Christ - A Greater than Solomon - (4) As to His Sovereignty
John Griffiths, Port Talbot, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
(a) The Kingdom’s commencement
Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei were all put to death at the beginning of Solomon’s reign, 1 Kgs. 2. The millennial reign of Christ will likewise be prefaced by judgement upon His foes, Matt. 13. 41, 42; Zeph. 3. 8; Isa. 63. 1-6.
(b) The Kingdom’s character – equity; tranquility
Solomon’s kingdom was to be marked by righteousness and peace. David said of Solomon, ‘Thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do . . . Do, therefore, according to thy wisdom’, 1 Kgs. 2. 6-9. David was the man instructed by the oracle of God, ‘He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God’, 2 Sam. 23. 3.
In a coming day, ‘Behold a king shall reign in righteousness’, Isa. 32. 1. ‘Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and do wisely’, Jer. 23. 5 RV. ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity’, Heb. 1. 8, 9. Righteousness and peace go hand in hand. ‘And he [Solomon] had peace on all sides round about him. And Judah and Israel dwelt safely . . . all the days of Solomon’, 1 Kgs. 4. 24, 25. ‘But now the Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent’, 1 Kgs. 5. 4.
David, in his prayer, says, ‘In his [Messiah’s] days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth’, Ps. 72. 7. Christ is both Prince of Peace and Lord of Peace. ‘Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end’, Isa. 9. 7. Where Joshua failed to bring the people into rest, and Solomon’s efforts were only a limited success, Christ will be triumphant.
(c) The Kingdom’s continuance
- Prosperity marked Solomon’s reign.
How else could the temple have been so lavishly constructed? Think of his throne of ivory, and gold, ‘There was not the like made in any kingdom’, 2 Chr. 9. 17-19. Consider the provision for his household and hospitality, 1 Kgs. 4. 22, 23. ‘So King Solomon exceeded all the kings of the earth for riches and for wisdom’, 10. 23.
The prosperity of this world under the reign of Christ can only be guessed at! ‘Behold my servant shall deal prudently [prosper]’, Isa. 52. 13. ‘The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand’, 53. 10. A land flowing with milk and honey! The desert blossoming as the rose! The righteous flourishing! No famine or droughts!
- The unity of Israel and Judah secured by David was maintained by Solomon, at least in outward semblance, throughout his reign.
Immediately afterward, the kingdom was divided under Rehoboam and Jeroboam, never to be reunited until Messiah’s reign. Ezekiel tells of the nation being reunited as the sceptres of Judah and Joseph become one in Messiah’s hand. He speaks in the same chapter of their national unity, monarchial unity, geographical unity, and pastoral unity, Ezek. 38. 22, 24. A unity, through Messiah, that will never again be challenged! ‘A kingdom which shall never be destroyed . . . shall not be left to other people . . . and it shall stand forever’, Dan. 2. 44.
- The sanctuary at Jerusalem focused the minds of the people on their religion and their God.
Its glory and beauty were awesome, and talked about widely. The males going to Jerusalem on three occasions per year ensured the centrality of the temple in the hearts and minds of the people. The breakaway kingdom, of which Samaria became capital, sought to divert the people’s attention from Jerusalem by introducing shrines at Bethel and Dan.
The millennial temple will draw in not only Jews, but Gentiles. Zechariah tells us that the remnant of the Gentile nations will go up to the temple to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of Tabernacles, Zech. 14. 16. Further, ‘Ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you [to Jerusalem]: for we have heard that God is with you’, 8. 23.
- The boundaries of Israel during Solomon’s reign were extended as far as they ever have been since God covenanted with Abraham, Gen. 15. 18-21.
However, the extent of the land promised to Abraham and his seed has never been fully realized, see 2 Chr. 9. 26. It is only at the second advent, with the establishment of the millennial kingdom of Messiah, that this unconditional promise to the patriarch will be fulfilled. The boundaries of Israel will be as promised to Abraham, under Christ’s reign. Furthermore, the extent of Christ’s jurisdiction will not be limited to Israel. Psalm 72 depicts a universal kingdom. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome have all had extensive empires, but only Christ will be the world emperor in reality. The man of sin attempts to become the fifth world ruler of the times of the Gentiles, but fails due to the return of Christ, Dan. 8. 25. Daniel’s prophecy is clear that there are four ‘world’ empires. The fifth is reserved for Messiah, 2. 45; 7. 13, 14.
Christ eclipses Solomon in the extent of the kingdom of Israel over which He is sovereign, and because His is a global and eternal kingdom. Such is the supremacy of our Lord and King. He is anointed ‘with the oil of gladness above His fellows’, Heb. 1. 9. ‘Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [Gentiles] for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession’, Ps. 2. 8.
(d) The Kingdom’s conclusion – iniquity, delinquency
‘As for thee . . . if ye turn away and forsake my statutes and my commandments . . . then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land, which I have given them’, 2 Chr. 7. 17, 19, 20. ‘And this house . . . will I cast out of my sight. Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and unto this house?’ vv. 20, 21.
The declension and division of the kingdom under Solomon’s son, and under his servant, were a direct consequence of Solomon’s backsliding.
1 Kings chapter 3 verse 3 tells us, ‘And Solomon loved the Lord’. Eight chapters later we read, ‘But king Solomon loved many strange women’, 11. 1. This was in spite of Moses’ warning to any future king, ‘neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away’, Deut. 17. 17. Moses warned against the king who multiplied horses from Egypt, multiplied wives, and multiplied to himself silver and gold. This warning covered the methods, morality, and materialism associated with Egypt. Solomon became guilty of ignoring all three prohibitions. God kept His word, and Solomon and the kingdom suffered irreparably.
The warning to Solomon should be heeded by us. Where are our affections settled? We should beware of the methods, morality, and materialism of this present evil age!
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon states, ‘I gave my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly’, Eccles. 1. 17, also, ‘I turned myself to behold wisdom and folly’, 2. 12. A man who began well continued, but at the last finished badly.
What a contrast when the millennium has run its course! True, there will be a considerable rebellion at its conclusion from those born during its course who have not responded to the preaching of the gospel, but not because the King has given cause for discontentment, and subsequent uprisings, as did Solomon.
‘Then cometh the end [time], when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father’, 1 Cor. 15. 24. Further, ‘Then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all’, 15. 28. The millennium will run its course. Christ will surrender the kingdom to His Father. Then, when the ‘eternal state’ is ushered in, God, the triune God, will be all and in all. Sovereignty and supremacy will not be the portion of a particular member of the Godhead but of the triune God eternally.
(e) As to His sacrifice
Solomon provided 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep for sacrifice at the dedication of the temple, which appears to have run subsequently into the celebration of the feast of Tabernacles, 1 Kgs. 8. 62-66; 2 Chr. 7. 4-10. The brazen altar proved inadequate for the quantity of animal sacrifices. The Feast of Tabernacles symbolizes the millennium, and the added eighth day suggests the dawning of the eternal day. This, with the extent of the kingdom described in verse 65, certainly has a millennial atmosphere to it. A reminder that Solomon and his celebrations were but the foreshadowing of the glory, and joy of that future Jubilee, when ‘a greater than Solomon’ is on the throne. However impressive the great number of animals for sacrifice may be, God has no pleasure in them. At best, they point to the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ, ‘who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God’, Heb. 9. 14.
It is not quantity but quality that counts! God has received total satisfaction in the sacrifice of Christ. Propitiation has been made. The eye of God values the infinite worth of Christ’s sacrifice and the shedding of His precious life’s blood.