Q&A: God as King

God as King

In what senses can we say that God is a king?

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Answer

The Bible often speaks of God as king, and we know what a human king is like, and the Bible speaks of God, then, as a king who rules. A good example of this occurs in Exodus chapter 15. This is the Song of Moses. To get the setting, God has just delivered Israel out of Egypt. They were slaves under Pharaoh and he has set them free from Egypt, and Moses sings this song dedicated to Yahweh, that because "Yahweh has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea." And then at the end of the song, verse 18, it says Yahweh will rule, will reign, forever and ever. So the idea is that Yahweh has established that he is in charge, not Pharaoh, that he is the king, not Pharaoh, that Yahweh is ruling over the nations and over what happens and especially over his people Israel, not Pharaoh. And so, Yahweh kind of asserts himself and asserts his rule. I this case his rule is good news. It means salvation from bondage in Egypt. So, the rule of God in the Bible doesn't just mean that he's in charge, but very often it means that he rules to the benefit of his people, as opposed to some evil oppressor being in charge and ruling, so that Yahweh has won the victory and shown himself to be the king.

Answer by Rev. Dr. Paul R. Raabe

Rev. Dr. Paul R. Raabe is Professor Emeritus at Concordia Seminary.