Pages From the Past
The Jews and Their Kingdom
For some time I have had on hand some letters from an aged Texas brother, an ardent advocate of the future kingdom theory and its allied theories. These letters contain seven closely written pages-too much for this page. In his last letter the brother says: "You answer questions for others, but it seems that my questions are a little too hard for you . . . We recall that some months ago you said that the kingdom of David and the kingdom of Jehovah were the same kingdom, and that Solomon sat on the throne of Jehovah. Solomon sat on the throne of David." (I Kings 2:12, 24.)
When, a person asks for information, I give his question, attention as soon as possible; but when a person is merely trying to flunk me on what he considers a hard examination, I take the examination when, it suits me. Besides, those who ask for information should have first consideration. The editor assigned me the task of answering questions, and not to carry on debates; but I must break over this time and stand the examination, and also do a little debating.
But the brother's memory seems to be at fault. I do not recall saying that the kingdom of David and the kingdom of Jehovah were the same. At least, that is not my idea at all. In a general sense God rules in all the universe, but in a special sense he ruled Israel for a time. At Mount Sinai, Jehovah said: "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be mine own possession from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine: and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation." (Ex. 19:5, 6.) Later they rejected Jehovah as their king. Jehovah said: "They have rejected me, that I should not be king over them." (See I Samuel 8:4-22.) God permitted them to have a king. The resultant kingdom was conceived in sin and brought forth in rebellion against Jehovah. The people dethroned Jehovah, so to speak, and organized a kingdom of their own. "It is thy destruction, O Israel, that thou art against me, against thy help. Where now is thy king, that he may save thee in all thy cities and thy judges, of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? I have given thee a king in mine anger, and have taken him away in my wrath." (Hos. 13:9-11.) And yet all the time of that kingdom the right to rule the people was Jehovah's. The king sat on Jehovah's throne over Israel.
But our brother does not think Solomon sat on Jehovah's throne, but on David's throne. It is strange that these future-kingdom advocates can see I Kings 2:12, 24, but cannot see I Chron. 29:33: "Then Solomon sat on the throne of Jehovah as king instead of David his father." This language shows also that David had sat, on the throne of Jehovah. It was really Jehovah's throne, but was called David's throne because he occupied it. And while Solomon, occupied it, it was also his throne. Concerning Solomon, Jehovah said: "I will establish his throne forever." It was Jehovah's throne, David's throne, and then Solomon's throne. Hence, God had allowed the people to have their way and put a king on his throne. The management of the affairs of the kingdom was in, the hands of the king. "Now when Saul had taken the kingdom over Israel." (I Sam. 14:47.) The whole organization of the kingdom was in the king's hands. But enough of this. Here are the questions:
1. "Was the kingdom of David a material, visible kingdom, or an invisible spirit kingdom?"
It was a kingdom like other kingdoms. The people said: "We will have a king over us, that we may be like all the nations." And Jehovah said to Samuel: "Hearken unto their voice." (I Sam. 8:18-22.) That settles it. It was a kingdom patterned after other kingdoms. That kingdom was destroyed and how any sane person should expect God to restore a kingdom that was organized in rebellion against him is one of the mysteries.
2. "God destroyed it, but said he would restore it as in the days of old. (Amos 9:11-15.) Has it been, restored as it was?"
God did not say that he would restore that rebellious kingdom as it was The tabernacle of David was the royal family of David. The royal house, or family, of David f ell. It was set up again when Jesus, of the royal family of David, was exalted at God's right hand and made both Lord and Messiah. (Acts 2:29-36.) According to James, this had to be done before the gospel could be preached to the Gentiles. (Acts 15:13-19.) That prophecy of Amos has been fulfilled.
3. "Have all Israel been gathered from the nations and given possession of their land, with David as their king, as prophesied in Ezek. 37:10-24?"
Ezekiel uttered that prophecy while Israel was in captivity. Any Israelite who heard or read that prophecy would understand him to, be referring to their then existing captivity. Our brother does not believe that the same David of old would be again their king, but that one of the seed of David would be king. Jesus was of the seed of David, and is now king. Neither are the Jews now in captivity. It is strange that any one would take a passage that speaks of delivering the Jews from captivity and apply it to the Jews of today or of tomorrow. In the prophecy referred to, Jehovah said: "I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they are gone". They were among the nations at that time, and from that condition, Jehovah would deliver them. As to whether they then became a glorious nation would be determined by their own conduct. "And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; if they do that which is evil in my sight, that they obey not my voice, then will 1 repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them." (Jer. 18:9, 10.) This prophecy was spoken direct to Israel as a warning to them.
4. "If the kingdom was restored at Pentecost, why did every apostle after Pentecost that spoke of the return of Christ put it in the future?"
The old kingdom was not restored, but the kingdom of God was set up on Pentecost. Christ is on the throne, where he will sit till all his enemies are subdued. (Acts 2:35.) The last enemy to be abolished is death. (I Cor. 15:26.) Death will be destroyed when the whole human family is raised from the dead. Jesus will occupy his present throne till that event is consumated. He will deliver up the kingdom to the Father. (I Cor. 15:26-28.) That leaves no room for Jesus to reign on another throne before all the dead are raised. Yes, the apostles spoke of the return of Christ as future; but, unfortunately for the future-kingdom theory, t h e y did not put the establishment of his kingdom in, the future. Neither did these ambassadors for Christ tell us that the Jews would yet be restored to Palestine.
(Editor's Note: The preceding article by the late Bro. Whiteside is taken from his newest book, KINGDOM OF PROMISE AND PROPHECY. Truth Magazine stocks this volume which sells for $2.50.)
Truth Magazine I:8, pp. 10-11, 20