A Great King Over All The Earth
‘The Lord, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth’ (Ps. 47.2)
One of my favourite hymns is Daniel Whittle’s classic, The Crowning Day is coming. In four carefully crafted verses, drenched in theology, he takes the congregation from our Lord’s current rejection, to the Crowning Day when ‘our pain will all be over.’ The sentiment of the hymn is clear; the Lord is rejected now, but will be crowned as King in a day to come.
And yet this Psalm states something very different; ‘The Lord…is…a great king over all the earth.’ So which is it? Is Daniel Whittle right? Or is the writer of the Psalm to be believed instead?
The answer is both. Daniel Whittle is right; the Lord is currently rejected but there is coming a great day of coronation. But the Psalmist is also right (obviously); He is the king over all the earth. To insist on one or the other would be too simplistic. There is a day coming when the Lord will be crowned and yet He is the king over all the earth right now.
In these verses, one inspired, and the other reflective of a variety of Old and New Testament Scriptures, we are introduced to two different types of kingdom. There is an eternal kingdom, over which the Lord has never ceased to be King. Psalm 10 says ‘The Lord is king for ever and ever’ (v16, KJV), while Psalm 29 informs us that ‘The Lord sits enthroned as king for ever’ (v10, ESV). Jeremiah unashamedly asserts that ‘The Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King’ (Jer. 10:10, ESV). In the New Testament, Paul tells Timothy that Jesus Christ is ‘The King of the ages’ (1 Tim. 1:17, ESV). Thus we conclude that this truth is stamped upon the whole of Scripture.
But no matter where you look it does not appear to be the case. Daniel Whittle got it right; ‘Our Lord is now rejected and by the world disowned.’ When he wrote his hymn he wasn’t referring to the eternal kingdom, rather he had in mind what theologians call a mediatorial kingdom. This is the kingdom that God intended to establish on earth. When God created Adam, He effectively made him king over all creation, without using the term. Within a few chapters he had thrown it all away and calamity ensued. Since then God has been unveiling a plan to restore what Adam lost. The Second man, the Lord from heaven came to reinstitute what the first man, Adam, had defiled. Adam’s lost kingship was promised again to David (2 Sam. 7.11-17) and was enjoyed in part by the people under Solomon, but ultimately it will not be seen upon the earth until our rejected Lord (of the line of David) returns and is crowned as ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lords’ (Rev. 19:16). John saw a vision of that day when ‘there were loud voices in Heaven saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever”’ (Rev. 11.15, ESV).
Ultimately of course, the mediatorial kingdom, or His kingdom on earth will become the eternal kingdom, for Paul tells the Corinthians; ‘Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.’ (1 Cor. 15:24-25, ESV)
Today we have the privilege of going to remember Him in the midst of a world that has rejected Him. But we do so with the full knowledge that His day of vindicated manifestation is as sure as His day of abject humiliation.