How is Jesus King of kings and Lord of lords?A look at the biblical passages that speak of Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords offers much insight regarding the meaning of these phrases. The phrase "King of kings" is used six times, including three times in relation to Jesus. In 1 Timothy 6:15-16, we read, "he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see." Here Jesus is called King of kings along with other titles to show His unique and perfect role as God. He is noted clearly as divine and of greater power than any other ruler.
In Revelation 17:14 we read, "They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful." Again, the title Lord of lords is used to emphasize the power and authority of Jesus. The same emphasis is seen in the other usage in Revelation 19:16.
What about the phrase "Lord of lords"? In the Old Testament, this phrase was twice used to refer to God. In Deuteronomy 10:17 we read, "For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God." The emphasis is on the power and might of the Lord. No other compares to Him.
In Psalm 136:3 we find, "Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever." Again, the emphasis on a perfect Lord is seen, here including the aspect of faithful love that endures for all time.
In the New Testament, all three times "Lord of lords" is mentioned are alongside the phrase "King of kings" (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14; 19:16). Why? First, it serves as a poetic parallel in each passage. Second, however, is the interesting connection between the Lord God of the Old Testament as God of gods and Jesus Christ as God in the New Testament. While often unnoticed by today's readers, early Jewish readers would have understood that calling Jesus the God of gods was an affirmation of His deity.
In summary, it is clear that the use of King of kings and Lord of lords in connection with Jesus highlights His supreme power, rule, and authority. No one compares with His strength or ability to lead. In fact, Scripture declares there is only one God (Deuteronomy 6:4). The New Testament affirmation that Jesus is God includes Him as part of the Triune Godhead consisting of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
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