By Horatius Bonar
"On His head were many crowns."--Revelation 19:12.
God's great eternal purpose was to rule this world by a man--not directly by Himself, but mediately by a man, such as he whose creation is recorded in Genesis; not by an angel or mere spiritual creature, but by a being of flesh and blood. Earth's government was to be in and by humanity. 'To the angels has he not put in subjection the world to come' (Hebrews 2:5).
The first intimation of this is in Genesis, in the history of man's creation--'God blessed him and said, Have dominion.' This is a man's investiture with regal power; this is earth's magna carta; this is God's constitution for our world; a monarchy, not a republic, nor an oligarchy; the crown is put upon man's head and the scepter into his hand by God Himself.
Man sinned away his dominion--the crown fell from his head, the scepter from his hand. Yet still, ages after, God speaks of dominion as his. The question is asked, 'What is man, that You are mindful of him?' no, puts into our lips a new acknowledgment of the original title, 'you have put all things under his feet' (Psalm 8:6). Therefore it is that the redeemed sing, 'We shall reign on the earth' (Revelation 5:10).
But the scepter was not to pass from the hands of humanity. God's purpose must stand. In its first unfolding it seemed to break down; but it cannot fail. One in our very flesh, a true son of Adam, has the crown secured to Him. Messiah, the Word made flesh, is earth's King--the last Adam, the Lord from heaven. Man and man's earth are not to be disjoined.
But before Messiah reigns, there are to be ages of misrule and evil, rebellion and treason against the righteous King; for now 'we see not yet all things put under Him.' God puts man on trial to see if he can rule the earth--to see if he will rule it according to the holy principles of its original constitution. In every region of earth this has been tried; and man's total incapacity for righteous government has been proved, as well as earth' persistent refusal to submit to righteous rule. Earth is at this day no nearer order, and peace, and holiness, than at first.
Yet God has enunciated the true principles of government to man. He did it briefly at first; He did it more fully afterwards, when He chose a land for the special scene of His dominion, and a people in whom the divine principles of government might be exhibited. He has done it most fully of all in His revelations of the future of man and man's earth. All prophecy, more or less directly, points to this. Isaiah's predictions of latter-day glory contain in them not only the germs of such principles of government, but their full and frequent exposition. God has told us how He wishes His world to be ruled. 'He who rules over men must be just;' judges and rulers should be fearers of God, seeking to do His will and glorify His name. The crown and scepter are to represent holiness and righteousness, as well as power. The throne is to be established in judgment and justice. The legislation is to be religious; interwoven in all its acts with God and His laws. The king rules for God, and in the name of God; all that he says and does, are to remind his subjects of Him by whom kings reign.
Thus all God's history of the past, and His revelation of the future, declare the principles on which He desires His earth to be governed; the true theory of earthly rule and legislation. He who dissevers God from government, or would exercise dominion without religion, is setting aside what God has taken such pains to affirm. Divine politics are heavenly in their nature; and it is by these politics that our world is to be swayed.
All that is good, and holy, and just, is concentrated in the person of Messiah. He is the Just One. His scepter is a scepter of righteousness; the center of His dominion is the new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.
Messiah then is the representative of Adam--yet also of God. To Messiah, when all else have failed, is committed the government of earth. He, the true Adam, with His true Eve, the Church is set by God on the throne, when the four great monarchies that have tyrannized over earth and trodden down the saints shall have been broken in pieces, and made like the chaff of the summer thrashing-floor. God casts down the thrones of earth; sets up the true throne, and places His Son upon it, King of kings and Lord of Lords. 'On His head are many crowns.'
I. The crown of HEAVEN is on His head. 'We see Jesus crowned with glory and honor' at the Father's right hand. Heaven is His dominion. He sits upon its throne.
II. The crown of EARTH is on His head. Not yet, not yet--but soon! All the present crowns of earth shall pass away, He shall take to Himself His great power and reign. He shall yet wear the crown, and exercise dominion here, when all things are made new; 'come forth, O you daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon with the crown with which his mother crowned him'.
III. The crown of PRINCIPALITIES and POWERS is on His head. He is the Head of these. I do not mean merely that the powers of hell are put under His feet--but the powers of heaven. He is the King of angels.
IV. The crown of the CHURCH is on His head. He is King of saints. He is at once the Husband and the King of the Church. 'He is your Lord, worship Him.' The saints sit with Him on His throne; yet they fall down before Him.
Thus Christ is all and in all. Earth was made for Him as well as heaven. Men were made for Him as well as angels. Might and dominion are His here below; and he shall yet take the scepter and show what holy government is; what holy legislation is; what holy judgment is; what holy politics are; what a holy king is. Earth waits for His arrival. Men rebel against His government. They would cast out the heir. They would not have Him to rule over them. Yet God shall set His Son upon His holy hill of Zion!