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Wrestling with the Word, episode 48: Christ the King, Year B (November 22, 2009) November 8, 2009

Posted by fostermccurley in Wrestling With The Word podcast.
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Christ the King

Nothing is what it seems, and what is real does not appear. As we look around the world at its disastrous events—human-made and natural, it seems that chaos rules supreme. That God and not chaos rules the universe is contrary to human sense and unobservable to human senses. Since it is neither a political agenda nor a social phenomenon, God’s reign is independent of votes and opinions. Moreover, completely contrary to worldly reason, the Reign of Christ occurs only through Jesus’ suffering on the cross at the hands of religious and political authorities and his resurrection from that awful death. God’s rule over the cosmos and the Reign of Christ the King are comprehended only through faith.

Download or listen to Wrestling with the Word, episode 48: Christ the King, Year B.


Psalm 93
This song of praise of YHWH’s kingship is the one of a series dealing with the same theme (47, 95–99). It begins with the acclamation that the Lord indeed is king. That the reign of God extends not only over Israel but over the whole world results from God’s creating and arranging the world’s order. Though tumults threaten his rule, God is firmly established on the throne.


Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
In the vision, God Almighty who is seated on the heavenly throne, grants everlasting dominion to one like a son of man who appears before him.

Although the story of the book dates the action in the Persian period (6th-4th centuries B.C.), the authors of the book lived in and wrote for people between 167-164 B.C. This period was a time of persecution by the Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

After six chapters in which the people of faith accomplish all kinds of miracles in the face of their persecutions by the Persians, this chapter begins a series of visions. While the former part of the book appears to emphasize the old wisdom theme that the righteous will be rewarded, this latter section is apocalyptic. It focuses on the end time and the timing of the end.

Unfortunately, verses 11-12 are omitted from the reading. They describe the slaying of the final beast and the loss of dominion by all the beasts mentioned in vv. 4-8. Their loss of dominion and the granting of dominion to the one like a son of man provide a necessary sequence that is lost by the omission of these two verses.

As a whole, this vision is about four beasts representing the kingdoms of the Babylonians, Medes, Persians, and Greeks. In other words, the history of the people of Israel from the eighth century B.C. until the present second century B.C. is laid out, indicating that human history has run its course, the cosmic clock is ticking away, and the kingdom of God is about to break in.

Key Words
Vv. 9-10. Much of the imagery used in these verses (and in the preceding ones) appears in the vision of Ezekiel in the first chapter of his book:  fire, four creatures, throne, wheels, brightness, a likeness of a human form.

V. 13.  wa’arû `im-‘anānê šemayyā’_’ kebar ’enāš ’ātēh hawâ we`ad-‘attîq yômayyā’  metâ ûqedāmôhî haqrebûhî = “and with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him”:  Two major issues appear here. First, the direction of movement of the one like a son of man is from earth to heaven. Second, the identity of “the son of man” figure as the recipient of the kingdom (v. 14) is “the saints of the Most High” (vss. 18, 22, 27).


Revelation 1:4b-8
To those in tribulation the author assures that they can count on God’s enduring existence and constant love and on Christ’s resurrection and lordship over the world.

After a brief introduction (vv. 1-3) these verses make up the salutation of the letter and a description of the first vision.

Old Testament Allusions
V. 4.  “who is and who was and who is to come”:  Exod. 3:14; Rev. 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 16:5.

V. 4.  “seven spirits”:  Isaiah 11:2-3 (a messianic reference).

V. 5.  “first-born” and “ruler of the kings on earth”: Psalm 89:27 (a Davidic allusion).

V. 5.  “witness”:  Isaiah 55:4 (a Davidic allusion).

V. 6.  “kingdom, priests”:  Exod. 19:6 (cf. 1 Peter 2:9).

V. 7.  “coming with the clouds”:  Dan 7:13 (used of one like “a son of man).

V. 7.  “will see … pierced … wail”:  Zech 12:10-12 (used of Davidic family and the people of Jerusalem).

V. 7.  “all the tribes of the earth”:  Gen. 12:3 (the mission given to Abraham and Sarah).

V. 8.  eigō eimi = “I AM”: Exod. 3:14; Isa. 42:6, 8; 43:1, 3, 10, 11, 13, 15, 2, etc;

V. 8.  “the Almighty”:  Amos 3:13 and often (used for Yahweh starting at Gen. 17:1); Rev. 4:8; 16:7.


John 18:33-37
While the Jewish authorities lead Pilate to believe Jesus has claimed to be a king, Jesus admits only to kingship/kingdom, identifying his domain as out of this world.

Following Jesus’ arrest in verse 12, the soldiers and the officers of the Jews led him first to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas the high priest.  After Caiaphas questioned him, they led him to Pilate the governor. In the praetorium (NRSV “headquarters”) they accused Jesus as an evil doer and a claimant to Caesar’s royal title. Pilate urged them to judge him by their own law, but they indicated their own law did not permit capital punishment.

V. 36. “my kingship/kingdom is not from the world”: Neither, according to John’s Gospel, is Jesus’ origin from this world (1:1-14; 3:1-2, 13). Likewise, the Reign of God in the OT is not from this world but from above. Since God is the Creator of the world, God’s reign does not originate with the world. The issue of Jesus as king continues through chapter 19 where the soldiers mock him as king (title, crown, and purple robe) while Pilate seems prophetically to write the title on the cross.

V. 36. “if my kingship/kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight:” In 6:15 Jesus withdrew from the crowds when they, inspired by his miraculous feeding, wanted to “take him by force to make him king.”

Vss. 37-38 alētheia = “truth”: The connection between “truth” and Jesus begins with the 1:14, continues in Jesus’ teaching in the temple 8:32-36, and becomes part of his identity in the I AM saying at 14:6. As in the OT, “truth” is not a philosophical principle or an ethical norm; it is as relational as knowledge, righteousness, loyalty, and fidelity.


1. Linda Theophilus - November 20, 2012

So glad this is still here. A wonderful resource. Thank you

Linda Theophilus

fostermccurley - November 20, 2012

I’m glad you find these podcasts to be useful. FYI, all of Year C will be available.

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