The Ideal King

E. J. Strange, Bridgwater

Part 14 of 20 of the series Bible Prophecy

There has come into the thinking of Christendom an idea of the extension of God's Kingdom which is not founded upon Scripture. In its widest sense the Kingdom of God is wherever God's rule is acknowledged, but the establishment of His Kingdom on earth is, as we have seen, not the result of a gradual process through the working of the gospel, but the result of catastrophic judg­ment of the nations. "Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things: Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under Thee " (Psa. 45. 4, 5).

Others go so far as to deny the personal rule of Christ upon the earth and ' spiritualize' the statements on the matter. The plain words of the prophets and of Rev. 20, however, preclude belief in anything but the personal rule of Christ over the earth for 1,000 years.

Features of this golden age of the world's history will be considered in a later paper but it should be stated here that all that it will have of joy, peace, and blessing, will be owing to the character of the King. It is, therefore, at the King that we must first of all look.

" My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King . . . Thou art fairer than the children of men . . ." (Psa. 45).

The ideal of kingship among men has varied through the ages but is (invariable in the Word of God. The character of the Ideal King was expressed by David under the guidance of the Spirit of God. He said : " The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said. The Rock of Israel spake to me, ' He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds ; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain '" (2 Sam. 23).

No such king has appeared in human history. David's reign was marked by bloodshed and tarnished by David's sin. Solomon's reign was of great glory but spoilt by dis­obedience, idolatry, and oppression.Although no king has appeared in reality to answer the demands of ideal kingship, one has appeared who answers those demands in type—Melchizedek. There are only two short references to this man in the Old Testament, Gen. 14 and Psa. 110, and our knowledge of him is limited to these two passages: all else can be only speculation. Yet the writer to the Hebrews refers to this man in his priesthood and kingship as a type of the Lord Jesus. If we consider what is said in Heb. 7, we shall see four things that con­stitute this man as a type of Christ, God's anointed.

The Interpretation of His Name.

This is ' King of Righteousness.' How beautifully this accords with all that is said about our Lord as King. A few passages will suffice as illustrations :—" Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness " (Psa. 45. 7). " He shall judge Thy people with righteous­ness " (Psa. 72. 2). " With righteousness shall He judge the poor " (Isa. II. 4). " And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins" (Isa. II. 5). "Behold, a King shall reign in righteousness " (Isa. 32. 1). The Greek philosophers looked for ' righteousness' or ' justice ' but could not find it. It seemed to be an un­attainable ideal. " I do not believe it is to be found anywhere on earth. Well, perhaps in heaven there is laid up a pattern ..." (Plato).Here is the answer to mankind's need—an absolutely righteous King—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

King of Salem, which is King of Peace.

It is a profitable study to go through the Scriptures and note how closely wedded are Righteousness and Peace. There is no abiding peace on earth because there is no abiding right­eousness. When our Lord is King over all the earth, the angelic song shall be fulfilled, " On earth, peace" (Lu. 2. 14). " His name shall be called . . . Prince of Peace " (Isa. 9. 6). In Him " Mercy and Truth are met together; Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other " (Psa. 85. 10).

King of Eternity.

" Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life, but made like unto the Son of God." Earthly kings live and die." Sceptre and Crown Must tumble down, And in the dust be equal made With the poor, crooked scythe and spade."    {Shirley-)Our Lord Jesus is eternal.

The  Unique Nature of Melchizedek's kingship.

In Scripture he alone was both King and Priest. In Israel's history this was forbidden. Saul was rebuked for his presumption in offering a burnt sacrifice (1 Sam. 13). Uzziah went into the temple to burn incense and was smitten with leprosy (2 Chron. 26). Christ will sit a Priest upon His throne.Because our Lord is the Righteous King, righteousness will (low down like a mighty stream ; and because He is the Prince of Peace, peace shall flow like a river. He is eternal; His Kingdom shall be for ever and ever, for the earthly Kingdom shall merge into the eternal. As ' King-Priest ' He shall rule this earth for God, and through the fragrance of His peerless Name and the value, of His mediation shall a continual stream of worship ascend from this earth to the throne of the Father.