Rulers under God
Posted: April 30, 2018
Princess Leonor is only twelve. But as a member of a royal family she is in line to become the Queen of Spain. Even so, she will not be a monarch with power like queens of old. Monarchy means “rule by one.” A long time ago, a king or queen could indeed have absolute power. And that power stayed in the family. It was hereditary—passed down from generation to generation. Japan’s royal family is an example. It goes back further than any other. It dates to 660 B.C.
If Leonor does become Queen of Spain, the crown may be placed on her head. It is one example of regalia—objects that are symbols of the monarchy. Monarchies are rich with regalia, including robes, thrones, footstools, bracelets, chains, gloves, cups, anointing oils, and more. And then there are the long, elaborate ceremonies and rituals of royal events and coronations.
Maybe you start to think, “What a lot of fuss!” Not so fast! The Bible is filled with talk of royalty. And even though they don't have much real power, we can be thankful that there are still kings and queens. Their royalty helps us think about God’s greater majesty and splendor. And we are reminded of what Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)
Examples of regalia:
- Scepter: A rod or shepherd’s staff is one of the oldest symbols of leadership. Think about how a shepherd might use his staff. A monarch’s scepter is a symbol of authority and good governing. During a coronation ceremony a church official might instruct the king or queen to lead and protect the people with mercy and justice.
- Crown: The crown of Spain is topped with a cross. It shows that the king or queen receives the authority to rule from God. And even the ruling monarch is under the ruling King Jesus.
- Signet: An engraved ring is not just fancy jewelry. Pressed into ink or wax, its mark shows that something has the approval of the ruler. As far back as King Tut, rulers have had official stamps. “Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his hand and put it on Joseph's hand.” (Genesis 41:42)
- Orb: England’s crown jewels include the orb, representing Earth. Like the crown, it is topped with a cross. During a coronation in England, a church official says, “Receive this orb set under the cross, and remember that the whole world is subject to the power and empire of Christ our redeemer.”
- Sword: In Romans 13 we are told that it is God who gives a ruler authority and the right to use might to enforce the rule of the monarchy.