from the dead.

Heir of All Things

Another title of the glorified, risen Christ is Heir. At the beginning of Hebrews he is called "Heir of all things" (Hebrews 1:2). Jesus has all authority, and all things and peoples belong to him. In the great messianic Psalm 2, the psalmist writes:

"He said to me, 'You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance,
the ends of the earth your possession.'" (Psalm 2:7-8)

And since you and I are spiritual sons, we too are "heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17). In that sense, all things are ours (1 Corinthians 3:22). This inheritance will be granted at the Last Day.

"He who overcomes will inherit all this,
and I will be his God and he will be my son." (Revelation 21:7)

Q3. (Hebrews 1:2; Romans 8:17; 1 Corinthians 3:22) In what sense is Jesus "Heir of All Things"? What does it imply that we are co-heirs with him? In what sense do we possess all things?

The Desire of All Nations

Malachi has a powerful passage about Jesus coming, which we'll examine.

"'Suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple;
the messenger of the covenant,
whom you desire, will come,' says the LORD Almighty." (Malachi 3:1b)

This sounds a lot like a prophecy from Haggai.

"'I will shake all nations,
and the desired of all nations will come,
and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD Almighty." (Haggai 2:7, NIV)

"Desire" (KJV), "desired" (NIV), "treasure" (NRSV, ESV), "wealth" (NASB) is ḥemdâ, "desire," also an adjective, "pleasant, precious," from ḥāmad, "to desire, delight in." Haggai has been traditionally seen as referring to the Messiah (as he does in Haggai 2:9b).[161]

The Messenger of the Covenant

Now let's look at this Malachi passage further. There are two messengers.

"1 'See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,' says the LORD Almighty. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness." (Malachi 3:1-3)

"Messenger" (both times in this verse) is malʾāk, "messenger, representative, courtier, angel." In the Old Testament there are both human and supernatural messengers, including the Angel of the Lord (the Angel of Yahweh).[162]

In our Malachi passage, John the Baptist is the first messenger, "my messenger, who will prepare the way before me" (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 11:10; Luke 7:27). He is also spoken of in the final chapter of Malachi: "See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes" (Malachi 4:5; Matthew 11:13-14; 17:10-13). His role in preparing the way is also prophesied in Isaiah as: "A voice of one calling: 'In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God'" (Isaiah 40:3).

Jesus is the second messenger, "the messenger of the covenant" who "shall suddenly come to his temple" (KJV), immortalized in the great bass solo in Handel's Messiah.

This coming is initially fulfilled in Jesus coming to the temple in Jerusalem to purify it from the sale of cattle, sheep and doves, as well as the money changers -- all of which went to profit the corrupt "sons of Levi," specifically the high priests (John 2:13-16; Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15-16; Luke 19:45-46).

Refiner and Purifier

In Malachi 3:1-3, there is a sense in which Jesus as Refiner and Purifier also extends to his role as Judge, which we'll consider in a moment. He judges at the end of time, but he also refines and purifies before the Last Day.

"He will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness." (Malachi 3:2b-3a)

Jesus is the great "Refiner." The word is the Piel participle of the verb ṣārap, "smelt, refine, test."[163] In ancient days, copper, silver, gold, and iron ores were purified by heating the ore in a pottery crucible or furnace (Psalm 12:6; Proverbs 17:3). Once the contents of the crucible melted, it was possible to separate the purified metal from the slag by differences in melting point, as well as chemical reactions caused by the heat (Proverbs 25:4b). Silver was often found with lead, where the smelting process separated the two by causing the lead to evaporate away (Jeremiah 6:29).[164]

Jesus is also the great "Purifier." The word is the Piel participle of ṭāhēr, "to be pure, clean," used almost exclusively of ritual or moral purity,[165] though the word is sometimes used along with "refine" in the Old Testament (Psalm 12:6; Daniel 11:35; 12:10). Ritual purification of holy things and people in the Old Testament was often achieved by washing, anointing with holy oil, and sacrifice.

In the New Testament, the Word and the Spirit are purifiers.

"Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." (Ephesians 5:25b-27)

[John the Baptist]: "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Luke 3:16)

The means Jesus uses on earth to refine us is often "the furnace of affliction" (Isaiah 48:10; Zechariah 13:9) and various kinds of fiery trials (1 Peter 1:6-7). I've often thought that getting married is the first step in training men and women to become less selfish, since they have to live with and care for the needs of someone besides themselves. The second step is becoming a father or mother, forcing men and women to put someone else's needs before their own. Through these processes and our day-to-day struggles, Jesus refines our character.

But there is also a Last Day purifying. Paul tells the Corinthian church in their claims that Apollos was a better apostle, that with regards to a person's work in planting and developing a congregation:

"His work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)

This is related to the "judgment seat of Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:10), which we'll consider in a moment.

Q4. (Malachi 3:2-3; 1 Corinthians 3:13-15). How does Jesus purify and refine his church? How does he purify and refine us? On the Day that fire will test your deeds, will you have anything that remains, besides your salvation?

Jesus the Judge

We see several titles that refer to the Messiah as Judge. Jesus didn't fulfill this role during his ministry on earth (John 12:47), but when he returns in glory, he will be the Judge of all on Yahweh's behalf (Matthew 25:31-46). As we saw in Lesson 6, in Bible days the king was the supreme court of a nation; he decided all the hard judicial cases. So when we see Jesus as Judge, this is one of his roles as king.

"He has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." (Acts 17:31)

At "the judgment seat of Christ"[166] (2 Corinthians 5:10), Jesus will not only bring condemnation, but reward. In Revelation 20:11-15 we see a vision of a Great White Throne, upon whom sits one who judges men and women by their deeds. He also consults the Lamb's Book of Life, for those whose names are inscribed there will inherit eternal life (Revelation 13:8; 21:27).

Many New Testament passages speak about this, though the titles among these verses are sparse, two in particular stand out.

"He is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead." (Acts 10:42b)

"Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day -- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing." (2 Timothy 4:8)

The famous parable where the Son of Man separates the sheep from the goats at his coming also shows Jesus in this role as final Judge (Matthew 25:31-46).

Messiah's Reign Will Have No End

The final part of Jesus' messianic role is to destroy evil and reign forever over his people. As the Bible draws to a close, we increasingly see hints of the time when Jesus will be boldly called King. It was prophesied that he would reign over a never-ending kingdom. Balaam saw this King as a scepter rising.

"I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near:
a star shall come out of Jacob,
and a scepter shall rise out of Israel." (Numbers 24:17)

"Scepter" is shēbeṭ, "rod, staff, scepter." Here it is the symbol of rulershipship[167] that Jacob prophesied would eventually come to a descendent of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10).

Isaiah foresaw the Child who is given to reign over us.

"Of the increase 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 9:7)

In Daniel's vision, the Son of Man is given the Kingdom by the Ancient of Days.

"And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:14)

Zechariah prophesied at the birth of John the Baptist about this coming Messiah.

"He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever;
his kingdom will never end." (Luke 1:32-33)

At a climax of the Book of Revelation, the Seventh Trumpet is blown.

"The seventh angel sounded his trumpet,
and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
  'The kingdom of the world
  has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,
  and he will reign for ever and ever.'" (Revelation 11:15)

Jesus will reign forever, and his saints will reign with him (Revelation 22:5).

Commander, Leader, Prince

Throughout the Old Testament, Yahweh is seen as a warrior, though rarely, do we see Christ in this role. Of course, in Revelation the Warrior Messiah appears astride a battle steed to defeat evil in a final battle (Revelation 19:11-18). In this role the Messiah appears in Isaiah's messianic prophecy as a leader and commander.

"I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,[168]
a leader[169] and commander[170] of the peoples." (Isaiah 55:3-4)

Micah's prophecy of Messiah's birth in Bethlehem calls him a "ruler".

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me one who will be ruler[171] over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times." (Micah 5:2)

The passage is quoted in Matthew 2:6, using the title "ruler" (NIV, NRSV, ESV), "governor" (KJV).[172] As we saw in Lesson 7, he is called the Shepherd and Overseer (NIV, ESV), Guardian (NRSV, NASB) or Bishop (KJV) of your souls" (1 Peter 2:25).

Several times, as we've seen above, Jesus is referred to as Prince, especially in the KJV. In Acts 3:15 he is called the "Author of life" (NIV, NRSV, ESV) or "Prince of life" (KJV).[173] In Acts 5:31 he is "Prince and Savior" (NIV, KJV) or "Leader and Savior" (NRSV, ESV).[174] Revelation 1:5 calls him "ruler of the kings of the earth" (NIV, NRSV, ESV), "Prince of the kings of the earth" (KJV).[175]

The most famous use of the title Prince is found in the messianic prophecy of Isaiah 9:6. Messiah is "Prince of Peace," that is, the leader who brings and maintains peace. In popular speech in our day, "prince" would refer to the son of a reigning king. However, the word in Hebrew can be used of any leader who rules, reigns, or governs.[176]

So Jesus has many titles of governance: leader, commander, ruler, governor, overseer, guardian, bishop, and prince. But the most characteristic title of Jesus in this category is King.

King of Glory Enters Jerusalem

The theme of Yahweh as King of Israel runs throughout the Old Testament. As we began this lesson we read in Psalm 24:

"Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in." (Psalm 24:7)

The gates mentioned, the ancient doors, are the gates to the Holy City of Jerusalem. The psalm celebrates the entrance of Yahweh into his city. Jesus is the fulfillment of this Psalm. He is the King designated to enter Jerusalem. Jesus is the King of Glory. "King of Glory," of course, means the same as "glorious king."[177]

Again and again in the New Testament, Jesus is proclaimed to be King. The Prophet Zechariah foresaw his coming.

"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and having salvation,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (Zechariah 9:9)

This was fulfilled on Palm Sunday, when Jesus deliberately rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to the cries of "Son of David" and "Hosanna!" (that is, "save us"; Matthew 21:4-9; Mark 11:4-10; Luke 19:35-38).

The wise men sought him: "Where is he who has been born King of the Jews?" (Matthew 2:2). Nathanael exclaimed: "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" (John 1:49). Over the cross, Pilate's placard declared: "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." (John 19:19; Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38)

Yes, Jesus is the King of the Jews, but he is more than that. He is also king over all other realms and kings. Revelation 15:3 calls him "King of the nations" (NRSV, ESV), "King of the ages" (NIV) or "King of saints," KJV. (The differences are due to textual variations in the ancient manuscripts.[178])

Jesus is also proclaimed to be, "the ruler of the kings of the earth" or "prince of the kings of the earth," (Revelation 1:5).[179] One who rules over other kings is also called an emperor, or "King of kings."

Timothy calls him "The blessed and only Ruler/Sovereign/Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords" (1 Timothy 6:15). Jesus is the only true Ruler! "Ruler" (NIV), "sovereign" (NRSV, ESV), "potentate" (KJV) is dynastēs (from which we get our word "dynasty"), generally one who is in a position to command others, one who is in relatively high position, ruler, sovereign."[180]180]

In Revelation, too, Jesus bears this title of the ultimate rule of an Emperor, with kings under his control.

"They will make war on the Lamb,
and the Lamb will conquer them,
for he is Lord of lords and King of kings." (Revelation 17:14a)

"On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written,
King of kings and Lord of lords." (Revelation 19:16)

Q5. (Revelation 11:15; Psalm 24:7) When people think of spending an eternity in heaven, who do they most look forward to being with? Relatives? Jesus? What does it mean that he will reign forever and ever? In what way is he the King of Glory in your life?

We've reached the end of our journey of surveying the many names, titles, descriptors, and metaphors of our Lord and King Jesus. It is my prayer that this study might continue with you as you spend time in your private worship of Jesus and meditation on him.

Names and Titles of Jesus: A Discipleship Study, by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson
Also in paperback, PDF, and Kindle

When you are in danger, remember him as your Rock, your Savior, your Deliverer. When you are discouraged, recall that he is your Counselor, the Atoning Sacrifice for all your sins, your High Priest, and Advocate before the throne of God. When you long to serve him, he is your Commander, your Master, the Forerunner whose life you can emulate. When you come to the end of your life, know that he is the Way, the Gate, the Door, and it is he who invites you to come into his Father's house. He is Jesus -- Yahweh saves -- and he will save and deliver you all your life, until that day when he welcomes you into his Kingdom.

My brothers and sisters, we are truly blessed -- in Jesus' name. Amen.


Jesus, the day will come on earth that is now in heaven when you will appear as the Lord of Glory, the Refiner and Purifier, and the Righteous Judge. Thank you that my name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, along with my brothers and sisters who count you as their Lord. Purify me. Refine me for your service. Fill me with your grace and glory, now and forever. Amen.

Names and Titles of Jesus
  • King of Glory (Psalm 24:7-10)
  • Radiance of God's Glory (Hebrews 1:3)
  • The First and the Last (Revelation 1:17b; 2:8; 22:13)
  • The Living One (Revelation 1:17b)
  • Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8; 21:6; 22:13)
  • Who Is and Was and Is to Come (Revelation 1:4, 8)
  • Beginning and End (Revelation 21:6, 13)
  • Author and Perfecter of our Faith (NIV, NASB, Hebrews 12:2a)
  • Author and Finisher of our Faith (KJV, Hebrews 12:2a)
  • Founder and Perfecter of our Faith (ESV, Hebrews 12:2a)
  • Author of Salvation (NIV, Hebrews 2:10)
  • Pioneer of Salvation (NRSV, Hebrews 2:10)
  • Founder of Salvation (ESV, Hebrews 2:10)
  • Captain of Salvation (KJV, Hebrews 2:10)
  • Prince and Savior (NIV, KJV, Acts 5:31)
  • Leader and Savior (NRSV, ESV, Acts 5:31)
  • Firstborn over All Creation (Colossians 1:15)
  • Firstborn (Psalm 89:27; Hebrews 1:6)
  • Firstborn Son (Luke 2:7)
  • Firstborn among Many Brothers (Romans 8:29)
  • Firstborn from among the Dead (Colossians 1:18)
  • Firstborn from the Dead (Revelation 1:5a)
  • The Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25)
  • First to Rise from the Dead (Acts 26:23)
  • Firstfruits of Those Who Have Fallen Asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20)
  • Firstfruits (1 Corinthians 15:23)
  • Heir of All Things (Hebrews 1:2)
  • Desire of All Nations (KJV, Haggai 2:7)
  • Desired of All Nations (NIV, Haggai 2:7)
  • Messenger of the Covenant (Malachi 3:1)
  • Refiner's Fire (Malachi 3:2)
  • Launderer's Soap (NIV, Malachi 3:2)
  • Fuller's Soap (NRSV, ESV, KJV, Malachi 3:2)
  • Refiner of Silver (Malachi 3:3)
  • Purifier of Silver (Malachi 3:3)
  • Judge of the Living and the Dead (NIV, NRSV, ESV, Acts 10:42b)
  • Judge of the Quick and the Dead (KJV, Acts 10:42b)
  • Righteous Judge (2 Timothy 4:8)
  • Scepter (Numbers 24:17)
  • Leader and Commander of the Peoples (Isaiah 55:4)
  • Leader of the Peoples (Isaiah 55:4)
  • Commander of the Peoples (Isaiah 55:4)
  • Ruler in/over Israel (Micah 5:2)
  • Governor (KJV, Matthew 2:6)
  • Ruler (NIV, NRSV, ESV, Matthew 2:6)
  • Author of Life (NIV, NRSV, ESV, Acts 3:15)
  • Prince of Life (KJV, Acts 3:15)
  • Ruler of the Kings of the Earth (NIV, NRSV, ESV, Revelation 1:5)
  • Prince of the Kings of the Earth (KJV, Revelation 1:5)
  • Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
  • Your King (Zechariah 9:9; Matthew 21:5)
  • King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2; John 19:19; Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38)
  • King of Israel (John 1:49)
  • King of the Nations (NRSV, ESV, Revelation 15:3)
  • King of the Ages (NIV, Revelation 15:3)
  • King of Saints (KJV, Revelation 15:3)
  • Blessed and Only Ruler (NIV, 1 Timothy 6:15)
  • Blessed and Only Sovereign (NRSV, ESV, 1 Timothy 6:15)
  • Blessed and Only Potentate (KJV, 1 Timothy 6:15)
  • King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14a; 19:16)

Songs and Hymns

Songs in this final lesson center around Jesus the risen, glorified, coming King. Titles include: King of Glory, King, First and Last, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, Author and Finisher, Author of Salvation, Firstborn, Firstfruits, Heir of All Things, Desire of All Nations, Messenger of the Covenant, Refiner's Fire, Righteous Judge, Prince of Life, King of kings and Lord of lords.

  • "All Because of Jesus" ("Maker of Heaven and of Earth ... King over all the universe"), by Steve Fee (© 2007 Sixsteps Songs)
  • "All Hail King Jesus" ("King of kings, Lord of lords, Bright Morning Star") by Dave Moody (1981 Dayspring Music, LLC)
  • "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name" ("And crown him Lord of all"), words: Edward Perronet (1779), music: Coronation, Oliver Holden (1793)
  • "Alpha and Omega," by Erasmus Mutanbira (© 2005 Integrity's Praise! Music)
  • "Angels from the Realms of Glory" ("Seek the great Desire of nations ... Suddenly the Lord, descending, In His temple shall appear"), words: James Montgomery (1816), music: Regent Square, Henry T. Smart (1867)
  • "Be Thou My Vision" ("High King of Heaven"), words attributed to Dallan Forgaill, translated from Gallic to English by Mary E. Byrne (1905), versed by Eleanor H. Hull (1912); music: Slane, Irish folk origin.
  • "Blessed Be the Name" ("Redeemer, Savior, friend of man ... Counselor ... Prince of Peace"), words: William H. Clark, music: Ralph E. Hudson (1888)
  • "Celebrate the Child" ("the Child who is the Light ... Godhead and manhood became one ... First born of creation ... Lamb and Lion, God and Man ... Author of Salvation ... Almighty wrapped in swaddling bands"), by Michael Card (© 1989 Birdwing Music)
  • "Christmas Offering" ("humble Prince of Peace ... I bring an offering of worship to my King"), by Paul Baloche (© 2003 Integrity's Hosanna! Music )
  • "Come, O Come, Emmanuel" ("Desire of Nations ... King of Peace"), words: 12th century; music: 15th century
  • "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus" ("Israel's strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth thou art, dear desire of every nation"), words: Charles Wesley (1745), music: Hyfrydol, Rowland H. Prichard (1830)
  • "Days of Elijah" ("Behold He comes riding on the clouds, shining like the sun at the trumpet's call"), by Robin Mark (© 1996 Song Solutions Daybreak)
  • "Famous One" ("Desire of nations and every heart"), by Chris Tomlin, Jesse Reeves (© 2002 sixsteps Music)
  • "Forever Reign" ("You are Peace, You are Peace"), by Scott Ingram, Reuben Morgan (© 2009 Hillsong Music Publishing)
  • "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" ("Come Desire of Nations, come"), words: Charles Wesley (1739), music: Felix Mendelssohn (1740)
  • "He Is Exalted" ("the King is exalted on high"), by Twila Paris (© 1985, Straightway Music/Word Music (UK))
  • "He's the Lord of Glory" ("He's the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End ... the Prince of Peace is He"), by Phyllis C. Spiers (© 1950, 1962, Gospel Publishing House)
  • "Here I Am to Worship" ("King of all days, oh so highly exalted"), by Tim Hughes (© 2001, Thankyou Music)
  • "Holy" ("Jesus You Are"; "You're the Great I Am ... You will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead"), by Jason Ingram, Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman (© 2011 Atlas Mountain Songs)
  • "Hosanna" ("I see the King of Glory coming down the clouds with fire"), by Brooke Ligertwood (© 2006 Hillsong Music Publishing)
  • "How Great Is Our God" ("The splendor of the King ... Beginning and the End ... Lion and the Lamb"), by Chris Tomlin, Ed Cash, Jesse Reeves (© 2004 sixsteps Music)
  • "How Majestic Is Your Name" ("Prince of Peace, Mighty God"), by Michael W. Smith (© 1981, Meadowgreen Music Co.)
  • "I Am" ("Maker of the heavens, Bright and Morning Star ... Fount of Living Water, the Risen Son of Man, the Healer of the Broken .. Savior and Redeemer ... Author and Perfecter, Beginning and the End"), by Mark Schultz (© 2005 Crazy Romaine Music)
  • "I Love You Lord" ("Take joy my King in what you hear"), by Laurie Klein (© 1978, House of Mercy Music)
  • "I Will Look Up" ("Jesus, Lord of All ... Prince of Peace, Perfect Healer, King of Kings, Mighty Savior"), Chris Brown, Jason Ingram, Mack Brock, Matt Redman, Wade Joye (© 2013 Said And Done Music )
  • "I Worship You, Almighty God" ("I worship You, O Prince of Peace"), by Sondra Corbett (© 1983 Integrity's Hosanna! Music)
  • "Isn't He" ("Beautiful, isn't He? Prince of Peace, Son of God"), by John Wimber (© 1980 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing)
  • "Jesus Lover of My Soul" ("Alpha and Omega, You have loved me"), by Paul Oakley (© 1995 Thankyou Music)
  • "Jesus Shall Reign Where'er the Sun," words: Isaac Watts (1719), music: Duke Street, attributed to John Hatton (1793)
  •  "Jesus, Lover of My Soul" ("Alpha and Omega, You have loved me"), by John Ezzy, Daniel Grul, and Stephen McPherson (© 1992, John Ezzy, Daniel Grul, Stephen McPherson, and Hillsong Publishing)
  • "Jesus, Only Jesus" (He is our hope, our righteousness ... Holy, King Almighty Lord"), by Christ Tomlin, Matt Redman, et al. (© 2013 S. D. G. Publishing)
  • "Love Devine, All Loves Excelling" ("Alpha and Omega be; End of faith, as its Beginning"), words: Charles Wesley (1747); music: Beecher, John Zundel (1870)
  • "Open the Eyes of My Heart" ("To see you high and lifted up, shining in the light of your glory"), by Paul Baloche (© 1997, Integrity's Hosanna! Music)
  • "Refiner's Fire," by Brian Doerksen (©1990 Mercy / Vineyard Publishing)
  • "Rejoice, the Lord Is King" ("Jesus the Savior reigns ... Jesus the Judge shall come"), words: Charles Wesley (1744), music: Darwall's 148th, John Darwall (1770)
  • "Revelation Song" ("Worthy is the Lamb who was slain ... Lord God Almighty ... King of kings"), Jennie Lee Riddle (© 2004 Gateway Create Publishing)
  • "This I Believe" ("The Creed": "I believe in the resurrection, that we will rise again ... Our Judge and our Defender"), by Ben Fielding, Matt Crocker (© 2014 Hillsong Music Publishing)
  • "This Is Amazing Grace" ("the King of Glory, the King of Glory"), by Jeremy Riddle, Josh Farro, Phil Wickham (© 2012 Phil Wickham Music)
  • "We Bow Down" ("Your are Lord/King of creation and Lord/King of my life ... Lord of all lords you will be ... King of all kings you will be"), by Twila Paris (© 1984, New Spring International)
  • "We Will Glorify" (We will glorify the King of kings, we will glorify the Lamb"), by Twila Paris (1982 New Spring)
  • "What Child Is This" ("the King of kings salvation brings"), words: William Chatterton Dix (1865), music: Greensleeves (16th century English melody)
  • "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" ("on which the Prince of glory died"), words: Isaac Watts (1707), music: Hamburg, Lowell Mason (1824)
  • "Worthy, You Are Worthy" ("King of kings, Lord of lords"), by Don Moen (© 1986, Integrity's Hosanna! Music)
  • "You Are Holy" ("Prince of Peace"), by Marc Imboden and Tammi Rhoton (1994 Imboden Music; Martha Jo Publishing). Many names of Jesus
  • "You Are My King" ("Amazing Love"), by Billy Fotte (© 1996, worshiptogether.com songs)
  • "You Are" (Holy ... Faithful ... Savior ... Friend ... Lord on high ... the Way, the Truth, the Life ... the Word made flesh ... the Bright Morning Star ... Alpha and Omega ... Comfort ... Refuge ... Love Personified ... My God and my King"), by Mark Roach (© 2005 Dayspring Music)


From Appendix 6. Exercises to Help You Internalize the Names of Jesus, select some activities that will help you internalize the truths of this lesson's names, titles, descriptors, and metaphors. This week, how can you creatively pray, meditate, write, worship, consider, draw or paint, compose, picture, and live out these truths in your community?

Actively participating in these ways will help you grow to be like Christ.


[147] The radiant glory of God was upon Moses. "Radiant" (NIV), "shone" (NRSV, ESV, KJV) is qāran, "shine" (TWOT 816).

[148] Willem A. van Gemeren, "Shekinah," ISBE 4:466-468. R. K. Harrison, "Glory," ISBE 2:477-483.

[149] Doxa, BDAG 257-258, 1 and 3.

[150] Doxazō, BDAG 258, 1 and 2.

[151] See also John 11:4, 40.

[152] John 8:49-50, 54; 12:28-29; 16:14; 17:1, 4-5.

[153] Apaugasma, BDAG 99.

[154] Archē, BDAG 137, 1.

[155] Archēgos, BDAG 138, 3.

[156] Teleiōtēs, BDAG 997.

[157] Prōtotokos, BDAG 894, 2a.

[158] Here, in context with "firstborn," Paul is speaking figuratively of a person, "one with whom a process begins, beginning" (Archē, BDAG 137, 2). The idea of ruler or authority derives from the concept of one who begins or initiates.

[159] Aparchē, is used here as a cultic technical term, "first fruits, first portion" (BDAG 98), and is a compound word from apo-, "from" + archomai, "to begin."

[160] Exodus 23:19a; Numbers 15:20; 18:12; Deuteronomy 26:2; Nehemiah 10:35, 37; etc.

[161] However, some see him referring to the contributions of precious things for refurbishing Zerubbabel 's temple (2 Chronicles 36:10). We're just not sure.

[162] Andrew Bowling, malʾāk, TWOT #1068a.

[163] John E. Hartley, ṣārap, TWOT #1972.

[164] Robert A. Coughenour, "Refine," ISBE 4:64-65.

[165] Edwin Yamauchi, TWOT #792.

[166] I know that some teachers make a distinction between the "the judgment seat of Christ" and the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) that is, "the judgment seat of God" (Romans 14:10-11). I believe this is a false distinction. Christ judges on the Father's behalf on that day. They are not separate judgments.

[167] Bruce K. Waltke, shēbeṭ, TWOT #2314a.

[168] "Peoples" (twice in verse 4) is leʾōm, "people," poetic and chiefly found in later Old Testament books. It doesn't refer to the Gentiles, but more generally to any group of people (BDB 52).

[169] "Leader" is nāgîd, is "ruler, leader, captain" (TWOT #1298b).

[170] "Commander" is the Piel participle of ṣāwâ, "to command" (TWOT #1887). Though it's possible, we just don't have enough evidence to equate "the Commander of the Army of the Lord" in Joshua 5:13-14 with Jesus, since Michael the Archangel seems to have that role in Daniel and Revelation (Daniel 10:13; 12:1, 21; Revelation 12:7).

[171] "Ruler" (NIV, ESV, KJV), "one who is to rule" (NRSV) is the Qal participle of māshal, "rule, have dominion, reign" (TWOT #1259).

[172] The word is the present participle of hēgeomai, "to be in a supervisory capacity, lead, guide" (BDAG 43, 1).

[173] The word is archēgos, "leader, ruler, prince," often "one who begins or originates, originator, founder" (BDAG 13, 1 and 3).

[174] "Prince" (NIV, KJV), "Leader" (NRSV, ESV) is archēgos.

[175] The word is archōn, "one who is in a position of leadership," especially in a civic capacity, here "one who has eminence in a ruling capacity, ruler, lord, prince" (BDAG 14, 1b).

[176] "Prince" is śar, translated variously, "prince, chief, captain, ruler, governor, keeper, chief captain, steward, master," from śārar, "rule, reign, act as a prince, govern" (TWOT #2295a).

[177] At Jesus' transfiguration, his disciples saw him in his glory (Matthew 17:2). We examined Jesus' glory extensively earlier in this lesson.

[178] Metzger (Textual Commentary, p. 755-756) says that the manuscript evidence for "nations" and "ages" is about equal. However, the Committee felt that "ages" was more likely to be recollected from 1 Timothy 1:17, and "nations" was more in accord with the context. The KJV rendering "King of saints" from the Textus Receptus has only slender support from Greek manuscripts, none early. The Committee preferred "King of the nations," but only gave it a {C} or "considerable degree of doubt" rating.

[179] "Ruler" (NIV, NRSV, ESV), "prince" (KJV) is archōn, "one who has eminence in a ruling capacity, ruler, lord, prince" (BDAG 14, 1b).

[180] Dynastēs, BDAG 26, 1a.

Copyright © 2024, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

Sign up now!To be notified about future articles, stories, and Bible studies, why don't you subscribe to our free newsletter,The Joyful Heart, by placing your e-mail address in the box below. We respect your privacy and never sell, rent, or loan our lists. Please don't subscribe your friends; let them decide for themselves.
Country(2-letter abbreviation, such as US)
Preferred FormatHTML (recommended) Plain text