The Gospel of 1 Kings

As noted in The Gospel of 2 Samuel, God gave King David an amazing promise, your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever. (2 Samuel 7:16)

Did that really happen?  Is that kingdom still in place?  If so, who is the successor King from David’s line that rules today?

Just one generation later, not yet fulfilling the forever part of the promise, Solomon ruled and raised Israel to the reigning super power of the region, incredibly wealthy and militarily strong, plenty of “guns and butter” as I learned in college economics, to withstand any challenge.  Solomon’s greatest task and achievement was building the temple, described in exquisite detail in 1 Kings 6-8, providing a home for the long homeless ark of the Covenant, the place where God’s presence was said to dwell.

The dedication of the temple, described in 1 Kings 8, includes one of the most powerful prayers in the Old Testament.  The main focus is the necessity of walking with God and observing his commands, and pleading with God to forgive the people when they sin, if they repent.  That, of course, is an appeal to God based on humanity’s most fundamental need to be restored to God through the forgiveness of sin. And that is inherent in the Gospel, forgiveness of sins is an essential part of salvation.   But even more, the Gospel in 1 Kings, is found in Solomon’s understanding of the reach of this Good News to the non-Israelite, the foreigner.

“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name. 1 Kings 8:41-43

After his prayer, Solomon blessed the people, including these words, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God and that there is no other. 1 Kings 8:60

How much did Solomon understand about this?  Hard to say.  Whatever Solomon understood, it didn’t seem to stick.

Even though God warned him, As for you, if you walk before me faithfully with integrity of heart and uprightness, as David your father did, and do all I  command and and observe my decrees and laws, I will establish your royal throne over Israel forever, as I promised David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’  1 Kings 9:4, 5

Solomon miserably failed to meet the “if,” the condition of the promise. Shortly after this high point of Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple, we read that Solomon’s wives turned his heart to other gods, even to the building of “high places,” places dedicated to the worship of Ashtoreth, Molech, and Chemosh, and the other assortment of gods worshiped by his wives.

How could Solomon, the wisest man on earth, become such a fool? The seeds of Solomon’s collapse are in his neglect of the foundational teaching for kings given in Deuteronomy 17.  God warned that kings …must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself…must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray…must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold. Deuteronomy 17:14-17 

The same chapter assigns the kings the task of making his own hand written copy of the law of God. When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the Levitical priests. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life so that he may learn to revere the Lord his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not consider himself better than his fellow Israelites and turn from the law to the right or to the left. Then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel. Deuteronomy 17:18-20

Because of Solomon’s disobedience, and the further disobedience of his son, Rehoboam, the once great kingdom was split, Israel to the north and only Judah to the south remaining loyal to the house of David. Solomon’s succession continued for about 350 more years through 18 generations, but then ended in 586 BC with the destruction of the temple and the supposed end of the Davidic dynasty,

Did God’s promise fail?  Absolutely not!  As noted in the previous post, Jesus is the “son of David” who reigns forever, soon to be revealed to the world as the one who is King of kings, who has no successors and ultimately no rivals, fulfilling the promise to David to establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 2 Samuel 7:13.

And this eternal kingdom is not restricted to Judah, but as Solomon once acknowledged, a kingdom that would encompass all ethnicities, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, 1 Kings 8:43

How?  When?  This is clearly the Church of Jesus Christ, the bride of Christ from every tribe and language and people and nation. Revelation 5:9

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