Christ and his kingdom have been the focal point of the entire Bible. Throughout the Bible, God worked to bring about his kingdom so we might be saved through Christ. As we study the New Testament, we learn of the laws that govern this new kingdom. It is a fascinating study to trace God’s kingdom, from the beginning when God ruled Israel before the kings, to when Christ will deliver his kingdom back to him at the day of resurrection.
There is no question that certain verses pertain directly to the kingdom being the church. For example, the least in the kingdom would be greater than John the baptizer, Matt. 11:11. There is also the concept that, in a sense, God has always had his kingdom and that kingdom has changed forms as far as its rulers and law. That is the idea that we will follow in this article.
If you recall from I Sam. 8:7, God was rejected as king by the nation of Israel. Because of their sinful hearts, they desired a man to rule them and not God. We know the story of how David eventually became king after Saul, but it was the prophecies about David’s line that pertain to us today. II Sam. 7:12-16 can be used as a dual prophecy dealing with both Solomon and Christ. Solomon’s would be the physical kingdom that would be set up, but Christ would also come and fulfill the spiritual aspect of David’s kingdom, as we see in Acts 2:29-35. Both would occur after David’s death. God would be the one to establish his throne forever. The new king would build God’s house, and the new king would sit on God’s throne.
I think this last point is important to consider a little more in depth because it is such a vital prophecy in which many important truths can come. If we look at whose throne it has always been, then we can understand the transition from David’s physical kingdom to Christ’s spiritual one. God has always had the right and power to rule, as seen in his power to create the world. However, God has allowed men to sit on his throne as stewards of his kingdom.
Consider I Kings 1:35, I Chron. 28:5, I Chron. 29:23. These scriptures point out that while Solomon was king, he was only sitting on the throne of the LORD, not his own. At the same time I Kings 2:24 says that God set him on David’s throne, and on the throne of Israel according to I Kings 8:20. The conclusion can be made that these were not different thrones that he was sitting on, but rather they were all the same throne. The throne of the LORD, the throne of David, and the throne of Israel were all the throne of the kingdom of the LORD. Although many kings sat on this throne, ultimately the throne always belonged to God, and thus he has always been the true king over his people.
There is a major prophecy in Jer. 22:24-30 in which we must conclude that the kingdom of David’s line would never again be a physical kingdom. Verse 30 is very specific in stating that no seed of David would physically sit on David’s throne and rule from Jerusalem. (Think of how many religions today would make God a liar if Christ would set up a 1,000 year reign from Jerusalem as they teach will happen.) Yet, according to Zech. 6:13, Christ would sit on his throne and rule, thus only leaving the possibility of a spiritual kingdom.
We know that the kingdom (in the spiritual sense, the church) would soon come as Christ taught before he was crucified, according to Matt. 16:28. We know that was fulfilled because of verses like Rev. 3:21 in which Christ stated that he was set down with his father on his throne. Paul pointed out that he had already been translated into the kingdom in which Christ was ruling, Col 1:13.
Knowing what this kingdom is in the New Testament is the most beautiful thing to understand because of what it means to us. I Cor. 15:24-26 tells us that Christ will reign until it is time to deliver his kingdom back up to God when death is conquered. That means when the day of resurrection comes literally, Christ will deliver us back to our heavenly father because it is ultimately his kingdom. What a joyous day that will be.