Three years after being declared “King of Kings” by over 200 African kings and rulers, Muammar Gaddafi has been killed by rebels that despised his rule. This title, King of Kings, was bestowed upon Gaddafi in August of 2008, during a meeting in the Libyan town of Benghazi.
The purpose of the meeting was for Gaddafi to consolidate his power over the whole of the African continent. In his remarks Gaddafi declared:
“We want an African military to defend Africa, we want a single African currency, we want one African passport to travel within Africa,”
It is clear that Gaddafi was desirous for Africa to be united in similar ways to the European Union, united with a common currency, and a NATO-like army to defend the African Nations. But that unification of a region was not to happen. His neglect of his people in his own nation was to be his undoing. The rebels sought and received support from NATO to overcome this despot’s tyrannical rule.
The ancient title of “King of Kings” is of Persian origin and described a supreme king that had control over lesser kings in the area. Macedonia’s own Alexander the Great took the title of King of Kings after conquering Persia.
This title is more than just a regional secular title, but it has religious significance also. The title was first found in the Hebrew canon in the book of Daniel where Daniel interprets the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar and declares that he, Nebuchadnezzar is the king of kings. It is an ominous prophesy, because even though the king of kings is the greatest on earth, Daniel tells him that there is one greater that will destroy his kingdom, and Nebuchadnezzar determines that that is God.
Christians have long referred to Jesus of Nazareth as the King of Kings. It was a title posthumously given to Jesus him by John in the Biblical book of Revelation in chapters 16 and 19. Upon the cross of Jesus’ execution was the sarcastic title of “King of the Jews” a more regional title to say the least. Therefore John in his revelation elevated the status of Jesus above a regional ruler.
The parallels and historical relevance of Gaddafi taking the title of King of Kings is very broad. In a geo-political sense, it is illustrative of his desire to be a global ruler on the scale of Alexander the Great and if these were different times perhaps his brutal nature would have allowed for him to conquer all of Africa. However, the competing regional force of NATO prevented that desire from becoming reality.
The other parallel that has less significance, but still shows the power of coincidence is the three year period between declaration of omnipotence and death. Jesus, the King of Kings also was killed three years into his ministry.
What is the truth to be learned from these parallels? Declaring oneself supreme ruler challenges others to show your folly. Jesus of Nazareth gained notoriety through his peaceful opposition to the ruling class and gained immortal notoriety. Despots like Gaddafi who consolidate power through brutality will be remembered in secular history as military leaders, but not for their greatness.