ZECHARIAH 14|THE RESURRECTION AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Our last article established that Zechariah contains several elements that are undeniably resurrection motifs. The prophet said these elements would come to pass “in that day,” the day of the Lord’s A.D. 70 coming in judgment against Jerusalem (vs. 1-5). This means the resurrection is tied to the end of the Old Covenant World of Israel. This article will confirm that interpretation.
In verse 9 Zechariah said, “And the Lord will be king over all the earth; in that day the Lord will be the only one and His name the only one.” (NKJV) This passage provides a direct link to the resurrection for it tells of the time when the Sovereignty of YHVH would be fully established in the kingdom of God.
To properly understand this statement we must take a quick journey through the Bible and see how God has attempted to rule man and man’s attempts to rule himself.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD, THE GARDEN AND MAN’S PROBLEM
In the Garden of Eden man was in perfect harmony with God. Fellowship was unbroken. God ruled man with no intermediaries. Man was submissive and obedient, reliant on God for all of his needs. The Garden was the “Holy of Holies” where God and man communed together. The Kingdom of God was present in that situation.
Because God desired service and love to be from a free and willing choice the Lord presented man with choice “of every fruit of every tree that is in the garden you may freely eat; but of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat thereof, for in the day you eat you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17).
When Satan confronted Eve he told her the fruit would make them “like God,” Genesis 3:5. He said in effect that they could become self-sufficient. They would not need God anymore; they could make their own decisions because they would know good and evil. They should reject the Sovereignty of God– the kingdom of God— and become their own masters. The temptation was too great. They ate, and true to the warning, they died that day. Sin had brought forth death, spiritual death.
God had determined to defeat death, however. He promised that the seed of woman would one day crush Satan’s head and thus destroy his work of death (Genesis 3:15). This ultimate defeat of Satan and death is the focus of Biblical eschatology.
The time when God would once again rule man in full unbroken fellowship, man freely and willingly acknowledging his Sovereignty, is the focus of the Scheme of Redemption. The problem is that man has always had a problem realizing his need for reliance on Jehovah. Man has, it seems, always desired to have other masters than Jehovah. The kingdom of God has never been man’s top priority.
THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND OTHER KINGS
For space considerations we advance to the period of the judges. Gideon saves Israel from the Midianites. The people of Israel come to him and say “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son” (Judges 8:22). Israel desired a king. Gideon responded: “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you” (Judges 8:23).
Israel was only temporarily deterred. In 1 Samuel 8:5 the leaders of Israel approached Samuel with the request “now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” Samuel was distraught believing that such a request was a rejection of his work. Jehovah consoled him however “they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them” (vs. 7).
Amazingly, Israel refused to be deterred from desiring a king in spite of the fact that in 1 Samuel 10 Samuel once again warned them that it was a great sin to do so. Then, in 1 Samuel 12:17-19 after a demonstration of God’s power, Samuel once again reminded Israel of her sin– the sin of desiring a king on a throne– and she admitted to it:
“ Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the Lord, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking a king for yourselves.” So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves.”
Israel’s desire for a nationalistic king was a rejection of God. It was a rejection of the kingdom of God! The monarchy of Israel was, in the eyes of God, a visible manifestation of man’s rejection of his sovereignty.
Notice that in John 6:15, Jesus perceived that the crowd was about to come and make him king. What an opportunity! I mean, Jesus came to be king, and Israel wanted a king. And right then, Israel was ready to accept Jesus as their king! But what happened? Jesus withdrew himself from them, refusing to be the king that they wanted! This is stunning!
In my debate with Joel McDurmon (July 2012), he argued, just like Dispensationalists do, that the kingdom of God will one day be established on earth, in a “physical kingdom.” (In my 2013 formal discussion with Harold Eberle, he argued also that there must yet be a “physical kingdom of God” on the earth).
I took note of John 6:15, as well as the story in 1 Samuel. Incredibly, McDurmon said that the only problem in Samuel and in John was that the Jews wanted a king like the other nations. The problem was not the desire for a nationalistic king, just a king like the other nations.
This is not what is found in Samuel. Now, the people did say that they wanted a king like the other nations in 1 Samuel 8, but, in chapter 10 and in chapter 12– not to mention in John 6, the problem is simply described as “the great sin of desiring a king over us.” See the discussion of this issue in the book of my debate with McDurmon.
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As I noted in that debate, what McDurmon was / is espousing is nothing but a modified form of Dispensationalism. Incidentally, I wrote a series of articles demonstrating the direct parallels between the Domininionist view and Dispensationalism. You can find the first of that series here.
The point of Jesus’ rejection of the kingdom in John 6, in conjunction with the testimony of 1 Samuel is a tremendous indictment of dispensational Premillennialism and Dominionism. The establishment of the nationalistic kingdom was– from the very beginning– a violation of the will of God. The monarchy was a sign that man desired a different king than Jehovah. Would its restoration– in any earthly, physical form– be anything else?
It will be rejoined that God promised to restore Israel by setting a descendant of David on the throne forever (2 Samuel 7:12-13; Psalms 89; 132). It certainly is true that God promised to raise up the seed of David to sit on his throne. The question is, where would that descendant of David sit on the throne and what would be the nature of his reign? We will examine that question in our next installment, so stay tuned.