Premillennialism in the Old Testament (Part 5)
Written by: Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum Posted on: 10/06/2006
4. The Reestablishment of the Davidic Throne
a. The Basis: The Davidic Covenant
The fourth facet of the final restoration of Israel is the reestablishment of the Davidic Throne. This is based upon the Davidic Covenant, found in two passages of Scripture: II Samuel 7:11b-16 and I Chronicles 17:10-15.
In essence, then, the Davidic Covenant promised four eternal things: an eternal Dynasty, an eternal Kingdom, an eternal Throne, and an eternal Person. The eternality of the Dynasty, Kingdom, and Throne are guaranteed only because the Seed of David culminated in the Person Who is Himself eternal.
The Messiah holds three offices: prophet, priest, and king. However, He does not function in all these offices simultaneously. Rather, the functioning of these three offices is to be carried out in a chronological sequence. During His ministry on earth at His First Coming, Jesus functioned in the office of a prophet. But this ceased at the time of His death. Since His death and resurrection, and until He returns, He is functioning in the office of a priest. This duty will cease at the Second Coming. Jesus has never yet functioned in the office of a king. For Him to do so, there must be the reestablishment of the Davidic Throne upon which He will sit to rule as King over Israel and King of the world. This duty will begin at the Second Coming.
b. The Prophetic Development
While this facet of Israel's final restoration has not been as fully developed as the others, it has not been totally ignored. Some of the prophetic developments, such as Jeremiah 23:5-6 and Isaiah 9:6-7, have already been discussed in Chapter 17, General Characteristics of the Messianic Kingdom, on the government of the Messianic Age. But besides these, there are several other passages, such as Psalm 89:3-4. In this passage God states that He has made an eternal covenant with David (v. 3), including the establishment of an eternal dynasty and an eternal throne (v. 4).
The eternality of the Dynasty and the Throne is restated later in the same Psalm, in verse 29.
Still later, verses 34-37 state that the continuation of the covenant is not dependent upon David or upon his descendants, but upon God's character (v. 34). Since God does not lie, the covenant is sure to stand (v. 35). For that very reason, the eternality of the Dynasty and the Throne is assured (vv. 36-37).
Another prophetic passage is Jeremiah 33:17-26. The emphasis in this passage is clearly on the eternality of and the impossibility of breaking the Davidic Covenant. Under no circumstances will the House of David ever become extinct (vv. 17-18), for the Davidic Covenant is both unconditional and eternal (vv. 19-21). Ultimately the seed of David will be greatly multiplied (v. 22). The reestablishment of the Davidic Throne will be the antidote to the poisonous teaching that God no longer intends to fulfill His covenants with Israel (vv. 23-26). God is not through with Israel (vv. 23-24), but will fulfill every promise of the Davidic Covenant (vv. 25-26a) and the Abrahamic Covenant (v. 26b).
One other passage in the Old Testament is Amos 9:11-12. When the Kingdom is established, the ruins of the House of David will be repaired, and the Davidic Throne will again exercise all the glory of the days gone by (v. 11). But in addition to all the glory of the past, the authority of the reestablished Davidic Throne will extend to all the Gentile nations (v. 12).
The promises that God made to Israel have not been rendered null and void. Israel is yet to enjoy all the promises of the four unfulfilled unconditional covenants, each of which points respectively to the four facets of Israel's final restoration.
B. Other Characteristics of Israel's Final Restoration
Besides the various features mentioned in the passages dealing with the covenants and their prophetic developments, other passages develop additional characteristics which may or may not necessarily be connected with any specific covenant. Some of these other characteristics that will be true at the time of Israel's final restoration will be dealt with in this section.
1. Reunited as a Nation
One of the other major features of the final restoration is that Israel will be reunited as a nation, never to be divided into two separate kingdoms again. This is mentioned by Jeremiah 3:18.
The key passage for this characteristic is found in the Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones of Ezekiel 37:1-23. Ezekiel is first commanded to prophesy over the dry bones scattered all over the valley (vv. 1-6). When he does, the bones all come together with sinews and skin, and then the breath of life is given to them so they become alive again (vv. 7-10). As God interprets the Vision of the Valley of Dry Bones (vv. 11-17), these bones are said to represent the whole House of Israel, which has become spiritually dead and dispersed (v. 11). Yet God will regather them, and they will again possess the Land (vv. 12-13). At the time of the regathering and possession of the Land, Israel will be regenerated by the Spirit of God so as to have a living and right relationship (v. 14). Then the prophet continues, in Ezekiel 37:15-23. Ezekiel is commanded to take two sticks, and on one stick he is to write Judah and on the other Joseph, and then put the two sticks together so they become one stick in his hand (vv. 15-17). The interpretation of the miracle is that the two kingdoms will some day be reunited into one nation (vv. 18-20). When the regathering of Israel comes (v. 21), they will not be regathered into two nations, but into only one, for they will be under one King in one Kingdom (v. 22). At that time they will be thoroughly cleansed of their sins, which were the root cause of the original division (v. 23).
2. The Center of Gentile Attention
A second major characteristic of Israel's final restoration is that they will become the center of Gentile attention. A number of passages speak of this, such as Isaiah 14:12. After Israel's regeneration and restoration (v. 1a), Gentiles will align themselves with Israel in order to worship the God of Israel (v. 1b). In fact, as Israel is being regathered, not only will this be accomplished with the help of angels, but the Gentiles will be conducting the Jews back into the Land (v. 2a). Finally, the Gentiles will be possessed by Israel and will become the servants of Israel (v. 2b).
A similar statement is made in Isaiah 49:22-23. Again, the regathering of Israel is said to be with the aid of the Gentiles, who will conduct the Jews back into the Land (v. 22). At that time, the Gentiles of every social stratum will become the servants of Israel (v. 23a), and Israel will never again be shamed by them (v. 23b).
According to Isaiah 60:1-3, the reason why Israel will become the center of Gentile attention is due to the fact that the Shekinah Glory will abide over Israel.
Isaiah 61:4-9 states that when the regathering takes place, Israel will rebuild all the desolate cities of the Land (v. 4). At that time, the Gentiles will become servants to Israel, and will feed the flocks and plow the fields (v. 5). As for Israel, they will be the ministers of the Word to the Gentiles (v. 6a) and will receive the wealth of the Gentiles for their enjoyment (v. 6b). Israel will never again be shamed by the Gentiles, but rather they will receive a double portion of all blessings and possessions (v. 7). This will be the result of the New Covenant (v. 8). The Jews will be known among the Gentiles, and all the Gentiles will acknowledge that it is the Jews who have been especially chosen by God for special blessings (v. 9).
Isaiah's contemporary, Micah, also had something to say in this regard in Micah 7:14-17. Israel is to be regathered in order to possess the Land (v. 14), and this regathering will be accompanied by miracles (v. 15). When the Gentiles see this, they will cease reproaching the Jews and will have a reverential fear of the Jews. They will then submit to the God of Israel (vv. 16-17).
That Israel's final restoration will cause the Jews to become the center of Gentile attention was also revealed in Zephaniah 3:20.
Finally, in Zechariah 8:23, the prophet stated:
Thus says Jehovah of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, they shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.
In the past, when ten Gentiles grabbed the clothes of the Jew, it was for other reasons than to say, Let us go with you, for we have heard God is with you. At the time of the final restoration, the Jews will no longer be reproached. Instead, Jews will be treated with reverential respect, for they will be known as the ministers of God.
3. Righteousness, Holiness, Peace, Security, Joy, and Gladness
Another feature of Israel's final restoration combines the various characteristics of righteousness, holiness, peace, security, joy, and gladness. Righteousness and peace are the primary characteristics in Isaiah 32:16-20; holiness, peace, security, and joy are emphasized in Isaiah 35:5-10, things that will earmark the time of Israel's regathering; joy and gladness are stressed in Isaiah 51:3; joy and peace in nature and man are highlighted in Isaiah 55:12-13; and in Isaiah 61:10-11, the emphasis is on the righteousness aspect.
C. The Millennial Mountain
At the time of the Second Coming of the Messiah, the Land will undergo some tremendous geographical and topographical changes. One of the key changes in the Land of Israel will be the rise of a very high mountain that will become the highest mountain of the world. On top of this mountain the Millennial Temple and the Millennial Jerusalem will stand.
There are several passages that speak of this Millennial Mountain of Jehovah's House. One such place is Isaiah 2:2-4. This clearly states that the mountain upon which Jehovah's House will stand will be the highest of all the mountains, and by far the most exalted (v. 2a). All the nations will move toward it in pilgrimage in order to learn the ways of God because the Law of the Millennial Kingdom will emanate from this mountain (vv. 2b-3). This will result in worldwide peace because differences among the nations will be settled by the Word of the Lord that will come from the Mountain of Jehovah's House (vv. 3b-4).
Later, in Isaiah 27:13, the prophet pointed out that this high mountain will become the center of Jewish worship.
But not the Jews only, for Isaiah 56:6-8 points out the fact that this great Mountain of Jehovah's House will become a place of prayer for all peoples, Jews and Gentiles alike:
By means of the Gentile nations, the people of Israel will brought and regathered to the Mountain of Jehovah's House, according to Isaiah 66:20.
Isaiah's contemporary, the Prophet Micah, also spoke of this great Mountain in Micah 4:1-2 with words that are similar to, or quoting, Isaiah's.
The Mountain of Jehovah's House will be exalted above every mountain and hill (v. 1), and the law of God will proceed from this mountain (v. 2).
The prophet who received the most revelation regarding the Mountain of Jehovah's House was Ezekiel, who first introduced it in Ezekiel 17:22-24, which describes the mountain of the height of Israel as a place of lush greenery and vegetation.
Later, in Ezekiel 20:40-41, the prophet declared that the mountain will serve as the center of Jewish worship in the Kingdom. After Israel's regeneration and regathering, she will worship the Lord in this high, lofty, and holy mountain.
Only in the closing chapters of his book does Ezekiel give the details of what this very high Mountain of Jehovah's House will be like, in three different places: Ezekiel 40:1-4; 45:1-8; and 48:8-20.
After announcing that the high mountain is to be fifty miles square (v. 8), Ezekiel begins to describe the northern section. This northern section will be twenty miles by fifty miles and will be inhabited by priests, for in the very center of this section, the Millennial Temple is to stand. The priests who are to occupy this area around the Temple are the descendants of Zadok, because that segment of the Tribe of Levi remained faithful while the rest went astray. The central section will also measure twenty miles by fifty miles. This area will be reserved for the rest of the Tribe of Levi, those Levites who did not belong to the line of Zadok. The southern section is to measure ten miles by fifty miles, in the middle of which the Millennial Jerusalem is to be built. Jerusalem will be in the very center of this southern section and will measure ten miles by ten miles. The two remaining portions of the southern section, east and west of Jerusalem, will each measure ten miles by twenty miles, and will be for the purpose of growing food for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Jerusalem will not belong to any particular tribe but will be inhabited by members of all the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
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