Day 8: Jesus is the King of Israel

Prayer:  Father in heaven, we want to know Jesus as our reigning King.  Come and establish Your Kingdom in our hearts and in our home.  Show us what that will mean in our everyday lives.  Amen.

Primary Scripture: 

John 1:49:  Nathanael answered and said to Him “Rabbi, You are the Son of God!  You are the King of Israel!”

The primary prophecies about the Messiah centered on promises of a coming King—at least these were the prophecies the people of Israel latched onto.  He was to be the rightful and legitimate heir to David’s throne.  His rule was to be extensive in every way.  In relation to time (or Historically --??), His reign would be eternal; He would sit on David’s throne forever.  In relation to geographic location (or Geographically -- ?), His rule would extend even further (farther??) than Solomon’s.  In relation to international politics (or Politically --?), His power would not only dominate, but also crush all other kingdoms in the world. 

This King would usher in an unprecedented era of peace, a Garden-of-Eden-like utopia.  The wolf would lie down with the lamb.  The nations would beat their swords into plowshares.  There would be no more war.  The glory of God would cover the earth as the waters covered the sea.  This was the hope of Israel; this was their messianic expectation.

It began with David.  Prior to David, there had been only one king of Israel.  In their national infancy, Israel had been led by the prophet Moses; he had been succeeded by the military leader Joshua.  Then came a cyclical series of foreign rule during which time judges of varying degrees of justice and corruption rallied the people to drive out the oppressors.  The times were dark and the people grew increasingly desperate.  The Israelites had begged for a king so they could be like the nations around them.  It was a personal rejection of God as their King, yet God granted their request:  King Saul, head and shoulders above other men.  All seemed well; the future looked bright—for a brief while.  But the people had jumped ahead of God in their zeal for national identity with the other nations, and their king also did not want to wait on God.  The newly formed kingdom ended in disunity, chaos, and disillusioning, gruesome defeat. 

But God had purposed to give them a king—a shepherd king:  David, the shepherd boy anointed king, the man after God’s own heart, the prototype of the Messiah.  In I Samuel 7:16, after David’s kingdom was firmly established, God promised David through Nathan the prophet that his house, his kingdom, and his throne would be established forever.  David paved the way for Israel’s golden age.  Though his kingdom had its skirmishes and he himself had moments of great weakness and failure, still, when all was said and done, the kingdom was stable and thriving.  Under his son, the nation entered a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity, national expansion and international recognition.  Surely the people thought this was the eternal dynasty God had promised that would go on forever.

However, as all human kingdoms do, even this glorious kingdom degenerated into all manner of false ideologies, which in turn led, as they always do, to corruption.  Within just a few hundred years, that Davidic dynasty appeared to be thrown on the ash heap of history like all the others.  Was that promise of God merely metaphoric, a figure of speech, an expression not to be taken literally?  Ah, no!  Although the kingdom of Israel was first divided and then the northern part ransacked by the Assyrians and the southern part destroyed and its people carried off into captivity by the Babylonians, God’s Word and plan had not been altered nor deterred.  God had promised that He would raise up a King, a Branch from David’s root, who would not only reunite the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah but bring righteousness to the whole earth (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

Babylon’s attempt at integration failed.  The attempt to assimilate the Jewish people into the mix of the other nations, thus diluting and annihilating the Jewish race, proved futile; and after seventy years of captivity the people of Israel returned to their own land.  Then followed another 400+ years of insignificance and oppression by one foreign power after another.  One of the rich and often overlooked miracles of that long period of upheaval is the fact that the family lineages had still been recorded and were known, as Luke records:  “So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.  Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David.”  And the complete family line of both Joseph (in Matthew 1) and Mary (in Luke 3) are recorded to reveal beyond all doubt that this Child to be born was from the line of David.  The Davidic promise of a kingdom and throne that would last forever, an eternal descendant, was being fulfilled.

Imagine the breath-catching amazement Mary must have felt when she heard the words of the angel, "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.  And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." (Luke 1:32-33)  The Jewish people had slogged their weary way through four hundred oppressive years of prophetic silence, which had followed 600 prior years of waiting for the Davidic promise to be fulfilled.  One thousand years of waiting, watching, wondering.  And now!  At last! . . . But few believed.  And the tide turned against Him as Simeon had prophesied when the Messianic babe was only a month old:  "This Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."  Speaking directly to Mary, he gave this grave prediction, "Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also." (Luke 2:34-35)

A Davidic king who would reign forever?  The promise seemed crushed.  The Child, grown man, was crucified; and within a generation the Roman government had ground the little rebel nation of Israel into dust, leaving not one stone upon another.  No great kingdom materialized—or did it?  Jesus had told Pilate on the day of His crucifixion that His Kingdom was not of this world.  When the leaders of Israel refused to acknowledge His resurrection, they also failed to see that their attempts to stamp out His influence by threatening and murdering His followers only served to promote His ascendancy and power:  His Kingdom was indeed established and extending.  It was—and is—impossible for any earthly power to stop, for it is both tangible and intangible; it has an earthly presence, yet it has no borders, no buildings housing governmental headquarters.  It cannot be stopped by any form of earthly warfare.  God’s promise to David was far more magnificent than any of Israel’s earthly hopes and dreams or expectations.  Here was a King with a kingdom not just for the time and space of history, but for eternity—that which cannot be quantified by time and space.

After the resurrection, Jesus ascended to the Throne.  Not a throne here on earth, but the one established in the heavens before time began, which no earthly power can touch or unseat.  Hebrews 1:3 tells us that the Messiah Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high (also Hebrews 12:2).  And since that time, His Kingdom and government have been expanding, as people all over the world come to acknowledge Him as their Savior and Lord.  As God had promised, “Of the increase of His government and peace there would be no end; the zeal of the Lord of hosts would perform this.” (Isaiah 9:7)

In Revelation 5:6-7, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, steps from the Throne to receive from God the Father the scroll which judges the nations, sealed with seals only the Messiah could open.  The breaking of the seals sets in motion all the judgments that follow.  At the end of the 2nd set of the outpouring of three sets of seven judgments, this announcement is heralded:  “The kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”  From this verse comes perhaps the most famous musical composition in all of history:  The Hallelujah Chorus by Handel.  The very last judgment culminates in His final coronation as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:11-16)!

The dream that had struck terror in the heart of mighty King Nebuchadnezzar finds its fulfillment here.  The Stone made without hands that would crush every other kingdom on earth no matter how splendid or powerful has grown into a great mountain and filled all the earth.  In the interpretation of that dream by Daniel the prophet, the God of heaven had promised to set up a Kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and that Kingdom shall not be left to other people, as all other kingdoms on earth have successively been.  The King of this Kingdom will reign in perpetuity, forever!  He rose to never die again, for He broke the power of death and holds the keys to death and hell (Hebrews 2:14, Revelation 1:18).  His Kingdom would break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. (Daniel 2:24-45)

Toward the end of his life Nebuchadnezzar affirms that the Most High lives forever and His Dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His Kingdom is from generation to generation (Daniel 4:34-35).  Later the Persian king Darius writes a decree to all his realm that the God of Daniel is the living God, steadfast forever; His Kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His Dominion shall endure to the end (Daniel 6:26-27).  Daniel himself writes of a vision he was given:  “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven!  He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.  Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.  His Dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away; and His Kingdom, the one which shall not be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:9-14)  At the end of another vision Daniel says, “His Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.” (Daniel 7:27)

The promise given by Isaiah the prophet had been long awaited:  “For unto us a Child is born unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder…of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.  Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)  After centuries of heaven’s seeming silence, the angel came and reiterated the promise to the young virgin girl Mary.  The promise reawakened.  A spark ignited that would set all of history—yea, even all eternity—ablaze.  The night Jesus was born, God unfurled the Banner of His Kingdom!

Jesus Christ:  The King of Israel and the eternal King of kings!

Other Related Scriptures:  

John 12:12-16:  The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:  “Hosanna!  ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’  The King of Israel!”  Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written:  “Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.”

John 18:33-19:3, 14-22:  Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” 
Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?”
Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew?  Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered Your to me.  What have You done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world.  If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” 
Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king.  For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”  And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.  But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover.  Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
Then they all cried again, saying, “Not this Man, but Barabbas!”  Now Barabbas was a robber.
So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.  And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.  Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!”  And they struck Him with their hands…
Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour.  And he [Pilate] said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
But they cried out, “Away with Him, Away with Him!  Crucify Him!” 
Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” 
The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”
Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified.  So they took Jesus and led Him away.  And He, bearing His cross went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. 
Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross.  And the writing was:  JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.  Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.  Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.”’”
Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

Jeremiah 23:5-6:  “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.  In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; now this is His name by which He will be called:  The Lord Our Righteousness.”

I Timothy 6:13-16:  I urge you I the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power.  Amen.

Revelation 17:14:  These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.

Revelation 19:11-16:  Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse.  And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.  His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns.  He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.  He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.  Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.  And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron.  He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Song:  Rejoice the Lord Is King
       or Sing We the King

1

Sing we the King who is coming to reign,

Glory to Jesus, the Lamb that was slain;

Righteousness, peace then His empire shall bring,

Joy to the nations when Jesus is King.

 

 

Chorus:
Come let us sing: Praise to our King,

Jesus our King, Jesus our King:

This is our song, who to Jesus belong:

Glory to Jesus, to Jesus our King.

 

2

All men shall dwell in His marvelous light,

Races long severed His love shall unite,

Justice and truth from His scepter shall spring,

Wrong shall be ended when Jesus is King.

 

3

All shall be well in His kingdom of peace,

Freedom shall flourish and wisdom increase,

Foe shall be friend when His triumph we sing,

Sword shall be sickle when Jesus is King.

 

4

Knowledge and fear of the Lord then shall be

As the deep waters that cover the sea;

All things shall be in the splendor of spring

And all harmonious when Jesus is King.

 

5

Kingdom of Christ, for thy coming we pray,

Hasten, O Father, the dawn of the day

When this new song Thy creation shall sing,

Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King.

Family Worship:
When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, one of the requests is "Your Kingdom come . . . on earth as it is in heaven."  As a family, discuss what it would look like if God's Kingdom, the one in which Jesus reigns as King, came your home.  What would conversations be like at the dinner table?  What would your living room activities be?  Would things in your home life change if Jesus were King in every room and in every heart?  Conclude your family time with prayer.  Pray through your home, asking God to establish His Kingdom in every room, in every activity, in every word and deed and relationship.