Theology Summary Bible Class, Pt. 36: Intertestamental to Christ; Kingdom of Power

In the first part of this study we conclude a historical walk-through of “king” and “kingdom” found in the Old Testament up to the coming of the true Davidic King, Jesus Christ. Each kingdom is distinguished based upon the subjects of the kingdom and the governance of the kingdom.

In the second part of this study we examine the kingdom of power.  The subjects of the kingdom of power include all things: believers and unbelievers, good and evil angels, and irrational creature and the inanimate creation. The Triune God governs this kingdom of power by His omnipotence and omnipresence. At the incarnation, “all authority in heaven and earth” was given to the human nature of Jesus, while His divine nature always possessed it.

Here is a summary of the history (in the first part): The Prophet Daniel (Chapters 2, 7 and 8) foretold of four world powers: Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece(including the Ptolemies and the Seleucids, Maccabees and Hasmoneans), and Rome. Last week we concluded with the Jewish return to Jerusalem under Cyrus the Persian.  When the Old Testament draws to a close (apx. 400 B.C.), Judea had been province of Persia for 138 years. Although the exiles were allowed to return to Canaan in order to rebuild the Temple, only a small number of Jews actually returned. The exiled Jews had set down roots and were scattered over 128 provinces.

The religious practices of Judaism began to change, as they lived apart from the Jerusalem temple, and without the nation of Israel or a Davidic king. Scribes grew in importance, as the Jews retained their identity by clinging to the Word. Emphasis was placed on personal prayer, Sabbath observance, and justice(morality). As the people adopted Imperial Aramaic for their language instead of Hebrew, there was the need for a Methurgeman (interpreter) to paraphrase the readings for the people.

Even those Jews who returned were not free.  They were a vassal state of one country and then another.  Sometimes they enjoyed a mild rule and were allowed to practice their faith.  Other times they were severely persecuted.  The Jewish reactions were varied, as seen by Pharisees, Sadducees, and zealots. Alexander the Great conquered the world and spread Greek language and culture wherever he went.  After the death of Alexander, the kingdom split into four parts and fighting for power ensued.  In 320 B.C. Ptolemy took over Egypt and Jerusalem without resistance.  The Hebrew Scriptures were translated into the Greek language in the 3rd century B.C. Although many rulers were kind to the Jews, Antiochus IV Epiphanes sought to make all people devotees of Greek culture.  The Jews objected to this Hellenization program on religious grounds and were severely persecuted.  This persecution caused the Hasmodian period of Independence with the Maccabean revolt by Mattathias and his five sons.  Though they had some success, the Jews always returned to a vassal state.  In 63 B.C. Pompey conquered the city of Jerusalem with the killing 12,000 Jews. When Jesus arrives, Herod The Great had been ruling since 37 B.C.  Although he ruled with an iron fist, it was during his reign that the Temple had been restored.  This concludes the history of “king” and “kingdom” until the coming of Jesus Christ.

Handout: Kingdoms-Definitions.pdf
Handout 2: King-Chart-Throughout-Time.pdf
Overhead 1: Persian.pdf

Theology Summary Bible Class, Pt. 35: Babylonian Exile and Return

After Solomon’s death both the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel fell.  The Prophet Amos (apx. 760-750 B.C.) foretold that God would rebuild the fallen tabernacle of David and bring back the captives (Amos 9:11-15). The Assyrian Empire conquers Israel in 721 B.C. The great tree of God’s people was cut down (Isaiah 11:1,10) because the people had sinned. Though they had not kept the Word of God, the Prophet Isaiah (apx. 701 – 681 B.C.) announces that the merciful God was still keeping His promise to King David.  God said, “And I will make an everlasting covenant with you–the sure mercies of David” (Isaiah 55:3-5).  Jesus is that shoot or branch that will come from the stump of Jesse.  The southern kingdom was taken into Babylonian exile in 586 B.C and Solomon’s Temple was destroyed. The Prophet Jeremiah prophesied about their 70 year exile (apx. 605 B.C. – 537 B.C.) and God’s promise to raise up a Davidic King, a Priest, and a new Temple.

After the exile, the priest Ezra returns to lay the foundation and begin the work of rebuilding, what would later be called Zerubbabel’s Temple (539 B.C. to Mar 12, 516 B.C.).  The governor Nehemiah rebuilds the city wall around Jerusalem. The old men who saw this new temple foundation wept (Ezra 3:12-13), as it paled in comparison to Solomon’s temple. The Prophets Haggai and Zechariah, who lived at the time of the rebuilding, spoke of that future coming day.  The return of God’s people to Canaan was a wonderful thing, but it was not the promised day of the Messianic King!  Haggai 2:9, “‘The glory of this later temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace.'”  When the Old Testament closes, the Prophet Malachi leaves the faithful longing for the hope of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ .

Handout: Exile-to-Intertestamental.pdf
Overhead 1: Divided-Kingdom-Overheads.pdf
Overhead 2: Kings-Overheads.pdf

Theology Summary Bible Class, Pt. 34: Solomon and Divided Kingdom

God appeared to Solomon a second time saying, “Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statues and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised to David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel'” (1 Kings 9:4-5).

Despite God’s efforts, Solomon did not continue in faithfulness to the Word of God.  In his old age, “his wives turned his heart after other gods…” (v.4).  “Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and did not fully follow the LORD, as did his father David” (v.6).  “So the Lord became angry with Solomon, because his heart had turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice…” (v.9).

Solomon’s reign extended the boundaries of Israel farther, had more peace, and was more prosperous than David’s.  Nevertheless, David’s reign was more pleasing in God’s sight.  And it was for the sake of David that God waited until after Solomon’s death to divide the kingdom.  The  southern kingdom of Judah outlasted the northern kingdom, but in time both were dispersed or taken into exile.  There was no longer a reigning son of David and the temple was destroyed in 586 B.C.  The prophets of that time began to foretell of a rebuilding of David’s tabernacle (Isaiah 11:1-16).

Handout: The-Third-Genus-King-p12-14.pdf
Handout 2: The-Third-Genus-King-p11.pdf
Overhead 1: Divided-Kingdom-Overheads.pdf
Overhead 2: Kings-Overheads.pdf

Theology Summary Bible Class, Pt. 33: 2 Samuel 7:11-16 and Solomon

We return to 2 Samuel 7:11-16 in order to examine God’s promise to build a house for David, to set one of David’s descendants upon the throne and to establish his kingdom. Jesus is that promised son of David, who has established the kingdom of His church, which will stand forever.  The second part of verse 14 is a difficult passage to see fulfilled in the sinless Son of God.  Nevertheless, Jesus was “numbered with the transgressors” (Is 53:12) and “he was made to be sin for us” (2 Cor 5:21). He was, indeed, chastened by the rods and blows of men.

Second, we saw that despite David’s sins, he continued to hold to the Word of God.  He confessed his sin and trusted in the words of forgiveness.  He showed forth the fruits of repentance as he bore up under the consequences of his actions (2 Samuel chapters 20-24).  The Scriptures continue to hold up David as the ideal king, the one “after God’s own heart” (1 Sam 13:14, Acts 13:22).

This study also examines the beginning of Solomon’s reign (1 Kings chapters 1-8).  With the exception “that he offered  sacrifices and burned incense on the high places,” (1 Kings 3;3), Solomon’s reign began quite well.  God’s exhortation to Solomon is to emulate his father, David.  “Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statues and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever, as I promised to David your father, saying, ‘You shall not fail to have a man on the throne of Israel'” (1 Kings 9:4-5).

Handout: The-Third-Genus-King-p12-14.pdf

Theology Summary Bible Class, Pt. 32: David, Israel’s Second King

King Saul did not keep the word of the Lord at Gilgal. Thus, “The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:13-14).  When the LORD finally sends Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons, it says, “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sam 16:7). Acts 13:22 says, “And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.’”  Like “blameless” Noah(Gen 6:9) or “faithful” Moses (Num 12:7), King David is the faithful replacement for King Saul.

King David was not without sin.  We are quite aware of David’s sins of “despising God’s command,” adultery, and murder in 2 Samuel 12.  We know this because the Prophet Nathan was sent by God to reveal David’s sin.  The law worked in David heart-felt contrition and confession. The immediate response from Nathan is the absolution, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”  David bears up under the consequence of his sin by continuing to trust in God.  Despite this sinful personal indiscretion, David is held up as an exemplary King of Israel (1 Kings 3:14, 9:4-5).

This study walks through 1 Samuel 16:1 – 2 Samuel 24.

Handout: The-Third-Genus-King-p12-14.pdf

Theology Summary Bible Class, Pt. 31: Saul, Israel’s First King

God’s people requested the Prophet Samuel to provide an earthly king to rule over their nation.  There is nothing inherently wrong with having a king, but their motive was sinful(1 Sam 8:6-9).  They didn’t want to trust in God to provide for them.  Nevertheless, God did provide a king for them.  Today’s study begins an overview of the kings of Israel. This week we examine the life of King Saul.

God chose Saul–an impressive man, a head taller than the rest.  He changed Saul’s heart.  The Spirit of God came upon him in power (1 Samuel 10).  Despite God’s best effort, Saul was foolish and did not keep the commandments of the Lord (1 Samuel 13).  Saul’s kingdom would not be the “forever” kingdom through whom would come the Savior.  In Samuel 15, King Saul disregards the Lord’s command to completely wipe out the Amalekites.  Saul did not kill King Agag and spared the best of the livestock.  Despite Samuel’s all night vigil for Saul’ repentance (v. 10-11), God tells Samuel that He rejects Saul.  When confronted, Saul minimized his sin and did not confess {despite Saul’s good sounding words, “I have sinned….” v.24).  The Prophet Samuel does not forgive Saul, and announces the end of Saul’s reign (v.26-29).

This study walks through 1 Samuel 9 – 15:35.

Handout: The-Third-Genus-King-p12-14.pdf

 

Theology Summary Bible Class, Pt. 30: Israel’s Request for a King

When the Priest and Judge Samuel had grown old , the nation Israel requested a king to rule over them (1 Samuel 8:4-22). The Scriptures tell us that God Himself had been functioning as their king(Num 23:21, Dt 33:5) by His gracious ruling(Judges 8:23) and protection. After Israel entered into the Promised Land of Canaan, God would raise up judges(Judges 6:14) to rescue God’s people.  Samuel was disappointed in their request. He knew that the people wanted a king like the other nations in order that they wouldn’t have to trust in God to provide for them. Nevertheless, God granted their request and provided them with a king. In his foreknowledge, God foretold their request(Deut. 17:14-20). He even planned on sending them a Messianic King(Gen 49:10). This study walks through 1 Samuel 7:2 through 12:15.

Handout: The-Third-Genus-King-p11.pdf

Theology Summary Bible Class, Pt. 29: Introduction to the King

The entire person of Jesus Christ, according to His divinity and His humanity, is the reigning King of heaven! It is a great comfort for Christians to know that they are in Christ’s kingdom and that their Savior is dwelling with them as their King. This study is an introduction to Christ’s Office as King.

We usually speak of three kingdoms.  The kingdom of power includes the entire universe and all creatures.  The kingdom of grace is limited to the church and consists of all believers.  The kingdom of glory is in heaven and includes the holy angels and all believers who have died. These kingdoms are distinct, but not mutually exclusive. 

The Scriptures also speak about two other kingdoms.  The kingdom of this world is the governing authority in this world and is ruled by laws and the sword. The kingdom of the devil (or the Antichrist) is the temporary and limited rule of the devil in this world.

Handout: The-Third-Genus-King-p9-10.pdf

Theology Summary Bible Class, Pt. 28: Priesthood and the Pastor

Jesus, the God-man, is our high priest! He made the one and only propitiatory sacrifice to merit the forgiveness of sins before God.  The Levitical priesthood and sacrifices have ceased. “Accordingly the New Testament, since Levitical services have been abrogated, teaches that new and pure sacrifices will be made, namely, faith, prayer, thanksgiving, confession, and the preaching of the Gospel, afflictions on account of the Gospel, and the like” (Ap, XXIV, 30, Bente, page 395). The Scriptures do speak of New Testament believers as “a holy priesthood” and “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:5,9). That priesthood (with an emphasis on the group of believers) is the church. In the New Testament these priests actively participate as laymen receiving the Lord’s gifts with praise and thanksgiving. When the Scriptures do talk about individual Christians as priests, it is always speaking about either living in our vocation(Romans 12:1-2, Hebrews 13:15-16), or about dying to sin and rising to new life(Psalm 51:13-19).

Among American protestants, the priesthood of believers is usually misunderstood to teach that individual Christians are all ministers. That is not the Scriptural teaching. God calls one of the priests to be a servant/minister to the priesthood. The pastor is not an Old Testament priest offering up sacrifices for the people. The pastor publicly preaches the Gospel and administers the sacraments to the priesthood (1 Cor 4:1). The pastor is an “ambassador for Christ” (2 Cor 5:17-21) so that the priesthood might receive the Lord’s gifts. God is reconciling the world though the Ministry(Pastoral Office) of Reconciliation which preaches the Word of reconciliation so that people come to believe! The pastor’s sacrifice, according to his vocation, is to preach the Law and the Gospel. The law kills the Old Adam in his hearers and the gospel creates faith and new life.

Overhead 1: Overheads-for-Dec-2-2018.pdf
Handout 1: AP-XXIV-Handout-for-Dec-2-2018.pdf
Handout 2 (yellow sheet): The-Third-Genus-Prophet-Priest-Pages-1-8.pdf

Theology Summary Bible Class, Pt. 27: Lord’s Supper Sacrament, then Sacrifice

The Lord’s Supper is a sign of God’s will toward man that He is gracious and desires to save us. In the Lord’s Supper, the Lord is giving out His gifts of Christ’s Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins. “And just as the Word has been given in order to excite faith, so the Sacrament has been instituted in order that the outward appearance meeting the eyes might move the heart to believe [and strengthen faith]. For through these, namely, through Word and Sacrament, the Holy Ghost works” (Ap XXIV, 70).

The principle use of the Lord’s Supper is for God to give out forgiveness and create/strengthen faith in terrified consciences.  Nevertheless, when we remember the benefits (which Christ purchased, and which He is giving out in this Supper) and receive them by faith in accordance with the words of institution, then by our use of the sacrament, there is added a secondary use: we praise God! Receiving the Lord’s Supper for the principle use which God intended has the effect of thanksgiving(a secondary use).  The person receiving the Lord’s Supper as a sacrament, holds the gift in high esteem and praises God for His benefits. “And the Fathers, indeed, speak of two-fold effect, of the comfort of consciences, and of thanksgiving, or praise” (Ap XXIV, 75). The highest worship of God is to receive His gifts!  “…so the reception itself of the Lord’s Supper can be praise or thanksgiving” (Ap XXIV, 33).

“Thus the worship and divine service of the Gospel is to receive from God gifts; on the contrary, the worship of the Law is to offer and present our gifts to God. We can, however, offer nothing to God unless we have first been reconciled and born again. This passage, too, brings the greatest consolation, as the chief worship of the Gospel is to wish to receive remission of sins, grace, and righteousness. Of this worship Christ says, John 6, 40: This is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life” (Bente, Ap IV, Reply…, 189).

Overhead 1: Lords-Supper-Compared-Nov-25-2018.pdf
Overhead 2: Overheads-for-Nov-25-2018.pdf
Handout 1: Sacrament-in-AP-XXIV-Handout-for-Nov-18-2018.pdf