Birth of the King


by R. J. Rushdoony

Synopsis: When we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we thus celebrate the birth of one who is ordained to right every wrong, overthrow every enemy, and enforce justice. Christ is King, hailed King from His very birth.

The birth of a king has lost most of its meaning in our day, because the few kings remaining are mainly figureheads. In earlier days, it was, however, a momentous event. Whenever a son was born to a king, the entire kingdom celebrated with a joy our holidays today do not have.

Why was the birth of a king’s son so great an event to the poorest man of the realm, and so great a cause for rejoicing? It meant, very simply, that a protector and defender was born, someone who in the days ahead would provide the leadership, unifying force, and strength to repel all enemies, suppress criminals within the realm, and enforce justice. A kingdom without an heir to the throne had an uncertain future. Men being sinners, the kingdom would face internal and external troubles if no king reigned to enforce justice. The succession being uncertain, the kingdom would risk civil war.

The term “enforce justice” tells us much. Man is a sinner, and he is by nature lawless unless he is regenerated by Jesus Christ. Justice thus must be “enforced,” that is, put into operation by force, because otherwise lawlessness and injustice will prevail. If there is no forceful enactment of justice, there is no justice. This is the grim fact people once knew and are now forgetting.

This tells us too what the Scripture means when it speaks of Christ as King, hailed King from His very birth. The Gospel of Matthew gives us His royal genealogy in its first chapter. Revelation 17:14 tells us that He is the universal King, “for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings.”

When we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, we thus celebrate the birth of one who is ordained to right every wrong, overthrow every enemy, and enforce justice. He will put down all enemies before time is ended, and He will reign eternally over His people. The news of His birth, and its celebration, is indeed “joy to the world,” because the Lord is come who shall in the fullness of time enforce justice truly and absolutely.

His promise is peace, not the peace of death and the graveyard, but the peace of justice and prosperity. The Virgin Mary rejoiced, declaring of the justice God and her son would finally establish: “He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away” (Luke 1:51–53).

If we believe in Christ, we shall rejoice, and we shall be confident, come what may. We have a King!

From A Word in Season Volume 2
Originally published in the California Farmer 235:9 (Dec. 11, 1971), p. 24.
© 2011. Used by Permission of Chalcedon Foundation.

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