Goodnews Christian Ministry
"For there is a child born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his shoulders...
Wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end,
for the throne of David and for his royal power, which he establishes
and makes secure in justice and integrity...forever."
In 1040 B.C., about 200 years after the twelve tribes of Israel had arrived in the holy land from Egypt, and while their center of worship was still at Shiloh, the leaders of Israel began to fall away from God. The Ark of the Covenant was carried into battle by the two wicked sons of Israel's High Priest, Eli. Both were killed in the fighting and the Ark captured by the Philistines. Eli, himself, collapsed and died upon hearing the news of the catastrophe, bringing the nation to a lowpoint.
For a brief time after the ark was recovered, the prophet Samuel, acting as judge of Israel was able to restore some administrative virtue. He aligned his circuit of judgment in Israel to a small quadrangle of towns around Ramah, Gilgal, Bethel and Mizpah. All of these towns were located just a few miles north of Jerusalem and reached over to the Jordan river very close to Jericho. Trekking this narrow circuit Samuel judged Israel for many years.
However, Samuel's two sons were not like him. They were more like Eli's sons. They loved money, took bribes and generally perverted justice. They were unfit to rule in Samuel's stead. As he grew old, the people of Israel began to press him to appoint a king to rule over them so that they could be like the other nations.
Samuel at first balked at the idea, but the Holy Spirit counciled him that all of Israel had rejected God as their king, so His intent was to grant their wish. Due to their infidelity, He had decided to give them the harsher royalty of mortal man in His place.
"In my anger I gave you a king (and in my wrath I take him away"). (Hosea 13:11).
Samuel appointed Saul, a tall Benjaminite to be the first king of the Israelites. During his brief reign God weighed Saul's heart and found him wanting. so He instructed Samuel to appoint the shepherd-boy David as king in his place. David was a Judean from Ephratha (Bethlehem). The name 'David' is an ancient semitic word for 'commander' or 'military leader'.
"David was 30 years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty years. He reigned in Hebron over Judah for seven years and six months; then he reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years." (2 Smaule5:4-5)
David proved to be an outstanding leader, seamlessly interlocking the religious and civil functions of the nation's monarchy. Ruling from Jerusalem in Judea, he was determined to build a "house" for the Ark of the Covenant (up to this point still being kept in a tent). It was to be a grand temple centered in Jerusalem and designed to be a center of worship for all of Israel. For the foundation site of his proposed temple, David purchased a large flat-topped threshing stone on Mount Moriah rumored to be the very stone Abraham had used when he almost offered his son Isaac to God.
Denying him his wish, the prophet Nathan informed David that it was not him, but "an offspring from his own body" that God had ordained to build the temple:
"God told the prophet Nathan, 'Go and tell my servant David, 'Thus God speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I have never stayed in a house from the day I brought the Israelites out of Egypt until today..." (Instead) "I will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. (It is he who shall build a house for my name, and I will make his royal throne secure forever).' (2 Samuel 7:5-6, 12-13).
'I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Yet I will not withdraw my favor from him, as I withdrew it from your predecessor. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established forever." (2 Samuel 7:14-16).
Nathan's prophecy predicted a royal succession for David's line that would never end. This prediction gave birth to Israel's everlasting committment to the idea of a Davidic dynasty.
At first the expectation of the people centered on a succession of kings like David. That expectation seemed to be rewarded when David was followed on the throne of Israel by his son, Solomon, who, did, indeed build a magnificent temple on the land David had purchased in Jerusalem,. But when Solomon died, everything fell royally apart.
Only the tribes of Judah and Benjamine remained loyal to Solomon's son, Rehoboam. The ten northern tribes picked an interloper named Jeroboam as their king.
Thus the Davidic line of succession remained in place only for two tribes. The other ten, paying homage to a foreigner, constructed for themselves false altars of worship at Bethel and Dan. This was a grave apostasy and it created among the 12 tribes of Israel, two "houses".
Enigmatically, those who chose the foreign king were called in scripture, the 'House of Israel'. Those who followed the successors of David were called the 'House of Judah'.
From that day forward, the descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel remained divided. It was a division later sealed in perpetuity when the ten northern tribes were captured by Assyria and led off into oblivion. They were never seen again. That seemed to negate all further hope for their reconciliation with the Judaean tribes.
Over a period of about 400 years, twenty-one Davidic kings (sons of sons, of sons, stemming from David) ruled the House of Judah (the Jews). They were, after David, Solomon, Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Ahaziah, Athaliah, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Joshiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah.
However, in 598 B.C., when Nebuchaddnezzar invaded Judea, burning down Solomon's temple and taking the tribes of Judah and Benjamine into captivity to Babylon, the unbroken line of Davidic kings ruling Judah came to an end. From that point on, if any future son of David was to appear, he would be born from one of David's many relatives, i.e., from David's own broadening genetic lineage. For this reason, the genealogy of David was carefully plotted among the Judeans fortunate enough to have been born into his ancestry.
Further complicating the picture, the Hebrew visionaries began, in their prophecies, to blur the differences that distinguished Nathan's promise of a permanent royal monarchy under a son of David with the longstanding Hebrew expectation for a Messiah.
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the prophets seized on the sudden appearance of royalty in Israel, and, using the image of David and his lineage (the tribe of Judah), began proclaiming that the Messiah promised by Moses would come as the king of the Jews and that he would be a "son of David". David, then, became a prototype for the Jewish Messiah whose appearance all of Israel awaited.
Gradually, the people of Israel came to realize that Nathan and Moses were both defining the same person.
Moreover, it was this same royal shepherd-king, the prophet Ezekiel wrote, who would effect the reconciliation between the missing northern tribes and the Judeans. As a consequence, the anticipation of a Davidic dynasty, the expectation of the Messiah and the reconciliation of the two houses of Israel all coalesced in the same figure, a glorious future son of David who would one day come as king of the Jews and combine the messianic future of Israel with the reconciliation of its two houses.
Yet all of this would pale in comparison to the final secret concerning this son of David that remained to be revealed.
A hint of it can be seen in this oracle issued in 800 B.C by Isaiah (Is.7, esp 7:10-15), and especially in the symbolic name given to the child in this prophecy: "Immanuel" ('God WITH us'). Both seem to point to a decisive intervention by God Himself in Israel's affairs. Isaiah shows us a Son of David that seems to touch divinity itself.
That relationship can be seen even more clearly a few passages later:
"For there is a child born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his shoulders; and this is the name they give him: Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace. Wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end, for the throne of David and for his royal power, which he establishes and makes secure in justice and integrity...forever." (Is. 9:5-7).
Because all of this seemed to be concentrated in the House of Judah, the Jewish leaders came to the conclusion that since the House of David was a lineage within their own tribe, it made them sole heirs to all the promises of scripture with respect to Israel.
Ezekiel bluntly castigated the Judeans for thinking that the disappearance of the ten lost tribes of Israel was permanent, and for being so arrogant to declare that they, the Jews were now singular heirs to the lineage of Moses. Ezekiel warned the Jews that those lost tribes were going to be restored by God and led back to Jerusalem in great glory.
"Son of man, your brothers, your kinsmen, the whole House of Israel, these are told by the citizens of Jerusalem, "you have been sent away from God; it is to us that the land was given as our domain". Say therefore, "The Lord God says this: Yes, I have sent them far away among the nations and I have dispersed them to foreign countries; and for a while I have been a sanctuary for them in the country to which they have gone", Then say, "The Lord God says this: I will gather you together from the peoples, I will bring you all back from the countries where you have been scattered and I will give you the land of Israel. They will come and purge it of all the horrors and filthy practices. I will give them a single heart and I will put a new spirit in them; I will remove the heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh instead, so that they will kieep my laws and respect my observances and put them into practice. Then they shall be my people and I will be their God." (Ez. 11:14-21).
"I mean to raise up one shepherd, my servant David, and to put him in charge of them and he will pasture them; he will pasture them and be their shepherd. I, the Lord, will be their God, and my servant David shall be their ruler. I, the Lord, have spoken. I shall make a covenant of peace with them..." (Ez. 34:23-24).
"Son of man, take stick and write on it, "Judah and those Israelites loyal to him". Take another stick and write on it, "Joseph, the wood of Ephraim, and all the House of Israel loyal to him. Join one to the other to make a single peice of wood, a single stick in your hand. And when the people ask why...tell them I shall make one stick out of the two, and I shall hold them as one." (Ez.37:16-19).
"I shall make them into one nation in my own land and on the mountains of Israel, and one king is to be king of them all; they will no longer form two nations, nor be two separate kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and their filthy practices and all their sins. I shall rescue them from all the betrayals they have been gulty of; I shall cleanse them ; they shall be my people and I will be their God. My servant David will reign over them, one shepherd for all..."
"David my servant is to be their prince forever. I shall make a covenant of peace with them, an eternal covenant with them. I shall resettle them and increase them; I shall settle my sanctuary among them forever. I shall make my home above them; I will be their God, they shall be my people. And the nations will learn that I am the Lord the sanctifier of Israel, when my sanctuary is with them forever." (Ez.37:22-28).
After the return from Babylon (the Babylon of the Euphrates) the nation of Judah eagerly awaited the appearance of this Messianic 'son of David' who had been so strongly forcast. All the people were firmly committed to his appearance, and as the days just ahead of Christ's birth approached, and foreign oppression smothered their independence, that expectation reached fever pitch.
"For the sons of Israel will be kept for many days without a king, without a leader, without sacrifice or sacred stone, without ephod or teraphim. Afterwards the sons of Israel will come back; they will seek the Lord their God and David their king; they will come trembling to the Lord, come for his good things in those days to come." (Hosea 3:4-5)
In those days and at that time, I will make a virtuous Branch grow for David, who shall practice honesty and integrity in the land.
We can see evidence in the Gospels of the breadth of this anticipation among the broader populace in the fact that so many who approached Jesus saluted Him with the title "son of David".
The prophet Malachi had promised that the Messiah's appearance would come in conjunction with Elijah the prophet who would appear before him and announce his arrival. Yet when John the Baptist appeared, and despite the fact that the whole nation went out to the Jordan to see him, few recognized him.
The Son of David had appeared in Israel in fulfillment of the promises, but He came to a people blind to His great mission and purpose. Suffering for us in our name, He saved the human race from a death sentence by Satan that reached as far as the stars in the sky, but a small people in a small kingdom at the center of the world were so focused on a cardboard box, they could not see the glorious mansion God had prepared for them.
David had become a "house" just as the prophecy of Nathan had predicted. But because all the works of God go in pairs by opposites, no one could forsee how that was to happen. The true Son of David that came to us from God in the person of Jesus, was accepted by the pagans and missing tribes, but not by His own people. The House of David fell to the Christians. It was rejected by the Jews
The allegory presented in the figures of Rehoboam and Jeroboam described this paradox, but it was too strong a spiritual drink for the leaders of Judah to recognize or even to contemplate. As a consequence, they played out the hand dealt to them by scripture, following step by step the full trail of the prophecy, all the way from the symbolism of Bethel to the symbolism of Dan.
Compounding their failure to recognize that He was the Messiah sent by God to be their Davidic king, Jesus informed them that He was greater than a son of David; His royal lineage involved the Godhead itself.
"If David calls him Lord, then how can he (the Messiah) be David's son?" (Mt.22:41-45).
"...While teaching in the Temple, Jesus said, "How can the scribes maintain that the Christ is the son of David? David himself, moved by the Holy Spirit, said: 'The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand and I will put your enemies under your feet. David himself calls him Lord, in what way then can he be his son?" (Mark 12:35-37)"
Then, on what was to become Christmas Day, Jesus tore the veil away completely:
"It was the time when the feast of Dedication was being celebrated in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down in the Portico of Solomon. The Jews gathered round him and said, 'How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly'. Jesus replied: 'I have told you, but you do not believe me...the Father and I are one'." (Jn.10:22-29).
This was an astonishing revelation, not only to the Jews, but to the whole world. Jesus went far beyond the ancient Hebrew expectations of the "Messiah". He lay claim to divinity unity with God, Himself. Jesus was God in the flesh.
"Royal dignity was yours from the day you were born, on the holy mountains, royal from the womb, from the dawn of your earliest days. God has sworn an oath which he never will retract, 'You are a priest of the order of Melchizedek, now and forever." (Psalm 110:3-4).
"The One whose throne is in heaven sits laughing, God derides them. Then angrily he addresses them, in a rage he strikes them with panic, 'This is my king, installed by me on Zion, my holy mountain'. (Ps.2:4-6).
"Let me proclaim my decree; he has told me, 'you are my son, today I have become your father. Ask and I will give you the nations for your heritage, the ends of the earth for your domain. With iron sceptor you will break them, shatter them like potter's ware." (Ps.2:7-9).
The Jewish heirarchy tore their robes at this suggestion. They considered the claim "heresy". As a result, a veil of blindness descended on them that remains to this day.
The unity of these prophecies and the unfolding chronology which underlies them is unparalleled. One Hebrew visionary in the Old Testament described the relationship between God and the Messiah as a "royal priesthood that went from Father to one son exclusively". It was a vision that embraced in a single relationship the temporal and priestly powers of their own government.
Filled by the Holy Spirit with the knowledge that Christ was an integral part of the Godhead, the Apostle John in the opening verses of his Gospel defined the unity of the Divinity in terms of "Word". The Gospel (the message from heaven), itself, shows us the identity of God, and is mankind's only way to truly understand Him. That message is also the Holy Spirit who has been sent by God and Jesus to live within us, thus the Trinity.
The Holy Spirit brings into the relationship, the Spirit of Prophecy (Christ in man). Thus, in the Christian Trinity we have the three offices of the Hebrew government (temporal, priestly and prophetic) united in One God.
The Davidic dynasty is a holy dynasty that will reign in a new kingdom that is not of this earth. Only those who are invited by God may go there, and the returned invitations are accepted on the basis of faith and righteousness according to the terms of the Gospel.
"Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind." (Jn.18:36)
In those days JUDAH shall be saved and ISRAEL shall dwell in confidence. And this is the name the city will be called: The Lord is Our Righteousness." (Jer.33:15-16)
"Jerusalem restored! The city, one united whole! Here the tribes come up, the tribes of the Lord, they come to praise the Lord's name, as he ordered Israel, here where the tribunals of justice are, the royal tribunals of David." (Ps.122:3-5).
Because Jewish leaders rejected Jesus as the Messiah promised by God, the nation of Israel has remained divided into two spiritual houses, the House of David, those who accept Jesus as the Davidic king forecast by scripture, on one side, and the House of Judah on the other. The Apostle Paul has prophesied that this division will not be reconciled until the very last day when Jewish recognition of Jesus will instantly bring the birth of the new creation.
Until that happens, the labor pains of that new birth will intensify, culminating in an excruciating period of tribulation brought to bear on civilization by the reappearance of Satan who, exiting his imprisonment in the Abyss, mobilizes the world for war as he tries to reclaim his title as prince of this world by overthrowing Israel's House of David the Church that now rules it.
Scripture teaches that God ordered Satan locked in the Abyss so that His Gospel could be preached to all the world. Paul explained that this ministry to the pagans was the very reason for the blindness of the House of Judah in the first place. It was God's intent, not just to rescue the lost tribes scattered across the earth, but to rescue everyone on earth who renounced wickedness and was willing to accept God's offer of reconcilation with the Lord.
With Satan locked up, the commanding general of the forces of wickedness was removed from his station. His troops were still here, the spirits of evil, but without leadership, they were rudderless and impotent. Capitalizing on that sudden void, the Church was able to seize control of the world, and for the period prophesied, ruled it with an iron hand (Ps.2:1-12).
That preaching, Jesus said, is the light of God shining on the earth. It will only last a certain time, the thousand years predicted, and then be nearly extinguished by darkness.
'Work while you have the light, darkness is coming when no one can work!' (Jn.9:4-5)
"Day of darkness and gloom, day of cloud and blackness. Like the dawn there spreads across the mountains a vast and mighty host...in their van the fire devours, in their rear a flame consumes. The country is like a garden of Eden ahead of them and a desert waste behind them. Nothing escapes them. They look like horses, like chargers they gallop on, with a racket like the clatter of chariots they hurtle over the mountain tops, with a crackling like a blazing fire devouring the stubble, a mighty army in battle array. At the sight of them the peoples are appalled and every face grows pale." (Joel 2:2-5).
That darkness foretells the imminent birth of the new kingdom. Prophecy teaches that the millenial rule of the Church on earth will seem to end in Satan's final attack, the tribulation. But darkness is not to prevail. God's promise to the House of David is eternal:
"Nevertheless, because of the covenant the LORD had made with David, the LORD was not willing to destroy the house of David. He had promised to maintain a lamp for him and his descendants forever." (2 Chron.21:7).
Majestically fulfilling this promise, the beast will be killed, his forces utterly vanishing by the hand of God, with no man intervening in their extermination. At the same time, led by Michael the Archangel, the House of David will return from it's exile to Babylon, journeying in secret to Jerusalem. Their arrival there will mean the reconciliation of Israel's two houses.
With great fanfare the Judeans will welcome their prince as he leads the entourage of the House of David through the eastern gate of the temple. As they enter Jerusalem, the Jews will greet them with the words Christ predicted. At that moment, the trumpet will sound and the birth of the new kingdom will instantly occur in the brilliance of the reappearance on earth of Jesus Christ as He returns as promised, surrounded by all the angels of heaven.
Then, with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, and the earth and all it contains will be burnt up, replaced by the kingdom of God descending like a glittering jewel from heaven. It's light will never be extinguished. In a righteousness that has no end, the dynasty of God's chosen David, the lamp that is the Lord Jesus Christ, will shine forever and ever.
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