Why did many millions of people around the world watch the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, a 96-year-old woman who had reigned for 70 years? Why in a modern world are people fascinated by the person who wears the crown of Great Britain? Aren’t kings and queens out of date and out of place in our modern technological world?
Could there be something more than mere celebrity and glamor connected with this ancient institution known as the British monarchy?
Britain’s monarchy is among the oldest in the world. It’s traced back to early English and Norman kings as well as rulers of Scotland. It’s a constitutional monarchy, meaning the sovereign does not hold absolute power. However, the British monarchy has a history and mystique that makes it unique among all current monarchies.
The attention, the fascination and the emotional impact of the Queen’s passing points to something beyond this time. When we understand the full story, we see a lot more to the royal family than just wealth, fame, privilege and celebrity. We can conclude there is a connection to God, to biblical history, to vital understanding about today’s world and to future prophecy.
Tracing to King David
In a column written just days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II, British journalist Melanie Phillips reflected on the critical role of the British monarchy to the unity of the United Kingdom. As the crowds poured into the streets, showing their devotion to the late monarch, Phillips wrote:
“Devotion . . . has a religious significance. In largely secular, godless Britain there is a strong element of the sacred in this relationship between the people and the Crown. The monarch in Britain is consecrated to a higher king . . . The oath that he takes is not to the people but to God. That’s why his duty to serve the people is unbreakable. And that’s why the monarch is a unifying force, and melds the people into a united nation. The royal family helps forge the country into a kind of national family” (“The Momentous Task for King Charles III,” Sept. 16, 2022).
Phillips then made a remarkable connection to a biblical teaching: “Few also appreciate that the British monarchy is patterned on ancient Israel. It’s why the monarch is anointed; it’s why Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest,’ with its words taken from the first Book of Kings, has been sung [at coronations] . . . Some British monarchs in the past have even purportedly traced their line back to King David”. (emphasis added throughout—see her article at https://melaniephillips.substack.com/p/the-momentous-task-for-king-charles)
We should seriously consider what this British-based writer says. She is connecting current events—the death of Queen Elizabeth and the coronation of King Charles—with the elements of the long history of the British monarchy and ultimately to the Bible and the story of Israel and its most famous leader, King David.
This connection is vital to our understanding of not just this transition of leadership in the United Kingdom and the other nations of the Commonwealth. It is a foundation for a biblical perspective on the world, what we call a biblical worldview. With the Bible as our guide, we can understand today’s world and what lies ahead for the nations, particularly the English-speaking nations of Great Britain, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The global impact Queen Elizabeth had in her life and death, and the coronation of a new monarch that follows, is a living witness to the truth that God’s promises and covenants with the biblical patriarchs are relevant in today’s world. Those promises continue to shape world events and will have even greater impact in the future.
The fact that the English-speaking nations of the world have accounted for most of the world’s wealth and are still making a significant impact on the modern world is not a coincidence of history. It is connected to the purpose God is working out in history. This understanding is ultimately a part of the gospel or good news concerning the Kingdom that Jesus Christ will bring to the earth—the Kingdom of God.
Promises of what Jesus would do and be
In the Gospel of Luke, we see the angel’s announcement to Mary that she would bear a son. He would be called Jesus and would be the Son of God. His destiny would be to receive the famous throne of David, Israel’s greatest king.
This announcement is part of the gospel or good news of the Kingdom of God and its King and the means to entering it, Jesus Christ. It encapsulates all that Israel had hoped. It was the answer to the messages of all the prophets who had gone before. When fully understood, it points to the future intervention in the affairs of this world at Christ’s second coming. Notice what it says:
“. . . The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And . . . the angel said to her, ‘. . . You will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:26-33, emphasis added throughout).
In this announcement we have the heart of the gospel message. The Messiah, born of a virgin, would be “the Son of the Highest” and in fulfillment of many prophecies would be given authority forever through His Kingdom. Here is the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ as King of Kings.
The throne of His Father David
Yes, that is what the Messiah, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, is—the prophesied King of Israel who will reign over all nations. And as part of the assurance of these prophecies, God said that David’s throne would endure through all generations. It has never ceased. It has continued to reign over Israelite peoples. And that is a testimony to what is yet to come.
The Kingdom of God is a literal realm that Christ will establish over all nations at His return. The announcement to Mary by the angel Gabriel was a prophecy as well. We should recognize that the throne of the Kingdom, on which Jesus Christ will reign, will be a continuation of the throne of King David who ruled over the nation of Israel as described in your Bible.
And what was that throne on which David sat? David was the second human king to reign over all Israel after Saul. What people often forget is that God was the first and true “King” of the tribes of Israel. The Israelites wanted a king like the other nations, and they went to the prophet Samuel and demanded he give them a king.
“But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ So Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also’” (1 Samuel 8:6-8; compare 12:12).
God reigned over Israel from the time He delivered them from Egyptian bondage. While God gave them a physical king as they asked, it was still His throne—albeit delegated in part to a temporal human ruler.
God initially chose Saul but then, due to disobedience, removed him and selected David. Because David was a man after God’s own heart, God promised him an enduring dynasty. Notice what God said: “Also the Lord tells you [David] that He will make you a house [ruling dynasty] . . . I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever . . . And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever” (2 Samuel 7:11-16).
In another reference this covenant with David’s house is called a “covenant of salt” (2 Chronicles 13:5)—“salt” being a symbol of permanence. This promise is repeated in Psalm 89 (verses 3-4, 25-27) and again by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 33:17-26).
Some will say that Jesus fulfilled all this. But that’s not true! Jesus at His first coming did not assume the throne but compared Himself to a nobleman who “went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return” (Luke 19:12).
The Jews and His disciples thought the Kingdom would be restored in their lifetime. But it was not to be then. It is to be in a time yet future. When He returns, Christ will sit on the throne of His father [or ancestor] David under completely different circumstances. It will be His rightful throne reserved according to a promise. As that member of the family of God who led the Israelites through the sea, Christ was the spiritual Rock accompanying them on which the nation was established (1 Corinthians 10:4).
A living witness
So, what happened to the Davidic dynasty? We see that the covenant was forever. That story is told through prophecies given through Jeremiah and Ezekiel. They are part of a connected trail of biblical events, prophecy and promises that form firm links to God’s enduring faithfulness to Abraham, his descendants and to all nations of the earth and all people. When viewed from the biblical perspective they give insights into the gospel of God to fulfill His purpose through Christ. The God who is bringing together all things in Christ has guided history through all its twists and turns to keep intact the key components of His promises and word.
Based on these biblical passages we can conclude that someone, somewhere—who can trace a lineage back to King David—will be sitting, or eligible to sit, on the Davidic throne continuing in every generation until Christ returns to claim it for Himself. It is evident from the Gospel of Luke that Christ is the ultimate claimant: “He shall be great, and will be called the son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32).
But the prophecies cannot be fulfilled with Christ as the only claimant. (For more on this be sure to read “The Biblical Identity of Britain’s Royal Family”.) The throne of David must exist somewhere today. Christ will come, His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives and He will rule on the throne of His father David from Jerusalem. God has bound Himself by the rotation of the earth on its axis to fulfill these promises.
The fact that some British monarchs, including Queen Victoria (who reigned more than 63 years from 1837 until 1901), have believed the British monarchy descended from King David is a compelling story. While it will be denied, the genealogies do exist, and many people in or associated with the royal family believed this. It’s not a legend or collection of tortured and twisted interpretations of Scripture. It’s part of the fabric of connecting the Bible with relevant modern history. When understood, it adds a dimension of understanding to explain the modern world.
Inherent in the gospel of God is His promise to bring spiritual salvation to all peoples and nations through His Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth. All of God’s promises regarding His servants the prophets and His Son are sure and faithful. He fulfills them to the utmost detail, even if our human histories and records do not chronicle every event with the accuracy of modern methods and criteria. We must take as truth God’s promises to David. They are either true or not.
Why does this matter? Note that when Jesus was about to ascend to heaven, His disciples had one major question for Him: “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). So a vital, core message they understood from all their time with Christ was that of restoring Israel’s kingdom and exalting its throne through Him. His response was not to negate this key focus, but to tell them it was not for them to know the time this would happen and that they were to continue as Christ’s witnesses (verses 7-8).
At some point, Christ will return to the earth and sit on the throne of His father David. That throne still exists. In the throne of Great Britain we have a living witness to God’s purpose in today’s world. Christ is at the right hand of the Father in heaven waiting for the time to return and establish a kingdom of righteousness—a kingdom not left to other people. A kingdom different from any kingdom today. This gives us confidence in God’s faithfulness to fulfill all His promises to all peoples.
What about Israel?
God’s enduring faithfulness to Abraham will reach its fullness when Jesus Christ sits on this throne of David in the coming Kingdom. Then Israel will be restored as a people whom Christ will use to teach the way of salvation to the nations.
This key truth explains why a disproportionate share of the world’s wealth is found today in the major English-speaking nations. God told Abraham his descendants would be a multitude of nations—a promise refined to Jacob as a nation and a company of nations (Genesis 35:11). Jacob passed on to his son Joseph those promises, saying that at the end of the age Jacob’s descendants would be a “fruitful bough” (Genesis 49:22).
That God has done this, kept His word, is a marker—a guarantee—that to all peoples and nations He will do the same. When the veil of deception is lifted from the nations, they will learn the way of God:
“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem” (Isaiah 2:2-3).
The gospel of salvation will be taught from Jerusalem. There will be a time of restoration of blessings to Israel. The great question the apostle Paul asked about his people will be answered.
Paul knew the 10 tribes forming the northern kingdom of Israel had been taken captive centuries earlier and were now scattered among the nations, as were many of the two tribes that formed the southern kingdom of Judah. This is why the apostle James addressed his epistle “to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad” (James 1:1).
Paul, a former Pharisee, had taken the gospel to the Jews, and in the main they rejected the message. In a lament recorded in his letter to the Romans, Paul wished he could be accursed if that would allow his fellow Israelites to be saved (Romans 9:3).
He wrote: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:1-3). Salvation has not come to Israel at large, but it will in the period of Christ’s reign on earth.
God will restore Israel to a position He always intended —a nation being a light to the world: “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people’” (Deuteronomy 4:5-6).
In the world to come, God will use Israel to teach all nations of the earth!
Notice how Paul brings this out: “Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery? Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it.
“I am saying all this especially for you Gentiles. God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles. I stress this, for I want somehow to make the people of Israel jealous of what you Gentiles [in the Church] have, so I might save some of them. For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead!” (Romans 11:11-15, New Living Translation).
He understood his people Israel had rejected God for a time and for a purpose. During that time Jesus Christ came and died, rejected by His own people so the door of salvation would be opened to the gentiles so they could be “enriched.” Just as the work of spiritual salvation has not been finished with Israel, nor has it been finished with all the nations of the world. When Israel’s “acceptance” in the time of restoration occurs, then the nations of the world will come to know the full gospel of God, and a time of salvation for all the world will begin.
Paul knew God had not cast off His people Israel. He knew their hope of life eternal would be fulfilled (Acts 26:6-7). God will restore the kingdom to Israel when Jesus of Nazareth sits on the throne He gave to David. Righteousness will finally be taught from that throne by the very King of Righteousness. God indeed has unfinished business with His people Israel.
God has not left us without witness today of His faith-fulness and His intent to fulfill His grand purpose of salvation for all peoples. A modern monarchy sitting on a legendary throne whose roots can be traced to ancient Israel and King David is a witness God has provided.
Scoffing, denial and rejection of facts do nothing to change truth. God’s Word is true. Some point to the foibles and faults of the British monarchy both present and as far back in the past as you wish to go. Some members of the royal family are indeed human and deeply flawed. Yet so was King David and many of his descendants who reigned in ancient Judah. Some of them were flagrantly evil. In spite of this, God has preserved the Davidic monarchy, faithfully holding to His purpose in every detail. Scripture points us to this. We have a witness!
As Melanie Phillips said in her article, quoted earlier, “Some British monarchs in the past have even purportedly traced their line back to King David.”
There is a reason they did. There is more understanding and biblical truth here than most realize!