Will you be watching the coronation of King Charles of the United Kingdom on Saturday? I don’t understand the American interest in a monarchy that our ancestors fought to be free of nearly 150 years ago. But it will be something that hasn’t been seen for 70 years. It won’t be just a political event, it will be a deeply religious event dating back to 1066 that takes place in a church—Westminster Abbey—presided over by the Archbishop of Canterbury who will deliver a sermon, inviting millions of Britons to make homage to their king. Charles must take an oath (by law since 1689) promising to maintain the Protestant Anglican faith.
The King will then be privately anointed with oil from trees on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem which is to be reminiscent of King Solomon’s anointing. This will take place privately behind a screen so that only God & the archbishop can see. He will be blessed & crowned. This of course is a farce because England is largely a post-Christian nation. Sadly, America is heading in that direction as well. For those of us who have been around a while, we don’t even recognize this country any longer. People from England & Europe came here to escape religious oppression & enjoy religious freedom. They ingrained that into our founding documents & institutions. They fought a war over it. But we’re far from their original intentions today.
America shows every sign of being an “empire” in decline, & we all know it’s not going to end well. Even secular people can sense it. We’re seeing a societal collapse through moral erosion, financial debt, lawlessness, corruption, & religious abandonment. Younger generations seem to know very little about what America was created to be or even used to be not that long ago. They’re not being raised in church or reading the Bible. The future looks bleak.
But thankfully, we’re part of a greater Kingdom. It’s not a republic where we vote in our leaders or a democracy where the majority rules. It’s a monarchy. We’re grateful to live in the United States which is the best human form of government we’ve come up with so far—a Constitutional republic where our God-given rights are secured in spite of whatever the majority or politicians say. Its 3 branches provide checks & balances on the powers of the other branches because humans are sinful & corrupt. We’re constantly having to vote for the lesser of two or more evils. Always. And often the majority picks bad rulers. So the U.S. has the least-worst form of government.
But truly the best form of government is a monarchy with a totally good & wise king. But no such person exists in reality. Kings are fallen & can be foolish, wicked & cruel, with no one to check those powers. Ancient Israel was supposed to be a monarchy under the Kingship of God alone. But they eventually rejected God, & called for a human king like the other nations. That didn’t work out so well, because even their greatest king, David, committed some terrible sins with disastrous consequences for the nation. Israel had many bad kings which hurt the entire nation. But God promised He would send a descendent of David who would be the kind of Messiah-King we needed. He would be a perfect King ruling over an eternal kingdom.
God created humans in His image to have dominion & rule over creation on His behalf. Sin prevents us from fulfilling that purpose. We’ve done a very poor job of ruling. We can’t even rule ourselves well! Creation needs the restoration of proper human rule so it can experience God’s glory. Only a flawless human king can do that. That ain’t Charles. The Gospel is really a royal proclamation of how God sent Jesus to rule on His behalf as both Son of Man & Son of God who perfectly images the Father.
Many rejected Him & then crucified Him. But He rose & is now seated at the right hand of the Father, reigning over His Kingdom, the Church—both the saints in heaven & on earth. Jesus told Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). The kingdom of God isn’t about political power or military might. His is a spiritual kingdom where He is the universal Sovereign! It is IN you & among you—wherever people confess Jesus as King, pledge allegiance to Him, & bend the knee before Him in reverence. Calling Jesus “Christ” is comparable to “His Majesty.”
The more people living under His kingship, the more the nature of His kingdom is revealed! Even for those who are not Christians, the gospel brings an alternative society for the “common good”–they’re better off, safer, & healthier. It brings relief for the poor, oppressed, sick, & the least. One day, that Kingdom will break out completely when Jesus returns to reign, & everyone will acknowledge Him as King of kings! But right now, His reign is subtle & subversive. It exists alongside the earth’s kingdoms as a transnational, trans-ethnic, transcultural kingdom where we are citizens of heaven, in the world but not of it. We, His sons & daughters, are destined to reign with Him forever under the monarchy we’ve always needed. That’s our King!