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"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end" (Isaiah 9:6-7a).
 I can't seem to go very long without reading, watching, or thinking about The Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien's works are by far the best fantasy series of all time (let the debate begin!). One of the things I enjoy most about Tolkien's world is the significance of each character and weapon.

For instance, in The Hobbit, Bilbo saves his dwarf companions by killing and driving off many of the spiders who had imprisoned them. After he kills his first spider, Bilbo announces that he shall give his sword the name Sting. Immediately, the other spiders cower in fear as Sting is held high in the air; the enemy knows that Sting is meant for them next.

Or take, for instance, the characters of Theoden of Rohan, Boromir of Gondor, or Aragorn. Each of these figures inspires hope, courage, and boldness in their soldiers and countrymen, while at the same time inspiring fear, doubt, and uncertainty in their enemies.

One of the reasons Tolkien created his characters like this is because throughout history stories were created from real-life people that honored men and artifacts in this way. This is found even in the Bible in the story of David and Goliath: the Israelites are frightened at this giant from Gath, but once the Lord gives David victory over him, the Philistines flee, for their champion is dead. (This sort of thing still happens today, by the way. If you have ever played sports, you know that there are certain teams or individuals that are a little more intimidating than others because of their past victories, size, or strength.)

Yet all of these characters pale in comparison to the ultimate king, champion, and leader: Jesus Christ. The prophet says of his power and rule there will be no end. In Revelation, the angel reveals to John that Jesus will come again to the earth, not as a humble baby this time, but as a victorious king riding on a white horse, bearing a crown and a sword! And he will lead his people forever in victory!

This is especially inspiring and hopeful to me in times of despair, doubt, and unfaithfulness. Let me attempt to capture all of this briefly in an allegory: I was once an enemy of the King, a rebel and a scoffer - no, worse than that, a defiler of the King and all his ways. But the King subdued me and showed me kindness and mercy, bringing me into his army and house. Now I no longer hate him and try to hide from him; now I love him and want to follow him. I trust him and obey him. And when should I leave him? I would be foolish to ever depart from his presence when there is an angry lion prowling about looking for someone to devour, or a holy and just Judge zealous for righteousness who will destroy all who are outside of the King's banner.

But as long as I am with the King I shall not fear. I dare not trust myself or the valiant efforts of others of the King's men, for they are just like me. It is in the King alone that I trust. Yet this King, unlike Aragorn or David, will never die. He will never lose, grow weary, or die. His government only increases until the whole world is subdued in peace; in other words, his rule will increase until all of his enemies are defeated.

Who else can I trust? When I am weak, he is strong. When I falter in my marching orders, he fights for me, my great and merciful King! When I begin to wander from him, he seeks me and carries me back, re-instating me with cleansing water and nourishing food and drink. He calls me from death to life, and his voice commands my allegiance. There is healing in his touch. This is the King I serve! I am his slave, no longer a slave to my rebel leader, the devil. The King has won me and he wins for me now!

Again, there is hope and salvation found in nothing else, only Christ the King! It is not hope found in Christ the King and something else added on top of that. It is Christ alone!

When he is our King we can sing the song of Charles Wesley with gratefulness and joy:
Rejoice, the Lord is King!
Your Lord and King adore;
Rejoice, give thanks, and sing,
And triumph evermore;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice! 
Jesus, the Savior, reigns,
The God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains
He took His seat above;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice! 
His kingdom cannot fail,
He rules o’er earth and Heav’n,
The keys of death and hell
Are to our Jesus giv’n;
Lift up your heart, lift up your voice;
Rejoice, again I say, rejoice! 
Rejoice in glorious hope!
Jesus the Judge shall come,
And take His servants up
To their eternal home;
We soon shall hear th’ archangel’s voice;
The trump of God shall sound, rejoice! ("Rejoice, the Lord is King," Charles Wesley, 1744)
Do you hail him as your King?

“Suddenly Faramir stirred, and he opened his eyes, and he looked on Aragorn who bent over him; and a light of knowledge and love was kindled in his eyes, and he spoke softly. 'My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?'” (The Return of the King, J.R.R. Tolkien).