This article is the fourth in a multi-part series outlining the Bible’s message of prophetic hope as it pertains to the future of this age, the Church, the nation of Israel, the Gentile nations of the world, and the created universe. Specifically, it will continue to address the future hope for the nation of Israel as outlined in prophecy. In Part 3 it was noted that Israel’s future hope focuses on three elements: (1) a land, (2) a kingdom, and (3) spiritual as well as national restoration. While the last article dealt with the promise of land, this article will outline in brief the future kingdom hopes of the nation of Israel.
From the very first chapter of Genesis, man’s right to rule over the earth is established (Gen. 1:26-28). However, the fall of Adam and Eve into sin brought an end to that rule (Gen. 3). The result is that Satan, the great enemy, is now the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), and god of this age (2 Cor. 4:4), thus usurping man’s rightful role on the earth. However, God’s plan throughout the ages includes the restoration of man to his rightful place as a ruler (e.g., Rev. 20:6). One strand of God’s program to do this involves His dealings with the nation of Israel.
 
The development and blessings for the nation of Israel begun with the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 12) are fleshed out in particular detail with respect to David, the son of Jesse. This young man, the defeater of Goliath, rises to the throne of the nation of Israel by divine choice (1 Sam. 16). God reveals some special promises to King David in what has come to be called the Davidic Covenant. The first details of this covenant plan of promise are spelled out in 2 Samuel 7:12-16. Here, not only the promise of a land or territory is involved, but the specific promises to a particular royal family are highlighted. Solomon, David’s son, will have his throne established forever (v. 12-13). Notice that this does not mean that Solomon would live forever on the throne, but that the right of rulership through his own family line would be established forever. In other words, the throne of David would be passed down in the family through Solomon.
 
Furthermore, the unconditional nature of this promise is made clear. God assures David that Solomon’s throne would not be taken away from him as it was with Saul prior to David. This is true even if Solomon commits iniquity (2 Sam. 7:14-15). This unconditional promise of God is reaffirmed in Psalm 89:19-37. David would have descendants as heirs for the Davidic throne forever (v. 28-29). If any of David’s heirs do not follow God, they can bring the wrath of God upon themselves (v. 31-32) and perhaps forfeit their own right to reign on the throne. However, God is clear that the overall promise that a descendant would reign on David’s throne would never be annulled when He says, "But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me" (v. 33-36). This sentiment matches the summary statement of the Davidic Covenant in 2 Samuel 7:16 where God promises David, " your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever."
 
Confirmation of these kingdom hopes for the nation of Israel is given time and time again throughout the Old Testament. For example, in Isaiah 2:1-4 there is a picture of the coming kingdom with Israel and Jerusalem at the center. At the same time, the nations of the world come up to the holy city to be taught by the Lord. However, the most striking examples in the Old Testament which highlight the future kingdom hopes of the Jews (through David’s line) are given in the midst of crisis at a time when the future possibility of its fulfillment seems remote.
 
First, the division of the kingdom after Solomon’s death into the ten northern tribes and two southern tribes threatened to dilute or diminish the hopes of the nation concerning its grandiose future (I Kings 12). Only the two southern tribes followed the Davidic heir to the throne. How could the nation maintain an understanding of future kingdom hopes in the face of this regression? God’s response can be found in Amos 9:11-15 (eighth century B.C.). Amos, preaching to the northern tribes, reminds them that God would restore the "fallen booth of David" (v. 11) and that it would be accompanied by a restoration of the people (v. 14) and a permanent dwelling in the land (v. 15). In essence, this is a promise from God that the divided kingdom is a temporary situation which will be rectified one day by God’s own action to restore the complete kingdom to the nation.
 
The second crisis that can be considered is the Babylonian captivity (606-536 B.C.). When the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem, took control of the nation, and took the vast majority of the nation’s residents back to Babylon, the kingdom expectations of many of the Jews were no doubt dashed to pieces. Yet, it is in this context that God raises up both Ezekiel and Daniel to comfort the captives and to remind them that He has not forgotten His kingdom promises to the nation. Ezekiel 36 speaks of the spiritual restoration of the nation in its own land and the work of the Spirit in its midst. Ezekiel 37 with its vision of the dry bones predicts that Judah (southern tribes) and Israel (northern tribes) will both be reunited and given national life once again. David’s name is invoked as God makes this promise of everlasting rule (37:24-28) which involves the whole world (v. 28). Ezekiel 40-48 joins this renewed kingdom or political rule to spiritual restoration within the boundaries of the land promises. In this way, the prophet provides a glimpse of the coming millennium.
 
Daniel views the same coming kingdom from the vantage point of the historical progressions of the major world empires (Daniel 2 & 7). The world kingdoms would come to an end at the time when God would raise the dead (see Dan. 11-12:2). God’s kingdom would be established by the Son of Man (Dan. 7:13-14) and involve the whole world. This kingdom is a literal, earthly one in light of the fact that all of the other kingdoms mentioned in the context are also literal. It is also a time when men rule and reign as they take possession of the kingdom (Dan. 7:27). However, it is also a kingdom whose chronology is dependent upon God’s dealings with Israel (Dan. 9:24-27). In this way, God comforts the exiled Jews by reaffirming His promise of future kingdom glory.
 
One could also go to the New Testament to see these truths explained. For example, while Jesus predicts the future destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the nation (Luke 21:20-24) which takes place in 70 A.D., He also confirms that the kingdom will one day be restored to Israel although his disciples will not know that time (Acts 1:6). Again, it is important to remember that there is no necessity for present-day modern Israel to work to bring these kingdom promises to pass by military conquest. The kingdom promises for the Jews will be fulfilled personally by the Messiah, Jesus Christ the son of David, when he returns a second time to set up His kingdom (Lk. 19:11-27; Dan. 7:13-14).
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