Israel: God's Temporal Kingdom

You are here


God's Temporal Kingdom

Login or Create an Account

With a account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


The tribes of Israel, descendants of Abraham's grandson Jacob, became a literal kingdom under the rule of King David.

David, a physical ancestor of Jesus Christ, considered the eternal question of man's purpose as he contemplated the glory of the heavens. "What is man that You are mindful of him," he asked, "and the son of man that You visit him?" (Psalm 8:4). This is an eternal question of mankind. We continue to ask, "Is this life all there is?"

Through David, God revealed He would intervene dramatically in human affairs, He would make "wars cease to the end of the earth," and He would "be exalted among the nations" (Psalm 46:1-11).

Through David, God established a dynasty of kings over Israel. Christ Himself, as "the Son of David, the Son of Abraham" (Matthew 1:1), was born to inherit David's throne (Luke 1:32). We learn of a direct relationship between the dynasty of kings God promised would descend from Abraham and David and the Kingdom of God preached by Jesus Christ.

How long will David's dynasty rule over Israel?

"Should you not know that the LORD God of Israel gave the dominion over Israel to David forever, to him and his sons . . . ?" (2 Chronicles 13:5).

David's dominion is to last forever. David is the king who will rule over Israel after its restoration under the Messiah after His return to earth (Ezekiel 37:21-24). David's rule, of course, can occur only after God resurrects David with all the other saints at the return of Christ.

The kingdom God established through David was a forerunner of a much more important Kingdom Jesus Christ will establish in the future. Notice God pointing out the significance of David's dynasty: "He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you. And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever" (1 Chronicles 17:12-14).

God claimed David's kingdom as "My kingdom"— a type, an example or forerunner, of the coming Kingdom of God. Comprehending the relationship between David's temporal kingdom and the eternal Kingdom of God is crucial to understanding the gospel Christ and His apostles preached.

Did Paul see a relationship between the gospel and God's promises to David?

"Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:1-4).

While teaching on a Sabbath day in Antioch, Paul explained this concept: "And afterward [Israel] asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 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.' From this man's seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus" (Acts 13:21-23; compare 2 Timothy 2:8; Revelation 22:16).

When Solomon, David's son, became king, on whose throne did he sit?

"Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king instead of David his father . . ." (1 Chronicles 29:23).

Not only did God regard Israel as His temporal kingdom, He regarded the throne of Israel as His throne— the throne Jesus Christ will inherit (Luke 1:32).

The kings of David's dynasty were supposed to answer directly to God. But Israel and her kings were not faithful to their covenant with God, and the kingdom of Israel did not endure. Thus their direct contact with God ended.

After Solomon's reign the nation of Israel split in two. The 10 northern tribes continued to be called Israel. The southern kingdom, known as Judah, remained loyal to David's dynasty of kings. But neither nation thereafter wholeheartedly followed the examples of Abraham and David.

Eventually Israel and Judah both fell prey to their powerful neighbors. After a series of invasions, Israel collapsed and was taken captive by the Assyrians in 721 B.C. The kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar in 587 B.C. With their downfall, the temporal kingdom of Israel was crushed out of existence. Only a remnant of its people remained as captives and slaves.

Among Judah's captives who were removed to Babylon was a young man of noble birth named Daniel. God gave him the ability to interpret certain dreams and visions. Through Daniel's interpretations God revealed an astoundingly hopeful future for Israel.