From a piece entitled, “The King of God’s Kingdom,” I wrote for the November issue of Tabletalk magazine:
In the ancient world, the king oversaw public building campaigns, led the nation’s armies in battle, administered a system of justice, and propagated wisdom in all these efforts. The king was the embodiment of the kingdom’s identity, he was the perfect expression of his people, and he was often described as the father of the nation, suggesting a deeper relationship between the king and his people than one that merely involved politics or government. The relationship between the king and his people was, at its best, a glorious possibility for human flourishing and, at its worst, a terrifying opportunity for human suffering.
THE KING IN GOD’S PLAN OF REDEMPTION
Humanity was always meant to have a king, because humans were created as part of God’s kingdom. This is what God intended when He made us according to the imago Dei, “the image of God,” forming man from the land to occupy and ultimately fill His earthly domain with His image. In Genesis 1, the earth is depicted as a physical palace that will one day be filled and subdued by human regents who are made after the image of their divine Creator-king (vv. 27–28). This kingly identity informs our human identity at its most foundational level. Even in light of the utter failure and destruction of the fall, humanity is still called to set its sights on this vision of an earth filled with God’s glory, and redeemed images of God are called to pray that God’s kingly rule will be applied to earth just “as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10; see Isa. 6:3). Jesus told us to pray that way because He looks forward to that day too.
After the fall, God appointed a family from among all the families of the earth from whom a line of kings would come, now as a part of His work of redemption. Abraham was promised not only that God would make him into a great nation dwelling in a great land but that “kings shall come from you” (Gen. 17:6), an indication that the hope for redemption outlined in the patriarchal era of the Old Testament included the hope for a human king to come from the line of Abraham.
Read the rest here.