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.