November 20, 2018

A Problem For Premillennialist

By Michael L. DuBose

Is this man Coniah a despised broken idol? Wherefore are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land they know not? 0 earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah (Jer. 22:28-30).

The prophet Jeremiah said that none of Coniah's descendants would ever prosper while sitting upon David's throne in Jerusalem. Christ is a descendant of Coniah. In Matthew's listing of the genealogy of Christ, Jechoniah, who was carried away into Babylonian captivity, and Coniah are the same man (see Mt. 1: 11, 12). Thus, according to Jeremiah's prophecy, Christ of the seed of Coniah, could not reign upon David's throne while upon the earth. This effectively destroys the premillennial doctrine of a literal thousand year reign of Christ on earth.

Usually, in order to try and circumvent the clear implications of these passages, premillennialists will argue that Matthew recorded Joseph's lineage. Since Christ is not a fleshly descendant of Joseph, they contend that Jeremiah's prophecy does not apply and they have done away with the contradiction between the word of God and their doctrine.

Luke, however, also records the genealogy of Christ, but on Mary's side of the family. Notice a couple of names that are common to both records. In Matthew 1: 12-13 and Luke 3:27, the names Shealtiel and Zerubbabel appear. These are not four different men with the same names, but the same two men in both accounts. The families of Nathan and Solomon unite in Shealtiel. Thus, Christ is a descendant of Coniah on both sides of the family and according to Jeremiah, he could not rule upon an earthly throne.

Some see a contradiction in the fact that Shealtiel is called the son of Jechoniah in Matthew's lineage and the son of Ned in Luke's record. These discrepancies can be easily harmonized, however. In the listing of David's descendants recorded in I Chronicles 3, Shealtiel is listed as the son of Jechoniah and Zerubbabel is listed as the son of Pedaiah (1 Chron. 3:16-19). It seems probable that Shealtiel was actually the grandson of Jechoniah either by his daughter and Neri, who was also a descendant of David through Nathan (see Lk. 3:27; 1 Chron. 3:5) or that Shealtiel was a great grandson of Jechoniah through Assir (1 Chron. 3:17) who died leaving a daughter but no sons. The inheritance was to pass to the daughter of a man who died having no sons (Num. 27:1-8), but the daughter was required to marry one who was of the same tribe as her father so that the inheritance would not be moved from tribe to tribe (Num. 36:8-12). In either case, Shealtiel would be the legitimate heir to the throne, but he never reigned because of the captivity.

If Shealtiel died, leaving no descendants, then his brother was obligated by the law to raise up seed to his name (Deut. 25:510). Thus, Pedaiah (the brother of Shealtiel and grandson of Jechoniah, 1 Chron. 3:18), took his brother's widow and raised up Zerubbabel as seed to Shealtiel. Zerubbabel, then, would become the heir.

Whether one accept the above reasoning or not, Christ is still proven to be the descendant of Coniah by the Scriptures. He, therefore, can not reign on David's throne while upon earth.

Nathan's prophecy to David also shows that the Messiah would be a descendant of David through Solomon, thus through Coniah. In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, Nathan told David that his son would be allowed to build a house for the Lord and that this son would reign upon the throne of David his father forever. Solomon is the son under consideration in Nathan's prophecy. He ascended to his father's throne and he was allowed to build a house for God (1 Kings 5:5). But Solomon is not now reigning on David's throne. Obviously, that part of the prophecy which speaks of David's son reigning forever has reference to Christ. He was to reign upon David's throne forever. But remember, we have established from Jeremiah's prophecy, that Christ, who is a descendant of Coniah, can not rule on David's throne while upon earth. Christ reign must be spiritual or heavenly, then.

This is exactly what Peter said in his sermon on the day of Pentecost. He told the audience gathered in Jerusalem, "Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ . . ." (Acts 2:30-31). The sitting on David's throne was a reference to the resurrection of Christ and His ascension into heaven to sit at God's right hand to rule over His church (Acts 2:32-36).

The premillennial doctrine of the thousand year earthly reign of Christ clearly contradicts these Bible passages and in these verses, there is a problem which the premillennialist can not answer.

Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 8, p. 243
April 19, 1984

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