trusting in Jesus

Jesus is a Jew and will sit on David’s throne

JESUS AND ISRAEL: PART 4
Jesus the coming King who will reign from Jerusalem

Jesus the coming King

The scriptures stress that Jesus is a Jew

The Western church often forgets her Jewish roots and tends to ignore the Old Testament. It often forgets that Jesus is a Jew. So it’s not surprising that the church also ignores the nation of Israel and related prophecy. In fact, many institutionalized churches (Anglican, Baptist, Methodist …) hold to Replacement Theology, link which says that the church has replaced Israel in terms of God’s witness in the world.

Such error arises because the church forgets that Jesus was, and is, a Jew. He is a descendant from the tribe of Judah (aka Jews), and from the Royal House of David. And prophecy says that one day soon Jesus will sit on David’s throne. Jesus the coming King will soon rule the nations.

 

The Genealogy of Jesus – His descent from the Tribe of Judah

Jesus the coming King

St. Denis Cathedral, France. The stained glass depicts the ancestors of Christ from Jesse onwards.
No machine-readable author provided. Amirwiki assumed. GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0,
via Wikimedia Commons. Enlarge

 

The gospel of Luke chapter 3 gives a chronological descent of Jesus from the time of Adam to His birth. Apart from spiritual inspiration, Luke’s genealogy is trustworthy in its own right since he was a “first rank” historian, link. Extracting key elements of this genealogy, we have:

  • Judah, son of Jacob
  • David, son of Jesse
  • Joseph, son of Heli
  • Jesus (as was supposed) the son of Joseph

At first glance it seems something is wrong here. Christian belief is that Mary was a virgin when she bore Jesus and so Joseph could not have been Jesus’ biological father. But we must remember that men in ancient times often regarded their sons-in-law as their own sons, link. In other words, Joseph’s name is only introduced instead of Mary’s, in conformity with the Jewish custom. So here, Heli is usually taken to be Joseph’s father in law and Luke’s genealogy is therefore usually taken to be Mary’s genealogy. Heli was Mary’s father.

This is interesting since, traditionally, Jewish status passes through the mother, not the father. So a person born to a Jewish mother is a Jew. And tracing back through Mary’s genealogy we see that Mary was descended from David who was descended from Judah (the prime source of the ‘Jew’).

The gospel of Mathew also gives a genealogy but this time it is usually take to be that of Joseph. Although different in detail to Mary’s genealogy, Mathew’s genealogy also traces Joseph back to King David and then to Judah. As Paul says:

Hebrews 7.13
It is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah

In other words, Jesus was, and is, a Jew. Moreover, by both His mother and His earthly father, Jesus has lineage going back to King David and so has a right to the throne of Israel. Let’s now examine this royal throne.

The Historic Throne of David

In the Second book of Samuel chapter 7 verse 16 we read that God made a covenant (the ‘Davidic Covenant’) with the famous David of the Old Testament:

Your house (i.e. family) and your kingdom (sphere of rule) will continue before me for all time, and your throne (royal authority) will be secure forever

This promise was conditional and disobedience to God’s Law would bring chastening, but not abrogation of the promise:

Psalm 89.30-37
If his sons forsake My law And do not walk in My judgments, If they violate My statutes And do not keep My commandments, Then I will punish their transgression with the rod And their iniquity with stripes. But I will not break off My loving kindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever And his throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the sky is faithful.

King David ruled Israel righteously around 1000 BC, but later his descendants went away from God’s law and did indeed suffer. There were deported to Babylon, and subsequently scattered across the nations. The scattering was essentially complete when Jerusalem was sacked and the Jewish temple destroyed by Rome in 70 AD. So where did David’s royal throne go? Has anyone been on his throne since David? Yes. Jesus admitted to Pilate that He was indeed a King – the King of the Jews:

Luke 23.3
So Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him and said, “It is as you say.”

Jesus was crowned with thorns, but nevertheless He said He was a King – a King of the Jews in the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah (aka Jews). The genealogy in Mathew chapter 1 confirms that Jesus is a Jew: “Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham”.

The Future Throne of David

As promised in the Davidic Covenant, despite Israel’s backsliding, the throne of David endures for ever. So what happens in the future? Before the birth of Jesus, Mary received the following promise:

Luke 1.32-33
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

This promise is usually ignored or given a symbolic interpretation by the institutionalized church. But when this church prays “Your Kingdom come, on earth, as it is in heaven”, what do they mean? Many prophecies point to a real kingdom on this earth – the Kingdom of God will indeed be established in the Millennial Age, as prayed in the Lord’s prayer. Looking to this future Kingdom we read:

Zechariah 14.9
And the Lord will be King over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one, and His name the only one.

Isaiah 9.7
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this

 

So there we have it: Jesus’ descent is from the tribe of Judah, so He is Jewish. Jesus’ lineage traces back to the line of David and so He has the right to sit on David’s throne. The world will soon be ruled by a Jewish King from Jerusalem. Remember: Jesus the coming King!

GO DEEPER

Jesus and Israel: What’s the Connection?

The Connection between Jesus and Israel is Fundamental

What is written in the Christian Bible about Jesus and Israel is deep and mysterious. Yet this mystery will soon be revealed to the world through end-time world events. It will affect everyone. So with national Israel in world focus today, it is natural to ask:

Is there any connection with the risen Jesus Christ
and the Israel we observe today (the people and the land)?

In particular, some ask

  • What do Jews and Gentiles think of Jesus?
  • Will today’s Jews every recognize Jesus as their ‘Messiah’. If so, when?
  • Are there two biblical Covenants, one for Jews and one for Gentiles? Or does the covenant promise to Israel merge into the New Covenant given to the church?
  • What is Christ’s relationship to the nation, Israel?
  • Did Jesus’ teaching replace the laws of the Hebrew scriptures?
  • Does Jesus fulfill the promises of blessing given to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Put another way, does Jesus and His church fulfill the role originally assigned to the nation of Israel – to be a light to the nations?
  • Has Christ’s church replaced Israel, as in Replacement Theology?
  • If Jesus and His church have taken the place of Old Testament Israel, what is the status and role of the nation of Israel today?
  • Is the modern State of Israel a product of man’s will, or a fulfillment of God’s prophetic word?
  • Does God recognize as ‘spiritual’ Israel all who respond in faith to follow Jesus?
  • Is the church related to the so-called ‘Ten Lost Tribes’? Are their descendants scattered amongst the Gentile church, link?
  • Did Jesus’ primary ministry (reconciliation of man to God) fulfill all that the Old Testament temple symbolized? Is a new temple in Jerusalem needed (as some maintain)?
  • Does the modern State of Israel have any claim to the land (Canaan) promised to Abraham and his descendants, noting that Israel failed to keep God’s covenant? Put another way, are modern Jews still the true heirs of the land promised regardless of their continued unbelief in Jesus?

Bible Prophecy Holds the Answer to many of these Questions

In his book Jesus and Israel: One Covenant or Two?, David Holwerda (professor of New Testament Studies, Calvin Theological Seminary) argues for a spiritual fulfillment of Bible prophecies, link. He rightly concludes that there is only one covenant and that “The way of salvation for both Jew and Gentile is the same because both must call on the name of Jesus to be saved“. But does a spiritual view of prophecy fit with the facts, with observed reality, with what we see happening in Israel today? Why can’t we take a pragmatic view of prophecies where the text is quite clear?

Jesus’ First Mission: He came primarily to His own people, the Jews (at that time, essentially from the tribe of Judah), but they rejected Him as their expected Messiah (the Moshiach):

He came to that which was His own [that which belonged to Him—His world, His creation, His possession], and those who were His own [people—the Jewish nation] did not receive and welcome Him (Jn 1.11, Amplified)

And He came not to abolish the Jewish Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them (Mat 5.17).

Jesus’ Second Mission: Why does Jesus return to the Jews in Jerusalem and not to the politically important people in the UN or the EU, for instance? The answer is that prophecy explicitly states that Jesus returns to rule the Gentile nations with justice as King from Jerusalem (Zech 14.9,16,17). He returns to sit on the ancient throne of king David, who reigned 33 years in Jerusalem (Isa 9.7).

He returns to usher in the fullness of the Kingdom of God – a Millennial age of peace when the nations go up to Jerusalem to worship Him (Isa 66.23)! He returns to dwell with His chosen nation, the people of Israel (Ezek.37.26-27). Perhaps most important of all, Jesus returns so that His people recognize Him as their true Messiah, their looked-for Moshiach:

They (the Jews) will look on Me whom they pierced … they will mourn for Him … in that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem (Zech 12.10,11)

Again, these promises are difficult to spiritualize.

Jesus returns to Jerusalem: Bible prophecy says that Jesus will return at the end of this age. And the place of his return? Jerusalem! So at the outset, Jesus and modern Israel are inextricably connected via modern-day Jerusalem. Geologists have even discovered a fault line running through the Mount of Olives, as required for the mountain to split in two at Christ’s Second Coming (Zech 14.4). That is difficult to spiritualize.

Jesus’ return is Unexpected: It will be preceded by deception (false Christs), but his actual return will be sudden, unexpected, and globally observed. In the gospel of Mathew, chapter 24, we read:

Many false prophets will appear and fool many people … if people tell you, ‘Look, he is out in the desert!’ — don’t go there; or if they say, ‘Look, he is hiding here!’ — don’t believe it. For the Son of Man will come like the lightning which flashes across the whole sky from the east to the west

Who Takes Jesus Seriously?

Jesus and Israel

Most Jews are confused over Jesus

As the video implies, most Jews in Israel today reject Yeshua (Jesus) as their looked-for ‘Messiah’ or ‘Moshiach’. Apart from a minority, those who claim to be religious follow Judaism, not Yeshua. This is alarming – but a fulfillment of prophecy. According to prophecy, God’s people (generically, the Jews) will return in unbelief to the land promised to Abraham and his descendants. The New Testament says that these Jews are suffering a temporary spiritual blindness and a temporary hardening of the heart towards God and especially towards Yeshua (Rom 11.25). Only at the very end of this age, under tribulation, does the vast majority of Jews recognize Yeshua as their Messiah (Zech 12.10-14).

In an ever-darkening western world, skeptics claim that nobody of our era has seen Jesus of Nazareth as the person who lived some 2,000 years ago. Where is he? He died didn’t he? For example, a vast majority of young people in Europe now reject Christianity, link. Some 70% of young people in the UK identify with no religion.

Yet billions of people worldwide who call themselves Christians believe he is a living person, trust him, and hang on to every word he said, as written in the New Testament writings of the Bible. And it is these same scriptures that give shocking warnings to those who don’t believe and consciously reject him. The warnings are so radical that they are brushed off as delusional ideas of the disciples of this controversial personality. The warnings are seen as fundamentalist dogma.

Here’s a series of four thought-provoking exposés about Jesus of Nazareth, born in the land of Israel as a Jew and predicted to return to Jerusalem to become King of a world-ruling government.
 

READ ABOUT:
Jesus the man
Jesus the Jew
Jesus the Creator
Jesus the coming King

Jesus and Israel

 
 
Part 1:
Jesus the man: What the eyewitnesses said about him

Jesus and Israel

 
 
Part 2:
Jesus the Jew: This has deep implications for Israel

Jesus and Israel

 
 
Part 3:
Jesus the Creator: He died for His creation. Do you believe it?

Jesus and Israel

 
 
Part 4:
Jesus the coming king: He will rule the nations from Jerusalem


Messianic Jews: What do they believe?