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