God’s Big Picture Unit 6: The Prophesied Kingdom (1 Kings – Malachi)

God’s Big Picture Unit 6: The Prophesied Kingdom (1 Kings – Malachi)


-A disastrous line of idolatrous kings.
-The catastrophic destruction of God’s kingdom. -And amidst the rubble, new shoots of hope. This is God’s Big Picture- the Prophesied
Kingdom –God’s Big Picture
Bible Overview Course The prophesied Kingdom- Unit 6– Thanks for joining me again in our look at
the big picture of the Bible’s story. We’ve already covered a lot of ground and today
we’re diving into the later parts of the Old Testament. So where’ve we got to in our story so far? Well after the fall, God promises to establish
his kingdom on earth again and so restore creation. This promise is partially fulfilled in the
history of Israel through the exodus, the giving of the law, the conquest of Canaan
and the establishment of a monarchy. But, as God’s prophets make clear, the complete
fulfilment is still to come. The ministry of those prophets dominates the
next period in Israel’s history, which I’ve called “the prophesied kingdom”. –THE PROPHETS’ ROLE- Put simply the prophets are God’s spokesmen,
speaking God’s word, which is the message he has revealed to them. As Peter writes in
the New Testament, ” Prophecy never had its origin in the human
will, but prophets spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit ” The prophets’ role is to enforce God’s covenant. Moses was the definitive prophet, through
whom God revealed his law from the thunder and lightning of Mount Sinai. All future generations
are to live in the light of that ground-shaking covenant and it’s the role of the prophets
to call on God’s people to do that: reminding them of the abundant blessings that follow
obedience and the devastating curses that follow disobedience. –THE PROPHETS’ CONTEXT- Let’s think for a moment about the prophets’
historical context. They were active during the downhill period
in Israel’s history. The partial kingdom reached its peak at the time of Solomon, but then
began to be dismantled. It all starts after Solomon’s death in nine
hundred and twenty-two BC, when civil war breaks out and the nation is torn apart into
a northern kingdom, known as Israel, and a southern kingdom, Judah.
From the very beginning, Jeroboam, Israel’s first king, leads its people into idolatry,
setting up golden calves for them to worship. Sadly his successors all follow his idolatrous
lead until God’s curses fall and the people are exiled to Assyria in seven hundred and
twenty-two BC. The kingdom is destroyed, exactly two hundred years after it began. The southern kingdom of Judah does contain
God’s temple in Jerusalem and kings of David’s line, but, still, it fares little better.
There are some good kings, like the young Josiah, who, after finding a copy of God’s
law in the temple, stamps out false religion across the nation.
But Judah’s history is chiefly marked by flabby compromise and insidious corruption. In five hundred and ninety-seven BC disaster
comes when the mighty Babylonians roundly defeat Judah and seize some of its inhabitants,
taking them into exile. Eleven years later, in five hundred and eighty-six
BC they return and this time completely crush the nation, destroying Jerusalem, raising
the temple to the ground and forcing many more into exile (PAUSE) No wonder they sang, “By the rivers of Babylon
we sat and wept” (words that weren’t first written for a pop song in the seventies, but
come from Psalm 137). So the partial kingdom has been systematically
dismantled. There’s very little evidence that the Israelites
are God’s people, they’re not in God’s place, but in exile, and they face the curse of God’s
judgment rather than his blessing. So that’s the prophets’ context- now onto
their message. –THE PROPHETS’ MESSAGE- God’s prophets speak throughout this depressing
period in Israel’s history. But before we look at what they say, let’s look at who was
prophesying where, and when: In the eighth century BC, Amos and Hosea prophesy
to the northern kingdom, just before its destruction, and Isaiah and Micah to the south. Then, in the seventh century, there’s Jeremiah
in Jerusalem and Ezekiel and Daniel, a few years later, in exile in Babylon. Finally, in the sixth century, after the return
from exile, come Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. The message of all these prophets focuses
on two themes: judgment and hope, both of which are based on God’s covenant. Judgment is the dominant theme of most of
the prophets. And the big idea is that God’s judgment is the reason behind Israel and Judah’s
destruction. We tend to use the word “prophecy” to refer
to predictions about the future (“I prophesy that Chelsea will win the Premier League”,
or something like that). But lots of what the prophets said was addressing a present
or even past situation. Often they’re exposing the sin of their contemporaries
and proclaiming current judgment rather than only warning about the future. A friend of mine has explained it like this.
Jimmy is a young boy who has just been given some new shoes. It’s a rainy day and his mother
knows he likes splashing in puddles, so she warns him,
“if you go into those puddles you’ll go to your room when you get home.” But he goes
straight into the first one he sees. His mother tells him off:
“If you do that again, you’ll go to your room when you get home.”
But he keeps doing it; so, when he gets home he’s sent to his room, where he cries loudly.
And his mother says to him: “You can’t complain; it’s your fault. I told
you very clearly that if you carried on splashing in the puddles, you’d be sent to your room.
But you kept doing it and that’s why you’re there now.” The parallels with Israel are obvious:
-God clearly warns them through Moses and Joshua before they enter the land that, if
they disobey him, they’ll be judged and sent into exile.
-They do disobey so, through the prophets, God reminds them of what he had said and urges
them to repent, but they keep on sinning and so, in the end, judgement comes.
-Then God speaks again, during the exile and afterwards, explaining why it’s happened-
‘you disobeyed and so were judged’. He’s simply carrying out the punishment he’d warned them
of. (PAUSE) …So to be faithful to his word, God has
to judge his people. But that same word demands that judgement won’t be the end of his dealings
with them. In God’s covenant there is a conditional element
to his promises; he has made it clear through Moses that if they disobey they’ll lose his
blessing. But there’s also an unconditional element to them; his promise to Abraham is
a guaranteed commitment: “I will make you into a great nation and I
will bless you … and all nations on earth will be blessed through you”. So God’s covenant, which is the basis of the
prophets’ message of judgment, is also the basis of the other major theme of their books:
hope. Even while its history speaks of the decline
and failure of Israel, the prophets announce a glorious future for the nation and for the
whole world. They point back to the uphill period of Israel’s
history and say it will be like that again, only better. All that God had done in the
past provides the categories which the prophets use to explain what God’ll do in the future.
God won’t rebuild the model (the partial kingdom), but he will establish what it pointed to:
the real thing, the perfect kingdom (God’s people in God’s place, under God’s rule and
enjoying his blessing). The prophets’ message of hope told of the
ultimate fulfilment of all three of those kingdom promises. First, the promise that God will establish
his people. He’s been judging them, but that is discipline,
not divorce; they have a glorious future to look forward to. There’ll be a new exodus, an even greater
redemption than before. And it will be achieved through the death of a new Passover lamb;
not an animal, but God’s servant, dying in the place of others:
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord
has laid on him the iniquity of us all”. And this time, not just the Israelites, but
people from all nations are included in God’s salvation.
This is the fulfilment of his promise to Abraham to bring blessing to all peoples in Genesis
12. As God says to his servant Isaiah, “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth” . The prophets also speak of how God will establish
a place where his people can meet with him. Just after the news has reached the exiles
in Babylon that the temple in Jerusalem has been destroyed, Ezekiel prophesies that God
will establish a new temple, with a river flowing out from it, which gives life to the
whole world. That’s a reference back to the rivers that
flowed out of Eden before the fall. That vision of a new temple is so magnificent that it
can’t refer simply to one building on earth. It’s a symbol of a new creation, which God
explicitly promises to establish in Isaiah 65:
” Behold I will create new heavens and a new earth”. And finally the prophets tell us that God
will also fulfil his promise to establish his rule and bring blessing with a new covenant:
“The time is coming”, he says through Jeremiah, “when I will make a new covenant with the
house of Israel and with the house of Judah”. He’ll find a way of being faithful to his
promise through Moses to punish sins and yet, at the same time fulfil his unconditional
promises to Abraham to establish his kingdom of blessing again. That kingdom will be introduced by a new king:
the Son of David, the Christ. There’ll be much rejoicing when he comes and people will
say, “To us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders”. PAUSE So let’s bring all this together and see how
our theme of the kingdom of God is expanded in this prophesied kingdom. -We can see God’s people will be the new Israel,
now including the nations. -God’s place will be the new temple, and indeed
the new creation itself, -and God’s rule and blessing will be found
in the new covenant and its new king. PAUSE So this all begs the question- when will this
prophesied kingdom come about? –THE RETURN FROM EXILE- There is great expectation that the kingdom
will be restored when King Cyrus of Persia defeats the Babylonians and allows the people
of Judah to return home. Under Ezra and Nehemiah, they repair the city
walls and build a new temple. At its completion the young men celebrate
but the old men, remembering what stood before, weep as they compare this temple with Solomon’s
magnificent building. Worse still, the people turn out to be as
sinful as ever and it soon becomes clear that this is not the promised time of salvation. God’s kingdom still hasn’t come, because God’s
king hasn’t come… But in the last pages of the Old Testament,
the prophet Malachi, insists that the king will appear.
God says, “I will send my messenger, who will prepare
the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple”. It was a long wait but, in the end, in the
most unexpected and yet glorious way, the King did come –
and that’s the subject of our next study: the present kingdom.

2 thoughts on “God’s Big Picture Unit 6: The Prophesied Kingdom (1 Kings – Malachi)

  • August 6, 2017 at 4:30 am
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    to Admin, please check the caption. I think it's wrong caption. Thank you.

    Reply
  • August 28, 2019 at 11:54 pm
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    Another godly video, keep em up

    Reply

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