Understanding Worship from Ancient Absolute Monarchy

​Globally, the world has made a significant shift from the era of monarchy (kingdoms) to a democratic dispensation (countries). This has produced generations of children of democracy with a mindset that the mandate for governance belongs to them and is delegated to those they elect into office to represent them and be accountable to them. The famous quote by Abraham Lincoln explains it best, “Government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

While we enjoy the benefits of a democracy, we are now seeing a rise in a generation that does not accept or understand the absolute monarchy of God because we look at Him with our democratic mindset. I do not seek for a return to the days of absolute monarchy but I seek for us to examine the qualities of that type of government to aid our understanding of our worship of the absolute Ruler of all the earth.

The history of the world is full of examples of absolute monarchs. Top examples would include Nebuchadnezzar II (considered the greatest warrior-king and ruler in the known world), Alexander the Great, King Ramses II (considered the greatest, most celebrated and most powerful Pharaoh of the Egyptian Empire), King David and his son, King Solomon. While Kim Jong-un of North Korea may not be considered a monarch, he is third in a dynasty of absolute rulers and a modern day living example for us.

What are the qualities of these monarchs?

Kingdom: They had an area they reined supreme and that included kingdoms far and near which became tributaries. The absolute monarch owned the land, the properties and even the people. He was the kingdom and the kingdom was him.

Sovereign & Absolute: They exercised supreme, unquestionable authority and power over the kingdom without recourse to or consultation with any. They owned all powers, received total allegiance from their subjects, and their word was law and unchangeable. Their subjects saw them as superior to all mortals.

Birthright: They were never voted into power and could not be voted out of power. It was not a democracy but a government of the king, by the king and for the king.

Revered: Some were considered divine or semi-divine. Their name was revered and carried supreme, absolute authority. It was common to hear titles that communicated how the people revered them. Titles such as ‘The Great’, ‘The Magnificient’, ‘Conqueror’, ‘The Able’, ‘The Absolutist’, ‘The Lion’, ‘The Terrible’, ‘The Wise’, etc.

Presence: It was considered a huge privilege to be part of the monarch’s court and as such, the people longed for this privilege. It was common to find his friends, appointees and advisers come to spend the whole day there to enjoy his presence and wisdom. No one (family, friend or citizen) approached their presence without observing the strict palace protocol.

Glory: The absolute monarchs had magnificent palaces, thrones, throne rooms, crowns and sceptres displaying the glory that was theirs alone. Cities were named after the king with some names still in existence till date thousands of years after. At the height of their reign, no other king or kingdom had the glory compared to theirs. In 2 Chronicles 9, we see the great glory of King Solomon that even overwhelmed a fellow absolute monarch, the Queen of Sheba.

Let us look at the same qualities of the ultimate, absolute Ruler, our Lord Jesus Christ:

Kingdom: Unlike earthly kings with geographical limits, the kingdom of our Lord covers all the heavens, the earth and beneath the earth. He wasn’t crown by men and can’t be dethroned by men. He reigns forever. (Matthew 6:10, Isaiah 9:7, Luke 1:33, Revelation 11:15)

Sovereign & Absolute: Jesus Christ is the Sovereign Lord, the true definition of supreme authority and power over all kingdoms and people. Unlike any other king, He has supreme ownership, authority, control, and power over all that has happened, is happening, and will happen in the future, in all times across all history. Revelation 1:8 states, ‘”I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”’  He alone is all-powerful (Omnipotent), all-knowing (Omniscient) and all-present (Omnipresent). Earthly kings are only absolute until a greater kingdom led by a more powerful king comes around.

Birthright: Unlike earthly absolute monarchs, our Lord Jesus Christ had no predecessor or successor because the world was created through Him and for Him (John 1:3). The kingdom is His birthright as its Creator and His alone.

Revered: If some absolute monarchs were considered divine or semi-divine, our Lord Jesus Christ is fully divine because He is God. (John 1:1,18). He has a name that above every other name and it is this most powerful name that causes all to bow before Him (Phil 2:9-11). Some of His many titles include ‘King of all kings and Lord of all lords’ (Rev 19:16), ‘Almighty One’ (Rev 1:8), ‘I Am’ (John 8:58), ‘Mighty God’ (Is 9:6), ‘King of the nations’ (Rev 15:3), etc. These titles say it all. He is revered above all else.

Presence: Revelation 4:2-11 gives some description of the glorious and awesome appearance of our King and His throne but it also talks about the living beings and twenty-four elders in His presence who offer up constant worship forever. The presence of our holy King is glorious, and those in His presence are holy, everlasting beings. Through His work on the cross, He invites us to partake of His glorious presence in worship. No absolute monarch has had such a glorious, holy and everlasting presence.

Glory: How can one begin to describe the glory our Lord Jesus Christ? Words are not sufficient because the glory goes beyond our human words. Revelation 21:23 says, “And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and its lamp is the Lamb.” No human being has a glory that relegates the sun and the moon.

In Isaiah 6:1-4, we get a little but great insight into the glory – “In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.””

Why then would we not give Him all of our body, soul and spirit in worship as commanded in Romans 12:1? Is there any other deserving? It is time to return back to the worship of our absolute, Sovereign King. This is not a democratic choice but a call to total submission to His Lordship.