The Scepter Of The Lord
A scepter is an object unknown to most of us in the United States. A scepter is an object used by the monarch of a country. The Holman Bible Dictionary defines “scepter” as: “The official staff or baton of a king, symbolic of his authority .... ” The term “scepter” is used several times in the Bible. We will use this article to focus on how the term “scepter” applies to the Lord.
In the Old Testament, we see the term “scepter” used for the first time in Genesis 49:10. In preparation for his death, Jacob assembles his twelve sons together and conveys blessings upon them. As he comes to Judah, he says: “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and to him shall the gathering of the peoples be.” Here, we find the promise of Christ’s coming (Shiloh) through the physical lineage of Judah (Matt. 1:2-3; Lk. 3:33; Heb. 7:14). Looking further, we read, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness” (Ps. 45:6). In other words, this ruling One is righteous in His judgments, and not a wicked king by any means.
One passage that ought to jump out at us after reading Psalm 45:6 is Hebrews 1:8. “But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is a scepter of your kingdom.’” Therefore, the statement of David had reference to Christ and His righteous rule!
Paul wrote to Timothy and said that Christ is, “... the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (I Tim. 6:14-15). When writing the book of Revelation, John said, “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings ...” (Rev. 17:14, 19:16). Yes, Christ rules today, and will do so “till he has put all enemies under his feet...” (I Cor. 15:25, 28).
The Lord reigns over us right now, ruling with a scepter of righteousness or uprightness. Therefore, our responsibility is to submit willingly to the Lord, our King. What Christ tells us to do, we must do (Col. 3:17)!
Our King tells us to believe on Him or die in our sins (Jn. 8:24). Christ tells us to repent or perish (Lk. 13:3). Our King commands men to confess Him or be denied in the presence of the Father (Matt. 10:32-33). Jesus also has decreed that one must be baptized in order to be saved or we will be lost (Mk. 16:16). Our responsibility is to submit to His plan, not fight against it!
Similarly, all of the New Testament stands as our instructions for living in this life (II Tim. 3:16-17). We are expected to do all things according to the authority of our King (Col. 3:17). Will we rebel, or will we gladly obey? That is the question! Christ is our King; are we living for Him (Lk. 6:46)? Think about it!!
Spotlight On A Bible Verse: Ephesians 1:22-23
“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” These two verses remind us of the supremacy of Christ. He is head over all things (Matt. 28:18; Col. 1:18). God gave Christ this position, and we need to respect it (Eph. 1:20-21). At the same time, we see how the body (church) is the “fullness of him that filleth all in all.” This speaks of a special relationship wherein Christ is in us, but we also are in Him (Jn. 6:56, 15:4-7, 17:21; I Jn. 3:24; etc.)! This relationship is possible for those who are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:27). No one can say that the church has little or no importance! Some want to tell us to emphasize Christ and not the church. How can we do this in light of passages like Ephesians 1:22-23? Christ stands supreme as the head over His church, and at the same time, the church is His body! We can be a part of it and enjoy the fellowship in Christ today when we submit to His plan of salvation (Acts 2:38, 47)!
– Jarrod Jacobs
The Extent Of God’s Authority
When we consider God’s authority, many will pay lip-service to it, but few seem to realize just how far God’s authority extends. We live in a time when men wish to have some authority “for themselves.” They want to be able to “call the shots” and run their own lives. This is just not possible. The sooner we recognize the extent of God’s authority over us, the better off we will be. What is the extent of God’s authority over man?
1) He directs us - Jeremiah 10:23 says, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.” If it is not in man to direct his steps, who will direct him? The Lord God!
2) He has told us how to worship Him - John 4:24 states, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” Therefore, our worship is not a “do as you please” kind of thing. Nor is our worship geared toward what makes people feel good, but what pleases God!
Our worship to God consists of singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); prayers, teaching, partaking of the Lord’s Supper, and giving of our means (Acts 2:42, 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2). Why? Because this is what God has told us to do!
3) He has told us to be morally pure - I Timothy 5:22 reveals, “keep yourself free from sin.” Ephesians 4:25-5:4 list several things we need to avoid because they are sinful practices. Among these sins are: lying, sinning in anger, stealing, gossiping, acting like the world, telling “dirty” jokes, cursing, etc. These ought not be a part of our lives. Why? It is because God rules. He has the authority over us and expects us to be better than that!
4) Whatever we do and say must have sanction from God - Colossians 3:17 reminds us, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
In truth, when we study these passages of Scripture, we find that there is NO part of our lives over which God does not have authority. God rules completely, and it is high time we respected this. God “sees in secret” (Matt. 6:4, 6, 18). He knows our thoughts, words, and deeds. And, He will judge our thoughts, words, and deeds one day by His Son (Jn. 5:22, 27; II Cor. 5:10). Therefore, why fight against God? Let us surrender our lives and wills to the Almighty! Let us determine that we will submit to God’s rule. If not, there will be a day in which we will kneel, and confess, and acknowledge God’s power over the universe, but then it will be too late (Rom. 14:11-12; Phil. 2:10-11; II Cor. 5:10). Don’t wait until it is too late! Live a worthwhile and fulfilled life by submitting wholeheartedly to the authority of God!
…According To All The Lord Commanded”
God has always required obedience from His people. To prove this, let us read three passages in the Old Testament that teach us about obedience. “Thus all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting was finished, and the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses; so they did” (Ex. 39:32). In the book of Numbers, we read, “Thus did the people of Israel; they did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses” (Num. 1:54). After dividing into 4 segments and camping around the tabernacle, Numbers 2:34 says, “Thus did the people of Israel. According to all that the LORD commanded Moses....” These three passages set the tone for our study. It is important that we understand their obedience because God demands no less of us today. Let us study three things that are required in order to live “according to all that the Lord commanded.”
First of all, please note that the people took action! In these three passages we cited, this is made very clear. If we ever plan on pleasing God, we must be active in His work! We will never please God without action. Only a fool would think that God does not want us to be active in His work. I do not say this lightly, for Jesus taught that action was the difference between the wise and the foolish in Matthew 7:24-27 (also Lk. 6:46-49). James also made a distinction between the hearer and the doer. The hearer deceived himself, while the doer was “blessed in his deed” (Jas. 1:22-25). Paul said, “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12). We do this by obeying “all that the Lord commanded.”
The next thing that we note is that these people did, “according to all the Lord commanded....” In other words, they obeyed the right source of authority – “the Lord”! God demands no less of us today. He commands us to “speak as the oracles of God” (I Pet. 4:11). Paul tells us, “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17). This means that everything we do must be done by His authority! When we obey the truth in these two passages, we will have learned a lesson that most of the world has not! Let us never go by what “seems” right (Prov. 14:12; Jer. 10:23). Let us always ask, “What saith the Scripture?” and then follow it (Rom. 4:3). This is what pleases God!
Finally, we see that these people obeyed completely! They left nothing out. In Exodus and Numbers, we see that the people did “all” God told them! Today, God demands our complete obedience as well. Jesus said only those who “do” the will of the Father will go to Heaven (Matt. 7:21; Rev. 22:14). He also promised eternal life to those who are obedient in John 8:51. In truth, one cannot be the friend of Christ without obedience (Jn. 14:15). As we continue to study, we see that Hebrews 11 lists those faith heroes who were obedient to God. Do we see the necessity of obedience, then? The apostle John teaches that fellowship with God will not come unless we are “abiding” in Christ’s doctrine (II Jn. 9). Therefore, let us remember that we must obey God’s word completely in order to have a home in Heaven!
Christ Reigns Over Man Today
Our Lord Jesus Christ rules over us today. This is a fact that is lost on much of the world. After His resurrection and ascension, Christ sat down at the right hand of God to rule and reign over us. Daniel saw this day in his vision recorded in Daniel 7:13-14. The fulfillment of Daniel’s vision is seen in Acts 1:9-11 when Christ “came to” God and sat down at His right hand. Paul said that Christ is reigning now, and “must reign til he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Cor. 15:25-26). Since death has not been destroyed, we know Christ is reigning today.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul discusses Christ’s resurrection and ascension and says, “Which he (God) wrought in Christ, when he (God) raised him (Christ) from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that fills all in all” (Eph. 1:20-23). Friends, Christ reigns over us today. We may not want to think about it, some may even deny it, but when all is said and done, Christ reigns today! God told His Son, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom” (Heb. 1:8). Based on the truth that Christ reigns over us today, what does this mean to us?
1) It means man has no authority over himself. Jesus pronounced that He had all authority. “Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). If Christ has all authority in Heaven and earth, then how much does that leave for anyone else? Friend, let us be submissive to our King!
2) It means that man has no legislative power. Some take upon themselves the job of lawmaker. You see this in those who hear Christ’s words and declare, “I know the Bible says that but....” Sometimes people will hear the word of God read plainly and state, “That is your opinion.” If you or I are guilty of this, then we are trying to be the lawmaker! Friends, that job has already been taken! Christ is the lawmaker today (Jas. 4:12). His law is found in the New Testament, and will not change. It is high time we accepted it and obeyed rather than fighting against it!
3) It means that we will be punished if we do not do as the King says. Paul wrote the Thessalonians and told them that on the last day, Christ would come, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and that do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thess. 1:8-9). Let us not be found in rebellion against the King. Rather, let us become citizens of His Kingdom through faith in Him (Jn. 8:24), repenting of sins (Lk. 13:3), confessing our faith in Christ (Matt. 10:32), and being baptized for the remission of sins (Mk. 16:16). What is keeping you from doing what is right? Don’t defy your King, Jesus Christ!