Friday, December 11, 2015

The King, His Kingdom, and His Power

On the Lord’s Day nine days from now I’m speaking on the Davidic covenant from Romans 1:3, so I’ve been thinking about the importance of David in the Gospel. From the first chapter of the New Testament (Matthew 1:1) to the last (Revelation 22:16), God’s promise to David and its fulfillment in Christ is a massively important theme for the Book.

When we think about the Davidic covenant, I’ve usually limited my thinking to the King Himself.[1] Especially during this time of year, the Advent season, we read the promise of Gabriel, messenger of God, to Mary: “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:30-33).

Who was the king under the old covenant, and Who is the King under the new covenant?

David → Jesus Christ

Yesterday, meditating on the Davidic covenant, I began to think about the further implications beyond the King Himself.

Where was David’s throne under the old covenant, and where is the new David’s throne under the new covenant?

Enthroned in earthly Jerusalem → Enthroned in heavenly Jerusalem

While David reigned on his throne in the earthly Jerusalem under the old covenant (1 Kings 11:36; 1 Chronicles 23:25; 2 Chronicles 6:6; Jeremiah 3:17), the King of kings reigns on His throne in the heavenly Jerusalem (Galatians 4:26; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 3:12; 21-22).

What was David’s kingdom under the old covenant, and where is the new David’s kingdom under the new covenant?

Reigning over Israel & Judah → Reigning over heaven and earth

During the regency of David and his son Solomon the boundaries of the kingdom expanded to the range promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:18; 1 Kings 4:21). But this was the old covenant. As Christ is infinitely greater than David, and the heavenly Jerusalemite throne is infinitely greater than the earthly Jerusalemite throne, so, too, is the new covenant kingdom exponentially greater than the old covenant kingdom.

The new covenant kingdom is not limited to a single nation, a single people-group, or a single piece of real estate. The new covenant kingdom is “in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Why? Because that’s where the citizens of the kingdom are. They are from out of “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9) on earth. They are counted in heaven.

The “gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, Who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:1-3), is the same Gospel which is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (1:16). “The Jew…and also…the Greek” is a Pauline concept which means “all people groups.” The King is Jesus Christ, Seed of David. His throne is in heaven. His kingdom is over all of heaven and all of earth, and His loyal subjects are found scattered in every corner of the earth and enthroned in heaven. In the first chapter of Romans, the apostle Paul reminds us that the Gospel of the Son of David, the King, is the Gospel that is God’s very power. The power of His reign is the proclamation of His Gospel, not the strategies and means of worldly power. It is about the Gospel of Jesus Christ being proclaimed by His Church everywhere. And until we re-learn this lesson, Church, we will continue to see our power and influence get smaller and smaller.

Your efforts to rebuild the kingdoms of David, Solomon, and Constantine will fail, because each of these would be a pitiful, small, Gospel-denying step backwards.

It’s about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Imagine if our efforts, financial support, energy, and speech were thrown behind this evangelistic global mission as much as it is behind the little political games and conspiracies of the world system!

The Gospel, and nothing else, because it’s the means of the power of the King of kings throughout His all-encompassing Kingdom. Return to your Bibles, Church! Read the whole Book, Church! And repent. It's all bigger than you think it is, and the power is simpler (and mightier) than you think it is.

[1] The Davidic covenant is described in 2 Samuel 7:8-16; 1 Chronicles 17:1-14; Psalm 89:26-36; Acts 2:30. There are many, many other passages I could cite, as well, but these are the foundational ones.

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