KJV Rev_19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

We know that Jesus is the Christ/son of David and thus king of the Jews, or at least will be in the 1000 year reign. When is or will he be king of other kings? Is he or is he to be one king over many kingdoms with Jesus ruling over the other kings? Or is the idea that the nations are "rolled into" Israel?:

YLT Rev 11:15 And the seventh messenger did sound, and there came great voices in the heaven, saying, `The kingdoms of the world did become those of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign to the ages of the ages!'

In other words, are Revelation 19:16 and 11:15 describing a hegemony?

Closely Related:

Who are the "kings of the earth"?


4 Answers 4


The phrase 'King of Kings' derives from a kind of superlative phrase common in Hebrew and related languages. The phrase is more about its subject being a sort of archetype or supertype, rather than existing in reference to many different beings. This has been carried over into the Greek here, but is more of a semitic idea which is found in Hebrew and Assyrian cultures many centuries earlier.

In English, you could paraphrase it as "of all the kings, this is the TRUE King". The same kind of idea is found in the 'Holy of holies', 'Lord of Lords', 'God of gods' and 'Song of Songs' - that the holder of the title is a kind of archetype which stands above all other copies, the greatest or very best example of such a thing.

We still use this sort of phrase in English where you might call somebody "a man among men", for example.

So no, in Revelation 19:16 it's not related to the idea of a hegemony. And Rev 11:5 doesn't use the same sort of phrase, so there's nothing we can carry over from this phrase to that passage either.

  • What is the idea in Revelation 11:5? Do the kingdoms remain kingdoms? Does/did Jesus become king of France? Or does France cease to be and the king and subjects become subjects of Israel? What happened in Revelation 11:5 to "the kingdoms of this world"?
    – user10231
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 17:14
  • Thanks @WoundedEgo - I've got no quick answers to that one, I think we'd need another question to focus on 11:5 more exclusively.
    – Steve can help
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 9:24

This idea alludes back to the prophecies in Daniel 2 and 7, where God establishes a kingdom that will never be destroyed. This is in contrast to the other kingdoms that had been on the earth, that existed for a time and were ruled by greater and lesser kings, but were all eventually destroyed.

In Daniel 2, king Nebuchadnezzar has a dream during the night, but when he awakes he is unable to remember what it was about. No one is able to tell him what his dream was except Daniel, who describes the dream and then gives the interpretation of it:

36 “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. 37 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. 39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. -Daniel 2:36-44 (NKJV)

The final kingdom that God establishes on the earth breaks and consumes all others. The destruction of the other kingdoms is so great, that it is compared to their remains becoming like chaff and being carried away by the wind:

Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found.... -Daniel 2:35 (NKJV)

In Daniel 7, the final kingdom is again contrasted with the others as being the one that will never be destroyed, with the "Son of Man" being the one to rule the kingdom:

13 “I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed. -Daniel 7:13-14 (NKJV)

As Steve Taylor said in his answer, Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords because, since He is so much greater than any previous king and lord ever was, the title of just "King" and "Lord" is not fitting.


Revelation 5:9-10

9 They sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God and they will reign on the earth.”

Revelation 20:4

I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge and I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God and they had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a 1000 years.

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King of kings There is nothing out of the ordinary with the use of this title as applied to Jesus. It was a very common, and boastful title used by Ancient Rulers in the Mideast.

For specific example, the Persian Empire was a domain over approximately 120 "satraps" or regions. Some of these are listed in Matthew:

The land of Zebulon and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the Sea, beyond Jordon (Perea), Galilee of the Gentiles...(Matthew 4:15)

Usually a minor "king" administered them. So for the Persian Ruler to be called "The King of kings" was appropriate.

Jesus So as the exalted Lord over the Kingdom of God, Jesus is also King over all the kings of the Earth...all of them that have ever reigned!

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