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The Returning King

February 11, 2013
The Returning King

He was brutally killed and hastily buried. Historians are divided over his legacy. More than one revolt tried to oust this royal newcomer to the throne. But after 500 years lying in an unknown grave, his skeletal remains have been found. The king has returned!

King Richard III was the last English king to die in battle (and the only one on English soil since Harold II in 1066). After his brother, Edward IV, died in 1483, Richard was named Lord Protector for Edward’s son, the 12-year-old King Edward V. Because his brother’s marriage to Elizabeth Woodville was declared “invalid,” Edward’s children were considered illegitimate and thus not rightful heirs to the throne. Richard III was crowned king and Edward’s two sons were not seen in public afterwards. Many accused Richard of murdering the young princes.

All were not happy with the new king who reigned for just a couple of years. Two rebellions rose against Richard III. The first was by a distant cousin, which failed. But another rival gathered troops and marched against him. Henry Tudor’s contingent of soldiers fought and killed Richard III in the Battle of Bosworth Field (August 22, 1485) and he was quickly buried and forgotten.

Recently he was found. Actually, his remains were found several months before, but the identification of his skeleton was confirmed and publicly announced on February 4, 2013.

“As a result of the circumstances of his accession and consequence of Henry VII's victory, Richard III's remains received only a peremptory battlefield burial and were lost for more than five centuries. In 2012, an archaeological excavation was conducted on a city council car park on the site once occupied by Greyfriars, Leicester. The University of Leicester confirmed on 4 February 2013 that a skeleton found in the excavation was, beyond reasonable doubt, that of Richard III, based on a combination of evidence from radiocarbon dating, comparison with contemporary reports of his appearance, and a comparison of his mitochondrial DNA with two matrilineal descendants of Richard's sister.” [1]

Since Shakespeare’s condemning play portraying the medieval king as a weak and murdering villain of his two nephews, some called for a reappraisal of Richard III. There are those today who believe he was unjustly characterized by his Tudor successors who were seeking revenge. The discovery of his remains, some are hopeful, will open a clearer picture of a man who was sympathetic for the rights of the common man.

“I think he wanted to be found, he was ready to be found, and we found him, and now we can begin to tell the true story of who he was,” said Philippa Langley, a writer who has been a longtime and fervent member of the Richard III Society, an organization that has worked for decades to bring what it sees as justice to an unjustly vilified man. “Now,” Ms. Langley added, “we can rebury him with honor, and we can rebury him as a king.” [2]

There is another King in history who was not welcomed by His nation. A rebellion against this rightful heir to the throne led to His brutal murder and quick burial. But after three days, He arose from the grave. He did not, as some suggest, remain in the tomb and become a pile of bones. This King is our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ!

The Bible says of this returning King: “And He who sat on [a white horse] was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war” (Revelation 19:11). If you look carefully, you will see an identification on this Conqueror: “And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (v. 16). When He returns, the righteous character of this King will be known by all. The evidence will be overwhelming!

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