God as Emperor?

I know Our Lord Christ has been referred to as king but has He ever been referred to as an emperor? I’m not implying any theological undertones by this, just wondering has God ever been called Emperor as opposed to king? :thumbsup:

God bless you my friends!

What’s the difference beteween and emperor and king? I have never learned the difference.

I don’t think so.

Kingdoms and Empires have different characters.

Calling God King of the Universe implies that one nation, one people, or one religion is correct. While calling God Emperor of the Universe would imply that other religions are valid too.

Kingdoms are typically (or at least historically) mostly homogeneous. Empires are not homogeneous.

So while Christianity is universal in ethnic & geographic diversity, it’s homogeneous in religious belief. Therefore Christianity is the Kingdom of God, and not the Empire of God.

Make sense?

There really isn’t a difference between emperors and kings, but there are differences between kingdoms and empires.

A kingdom is made up (for the most part) a single nationality of people. An empire is made up of many different peoples. It’s also possible for an empire (historically) to be made up of many different kingdoms. In those instances, the Emperor would be the king that the other kings were subject to.

Look at the Roman Empire. There were still local kings. King Harod for example reported to the Emperor of Rome.

In my experience, King means the ruler of one nation, while Emperor means the ruler of a bunch of nations. Sometimes kings are under the higher rule of an emperor.

I believe the word Emperor comes from the word Imperator. In that form, it originally meant a military commander. Imperator literally means Commander. I believe the Roman Republic created the job of Imperator so that they could have someone in charge of their armies. Julius Caesar ended up with that job, and I think he changed the job of Imperator once he had it. He made it like being a king except under a different name, I think, and he passed on the job to his nephew Augustus. Furthermore, I think the year Julius Caesar changed his own job is classically counted as the same year the Roman Republic became the Roman Empire. It was the year the Senate told him to return the armies back to the control of the Senate, and he said No, and crossed the Tiber River to take control of Rome away from the Senate. After that, he was basically a king in all but name, I think. His official title was and remained Imperator, a title which we now know as Emperor, but it didn’t mean then what it means now.

God has sometimes been referred to as Emperor. As an example, Pope St. Leo the Great referred to God as “The Emperor of Heaven, the Lord of men and angels” in Letter 31 in Book 4 of his Register of Letters. source

There isn’t really that much difference between emperors and kings but when I think emperor I think tyrannical dictator that likes to conquer everything. When I think of king I think of a glorious powerful absolute ruler who everyone looks to. It just sounds better to refer to God as king rather than emperor.

You could do some Latin/Greek research if you like. The Latin word for the Roman emperors was imperator. Before they gutted up and admitted they were emperors, they commonly called themselves princeps (“first citizen”). In Greek, Αὐτοκράτωρ (Autocrator, “he who rules by himself”) roughly corresponds to imperator (Jesus is sometimes called Χριστός Παντοκράτωρ, Christ Pantocrator, “The anointed ruler of all”). Bασιλεύς (Basileus) means “king.” In ancient Greece it was used broadly because they had a different idea of kings, but I’m pretty sure it came to be used almost exclusively to refer to the Byzantine Emperor by the people of the Byzantine Empire. Jesus is referred to as Bασιλεύς several times in the New Testament - while it didn’t exclusively refer to the emperor in the first century AD (though it could sometimes), later Byzantine readers may have read their own experience of the word into the text.

So none of that was an answer to your question, but hopefully it gave you some ideas of things to research.

An emperor is a “king of kings,” literally. And in fact, “King of Kings” was the title of the Persian Emperor. (Khan of khans - khakhan - was one of the titles of Genghis Khan and other Mongol leaders. So you see that it’s a common way to form a title.)

Roman “imperator” (emperor) literally means “one who commands.” It was originally a title for someone appointed to be a Roman general or commander, but obviously Emperor Augustus changed its meaning. It was originally used instead of “king,” because Rome’s whole history was about killing the Etruscan kings and getting rid of their tyranny. (Which is why Julius Caesar got killed for flirting with calling himself a “king.”)

So basically it’s a mealymouthed, politically correct replacement term for “king,” that just stuck around long enough to end up meaning something different.

If God is called “Emperor”, then it implies that there is also an “empire”. I believe that the political connotations of the word “emperor” and “empire” are too nebulous to be applied to our Lord at least in the English language. Maybe it can be used for other reasons such as cosmetic and poetic, ignoring the political overtones.

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