WHO WILL BE ISRAEL’S KING IN THE MILLENNIUM—JESUS CHRIST OR DAVID?
by Shawn Brasseaux
It is normally believed and taught that the Lord Jesus Christ will rule over the nation Israel as King when He sets up God’s earthly kingdom at the Second Coming. However, when reading through some of the Old Testament prophets, unexpected language complicates that simple scenario. A few verses actually say that David will be Israel’s king. Who will be Israel’s future ruler—Jesus Christ, or David? Have you ever wondered? When we have conflicting verses, how do we resolve the matter? Let me show you!
We begin by turning to a sampling of verses that say Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will be King over Israel:
- Psalm chapter 2: “ Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.  I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”
- Isaiah chapter 9: “ For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
- Jeremiah chapter 23: “ Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.  In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
- Obadiah 1:21: “And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.”
- Zephaniah 3:15: “The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.”
- Luke chapter 1: “ And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”
From these verses, we can establish the fact that Jesus Christ will sit on Israel’s throne, David’s throne, and reign as King. Yet, the Holy Spirit says something else later. Notice the verses that speak of David, not as a historical king, but as a future governor of Israel:
- Jeremiah 30:9: “But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.” David lived and reigned some 300 years before Jeremiah, yet the Prophet speaks of David’s reign as future. Why?
- Ezekiel chapter 37: “ And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.  And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.” Like Jeremiah above, the Prophet Ezekiel lived centuries after David’s rule. How could David’s reign be future from Ezekiel’s perspective as well?
- Hosea 3:5: “Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.” Hosea the Prophet also lived a few centuries after David. Yet, even Hosea the Prophet foresees David’s future reign. Huh?
So, which is it? Jesus Christ? David? Who will be Israel’s King? It is understandable why people get confused here (this author once struggled to reconcile it). How do we go about answering this?
Friend, this author will not keep you in suspense any longer. If we will just take the position of faith, we will look at all these verses and arrive at one conclusion: both Jesus Christ and David will reign over Israel in the future. This, of course, necessitates David’s bodily resurrection, as he has been dead for 3,000 years! (Jesus Christ is already alive today, so there is no problem with Him.) There are some other complications we must sort out here while we are on the subject.
How can Jesus Christ sit on David’s throne if David himself also has a throne in the Millennium? (Isaiah 9:7 and Luke 1:32 said Jesus Christ will inherit His father David’s throne.) This makes some people conclude that “David” in Jeremiah 30:9, Ezekiel 37:24-25, and Hosea 3:5 is really a symbolic name for Jesus Christ. (This author once held that position before he studied the matter in-depth; as you will see, he has abandoned that view.) There is no obligation to depart from a literal Bible interpretation here. When the Bible says “David,” the best course of action for us to take is to believe it at face value. It is literally David. When we start spiritualizing—that is, saying, “the Bible says this, but it really means that”—then we encounter major difficulties. How will we ever figure out anything in the Bible if our standard, usual approach is not literal? No, just leave the text alone and believe it as-is.
We still have a dilemma though. How will Jesus Christ sit on David’s throne (Acts 2:30) if David himself will be reigning as well? Remember, David was once the supreme ruler over Israel (notice “supreme”): he alone was king. In the Millennium, like David of old, Jesus Christ will be the supreme ruler over Israel. Although David will have an Israeli throne similar to his historical one, the difference in the future is that there will be a King higher than David. In other words, David will be a king serving under a mightier King (this never occurred in history). Unlike David’s, Jesus Christ’s dominion is unrestricted. He will be the supreme Head of Israel AND all the Earth’s governments.
CHRIST’S REIGN EXTENDS TO ALL NATIONS (CONTROL DAVID NEVER HAD)
David’s historical reign was, and his future reign will be, limited to the 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus Christ, however, will oversee all the world’s nations:
- Psalm 22:28: “For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.” (David never had this power.)
- Psalm 47:2: “For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.” (David never exercised such influence.)
- Psalm 103:19: “The LORD hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.” (David never had this power. We will discuss shortly how this “heavenly” verse will be accomplished.)
- Zechariah 14:9: “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” (David never exerted this influence.)
- Revelation 11:15: “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (David never wielded this power.)
In light of Psalm 103:19 (what we just read), we can take it a step further. Jesus Christ will not only govern Israel and the rest of planet Earth. He will also be the supreme Head of all the universe!
CHRIST’S REIGN EXTENDS TO OUTER SPACE (AUTHORITY DAVID NEVER HAD)
This is where it gets very interesting. Historically, David’s dominion was restricted to Israel’s national borders. However, Jesus Christ will have jurisdiction far beyond the Holy Land. In fact, He will be King over the heavenly places, which is what we learn from the Apostle Paul’s ministry. This is in perfect accordance with God’s original intention in creation. The Lord Jesus Christ must be preeminent in heaven and Earth: He will be the Head of all the governments of Heaven and Earth.
With the mystery now revealed, Paul can write in Ephesians chapter 1: “ Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:….”
And, Colossians 1:16-20: “ For by him [God the Son, Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
Father God will reconcile all the governments of Earth unto Himself by using the nation Israel. But, what about the heavenly places? That is where the Church the Body of Christ (us!) comes in! This is where Paul’s special message fills in the details.
Read 2 Timothy 2:8-13, and notice the reference to King David: “ Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel:  Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.  Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”
Our reigning in the heavenly places as members of the Church the Body of Christ will allow Jesus Christ to be preeminent in the heavenly places (go back to Ephesians 1:9-10 and Colossians 1:16-20). His Word will fill us, and then we will fill the heavenly places with His Word. We will receive glorified bodies whereby we can function in outer space. These glorified bodies will enable us to glorify Jesus Christ in the heavenly places—the “eternal glory” of 2 Timothy 2:10.
Notice Philippians chapter 3: “ For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (The “all things” here are offices of government, as already seen in Colossians 1:16.)
Finally, Ephesians chapter 1: “ Which [mighty power] he [Father God] wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:  And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,  Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
Ephesians chapter 2: “ And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
SUPPLEMENTAL: ISRAEL AND JUDAH REUNITED FOREVER
What is most important about the nation Israel in the Millennium is that all 12 tribes will be reunited under one head. Once David’s son, King Solomon, died, the 10 northern tribes were given over to Solomon’s servant Jeroboam and the two southern tribes (Judah and Benjamin) were retained by Solomon’s son Rehoboam. For the first time ever, the nation Israel became two kingdoms. The rending of the 10 northern tribes from the house of David was God’s judgment on the Jews because of Solomon’s idolatry. You can read about this in great detail in 1 Kings 11:1-43. In the Millennium, all 12 tribes will be gathered under one leader. Israel (Northern Kingdom) and Judah (Southern Kingdom) will be one kingdom again. They will all be brought back under the Davidic dynasty as in the days of old. David will again rule over one kingdom and one nation, as if the divided kingdom never existed. Using David, God will erase that division forever.
Read the context of Ezekiel 37:24-25 (what we read earlier):
“ The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying,  Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions:  And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand.  And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?  Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.
“ And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes.  And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:  And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.  Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.
“ And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.  And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.  Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.  My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore.”
What a time the Millennium will be! Israel has a most glorious hope, dear friends. She has a long way to go before she gets there, but, by God’s faithfulness, and by His faithfulness alone, she will be fully restored in due time!
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