The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Kings of the Earth in Heaven

Here’s my latest blog article.

*The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. (Revelation 21:24 NRSV)

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates. (Revelation 22:14 NRSV)*

This essay briefly explores the implications of “the kings of the earth” getting slaughtered while opposing the returning Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:19-21) before “the kings of the earth” enjoy the bliss in the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21:24). This article concludes that John the Revelator used these images to teach that various kings of the earth and other people in heaven died lost before enjoying salvation.

John the Revelator borrowed the phrase “the kings of the earth” from various Old Testament passages. For example, 1 Kings 10.23 says Solomon possessed more riches and wisdom than all the kings of the earth. And Psalm 2:2 says the kings of the earth oppose the Lord and his anointed one. And Psalm 89:27 refers to King David as the firstborn among the kings of the earth. And Psalm 102:15 says the nations and the kings of the earth will fear the Lord. And Psalm 138:4-5 says the kings of the earth will praise and sing to the Lord.

The New Testament uses the phrase “the kings of the earth” nine times while John the Revelator used it eight of those times. First, a prayer in Acts 4:24-30 refers to the kings of the earth opposing the Lord while quoting Psalm 2:2. Second, Revelation 1:5 declares Jesus Christ the ruler of the kings of the earth. Third, Revelation 6:15 says that the kings of the earth hide in caves to dodge the wrath of God. Fourth, Revelation 17:2 says the kings of the earth have sex with the great whore. Fifth, Revelation 17:8 says the great whore, Babylon the great, rules over the kings of the earth. Sixth, Revelation 18:9 repeats that the kings of the earth have sex with the great whore. Seventh, Revelation 18:9 says that the kings of the earth will weep and wail over the destruction of the great whore. Eighth, Revelation 19:19-21 says the beast and the kings of the earth gather to fight against the return of Christ before the army of Christ throws the beast into the lake of fire and kills the kings of the earth. Ninth, Revelation 21:24 say the kings of the earth bring their glory into the New Jerusalem in heaven.

The Bible teaches remarkable paradox about the kings of the earth. For example, the Old Testament teaches on one hand that the kings of the earth oppose the Lord and on another hand they will sing praises to the Lord. And Revelation paradoxically implies the following: Christ rules over the kings of the earth while the great whore rules over them; Christ rules over the kings of the earth while they fight against the return of Christ; the kings of the earth transition from getting slaughtered by the returning Christ to enjoying the bliss in heaven.

See the rest at

Hi Jim:

Read it; liked it. It’s sort of a “just-the-facts-ma’am” style presentation.

Curious why you chose the word “slaughtered” – when beaten, or defeated would also work. Brings to mind what they do to farm animals before we eat them for dinner. (speaking of which, there is a strong strand of vegetarianism in the denomination of my upbringing. The most devout hold that, in end times, all those deemed worthy of saving will effortlessly see vegetarianism as a sign that these folks “get” what Christ is about. One once told me I simply couldn’t be serious about my embrace of UR; because if I was, I would be a devout vegetarian… Interesting)

When presenting this idea to fellow Christians, it interests me that their very first attempt to avoid the stunning implications (ie UR) is to say something along the lines of “well, it’s probably a DIFFERENT group being talked about.” So the essay might be strengthened if you made a case for why they must be, logically, the same people.

The thing that I liked most I guess is how you spotlighted the paradoxical nature of these passages. And how difficult it is to pin things down in time and in logical time sequences (as we of western mindset are accustomed to thinking) Lots of curious and tricky stuff can be done just by freely moving events around in time so as to satisfy one’s own theology/eschatology.

While I’m tempted sometimes to just take the route of RanRan and ditch the book entirely, I’m thinking that’s not a particularly wise approach (for several reasons) so best to just tackle it head on like the rest of our Christian brothers must.


Hi Bob, thanks.

I used the word “slaughtered” because “And the rest were killed by the sword of the rider on the horse, the sword that came from his mouth; and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:21 NRSV)

I hope to dialog with somebody who disagrees with me so I’ll have some context to argue why at least some of the kings of the earth in heaven include some of those who die opposing the return of Christ. This is a mere kick off, and I’d love to see somebody argue that “the kings of the earth” in heaven has nothing to do with “the kings of the earth” in the previous six times the phrase was mentioned in Revelation. And this is a mere outline while I plan to expand upon this in a larger work.

Now that I feel fully confident that I can argue that John the Revelator taught quasi-universalism, I cannot imagine wanting to dodge Revelation.:slight_smile:

I dodge Revelation because every time I go in, I come out confused. Who authored that? Some scholars think that some of book was written by John and the rest augmented by a zealous scribe…while eating funny mushrooms. :mrgreen: I can’t parse the two. But I do appreciate your attempt, Jim.

I keep in touch with a former professor of mine from an Assemblies of God Bible college, Dale Brueggemann. After twenty years, he’ll still give me some response when I run a paper by him. This time he replied on my blog while he asked me a related question. And I gave my reply:

I’ll try to read through your piece on ‘kings’ and get back to you. I’ve been so busy shutting down things here in Iraq.

Take care,

Iraq is shutting down? Are there any last minute bargains to be had? :wink:

You can get a great deal on hookas right now.

T :wink:

That’s the thing you smoke… right… isn’t it?.. not the other thing (you know :blush: )

Yeah, it’s a bong (water pipe). But you smoke regular (flavored) tobacco in it, not wacky weed.


I was thinking more of a homophone of hooka actually :wink:


Couldn’t the phrase “the kings of the earth” imply the kingdoms of the earth? You noted that Dale’s reply asks why these have to be the same people in each instance, and he quoted Isaiah 19, which you replied you in were unclear in his point, since you see a great judgement on Egypt followed by a revival, presumed by you to be an end-time restoration.

But one doesn’t need to peer into biblical prophesy to see how Isaiah 19 relates to Dale’s point. Look at the first two verses:

"The burden of Egypt. Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst of it.

And I will set the Egyptians against the Egyptians: and they shall fight every one against his brother, and every one against his neighbour; city against city, and*** kingdom against kingdom***." [emphasis mine]

It’s obvious here that Egypt is going through some internal conflict, perhaps a civil war, of which outcome will change the nation. “And the spirit of Egypt shall fail in the midst thereof…” it says in verse 3. In the long run, it is the LORD who is instigating this, but the result is that Egypt as a nation will fall into desperate times (running to sorcery and witchcraft) and ruled over by a fierce king. It is a judgment of the LORD, nonetheless, yet it is the same nation, albeit a different spirit. But that doesn’t necessarily imply that the same *exact * people in the course of events. Rather it is the spirit of the nation that is changed, the mindset of the collective group in power AT THAT PARTICULAR PHASE. And this can occur quickly, as in a coup, or subtly over a long period of time.

And I hate to say it, but the U.S. is a prime example of a nation whose values have change dramatically over the course of 234 years. We are becoming like an Egypt, who has fallen over favor with God. We do not have the same mindset as our Founding Fathers. We’ve become something different, a different spirit. One I’m afraid that is veering farther and farther from God, and hence His blessing. And it is as subtle as a frog in a pot of cold water whose heat is rising until it doesn’t know it’s being cooked until its too late.

So in Rev 20, these “kings of the earth” are being judged rightly by God. The leadership and people in those nations who opposed the Lamb will be destroyed. But a new generation will rise up in their place and repent as they will in Rev 21. A new spirit will be infused in those nations. Just as a new spirit will be infused in the nation of Egypt in the latter portion of Isaiah 19, but a different generation of people in that nation will see it.

It is the same situation that Israel experienced in the wilderness. The unbelieving generation led by Moses died off, never seeing the Promised Land, while the next generation led Joshua was able to conquer the land.