Psalm 45:6, 7 (NKJV)
6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
Hebrews 1:8, 9 (NKJV)
8 But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
What is the earliest given prophecy concerning Jesus becoming King on the earth? Written somewhere between 1000 and 970 B.C., Psalms 45 verses 6 and 7 is certainly a candidate. The writer of Hebrews believed it referred to Jesus.
A more significant question is when did Jesus take up His mantle as King? And with Herod on the throne of Israel and Caesar on the throne over the Roman Empire at His birth, when would His reign begin on the earth?
The next two prophesies give us strong clues. But also raise more questions.
Isaiah 9:6, 7 (NKJV)
6 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
Daniel 2:34, 35, 44 (NKJV)
34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
While Isaiah 9 clearly points to the birth of Jesus, Daniel 2 gives further clarity to His Kingdom beginning on the earth during the 33 years of His earthly lifetime.
Isaiah seems to indicate that from the time of His birth His government and peace would begin and increase perpetually with judgment and justice from that time forward and forever more. Notice how nicely the angel’s visit to Mary correlates with Isaiah 9.
Luke 1:30–33 (NKJV)
30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 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. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Daniel, of course, was given the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, which revealed that Jesus would come as a stone cut out without hands that would strike the ten toes of iron and clay of the divided Roman Empire. That stone, Christ, would then become a mountain which would fill the whole earth. That sounds much like the parable Jesus told of the leaven in the barrel of grain which leavened the whole barrel. It would start seemingly insignificantly, yet given the liberty of time, would spread its influence to every grain. This, as you may recall, is a parable of the Kingdom of Heaven.
It’s not often investigated in history, but the Roman Empire was divided into ten parts, some strong (iron) and some weak (clay) during the reign of Augustus Caesar, which began in 27 B.C. Jesus is the stone that crushed those ten toes and spelled the eventual end of the Roman Empire. During that time the Kingdom of God expanded just the way God intended, one spiritual birth at a time, as it has continued ever since. Currently, believers in Christ cover 1/3 of the earth’s population.
Jonathan Welton refers to commentator F.W. Farrar.
“The fifth kingdom, which was represented by clay and iron toes in the dream, occurred when the Roman Kingdom was divided into ten provinces under Augustus Caesar, who ruled from 27 BC to AD 14. The famed commentator F.W. Farrar lists the following as the ten provinces of the divided Roman Empire of the first century: Italy, Achaia, Asia, Syria, Egypt, Africa, Spain, Gaul, Britain, and Germany. During Augustus’ rule, the ten toes were established, and then Jesus came as the Rock and crashed into the toes in 3 BC.”
Welton, Jonathan. Raptureless: An Optimistic Guide to the End of the World.
Jesus is the stone that became the Rock we stand on. (Our calendars are off by three years, as Jesus was born in 3 BC.) Now let’s look at New Testament verses that hint at when the rule of Christ, as King, was to begin.
Matthew 2:1, 2 (NKJV)
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
Matthew 3:1, 2 (NKJV)
1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
Matthew 9:35 (NKJV) Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
Matthew 10:7 (NKJV) And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
Matthew 11:12, 13 (NLT)
12 And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it. 13 For before John came, all the prophets and the law of Moses looked forward to this present time.
Matthew 11:14 (The Living Bible) and if you are willing to understand what I mean, he is Elijah, the one the prophets said would come at the time the Kingdom begins.
Matthew 12:28 (NLT) But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.
Matthew 16:28 (NKJV) Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
Colossians 1:13 (NKJV) He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
Revelation 1:6 (The Living Bible) He has gathered us into his Kingdom and made us priests of God his Father.
Some teachers say the Kingdom of God is a future event. Others say it began at the birth of Christ; some say when John began his ministry and baptized Jesus in the Jordan and others say the Kingdom started when Jesus was raised from the dead and sat down at His Father’s right hand. The verses above seem to indicate His Kingdom began while He was on the earth as the Son of Man.
Whether we can determine the answer to this question or not, we will continue with the Holy Spirit to investigate what the Scriptures reveal concerning the kingdom.
Now this is odd. I’m writing this just two weeks or so later.
I included Daniel 2:44 above yet, did not notice until late last night (8 June).
Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; . . .
As was made clear above, the kings Daniel is talking about are the ten kings of the Roman Empire which Augustus Caesar divided during his reign which ended in AD 14, or 17 years after the birth of Christ. This significantly reduces the range of options to determine when Jesus became King of His Kingdom.
Jesus the King came in the manger at Bethlehem and brought His Kingdom with Him. Then thirty years later, John the Baptist began to proclaim that King Jesus was about to be revealed. “Repent the Kingdom of God is at hand” (Matt. 3: 2). As Jesus ministered for three and a half years, His constant theme was teaching and demonstrating what it looks like to be in His Kingdom. During the last supper, Jesus stood and said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26: 28). This was a confirmation of His Kingdom being transferred to His followers as they transitioned from the Old Covenant into the New Covenant.
Welton, Jonathan. Raptureless: An Optimistic Guide to the End of the World.
While lying in bed talking to the Lord this morning, it became clear that this is more important than a historical or theological point. Much confusion in the church stems from misplacing the beginning of the reign of Christ as King. I believe this is part of the reason God told me in January that “Kingdom” was the word to focus on in 2016.