"And the Lord shall be King over all the earth ..."
Course #10 - A King without a Kingdom
When the Romans were ruling in Palestine and Israel had no king the word of God by the prophets remained as a national treasure and hope. Israel under a foreign hand was waiting for the Messiah - the anointed of God - the promised Seed of David and Abraham, the coming King. The faithful Jews were filled with longing. Shortly before Jesus was born the national longing was most fervent and many men and women who trusted God were standing on the tiptoe of expectancy. In fact when John the Baptist come on the scene it is recorded that
"all men mused in their hearts whether he were Messiah or not." (Luke 3:15) (NOTE: 'Christ' = 'Messiah').
About this time Jesus was born. Even in the manner of the birth there was something very remarkable and something unexpected. God was the Father of Jesus but the mother was not a woman of noble birth, she was a villager living in quiet obscurity. She was chosen of God and her character was one of beauty, humility and faith.
There was no announcement in Jerusalem that Jesus was coming: no fanfare of trumpets, no pageantry in the city temple. Just a quiet word to Mary and the peaceful acceptance of the will of God in her heart.
It was in this way that the Lord God began the fulfillment of the promises made to the fathers. Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world as a baby in the manger outside the inn in Bethlehem. This humble beginning was God's way of showing the lesson that "except ye be converted and become as little children ye shall not enter the kingdom of God."
Even so, can we be sure that Jesus is the promised king? Can we be certain that He will reign? Nothing is more certain. Let us look at a series of messages from God designed to teach us the great truth:
"The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." (Matthew 1:1).
Here is the first stepping stone. From these opening words of the New Testament we are told that Jesus is the one promised to Abraham and to David:He is Abraham's seed:David's son. Let us go on from there:
"Fear not, Mary:for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest:and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:30-34).
Look carefully at those words because they have wonderful significance. God made it plain to Mary (and she would know the promises to David by heart) that Jesus was the appointed one, the one to rule over Israel and the one to sit on David's throne. Look at it again. It was a positive promise BUT it has not yet received its fulfillment. Two things are clear to the simplest mind:
(a) Since David's throne was in Jerusalem it must be there that Jesus will reign. He has never yet done this.
(b) "To reign over the house of Jacob" means that Jesus must reign over the Jews. He has certainly never yet done this because they rejected him - and still do.
Let us not be put off the trail by the apparent delay in the fulfillment of these promises. There is no delay:it is God's way of working. He will fulfill his words - completely. Jesus understood this quite clearly and he said as much to his hearers:
"Jerusalem is the city of the Great King." (Matthew 5:35).
"When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." (Matthew 25:31).
'In the regeneration . . . the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of his glory." (Matthew 19:28).
The Lord Jesus Christ knew that his pathway to the kingship lay through humility, through death, through resurrection, through an ascending into heaven, through a return to the earth personally in great glory to establish God's kingdom visibly on earth. The way to the throne was by Calvary. We shall discuss that together later on but we should take careful note of it as we pass by.
The truth and hope that Jesus would reign as king are expressed elsewhere in the New Testament with equal force:
'God hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17:31).
'God shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:whom the heaven must receive until the time of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:21).
'Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, they also which pierced him:and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." (Revelation 1:7).
At the appointed time God will send Jesus Christ back to the earth in power and great glory, with all the angels of heaven, and Christ will take the kingdom to himself and shall reign. The Jews also will see him and acknowledge him as king. Then shall be fulfilled the words nailed over the cross:
"Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."
You will have seen that here is a wealth of evidence concerning the kingship of Jesus Christ. We need now to go a step further. How does this affect you? How can it affect you? How will it affect you?
The scriptures we have read give a clear indication that God has a purpose with the earth. We need to take note of it. When Jesus returns to the earth as king he will bring blessings for his followers. His followers are those who have believed in him and been obedient to his commands. We shall learn a little more of this as we go along but at this point it is our part to believe what God has said. We need to believe that Jesus is the appointed king:we should accept him ourselves as our personal king: we should live like people who are earnestly waiting for his return. All those who have this hope in their heart and fashion their lives according to the principles of Jesus are known as the saints of God - those who have set themselves apart as citizens of the Kingdom of God.
Such believers when they are still alive or have fallen asleep in Jesus will be remembered by the king when he comes. He will raise the dead and gather the living to himself. The faithful ones will receive two priceless gifts:
(a) Everlasting life in perfect joy and holiness.
(b) The inheritance of the kingdom of God on earth.
This is how one of the Old Testament prophets and believers described it:
"And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.' (Daniel 7:27).
This glorious prospect set before us. This is the real hope. Let us set our hearts upon it and wait with longing for the return of Jesus Christ.
Now read some of the other Scriptures on this subject: (Isaiah 2:1-4; Isaiah 35; 2 Samuel 23:1-5)
If you have questions or comments about this lesson, please feel free to e-mail us with them.