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Don Stewart :: If God Is Concerned about Humanity Then Why Is He Compared to a Ruling King and a Judge?

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If God Is Concerned about Humanity Then Why Is He Compared to a Ruling King and a Judge?

God and Us – Question 5

The Bible portrays the God of Scripture in a number of family and personal relationships. This includes such illustrations as a Father, Mother, husband, groom, and friend. These comparisons show His continued interest in us.

Scripture also portrays God as acting like an artist, soldier or warrior, and shepherd. Again, we find the care and concern of God shown through these comparisons.

These various analogies demonstrate God’s care and concern for us. However, there is one analogy of God that Scripture gives which seems to portray God as someone who is distant or aloof from His creation. It is that of a ruling monarch or king. Since this is one of the major themes of Scripture it is important that we understand the particular sense in which God is a “King.” The evidence is as follows.

God Is a King

As we study the Bible, we find that one of the most frequent analogies of the Lord is that of a ruling King. According to Scripture, the Lord is the King of the entire universe. Indeed, everything is under His rule.

This theme is found in both testaments. In the Old Testament we find that the city of Jerusalem will be the place from where the Lord eventually rules. For example, we read the following predictions in the Book of Jeremiah. It says,

At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the LORD, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. (Jeremiah 3:17 ESV)

The city of Jerusalem will be the place of God’s rule. All the nations shall go there because the Lord will have His special presence in that city. While God is certainly not limited to one particular place, the city of Jerusalem will be the place where the God sits on the throne.

The idea that the coming King will rule from the city of Jerusalem is also taught in the writings of Isaiah. It says,

In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:2-4 NIV)

Here again we find God portrayed as a ruling king over all people.

Consequently, there is no doubt that the God of the Bible is compared to an absolute Monarch or Ruler. However, this could give us the wrong impression of His character. While the God of the Bible is indeed a King, He is a King who cares about His people.

This is crucial to understand. He is not a King who issues decrees and orders apart from the concern and care of His people. In fact, His commands have our best interest in mind. Once we understand this, it removes the idea of a King merely issuing commands without any concern for His subjects. This is not how the God of the Bible is portrayed. He is a caring King!

God Is a Judge

There is another analogy of God which causes people to fear him. Indeed, another main theme of Scripture is that the God of the Bible is a “Judge.” The patriarch Abraham recognized this when he said to the Lord,

“You surely wouldn’t let them be killed when you destroy the evil ones. You are the judge of all the earth, and you do what is right.” (Genesis 18:25 CEV)

God is indeed the Judge of the entire earth but He is a righteous Judge. As Abraham emphasized He does that which is right.

The same thought is found in the New Testament. However, this time judgment is attributed to God the Son, Jesus Christ. He will one day judge both the living and the dead.

The Apostle Peter made this plain when speaking to a group of Gentiles who wanted to know the truth of the Lord. He said that God the Son, Jesus Christ, is the One who will judge the world.

God told us to announce clearly to the people that Jesus is the one he has chosen to judge the living and the dead. (Acts 10:42 CEV)

One day, God will judge the human race through Jesus Christ. His judgment will be fair.

The Great White Throne Judgment

There is also the awesome image found in the Book of Revelation of the Lord judging humanity at the Great White Throne. These words speak for themselves.

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15 NIV)

While humans like to think of God in terms of a loving Father or shepherd, we do not like to think of Him in terms of a judge. Indeed, of all the images the Bible gives us of the Lord, this is probably the least popular. However, this is part of His character. Yet again we must understand exactly the sense God is going to be a “Judge.“

He Will Condemn the Ungodly But Reward the Righteous

This judgment of the Lord has two aspects. To the unbeliever, His judgment will be one of condemnation. Indeed, as we just read, those whose names are not found written in the Book of Life will be sent away to eternal damnation in the lake of fire. God, the righteous and holy One, will sentence these people to what they deserve.

On the other hand, those who are His children will not be condemned. Instead of condemnation we have received mercy. Our “judgment day” will actually be “reward day.”

When we come face to face with the Lord we will not be condemned for our sins but rather rewarded for our service. The penalty for our sins has been taken away by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. He took the condemnation for us. Thus, believers do not fear the judgment of God because this has already taken place for us.

Therefore, we have quite the contrast when we view the Lord as the “Judge.” There is condemnation and damnation for unbelievers while we find mercy and rewards for believers.

Conclusion to the Various Images of God Found in Scripture

From the various analogies of God given in Scripture we can conclude that God is concerned with each of us. He is a God who is not aloof rather He is intimately concerned about those whom He has created. These images of the Lord should inspire confidence in Him.

Summary – Question 5
If God Is Concerned about Humanity Then Why Is He Compared to a Ruling King and a Judge?

The God of the Bible is portrayed in Scripture through a number of different analogies. While many of them testify to His desire to be personally involved in our lives, there is also the analogy of the Lord as a ruling monarch, or king. He rules over His subject.

This analogy of the Lord as a ruling King must be properly understood. The Bible says that He will rule as an absolute Monarch whose word is law. This conjures up the image of someone who is aloof and uncaring. Yet this is not the portrait of God which is found in Scripture.

Yes, the Lord is a King but He is a caring King. He is intimately concerned with His subjects. Once this is understood the analogy of the Lord being a King is not frightful.

The Bible also portrays God as a “Judge.” Again, this can present a frightful image. Indeed, in the past the portrayal of God as the Judge of humanity has been depicted in a frightful way. As we look at the biblical evidence we discover that there is some truth to this. Indeed, for the unbelievers there will come a day when the Lord will judge them. Their judgment will be one of condemnation. They will be sent away from His presence for all eternity. Eternal damnation or condemnation is their fate. Thus, in this instance, the site of God as “Judge” is something frightful.

However, it does not have to be this way for everyone. For those who have trusted Him the judgment we receive is not one of condemnation but rather one of reward. Jesus Christ has taken our punishment, our condemnation.

For the believer, “judgment day” will be “reward day.” Rather than something to be feared, it is something for which to look forward. Thus, there is the contrast between the believer and the unbeliever in the way the Lord is viewed as a “Judge.”

These illustrations of a King and a Judge are not as popular among people as the Lord being a shepherd or a Savior. Yet they are given to us in Scripture and they need to be understood and appreciated. Once understood, they should help us be grateful for who God is as well as what He has done for us.

What Is the Significance of God Being a Rescuer or Deliverer of His People? ← Prior Section
Did God Create Humanity Because He Needed Our Love? Next Section →
CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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