Last weeks blog opened the discussion on the Kingdom of Heaven. Messiah’s eternal reign will begin when He permeates the earth and destroys the reigning kingdom of His enemy.
Before describing the reign of His enemy, I will begin to capture the historical record of the kingdom of Judah, as well as other kingdoms provided in Scripture. Note: There is reason Jesus is called the KING of kings.
One of the most life changing Bible studies I ever did was a study of the book of Daniel. Daniel’s experience, visions, and prophecies bring the historical and prophetic account of Scripture to life in a manner relevant to the world today.
If your a history fan, chances are you have heard of the Roman and Greek empires. Perhaps you have also heard of the Persians and the Medes. What I did not know prior to 2013 was Daniel’s foretelling of the reign of those empires (see future post).
Historical Record of kings
The more I study Scripture the more I realize there is purpose in every detail. I can see the extensive list of names, places, genealogies, and more. Everything is interconnected, the different “books” of the Bible build upon one another. The idea of Scripture interpreting Scripture is quite literal. Let’s examine this passage for example:
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. 2. The Lord handed Jehoiakim king of Judah over to him, along with some of the vessels from the house of God. Nebuchadnezzar carried them to the land of Babylon, to the house of his god, and put the vessels in the treasury of his god. (Daniel 1:1,2)
Who is Jehoiakim?
Contextual insight for this passage is provided in 2 Kings chapter twenty-three and twenty-four and 2 Chronicles chapter thirty-six. Jehoiakim was one of Josiah’s (Judah’s former king) sons. In the history of Judah’s kings Jehoiakim was the last to reign before Judah was exiled into Babylon (ruled by Nebuchadnezzar). Daniel’s account begins while Judah was exiled in Babylon, in fact he (Daniel) was deported to Babylon when Judah was seized.
The Cause of Judah’s Exile: Who’s involved and why it matters?
Judah was in covenant relationship with Yahweh which stipulated obedience to His righteous and holy commands (Exodus 19:5,6; Deuteronomy 7:6-11), (note: God’s law is perfect and defines holiness (Romans 7:12; 1 Tim. 1:8), resulting in blessings, including dwelling in the land God cherishes and loves as His own (Zechariah 2; Genesis 17:3-8; 1 Chronicles 16:15-18). The different leaders reigning as king in Judah had a long history of disobedience, though some kings such as Josiah established reform. After Josiah carried out a significant cleansing in Judah (2 Kings 23) and led the people to return to the covenant established during the time of Moses, his sons returned to evil practices, resulting in Judah’s exile.
On a global scale this was a time in history when Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, invaded Assyria (2 Kings 23:29). After killing Josiah, he deported one of Josiah’s sons (Jehoahaz) to Egypt and changed his other sons name from Eliakim to Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim became king in Judah. Before these things took place Jeremiah the prophet prophesied in advance foretelling the events concerning Neco, Pharaoh of Egypt (Jeremiah 46), and Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (Jeremiah 50).
This is what is meant by Scripture interpreting Scripture. The prophets foretell God’s plan and actions concerning events in human history. In this section we started with a passage from the book of Daniel and referred to 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, and Jeremiah for understanding of the people and places mentioned.
Let’s Get our Bearings
I needed to lay this outline and connect the different accounts provided in Scripture by its various authors because the details are extremely significant in paving the way to understanding Jesus reigning as KING on earth as He does in heaven, we are quickly approaching His rule.
There was a time in history when the God of Abraham, the God of Issac, and the God of Jacob established an earthly empire first ruled by Saul and then passed to David and his descendants eternally (see future post for others reigning in the divided kingdom). There came a point in human history when Yahweh forewarned His people through the prophets that He sent, that their kingdom would be handed over to gentile rulers. The verses shared in this post from the book of Daniel, 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles etc., record the fulfillment of Judah being captured and exiled the first time.
Why talk about the kingdom of Judah, book of Daniel, and gentile rulers in this series?
The kingdom of Judah is the literal/physical kingdom ruled by David’s descendants. Yahweh established an eternal covenant with David, assuring one of his descendants would reign on the throne eternally (2 Sam. 23:5; 2 Sam.7:10-13; Acts 2:30). Jesus is the KING to reign on David’s throne eternally. He is the One the scepter and staff will not depart from and the obedience of the people belongs to Him (Genesis 49: 9,10). When we hear Jesus talk about the kingdom of Heaven we are listening in to see what the KING says about His kingdom.
What Did Jesus Teach about Israel/Judah?
During His time on earth Messiah made several statements that were present tense pertaining to Israel/Judah:
“He replied, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24)
Jesus sent out these 12 after giving them instructions: “Don’t take the road leading to other nations, and don’t enter any Samaritan town. 6 Instead, go to the house of Israel. 7. As you go, announce this: “The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ *
He also made statements that were prophetic and pertained to the near and distant future:
Jesus told her, “Believe Me, woman, an hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know. We worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews. (John 4:21-22)
- There would come a time when worshipping Yahweh would not happen in Israel or Judea (specifically Jerusalem) because as the next verses indicate, the temple would be destroyed (More to come on the temple built during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah).
“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that its desolation has come near. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains! Those inside the city must leave it, and those who are in the country must not enter it, because these are days of vengeance to fulfill all the things that are written. Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for there will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke 21:20-24
- The statement made by Jesus in these verses are in response to the disciples question, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”
~The details here are important~
In the following verse Jesus explained that the CURRENT (meaning present at His time on earth) temple buildings would be destroyed:
As Jesus left and was going out of the temple complex, His disciples came up and called His attention to the temple buildings. 2. Then He replied to them, “Don’t you see all these things? I assure you: Not one stone will be left here on another that will not be thrown down!”
Much more to come on Matthew chapter 24 (LORD willing of course) but for now note this prophetic verse applied to a temple that once stood NOT one that would be standing in the future (May the LORD give us eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to understand).
As this series continues, my goal is share the things I’m learning and understanding as the KING has commanded in Matthew 28:18-20. In addition to sharing the teachings of Jesus, this series gives geographical, historical, and cultural context to the verses presented by observing the entirety of Scripture.