What is a King? Psalm 72:1-4
For our purposes, we’ll define a king as: A human being established by God to exercise rule on God’s behalf over his kingdom.
As this definition indicates, God always has been and always will be the ultimate ruler over all creation. But he has also appointed human beings to serve as his vice-regents. These human kings serve under him, and further his purposes and goals for his kingdom. As we keep this basic definition in mind, we will be able to gain many insights into the biblical office of king, and into how Jesus fulfills this office.
In his book The Republic, the Greek philosopher Plato argued that the best of all possible governments was the rule of a philosopher king. In his view, kings that truly loved wisdom, instead of wealth and power, would direct their nations toward countless benefits. In a similar way, Scripture shows that when Israel’s kings feared God and followed his precepts, their nations thrived under God’s blessings. But the opposite was also true: When they rebelled against God, the entire nation suffered under God’s judgment. In this sense, Israel’s kings were central to the well-being of God’s kingdom on earth.