#13 Philadelphia Part 2: The Sovereignty of God
Last Sunday we were brought into the heavenlies with the prophet Isaiah and there as we saw the Lord, high and lifted up and exalted, we heard the song of the angels who proclaimed the glory of God saying Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty …We heard from His own lips that He is true: that what He says comes to pass. He is the God who cannot lie! This too is reason to rejoice for we know that what our God says is the truth and when He makes a decree it will happen. No power in heaven or on earth can hold Him back or nullify His glorious truth!
Now the next thing that Jesus says is that He is the One who has the key of David. What exactly does that mean? We know that the Mormons speak of having the keys of the kingdom. Other cults speak of having “keys” of some sort or another. Each of these false religions claims to have the answer, to be the true faith. They claim to be the only way to God. In other words, if you want to get to heaven you must go through Joseph Smith or Charles Tazz Russell, or Mary Baker Eddy, or George Fox, and the list goes on and on. Each of these men claimed to have a direct line to God, exclusive access into the Kingdom which usually took on the characteristics of what these men wanted.
So what is this key of David? Remember that it is our Holy God who has declared that HE has this key! This key speaks of Jesus Christ’s exclusive right to admit or exclude from the heavenly kingdom. Remember that He said very clearly that He was the way to God, the truth about god and the only real life that is found in God. And He said, “No one comes to the Father but through Me!” The difference between Jesus and all of these other people is that He actually is God. The scriptures are quite plain on this subject. He is the only begotten God. From all eternity He has been with God and is God. The Father Himself speaks of Jesus in (Heb 1:8) saying, But of the Son He Says, “YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM.” In John’s gospel we read: (18) No one has seen God at any time;
That nullifies these so called prophets. Their declarations are a lie. It is Jesus Christ alone the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. Their knowledge is a lie. Consider that in Mormonism men are said to become gods and have their own planets and a whole lot of spirit wives. Now what do you suppose the motivation is here? This doctrine comes from the vain imaginations of sinful men. They, like all cults, dream up falsehoods to appeal to the flesh and thus make men follow them. It’s a sex cult where your every fleshly desire will be gratified. These men speak from a mind set on the flesh, a mind that is hostile toward the things of the spirit of God. And yet they claim to know the mind of God, to have a direct line to the Throne! But their doctrine reveals their hearts.
But, while these cult leaders speak of special revelations from God, Jesus is God! While they claim to be prophets: in Him all the fullness of Deity dwelt in bodily form. While they claim to have special insight into the scriptures, Jesus wrote the scriptures. While they claim to have special powers (they love to tell stories of their signs and wonders: none of which can be substantiated) Jesus actually demonstrated the power of god before witnesses and even His enemies couldn’t deny His miracles! It is not before Buddha or Mohammed or Hare Krishna or Joseph Smith or any mere men that you will stand. It is before Jesus Christ alone that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess. Even His enemies will bow down and proclaim Him Lord! You know, all these men whom I have mentioned, they know the truth now. When they stepped out of this life they were ushered before the throne of God. There they were judged for their sins and there they saw that all of their wicked ambitions had gotten them, not heaven, not godhood, not another chance to go back and make it right. No, they saw that the wages of sin is death. They got hell! They had built their houses on sand and all that they even thought that they had was swept away. Men like Benny Hinn and Rodney Howard Brown seek to lead men astray after their false doctrine. They boast of exploits but cannot prove their “miracles”. Hinn has been investigated and his ‘miracles’ are wanting. Look into the man’s heart and you will see what he is really after. He stated before men that he doesn’t care for streets of gold and riches in heaven. HE WANTS IT NOW!
The audacity, the pride of the heart of Mr. Brown is disgusting. He claims to have given God and ultimatum. “Either you come down here and touch me or I’m coming up there to touch you”! He calls himself the “Holy Ghost bartender” and claims to get men drunk in the spirit. The accounts of those who follow him are horrendous. But in them you see people “whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.” (Php 3:19) Unlike sinful man, Jesus Christ is God. He speaks the mind of God, the truth of God. He has no interest in the flesh. Indeed the flesh is anathema, a cursed thing to Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God. When He came to earth His sole purpose was to bring glory and honor to His Heavenly Father. When He spoke, men heard the voice of God. When they looked upon Him they were seeing God.
And when He arose He was seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. He arose in a demonstration of great power and glory revealing that He holds the keys of life and death. (John 10:17-18) “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My Own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” Behold the power and majesty of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. He holds the Key of David. And what this means is that Christ as the Messiah, as God the Son, has exclusive power in heaven, on earth, and in Hades. Before He ascended into heaven He stated this fact loud and clear when He spoke to His disciples in (Matt 28:18) ‘And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority (not some authority, not most authority, not 99.99% of the authority but ALL AUTHORITY. The KJV renders this word Power. And He says that all of it) has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Nothing good or evil occurs on this planet or in this universe, either in the physical or spiritual realm apart from Jesus Christ. The writer of Hebrews speaks of our exalted, almighty Lord and Savior Jesus Christ upholding all things by the word of His power. He is the ultimate authority, the ultimate power. No man can lift a finger without His will. No nation rises up to power, no king exalts himself but Jesus Christ decreed it from the beginning. A sparrow does not fall to the ground except according to His will. There’s not a storm that arises, a war that takes place, nothing occurs except according to His will and all things accomplish His glory! The LORD has made EVERYTHING for its own purpose, EVEN THE WICKED FOR THE DAY OF EVIL. (PR. 16:4)
Isaiah in that wonderful, glorious chapter (Isa 40:14-17) declares the glorious sovereignty of our great God saying, “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are regarded as a speck of dust on the scales; behold, He lifts up the islands like fine dust. 16 Even Lebanon is not enough to burn, nor its beasts enough for a burnt offering. 17 All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless. And then in verse (21) He speaks to ignorant man saying “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, (it is He) Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. 23 He it is who reduces rulers to nothing, He is the One Who makes the judges of the earth meaningless. 24 Scarcely have they been planted, scarcely have they been sown, scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth, but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble. This lends an amplified understanding to what happened to king Nebuchadnezzar. He found out what the Sovereignty of God really means and declared as much. Remember who Nebuchadnezzar was. He was king of the known world at the time. In Chapter 2 of Daniel God gave Nebuchadnezzar a vision to show him who was really in control of things. He showed him an image with a head of gold and said in verse (37) “You, O king, are the king of kings, but you didn’t achieve this glory on your own, by your own strength or ingenuity. The reason you are where you are is that you have been blessed from above. You are one “to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; 38 and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.
So you see that Neb was a very blessed individual. God had set him up as a ‘king of kings’. But there was a problem. This problem is common to man. This problem is called pride. Neb was a very arrogant man. And his arrogance and pride had led him into a very dangerous place. We know from (Pr 16:18) that Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling. He who exalts himself will be humbled. But we also see how merciful God is in dealing with this sinful man. He demonstrates that He is longsuffering toward sinful men. And the reason? Paul states it in (Ro 2:4) Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?
God is patient, longsuffering with the wicked men. Instead of just squashing them He gives them time to repent. He didn’t just wipe out the world of Noah! He gave them 120 years to repent. He gave them Noah who preached righteousness to them. He warned them before hand. Here we see that God warned King Nebuchadnezzar beforehand that trouble was abrewin’ in paradise because of his arrogance and pride.
He was given a dream to warn him and to call him to repentance.
When he told Daniel the dream, that prophet was stunned. See his reaction in (Dan 4:19) “Then Daniel, whose name is Beltshazzar, was appalled for a while as his thoughts alarmed him. The truth of the matter is that Daniel was frightened for Nebuchadnezzar. He saw the danger that was coming. He saw the judgement that was coming unless the king repented. The king responded and said Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation alarm you.’ He had no idea what was awaiting him. Belteshazzar (Daniel, did his best to show the king the gravity of the situation as he) replied, ‘My lord, if only the dream applied to those who hate you and its interpretation to your adversaries! What you saw is a horrible judgment that is waiting to swallow you up. You must take care to curb your prideful ways.
Listen to Daniel’s warning in verse 27 ‘Therefore, O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity.’ And how did the king receive this advice? He probably patted Daniel on the head and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll be good.” Famous last words! It only took 12 months for him to forget what Daniel had said. In the very next scene we see Nebuchadnezzar strutting around the roof of his palace exalting himself.
Notice what he says, “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” And just like that God pulled the plug. Nebuchadnezzar had been warned and had failed to heed the warning. He had forgotten or chosen to ignore the advice of Daniel. He was puffed up with pride and arrogance and exalted himself before the Almighty instead of bowing before God in gratitude for His grace. Judgment was swift. 31 “While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you, 32 and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field. You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.’ MOOOOOOOOO! 33 “Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
Just like that Neb learned that it is God who exalts kings and brings them down. He learned the truth: that everything in all of creation is in the hand of god; that they are His subjects, the work of His hands. But he was also given great grace in that his judgment was not final. After he had been punished for his sin he was brought back into his right mind again and instead of shouting, get my cup and my robe and my royal chariot, he bowed before the God of Heaven and declared that “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” (Dan 4:35)
All authority belongs to Jesus Christ. He holds the keys of David, and directs all things by the word of His power. He who exalts himself will be abased, that is brought low, down in to the dust. Some will be brought to recognize that God is the ruler in the affairs of men and exalts whom He wishes. And Some, like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram are taken out of this world suddenly. All this is according to the will of Him Who sits upon the Throne of Heaven, the train of whose robe fills the heavenly sanctuary. And in His temple everything says, GLORY! All authority has been given to Jesus Christ the One who holds the keys of life and death, heaven and hell. He opens and no one can shut and shuts and no one can open!
Now think with me for a moment of something that we can relate to. We have keys to our houses and cars right? When we leave the house we use our keys to lock the door. Then we go to our cars and unlock them. Now if you don’t have a key you can’t get in. The doors are locked and unless you break in (you thief you) you are helpless. The car door won’t open by itself. You can’t turn the car on without a key. You can’t think it on. You can’t think the doors open. You can’t get in without a key. So you see that the one with the key has power. He has power to open doors and lock them up. I’m speaking on a purely physical level.
Now consider Jesus Christ. He describes Himself as the One who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens, He alone has the key to open and shut! As the key holder He has power to open, to unlock and to shut, to lock up tight, to admit and exclude according to His own will. What we see here is nothing more or less than the sovereignty, the absolute Lordship of God on display. It is interesting how words can become so commonplace that we no longer get excited about them. I’m sure that the first time we heard the term, “The Sovereignty of GOD” we were awestruck by the images that were conjured up within our hearts and minds. And it is well that we should be awestruck, overwhelmed and quite literally devastated by such imagery!
We saw the power of god displayed in the life of Nebuchadnezzar and what we saw there was awesome indeed. He demonstrated to all that He rules His creation and that with devastating effect. Consider a few other instances from the Bible which illustrate the Sovereignty of God the Master Key Holder.
1. The days of Noah
2. The Tower of Babel: mankind will do as God directs and not the other way around.
3. Pharaoh: I raised you up to show my glory in you
4. The Long Day of Joshua
5. Instances with the Philistines, the Moabites, Midianites, and other various Ites
6. Daniel in the lions den
7. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego
8. The life of Christ
9. The Church
10. Our lives
God is the absolute Monarch, the undisputed ruler of His creation. Everyone and everything is subject to His rule and command. From Angels, to demons, from the greatest to the smallest of mankind, from the largest whale to the smallest atom, from the highest heaven to the lowest earth, from the throne of Paradise to the depths of hell, God is the true Commander In Chief! If you are in Christ today it is because He has turned His Holy Key and opened the door to let you in. And whatever your state may be, whatever blessings you have received, boast not in those things. There is no place for boasting except in the Lord. Instead of letting your flesh arise in boasting, bow before our great God and Savior Jesus Christ and humbly thank Him that according to His will He has saved you from your sins. Praise the God of Heaven for drawing you to His Son, for making you willing in the day of His power. Rejoice in the spirit of thanksgiving that your names have been written in the book of life of the Lamb. Rejoice that you have been granted the gracious privilege of knowing God. Praise Him who admitted you into His family. Thank Him for opening the door and letting you in.
Rev. 5:13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”