Who is the King?
“The law and the prophets and evangelists have declared that Christ was born of a virgin, and suffered on the cross; was raised also from the dead, and taken up to heaven; that He was glorified, and reigns for ever. He is Himself termed the Perfect Intellect, the Word of God. He is the First-begotten, after a transcendent manner, the Creator of man; All in all; Patriarch among the patriarchs; Law in the law; the Priest among priests; among kings Prime Leader; the Prophet among the prophets; the Angel among angels; the Man among men; Son in the Father; God in God; King to all eternity. He was sold with Joseph, and He guided Abraham; was bound along with Isaac, and wandered with Jacob; with Moses He was Leader, and, respecting the people, Legislator. He preached in the prophets; was incarnate of a virgin; born in Bethlehem; received by John, and baptized in Jordan; was tempted in the desert, and proved to be the Lord. He gathered the apostles together, and preached the kingdom of heaven; gave light to the blind, and raised the dead; was seen in the temple, but was not held by the people as worthy of credit; was arrested by the priests, conducted before Herod, and condemned in the presence of Pilate; He manifested Himself in the body, was suspended upon a beam of wood, and raised from the dead; shown to the apostles, and, having been carried up to heaven, sitteth on the right hand of the Father, and has been glorified by Him as the Resurrection of the dead. Moreover, He is the Salvation of the lost, the Light to those dwelling in darkness, and Redemption to those who have been born; the Shepherd of the saved, and the Bridegroom of the Church; the Charioteer of the cherubim, the Leader of the angelic host; God of God; Jesus Christ our Saviour.” (Irenaeus, Fragments 54)
Indeed, the Lamb is my King. Yet, will my King be presented as one like the kings of the nations (v.20)? Will he go out before us and fight our battles like the worthy knights, soldiers and infantrymen of yesteryear?
No – our King’s strength is in His weakness to His Father. He is the One Sent by His Father, but He can do nothing by Himself (John 8:16, 8:29). A bruised reed He shall not break (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20), for His strength is manifested entirely as that nursing lamb (chapter 7:9) led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7). He is our God who shall not be sculpted by human hands (c.f. Deuteronomy 27:6), for He is who He is (Exodus 3:14, John 8:58), who rules and mediates from His Father’s right hand (Psalm 110, Hebrews 12:2, 1 Peter 3:22).
Yet, this King shall not come through Samuel’s line; much like the beheaded Baptist who paved the path for Jesus of Nazareth, so also Samuel’s descendants – whatever name they bear, be Jehovah their true Father or God – will not live in the covenant typifying the relationship of the true Father and the Son. Samuel will continue to stand at the end of his circuit, at Mizpah the watchtower, watching for the one true king who destroys the world’s Spirit-less recognition of kingship (Matthew 17:12). Only this role is fulfilled by the Davidic royal line superseding that of the priestly office – the line of Melchizedek, the King-Priest. Unlike the household of Eli where the high priest led the Israelites astray, Samuel stays faithful to the LORD who still speaks to him despite his children’s perversion of justice; and it is clear that if it is not Samuel’s children who are to lead the Israelites, then it is either through God’s appointed King or the pitiful king who does not follow His ways, but the ways of the pagans. Instead of obeying the Word of God, they obeyed the words of the surrounding nations. What simple blasphemy and usurpation of the true throne, as is prophesied by the missing ark-throne which is left neglected until the one worthy of the throne, David, seeks to restore it in its rightful tabernacle. What simple adultery as prophesied by the golden calf of Exodus 32, that the Israelites would dare imagine that these are the gods who took them out of Egypt! Such is the idolatrous heart of man, that we seek to fill the throne with golden idols of our own creation, the truest expression of self-exaltation and self-worship.
All the while the true ark and throne is in Kiriath-jearim, the city of woods; the true David is shepherding his sheep peacefully in the pastures; the faithful High Priest is rejected, thus simultaneously rejecting Christ Himself who is the King of the parable:
Mat 25:31-46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. (32) Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (33) And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. (34) Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (35) For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, (36) I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ (37) Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? (38) And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? (39) And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ (40) And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (41) “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. (42) For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, (43) I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ (44) Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ (45) Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ (46) And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
It is thus clear that the King who does not sacrifice himself for his men (v.13-18) is not the King of Scripture. The King of Scripture is Immanuel – God with us, the Word who became flesh so that we receive Him and receive the Father at once in the Spirit, lest we obey the voice of man and create our own gods by our own hands and words. “Make them a king” – the LORD said; indeed, we make many things our kings daily, but the true King is not made. He is to be revealed and received as our Bridegroom, Lover, Head and Redeemer, identifying us as the kingdom of priests, citizens of New Jerusalem, which no other nation however magnificent can even imitate in their perversion of true justice and in their false understanding of true cruciform and Trinitarian kingship of mutual reliance and divine community.