End Times - Week 24
Thursday Evening Bible Study
Series: the End Times – Bible prophecy about future events and periods
Teaching Summary for Week 24
The Kingdom and the Covenants
Part 6. The future Messianic Kingdom in Old Testament prophecy
The Old Testament prophets wrote extensively about the future Messianic Kingdom. In fact, the future Kingdom is referred to by nearly every Old Testament prophet.
We now turn our attention to the facts about the Kingdom that the Old Testament prophets describe.
The Government in the future prophesied Kingdom
This is a subject that receives extensive treatment in the writings of the prophets.
The Form and Nature of the government:
Monarchy. a theocracy = directly governed by God. Mediatorial King will rule as judge, lawgiver, and king. (Isa 33:17-22).
The government will be virtuous. truth, holiness, righteousness, and justice. a throne of grace and mercy. The city of Jerusalem will be the capital of the Messiah’s worldwide kingdom (Isa 2:1-4; Jer 3:17).
The Organization of the Millennial Kingdom
This subject demands close attention and careful treatment.
In fact, I have changed this section based on additional study I completed in the past week. The changes have to do with the role of the historical David in the Messianic Kingdom.
The Messianic Kingdom will be administered through an absolute monarchy with a definite chain of command and lines of authority.
The absolute monarch will be the Person of Jesus the Messiah. He will delegate authority through His chain of command.
After more study, I have concluded that the writings of the prophets do not clearly support this position.
First of all, the prince in Ezekiel 44-48 is not identified as David. In fact, the identity of the prince is not given at all in Ezekiel 44-48.
This prince is a man who will occupy a high position in the government under King Messiah. He provides the sin offering (Eze 45:21-22) , leads worships at the threshold of the gate (Eze 46:1-2), and has sons to whom he gives gifts out of his inheritance (Eze 46:16).
But there is no reference to David in Ezekiel 44-48. So it is best not to presume that this prince is David. He might be, but that would be speculation.
Now, there is a prince in Ezekiel who IS identified as David. He is found in chapters 34 and 37 of the book of Ezekiel.
23 "Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David, and he will feed them; he will feed them himself and be their shepherd. 24 "And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David will be prince among them; I the Lord have spoken.
But is this the same prince as the one who appears in Ezekiel 45 and 46?
More importantly, is this prince referring to the historic David resurrected , or to the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ?
The key word that unlocks the identity of the prince in Ezekiel 34 and 37 is “shepherd”.
Who is the shepherd?
11 For thus says the Lord God, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 " As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. 13 "I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. 14 "I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord God. 16 "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.
From this passage in Ezekiel 34, it becomes clear that the shepherd of Israel is the Lord Himself. The Lord would take on human flesh and be the shepherd of Israel.
This can be no other than the Messiah who was born of a virgin - our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 " But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity."
3 Therefore He will give them up until the time
When she who is in labor has borne a child.
Then the remainder of His brethren
Will return to the sons of Israel.
4 And He will arise and shepherd His flock
In the strength of the Lord,
In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God.
And they will remain,
Because at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth.
4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, " In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:
6 'AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH,
ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH;
FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER
WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.'"
And Jesus identifies Himself as the good shepherd in Joh 10:11-17.
In addition, the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ, is called the prince in prophecy:
6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
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.
25 "So you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
In the book of Acts, Peter refers to Jesus as the Prince:
15 but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses.
But Peter and the apostles answered, " We must obey God rather than men. 30 " The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 31 " He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
So what about the other points made to support the notion that the prince in Ezekiel 34 and 37 is the historical David resurrected from the dead?
It’s true that Christ is usually not called David in the Scriptures. Rather, He is called the Branch unto David (Jer 23:5), Son of David (15 times, including Mat 21:9), Seed of David (Joh 7:42), the Root of David (Rev 5:5) , and Root and Offspring of David (Rev 22:16).
Isaiah mentions David in connection with the new covenant – which will be fulfilled in the Messianic Kingdom.
3 " Incline your ear and come to Me.
Listen, that you may live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
According to the faithful mercies shown to David.
4 "Behold, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
A leader and commander for the peoples.
It turns out however that this verse is cited by Paul in Acts 13:
And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, 33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, 'YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.' 34 "As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ' I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.' 35 "Therefore He also says in another Psalm, 'YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.' 36 "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay; 37 but He whom God raised did not undergo decay.
Paul is speaking about Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He contrasts Jesus with David who died and underwent decay.
So the leader and commander for the peoples in Isaiah 55:4 is our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord does call the historic David “my servant, David” many times.
But our Lord Jesus Christ is ALSO called the servant of Jehovah in the Old Testament.
1 " Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.
2 "He will not cry out or raise His voice,
Nor make His voice heard in the street.
3 "A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 "He will not be disheartened or crushed
Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law."
10 But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
11 As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.
8 'Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you — indeed they are men who are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch.
To sum up, then:
The prince, “My servant David”, in Ezekiel chapters 34 and 37 is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah and King of Israel.
But the prince in Ezekiel 45 and 46 is another prince, who will serve the Messiah. He will be a man, a Jewish prince, who will be living at the time of our Lord’s return. He is not identified by name.
But what about Jer 30:8-9?
Isn’t it true that our Lord Jesus Christ will come down from heaven , while David would be the one who the Lord will raise from the dead?
8 'It shall come about on that day,' declares the Lord of hosts, 'that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves. 9 'But they shall serve the Lord their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
The Lord did raise the Messiah from the dead! The prophets were not told about the two advents separated by the church age.
That leaves the passages where the Lord is mentioned alongside David: Hosea 3:5; Ezekiel 37:21-25; 34:24; Jeremiah 30:9, and Isaiah 55:4.
While this could conceivably refer to the Lord Jesus Christ and the historical David resurrected from the dead, there are other possibilities.
It could also be referring to our Lord Jesus Christ in His deity and His humanity.
It could also be referring to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Principle of interpretation: when faced with several alternatives that a case can be made for, go with the one that gives the most glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.
That would be the second one here: The Lord Jesus Christ in His deity and His humanity.
It is certainly possible that the historical David resurrected from the dead will be one of these nobles.
We begin with the prophet Daniel:
Daniel foresees that these Jewish saints will be resurrected in the end times, and there will be a noble group that will receive great honor and glory (“shine brightly”) .
1 "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 2 " Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. 3 " Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.
Isaiah speaks of a group of princes who will rule during the Millennial Reign:
1 Behold, a king will reign righteously
And princes will rule justly.
2 Each will be like a refuge from the wind
And a shelter from the storm,
Like streams of water in a dry country,
Like the shade of a huge rock in a parched land.
Ezekiel also makes reference to princes who are in positions of authority in the Millennium:
7 "The prince shall have land on either side of the holy allotment and the property of the city, adjacent to the holy allotment and the property of the city, on the west side toward the west and on the east side toward the east, and in length comparable to one of the portions, from the west border to the east border.
8 "This shall be his land for a possession in Israel; so My princes shall no longer oppress My people, but they shall give the rest of the land to the house of Israel according to their tribes."
It is quite likely that Zerubbabel will be one of these princes:
The signet ring represented delegated authority.
It should be pointed out that Zerubbabel was also of the House of David.
And in the New Testament the Lord Jesus Christ identifies other Jewish nobles – the twelve apostles - who will judge the twelve tribes of Israel in the Messianic Kingdom (Mat 19:28; Luk 22:30).
27 Then Peter said to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?" 28 And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
28 "You are those who have stood by Me in My trials; 29 and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
There will be additional allocations of authority in the administration of the government as well.
For example, the parable in Luke 19:12-28 indicates that authority will be appointed to individuals over 10 cities and 5 cities in the kingdom.
These would also serve under the authority of the King Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally, Isaiah documents that another group of rulers in the Kingdom will be the judges and counselors:
26 "Then I will restore your judges as at the first,
And your counselors as at the beginning;
After that you will be called the city of righteousness,
A faithful city."
27 Zion will be redeemed with justice
And her repentant ones with righteousness.
Isaiah chapter 60 is a glorious description of the world supremacy of the nation of Israel in the Kingdom. Let’s read that chapter together now.
There is also a governmental organization for the rule of the Gentile nations, but we won’t get into that here.
The Extent and Duration of the Millennial Kingdom
The reign of the King will be a universal reign. There will be no part of the earth that will not be under His authority (Dan 2:35; 7:14,27; Psa 72:5-8; Mic 4:1-2; Zech 9:10; 14:9, 20-21).
14 "And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.
Psalm 72 is a Messianic Psalm (points to the King) written by David and includes the following verses:
8 May he also rule from sea to sea
And from the River to the ends of the earth.