In ancient times, kings often had sole authority to make laws, go to war, and do as they pleased. With much power came deep-seated corruption. Founding father Alexander Hamilton wanted to put George Washington on a pedestal and crown him America’s first king, but the Father of our country was all too familiar with the history of European monarchies to exalt himself to accept. By contrast, the first king of Israel, Saul, had little accountability, and as a result bypassed God’s laws for the sake of his selfish ambitions. Because the king rejected God, God rejected him and refused to establish his posterity on the throne (1 Samuel 13:13-14; 15:23). The Lord instead chose for himself a man after His own heart, the shepherd boy David. Israel’s second king repented often and genuinely returned to God when he sinned. Through David and his seed, God promised that the throne of his kingdom would be established forever (2 Samuel 7:12-16). This royal promise is ultimately fulfilled in the perfect Son of David, the Lord Jesus Christ. Earthly kings are limited in both time and location, but King Jesus has an everlasting kingdom over all mankind and creation. However, at present Jesus Christ does not physically rule on this Earth as King. This rule awaits His Second Coming, when the Davidic kingdom will once more become reality.
Imagine two vast and distant mountain peaks separated by a valley. From far away, the peaks seem to stand together, when in reality many miles may separate them. This is how Old Testament prophets foretold the work Christ: they often spoke of His first and second comings without any mention of the thousands of years between them. Consequently, practically every Jew anticipated a political king and did not comprehend the purpose and work of Jesus in His first coming. The Messiah came unto His own people, the Jews, and His own received him not (John 1:11).
What is next, then? “Hath God cast away his people? God forbid...God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew...but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles” (Romans 11:1-2, 11). The dispensation of the church has been an enormous gap of time in God’s plan for Israel—at least two thousand years. The imminent coming of Jesus in the Rapture, which is quickly at hand, will be followed by a seven-year Tribulation period culminating in the Revelation of the King to establish His long-awaited millennial rule on Earth.
Jesus’ grand entrance was with unexpectedly humble beginnings. His royal lineage and right to the throne of David can be traced through Joseph’s ancestry in Matthew 1 and Mary’s line in Luke 3. No, the Savior was not born in a palace in Jerusalem, but instead of a virgin in a cattle shed cave in Bethlehem. Despite the shepherds spreading the glad tidings of the birth of the King (Luke 2) and the wise men from the East successfully finding the King of the Jews (Matthew 2), Jesus lived in obscurity until the age of thirty. As the King ministered, He demonstrated power over every form of evil, and proclaimed to all who repented and believed the gospel that “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).
At the young age of thirty-three, the appointed time came for the Lamb of God to bear the
sins of the world. Unjustly arrested and then abandoned by His own disciples, Jesus stood before Israel’s rulers in a circus trial. Before Caiaphas, the chief priests, and the Sanhedrin, Jesus stated of Himself, “ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). Another ruler, Pilate, “said unto him, ‘Art thou a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth’” (John 18:37). Christ was scourged, beaten, and mocked as the King of the Jews, and His death on the cross of Calvary seemed to be the end of the Savior. Three days later, hallelujah, the Savior arose on Sunday morning, triumphing over death and sin!
Though no king has sat on the physical throne of David in Israel for the last 2,500 years, God is always true to His word. Since Christ is the promised Messiah, He must fulfill all that is prophesied of Him. While we anticipate a physical future aspect to the Kingdom of God, the spiritual Kingdom of God is here and now, with Christ on the throne. The apostle Paul attests to Christ Jesus being “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15). Jesus is the eternal King, immanently seated upon his throne and currently exercising power over all creation. In His first coming He successfully fought to deliver sinners from the bondage of sin; in the present, He leads his followers; in the future, He will return and assume the throne of David in Jerusalem. Those who are saved are His subjects and are destined to participate in an eternal kingdom. His theocratic rule will extend over all the Earth after the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 19-20), and He will reign over all nations will be with a rod of iron in righteousness and peace.
The above article was written by Jim Larger. He is the pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Farmersburg, IN. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every Tuesday, SFL publishes relevant Bible-based content. Check back next Tuesday to read the next SFL article.
Isaiah 53 is the greatest chapter in the Old Testament and one of the greatest proclamations of the gospel in Scripture. Pastor Johnson presents four reasons why we all should love it.