At this time of year many people will have been going to nativity plays in churches and schools. Many people will think briefly upon the impact of the birth and life of Jesus Christ. Many will sing, read and hear about how the baby born in Bethlehem was to be a great King but few will understand it’s true significance or the scope of what this truly means. In this article we take a quick look at the true meaning of the kingship of Christ and his purpose in Gods plan for the earth.
Christ – “the king of the Jews”
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2
We see here that Jesus Christ was born to be the King of the Jews. The wise men from the east were awaiting his birth – probably from the teachings of the Jewish prophet Daniel who, although captured and taken to Babylon, rose through the ranks to become an important and influential figure in the Babylonian empire which was situated to the east of Israel. Jesus Christ though was never accepted by the Jewish nation as their king. When they crucified him they were angry with Pilot for his words which were placed at the top of the cross:
“And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.” John 19:19-21
Did Jesus Christ fail then if he was born to be ‘king of the jews’? No he did not as we shall see.
The Angels Message to Mary
The well known words of the angel to Mary hold some profound prophetic words:
“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour 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 1:30-33
We have here then a prophecy that Jesus Christ would be given the “throne of his father David”. We read that when this throne is given to him his kingdom shall have “no end”. What does this mean?
The Kingdom of God in the Past – the ‘throne of David’
To understand the prophecy of the angel an understanding of the Old Testament must be obtained. God’s kingdom was in fact the ancient Kingdom of Israel. We can see this from the following passages of scripture:
- The nation of Israel were God’s “kingdom” and he was their “king” allowing them to inhabit “His land” – the land of Israel (see Isaiah 43:15, 44:6 , Exodus 19:5-6, Psalm 114:1-2, Ezekiel 36:5).
- Israel eventually wanted a man to be their king (1 Sam 8:7). These kings were only ruling on behalf of God (2 Chron 9:8).
- In Chronicles we read king Davids words:
“And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.” 1 Chron 28:5
- David and his son Solomon were therefore rulers of the ‘Kingdom of God’ in the past.
These facts serve as a key which unlocks major parts of the New Testiment as we shall start to see as we continue.
The Kingdom of God Temporally Overturned
In Ezekiel we read a prophecy against the last of the line of the Kings of this Kingdom. This is what God said to king Zedekiah:
“…and thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” Ezekiel 21:25-27
So we see that the Kingdom of God was only to be overturned for a limited time “until he comes whose right it is”. There is then to be a ‘coming one’ who will have the ‘kingdom’ given to him – that Kingdom which King David of old sat on a throne governing.
There are plenty of prophecies in the old testament about the future revival of this past Kingdom. Consider these:
“And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.” Isaiah 16:5
“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:” Amos 9:11
“And the LORD shall inherit Judah his portion in the holy land, and shall choose Jerusalem again.” Zech 2:12
The message to Mary unlocked
With that Old Testament background we can revisit and better understand that message from the angel to Mary. Remember it was said of Christ that:
“…and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David” Luke 1:32
This was the ancient throne of the Kingdom of Israel which was over throne as we saw in Ezekiel 21:27. That throne that King David of old sat on. A throne which governed a literal territory on earth. That throne is to be given to Jesus Christ and when it is given to him it will last forever. This was indeed promised to King David .
“And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever… And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” 2 Samuel 7:12-17
So this seed would do these things “before David” (a resurrection from the dead) and that this future descendant would reign forever (e.g. be immortal!). The New Testiment opens with words which hint at this:
“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Matthew 1:1
We see then the importance of understanding who David was and the fact that Jesus Christ was his descendant and therefore heir to the throne of the Kingdom of God in the past.
We read in the angels message to Mary:
“…he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever” Luke 1:33
This links in with the promise to David. The “house of Jacob” is a term which simply means the descendants of Jacob. Jacobs name was changed to Israel in the Bible and he is the father of the Jewish nation. So this king will specifically be the “King of the Jews” and rule over the ancient but literal Kingdom of Israel just as King David of old did.
When does Christ become King?
Some people believe that Jesus is a king now but he has not been yet given the throne of the Kingdom of Israel. He is currently set down at the right hand of Gods throne which is different to the throne which will be set up when Jesus finally is given it upon the earth (see Rev 3:21 for proof that there are two distinct thrones in this respect). Jesus has not yet restored the Kingdom to Israel yet as we can see when the apostles asked him this question:
“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6
This question was asked after the death and resurrection of Christ and proves that it was their ernest expectation that the Kingdom of Israel would once again be restored with Jesus Christ as King. However ‘then was not the time’ for Jesus replies:
“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.”Acts 1:7
The return of Christ to establish Gods Kingdom
The great message of the Bible is that Jesus will return from heaven to establish the Kingdom of Israel. This was the promise of the angels to those apostles who saw Jesus go to heaven. This is what they said to them:
“…while they (the apostles) looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:10-11
So Jesus is to return to restore this Kingdom which will eventually grow and take over the whole earth (see Daniel 2). This Kingdom will be like the Kingdom of God in the past, it will have a righteous King (Christ) a Capital city (Jerusalem or Zion), a law etc. and it’s influence will grow until all nations have come into subjection to it. We read of this in various places but here are a few passages to consider:
“And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” Daniel 2:44
“They shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all nations shall be gathered unto it; neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.” Jer. 3:17
“And I will make… her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the LORD shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever. And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah 4:7-8
The Kingdom of God in the past then will be re-established with Christ as it’s king – but at this future time ALL nations will be in subjection to it. This Kingdom will bring peace to the earth and all peoples will know about God and want to please Him. We are given a few glimpses in the Bible of what this wonderful kingdom on earth will be like:
There will be such benefits for its citizens such as have never been seen before:
- A peaceful safe existence (Isaiah 2:4, 32:17, 65:21-22, Zechariah 8:4-5)
- A “righteous” system of justice (Isaiah 11:3-4, 32:1)
- Good health and long life (Isaiah 35:5,6, 65:20)
- A healthy earth which will produce an abundance of food (Joel 3:18, Amos 9:13, Psalm 72:16, Zechariah 8:12, Isaiah 35:1, Ezekiel 36:34-35)
In this amazing Kingdom we are told that “…the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9
Your part in God’s Kingdom
The Bible holds within it a wonderful message of hope. It offers you and I a chance to be part of this future Kingdom which Christ is coming to establish. When one understands the gospel message which contains the “things concerning the kingdom of God” and the “name of Jesus Christ” and is baptized (Acts 8:12) this opens the way to a place in that Kingdom on earth.
How different the message of the Bible is then with what most people associate with Christianity and the birth of Christ. His birth was miraculous and amazing and we have only looked at one aspect of Christ role in Gods purpose. However we hope we have shown you that there is more to this subject then stories. There is more to it than what even the churches around proclaim. We encourage you to pick up your Bible and read it, and discover it’s true and wonderful message for yourself. Why leave Jesus in the manger until the following year? Get to know him and his purpose through Gods word, the Bible.
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