THE BASF - ITS IMPORTANCE AND TEACHING
That the kingdom which he will establish will be the kingdom of Israel restored, in the territory it formerly occupied, viz. the land bequeathed for an everlasting possession to Abraham and his seed (the Christ) by covenant.—Mic 4:6-8; Am 9:11,15; Ezek 37:21,22; Jer 23:3-8; Gen 13:14-17; Heb 11:8,9; Gal 3:16; Lev 26:42; Mic 7:20.
The Scriptures of Truth record how following the expression of King David’s desire to construct an House for the Most High, Yahweh instead gave him an exceeding great and precious promise, that He would build David a house:
“Furthermore, I tell thee that Yahweh will build thee a house. And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him as I took it from him that was before thee: but I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore” (1 Chron 17:10-14).
From the words of this promise, we may deduce the following:
- After David’s death, one of his descendants would be “raised up,”
- That “seed” would be the Son of Yahweh, who would therefore be his Father,
- The kingdom of his seed would be established,
- His throne will endure “for ever,”
- The mercy of Yahweh would not be taken away from him, as it was from Saul (for disobedience),
- He would be “settled” in Yahweh’s house, and in Yahweh’s kingdom,
These promises plainly speak of the Lord Jesus Christ, who was “made of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom 1:3). This is proved by the New Testament application of the promise, where these very words are used to emphasise the greatness of Yahweh’s Christ: “Unto which of the Angels said He at any time, Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a son?” (Heb 1:5). Moreover, David himself recognised that the promised raising up of his seed, was in fact speaking of the raising up from the dead which the Master experienced:
“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, that his soul was not left in hades, neither his flesh did see corruption” (Acts 2:30,31; cp Ps 16:10).
The promises conveyed to David through Nathan the prophet then, relate to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the kingdom of which it speaks is therefore his kingdom – where he, as the promised Seed, shall sit upon David’s throne. Even so the Angel also promised to Mary: “the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever (Luke 1:32). His kingdom therefore, “will be the kingdom of Israel restored”, as described by the BASF (Acts 1:6).
SOLOMON – FORSHADOWING THE REIGN OF CHRIST
That this is so, is further confirmed when we consider the affairs of David’s kingdom under Solomon, his immediate son. Though the words given through Nathan the prophet clearly relate to Yahweh’s only begotten Son, nevertheless we find that on a later occasion the Father also made other promises concerning Solomon – which in many respects are similar. The details and circumstances of this second oath are not revealed to us, but David made reference to them at the enthronement of his son (note: Solomon was enthroned whilst David was still alive, whereas the earlier promise related to a seed being raised up after he slept in the dust of the ground with his fathers):
“David said to Solomon, My son, it was in my mind to build an house unto the name of Yahweh my Elohim: but the word of Yahweh came unto me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build a house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. Behold, a son shall be born unto thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about; for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build an house for my name; and he shall be my son, and I will be his father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel for ever” (1 Chron 22:7-10).
Note how similar these words are, to those which we have already considered. The promise was “he shall be my son, and I will be his father” – Solomon was to be adopted as Yahweh’s son. “He shall build an house for my name,” Solomon was to construct a Temple, even as it was promised that the Christ would. Yet there are also differences that demonstrate how it is a different oath that David is referring to, for instance, Solomon is directly named prior to his birth, in this place, showing that these words specifically refer to him. But it is also important to note the similarity between Solomon’s reign and that of Messiah, for it is so striking that there can be no doubt that Messiah’s kingdom is to be the ancient polity restored.
The terms used in this place, are drawn upon in Isaiah’s prophecy concerning Yahweh’s Only Begotten son:
“unto us a son is born, unto us a son is given … his name shall be called … prince of peace … upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it … ” (Is 9:6).
Also, the characteristics of Solomon’s reign are strongly echoed in the many promises of Israel’s restored kingdom. Some of these are listed below:
- Solomon appointed 12 officers over all Israel (1 Kings 4:7). Even so, Messiah has appointed 12 apostles to rule with him (Luke 22:30).
- Wisdom was in Solomon to do judgment (1 Kings 3:28). Even so it will be with Messiah (Is 11:2-4).
- Judah and Israel were many, “as the sand of the sea” for multitude. This echoes the promise made to Abraham (Gen 22:17).
- Solomon reigned “from the river … unto the border of Egypt” (1Kings 4:21). As will Messiah (Ps 72:8).
- The kings of the Earth, and men “of all people” went to Jerusalem to hear Solomon’s wisdom (1Kings 4:34; Eccl 12:9). Even so, all nations shall flow to Zion to learn the righteousness of Yahweh (Is 2:2-3).
- They also brought gifts (1 Kings 4:21, 2Chron 9:24). Even as they shall before Messiah (Ps 72:10,11 ; Zech 14:13-16)
There can be no doubt therefore, that the coming kingdom of Messiah, is indeed the Kingdom restored to Israel (Acts 1:6), albeit upon a much greater scale.
The BASF shows that not only is the kingdom to be a restoration of a similar polity of old, founded and established upon similar principles and arrangements, it is also to occupy the same territory: “in the territory it formerly occupied, viz., the land bequeathed for an everlasting possession to Abraham and his seed (the Christ) by covenant”. The reference to Abraham here is most important, for the promise made to David which we have considered, was but a re-iteration (albeit from a different aspect of things) of promises which had previously been made to Abraham, concerning the same “seed”, the coming Messiah (Gal 3:16).
YAHWEH’S PROMISES TO ABRAHAM
Those promises were made on numerous occasions, the most pertinent to our present considerations being recorded in Genesis chapter 15. In this place, the word of Yahweh came to Abraham saying, “I am Yahweh that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?” Whereupon Yahweh made a covenant with Abraham. Various beasts and birds were taken, slain, and laid out after a sacrificial manner. “And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp, that passed through those pieces. In the same day, Yahweh made a covenant with Abraham, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euprates: the Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, and the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites”.
This then, is the land promised to Abraham’s seed; the territory of Messiah’s kingdom, which shall form the nucleus, or “first dominion” of a world-wide rule. But notice several interesting features here: in reply to Abraham’s question “whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it,” the promise was made that “unto thy seed have I given this land”. The giving of the land to Abraham’s seed then, was itself an assurance that Abraham would himself inherit the land. And secondly, the land is not simply spoken of in terms of its borders, but also in terms of the people who already dwelt there. These kingdoms of men were to be removed, to become the kingdom of Yahweh, and his Messiah (who were symbolised in the 2 lights which passed through the slain animals; cp Jer 34:18, Heb 1:3; Rev 11:15).
A FULFILMENT IN THE DAYS OF SOLOMON?
There are those who claim that this promise was altogether fulfilled in Solomon’s day for, as we have already seen, his dominion is said to have stretched “from the river … unto the border of Egypt” (1Kin 4:21), a clear allusion to the dominion promised to Abraham’s seed. A passage from Nehemiah is also brought to bear, where this man of faith speaks in prayer to the Father of Abraham, concerning the covenant made “to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words …” (Neh 9:6,8). These words, we are told, “prove” that the covenant made with Abraham was fulfilled in the days of Solomon – the words were performed.
We shall consider this passage in a moment, but firstly we should note that the claims made do not agree with the Apostle Paul, who declared that the promise to the Greater Seed of Abraham was not negated by any preliminary fulfilment under the terms of the Law of Moses. It is true that land was promised to Abraham’s seed, and that his natural seed dwelt in that land. So, at one level, the promise had a fulfilment. However, Israel during the reigns of David, Solomon and their successors were never given the land by promise; rather they received it according to Law. And even whilst dwelling there by Law, King David himself recognised that they were “strangers … and sojourners, as were all our fathers”, rather then inhabitants dwelling there by an unconditional promise.
Here is the difference, Israel dwelt in the land according to Law, but both Abraham and his Seed were given the land by promise. So the Apostle declares concerning “the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made …” (Gal 3:17-19).
ISRAEL’S SOJOURN IN THE LAND AWAITING THE PROMISED SEED
Israel’s habitation of the Land under Law cannot disannul the covenant made with Abraham that his seed would later inhabit, and possess the land by promise “for ever”. That promise still therefore holds true, and is yet to be fulfilled. True it is, that in the law, there was a partial fulfilment as Abraham’s natural seed did dwell in some of the land. But only some of the land, we say, for Nehemiah’s description of the areas possessed by Israel did not include the land of the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites, or the Rephaim – which areas were promised to Abraham as we have seen, in Genesis 15.
There was a fundamental reason why Israel simply could not have inherited the land under the terms of the Abrahamic promise. For, as the Apostle informs us, those promises were made to a specific seed. If a man makes a promise to give land to a particular man, but permits others to dwell in that land before it is given, does that therefore mean that the promise has been fulfilled? By no means. Even so, although Israel dwelt in the land, they did not inherit it by promise, for they could not until the One to whom the promise was made himself took possession. They dwelt there under the law, which was added because of transgressions till the seed should come to whom the promise was made. Until he came, and until he received his inheritance, no other man could. Not even Abraham himself, for we saw that his assurance of possessing the land was the promise that the Messiah would first. And Messiah has not yet possessed even a square foot of the land, for even when he did come, he had nowhere to lay his head (Luke 9:58). The promise then, is yet to be fulfilled. As David was promised, the Seed had to be “raised up” from the dead, after which he would sit upon the royal throne ruling over that land, over the twelve tribes of Jacob’s sons.
A WORLDWIDE DOMINION
Although the actual land promised to Abraham and his seed is a specific area in the Middle East, we are not to suppose that the dominion of the coming king shall be restricted to that area. Enshrined within the promised made to Abraham was the prospect of world dominion: “the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, though the law, but through the righteousness of faith” (Rom 4:13). The promise was, then, that he should be the heir of the world – but where in Genesis is that promise found? There is no place where these words were used of Abraham. The answer lies within the fact that although a certain portion of land was promised to him and his seed for a possession, it is from that land that they shall exercise a world-wide dominion. There are many passages which describe Jerusalem’s role as the centre of such a kingdom; the following are but a few examples:
“the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it … out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem …” (Is 2:2-3).
“Mine house shall be called a house of Prayer for all people” (Is 56:7)
“Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion … be wise now therefore ye kings: be instructed ye judges of the earth. Serve Yahweh with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little” (Ps 2:6, 10-12).
“all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him …” (Ps 72:11).
Here then is the promise; a world-wide dominion with Yahweh’s Messiah enthroned upon the ancient David seat of power restored, with Israel being the place of future world rule. This is the day we yearn for, that sharing the faith of Abraham, we may be privileged to live and rule with him and his Seed in that great day (Gal 3:29).