Q.

Jeremiah 33:20 and following state God’s promise that a descendent of David will reign forever on his throne. Why is this reign not evident? Could it be that England’s throne is the continuation of David’s throne after all, as some claim?

A.
To understand this passage, we must establish in our minds a couple of truths. First, the Bible states emphatically that the One Who will reign forever is Jesus Christ Himself. This fact is presented throughout the entire Bible, including the prophecies of the Old Testament, the Gospels, the epistles, and the book of Revelation. Typical of Scriptures that show Christ’s reign are Isaiah 9:6 and 7 and 24:23; Matthew 19:28; and Revelation 20:4 and 5. As the risen Savior He is already reigning in Heaven at the Father’s right hand (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25–28); and following His millennial reign, His millennial Kingdom will join the Father’s universal and eternal kingdom (Luke 1:32, 33; 1 Corinthians 15:24–28).

Second, we are dealing with the Davidic Covenant, which is an unconditional covenant, meaning that God will fulfill His national covenant to Israel. It cannot be broken (see the details of God’s promise made to David in 2 Samuel 7:12–16). However this covenant has a conditional aspect that concerns whether or not human descendents of David would continually, or unbrokenly, occupy the throne. As we know from history, disobedience brought about chastening in the form of Israel’s and Judah’s captivities, leaving the thrones of nations in the dust.

Psalm 89 suggests that David had no illusions about an unbroken succession of rulers after him. Interestingly Psalm 89 states that destruction of the kingdom (vv. 38–45) would occur before God’s promise to the nation of Israel would come to pass (vv. 20–29). But David still had assurance that God’s covenant with Israel would be unconditional and would be fulfilled (vv. 46–52). Thus, it should neither surprise nor bother us that a great gap exists from the last kings of the divided nations to the time when the King of Kings, in fulfillment of prophecy, will come to rightfully occupy the throne. Christ is the One Who has the credentials and the genealogy to claim David’s throne (see Matthew 1). When Christ came the first time, His people rejected Him as their Messiah. However when He comes the second time, they will receive Him (Zechariah 12:10; 14:9).

The idea that some other nation or group is the recipient of the unconditional Davidic Covenant does not, in essence, require an entire gap between the kings of fallen Israel and Judah and the Messiah. The idea that the throne of England is a continuation of David’s throne composes part of British Israelism, a teaching that the ten tribes of Israel lost their national identity upon their captivity by the Assyrians. These “lost” tribes, it is asserted, managed to go west through northern Europe. Thus, the adherents of British Israelism consider white English-speaking people to be the truly chosen people reclaimed of God. Advocates use 2 Kings 17:18 (“out of his sight,” KJV) to defend their view.

This thinking is fallacious, however; because the ten tribes were not lost. The phrase “out of his sight” means only that they were taken captive. They continued to exist after that, as seen in verse 23. They had not disappeared; they were only relocated to Assyria during the captivity. Later, the New Testament also refers in various passages to people of the ten tribes, indicating they were scattered (people of Jewish descent lived all over the world) but not lost.

One example is James 1:1, where James addressed his letter to “the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.” If descendents of ten of the twelve tribes no longer were accounted for, James would not have addressed his letter in that way. On the other hand, all twelve of the tribes are lost in the sense that no genealogical records exist to trace any given individual’s background. In contrast, we know for sure concerning Christ and His line. He is indeed the One Who will take the throne. David and all believers who come with Christ will have a part in this reign.

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (October 2000).
© 2000 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.