We have seen that in many ways, the Acts period in the New Testament was a foreshadowing of the full, Manifest Kingdom of God to come. Yet I do not believe that this reality of events in Scripture foreshadowing the Manifest Kingdom is limited only to the New Testament. In the Old Testament as well we see examples of not just clear statements about the kingdom, but also of events that foreshadow these same truths that will be a reality in that kingdom. Though the Old Testament did not have a “kingdom in part” period like Acts, the kingdom in Israel did foreshadow in some ways the Manifest Kingdom of God to come. One clear example of this is in the miracles of Elijah and Elisha. In the record of the ministry of these two prophets as it is recorded for us in the books of Kings, we see them performing miracles very similar to those of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, such as resurrecting a widow’s son, feeding a multitude, etc. There can be little doubt but that the miracles of the Lord Jesus were foreshadowings of the kingdom of God, so certainly these miracles of the two prophets were as well.
Yet if we wished to point to one specific time in the history of Israel in the Old Testament when the Manifest Kingdom of God was foreshadowed, I believe that time would be the Kingdom of Israel under David and Solomon. During the reigns of these two kings over the nation, the Manifest Kingdom to come was foreshadowed in various ways.
First of all, David’s reign foreshadows the Manifest Kingdom. One way is in how God exalted David to the throne. We read of him doing this in Old Testament times in I Samuel 16:11-13.
11. And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.”
And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12. So he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, with bright eyes, and good-looking. And the LORD said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is the one!” 13. Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel arose and went to Ramah.
This records the anointing of David by God’s prophet Samuel to take the throne over His people of Israel. God took him from the position of lowly shepherd, the youngest and least important of his father’s children, to the exalted position of shepherding His people Israel and ruling over them. This is what God did in the Old Testament kingdom of Israel. Yet this is not the only time He will do this. He will do the very same in the Manifest Kingdom of God. We read of this in Ezekiel 34:24.
24. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.
Ezekiel was written long after the reign and death of David, so it is certainly not talking about the reign of David in the past. Clearly, God means that David will yet be a prince among His people Israel. This glorious condition of things will be brought about by God in the Manifest Kingdom. We read the same thing in Ezekiel 37:24-25.
24. “David My servant shall be king over them, and they shall all have one shepherd; they shall also walk in My judgments and observe My statutes, and do them. 25. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.
This declares it most clearly: David God’s servant shall yet again be king over the people of Israel in the future. He shall be the one shepherd over them. Moreover, the scattering that took place at the time of the captivity will be reversed, for they will all return to the land. There, David shall be their prince for the olam. God’s choice of David in the past was then only a foreshadowing of God’s choice of him in the future. He was King of Israel, and he yet will be King of Israel in the Manifest Kingdom of God.
Yet it would be good for us to note that David’s exaltation to the throne was not something God did immediately upon bringing Israel into the land and setting up their government. In fact, it was hundreds of years later in Israel’s kingdom after coming into their land that David was made king. He was not even the first king God made over Israel, for Saul was made king first. Yet if we include the periods of both the days of Joshua and the days of the Judges, we can see that it was a long time after Israel was established in the land that David was made king. In this too, I believe, the setting up of David on the throne was a foreshadowing of the Manifest Kingdom. We can see this in Daniel 9:25.
25. “Know therefore and understand,
That from the going forth of the command
To restore and build Jerusalem
Until Messiah the Prince,
There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;
The street shall be built again, and the wall,
Even in troublesome times.
Many have tried to make out that Messiah the Prince here must be the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet David is called by this same word Messiah or mashiyach in II Samuel 19:21, II Samuel 22:51, II Samuel 23:1, and Psalm 18:50. In all these passages, it is translated “anointed,” yet this is really the same word. Moreover, David is also called by this same word Prince, Hebrew nagiyd, in I Samuel 25:30, II Samuel 5:2, II Samuel 6:21, II Samuel 7:8, I Chronicles 11:2, I Chronicles 17:7, and I Chronicles 29:22. In these passages, the word is translated variously as “leader,” “captain,” and “governor,” but it is the same word as is translated “Prince” in Daniel 9:25. Thus it would be not be Biblically sound to insist that this “Messiah the Prince” could not be David, and I believe that it is David.
Now we see that this anointed ruler does not come immediately at the start of the kingdom. First of all, he waits until a command goes forth from God to restore and build Jerusalem, and who knows how much time will pass in the Manifest Kingdom before that event takes place? Then, another seven weeks of years go by before the Anointed Ruler is established. Thus, just as in the days of Israel in the past, much time might well go by in the Manifest Kingdom of God before David is placed on his exalted throne, even though it is inevitable that he will be eventually placed there. Thus in this too the events as recorded for us in the Old Testament seem to foreshadow the kingdom of God.
So we see that the exalted reign of David is a foreshadowing of his similar reign in the Manifest Kingdom of God. Yet what about the reign of his son Solomon? I believe there are some parallels here as well. Of course, we must be careful, for we are quite capable of letting our imaginations run away with us when it comes to drawing parallels. Yet could the story of the beginning of Solomon’s reign give us “hints” as to how God is going to begin His Kingdom? Let us examine the story and see what parallels there might be in the story as we read it in I Kings 2.
1. Now the days of David drew near that he should die, and he charged Solomon his son, saying: 2. “I go the way of all the earth; be strong, therefore, and prove yourself a man. 3. And keep the charge of the LORD your God: to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn; 4. that the LORD may fulfill His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul,’ He said, ‘you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’
As we begin the chapter, we see that David is on his deathbed, and he has chosen Solomon to sit on the throne after him. He knows he is about to die, and he calls Solomon to give him some last advice before his death regarding his own rule and reign. His first concern is that Solomon keep the charge of the LORD his God. Alas, Solomon was not careful to always do this, as we know.
5. “Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two commanders of the armies of Israel, to Abner the son of Ner and Amasa the son of Jether, whom he killed. And he shed the blood of war in peacetime, and put the blood of war on his belt that was around his waist, and on his sandals that were on his feet. 6. Therefore do according to your wisdom, and do not let his gray hair go down to the grave in peace.
7. “But show kindness to the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table, for so they came to me when I fled from Absalom your brother.
8. “And see, you have with you Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite from Bahurim, who cursed me with a malicious curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim. But he came down to meet me at the Jordan, and I swore to him by the LORD, saying, ‘I will not put you to death with the sword.’ 9. Now therefore, do not hold him guiltless, for you are a wise man and know what you ought to do to him; but bring his gray hair down to the grave with blood.”
Now David brings up to Solomon what we might call some “unfinished business” that David is leaving behind him that Solomon will have to deal with. David warns Solomon that there are undesirable elements in his kingdom: men who have not fully submitted themselves to David’s rule, and who are sure to cause Solomon problems in his rule. He will not have a peaceful reign until these men are dealt with. One of the men in question is Joab the son of Zeruiah, David’s nephew. He has been David’s army commander, but has not always been a faithful one, and most recently has sided against David in preferring Adonijah over Solomon to sit on David’s throne as the next king. Another is Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite related to Saul. He had cursed David while he was fleeing from Absalom, but had been careful to put David in a position wherein he could not punish him for it when he came back to the throne. Now, Solomon must deal with these men, for his government will never be completely secure until they are cut out of it.
10. So David rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David. 11. The period that David reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years. 12. Then Solomon sat on the throne of his father David; and his kingdom was firmly established.
The time of David’s death arrives, and his government comes to an end. Solomon takes his place, and his government is firmly established, though these undesirable men are still a part of it.
13. Now Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. So she said, “Do you come peaceably?”
And he said, “Peaceably.” 14. Moreover he said, “I have something to say to you.”
And she said, “Say it.”
15. Then he said, “You know that the kingdom was mine, and all Israel had set their expectations on me, that I should reign. However, the kingdom has been turned over, and has become my brother’s; for it was his from the LORD. 16. Now I ask one petition of you; do not deny me.”
And she said to him, “Say it.”
17. Then he said, “Please speak to King Solomon, for he will not refuse you, that he may give me Abishag the Shunammite as wife.”
18. So Bathsheba said, “Very well, I will speak for you to the king.”
Here we see the first move against Solomon is actually made by his half-brother Adonijah. This man was another of those undesirable elements in Solomon’s kingdom who would always be a burden on his government and a threat to it if not removed. David had not mentioned him, but we know David’s tender feelings even toward his rebel son Absalom, so it should not surprise us that he could not bring himself to speak against his son Adonijah to Solomon. Yet Solomon is aware that Adonijah covets the throne. Still Solomon does not move against him immediately, and Adonijah is allowed to remain in Solomon’s kingdom for a time. In this passage, he comes to Solomon’s mother Bathsheba. After buttering her up with some flattery, implying that she and her son Solomon have won and he has lost, he suggests to her a plan of marrying Abishag the Shunammite, David’s nurse in his old age illness.
19. Bathsheba therefore went to King Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her and bowed down to her, and sat down on his throne and had a throne set for the king’s mother; so she sat at his right hand. 20. Then she said, “I desire one small petition of you; do not refuse me.”
And the king said to her, “Ask it, my mother, for I will not refuse you.”
21. So she said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as wife.”
22. And King Solomon answered and said to his mother, “Now why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also—for he is my older brother—for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.” 23. Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, “May God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah has not spoken this word against his own life! 24. Now therefore, as the LORD lives, who has confirmed me and set me on the throne of David my father, and who has established a house for me, as He promised, Adonijah shall be put to death today!”
Bathsheba falls for Adonijah’s scheme, and comes to her son to make Adonijah’s request. Yet Solomon, with his God-given wisdom, recognizes in Adonijah’s request through his mother the first steps in a plot to overthrow him. He is not taken in like his mother was, but recognizes that Adonijah’s lust for the throne has gotten the better of him, and that he has now revealed his designs. Therefore, Solomon now has good reason to bring final punishment upon him.
25. So King Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he struck him down, and he died.
Thus the ambitions, the career, and the life of Adonijah come to an end, and he is destroyed out of the kingdom. Solomon’s government is made more stable by the removal from it of this man.
26. And to Abiathar the priest the king said, “Go to Anathoth, to your own fields, for you are deserving of death; but I will not put you to death at this time, because you carried the ark of the Lord GOD before my father David, and because you were afflicted every time my father was afflicted.” 27. So Solomon removed Abiathar from being priest to the LORD, that he might fulfill the word of the LORD which He spoke concerning the house of Eli at Shiloh.
Solomon takes the opportunity to deal with another undesirable element that he knows is contrary to his government: the priest Abiathar. He had been one of David’s followers from the times of Saul, and yet in the end he had sided with Adonijah against Solomon. Perhaps Solomon was able to prove he was complicit in this latest plot of Adonijah’s, and so this precipitates a move against him. Yet in this case he does not execute Abiathar, giving as excuse the fact that he had carried the ark before David his father and had suffered along with David in all his suffering. In memory of all this then he is not executed, but instead he is cast out of any priestly position of importance because of his wickedness. This fulfilled the word of the LORD spoken against the house of Eli long before.
28. Then news came to Joab, for Joab had defected to Adonijah, though he had not defected to Absalom. So Joab fled to the tabernacle of the LORD, and took hold of the horns of the altar.
Joab now hears about the execution and public removal of his two co-conspirators, and realizes that he must be next on the list. He shows his guilt by his flight, running to the tabernacle of the LORD and taking hold of the horns of the altar.
29. And King Solomon was told, “Joab has fled to the tabernacle of the LORD; there he is, by the altar.” Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, “Go, strike him down.” 30. So Benaiah went to the tabernacle of the LORD, and said to him, “Thus says the king, ‘Come out!’”
And he said, “No, but I will die here.” And Benaiah brought back word to the king, saying, “Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.”
Joab shows the low view he seems to have of God here. It is as if he expects that the LORD would not be paying too much attention to what was going on. Yet if he was killed while clinging to the horns of the altar, the LORD would suddenly take notice, and say something like, “What? Human blood on my altar? Human sacrifice? Nooooo! I’ll get Solomon for this! Bam! Kabam! Blam!” Thus he clings desperately to the horns of the altar, as if there he will find salvation. Benaiah, loath to kill him in this sacred place, brings word back to Solomon.
31. Then the king said to him, “Do as he has said, and strike him down and bury him, that you may take away from me and from the house of my father the innocent blood which Joab shed. 32. So the LORD will return his blood on his head, because he struck down two men more righteous and better than he, and killed them with the sword—Abner the son of Ner, the commander of the army of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, the commander of the army of Judah—though my father David did not know it. 33. Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab and upon the head of his descendants forever. But upon David and his descendants, upon his house and his throne, there shall be peace forever from the LORD.”
34. So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up and struck and killed him; and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness. 35. The king put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his place over the army, and the king put Zadok the priest in the place of Abiathar.
Solomon, however, is a wiser man than Joab. He well realizes that the LORD will not be fooled by the manipulations of Joab, even if he is killed on the horns of His altar. The LORD will know that this was not a matter of human sacrifice, but rather of a bloody and violent murderer having justice meted out upon him. Thus he authorizes the execution of Joab right where he is. Benaiah obeys and he is executed. Certainly no one could question the justice of this either, as even Joab all but admitted in verse 30 that he was worthy of dying. Thus this undesirable element too is removed from Solomon’s government, and again it is all the stronger for it.
36. Then the king sent and called for Shimei, and said to him, “Build yourself a house in Jerusalem and dwell there, and do not go out from there anywhere. 37. For it shall be, on the day you go out and cross the Brook Kidron, know for certain you shall surely die; your blood shall be on your own head.”
38. And Shimei said to the king, “The saying is good. As my lord the king has said, so your servant will do.” So Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.
There is one last rebellious element for Solomon to deal with: the man Shimei. Yet he was not implicated in the rebellion of Adonijah, and so Solomon cannot have him executed in reference to this latest plot, as he had Adonijah and Joab executed. Therefore, he enacts a plan to entice Shimei to reveal for all to see his rebellious heart. He calls Shimei, therefore, and commands him to build a house in Jerusalem and live there. He warns him never to leave the bounds of Jerusalem, for if he goes out beyond the Brook Kidron, he will have proven himself a rebel against the reign of Solomon, and will surely die for his crimes. Shimei agrees to this boundary that has been set for him.
39. Now it happened at the end of three years, that two slaves of Shimei ran away to Achish the son of Maachah, king of Gath. And they told Shimei, saying, “Look, your slaves are in Gath!” 40. So Shimei arose, saddled his donkey, and went to Achish at Gath to seek his slaves. And Shimei went and brought his slaves from Gath.
After three years pass, however, some slaves of Shimei’s run away, and he hears that they are in Gath. In deliberate violation of Solomon’s injunction, Shimei plans and carries out a trip to Gath to find and bring back his slaves.
41. And Solomon was told that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and had come back. 42. Then the king sent and called for Shimei, and said to him, “Did I not make you swear by the LORD, and warn you, saying, ‘Know for certain that on the day you go out and travel anywhere, you shall surely die’? And you said to me, ‘The word I have heard is good.’ 43. Why then have you not kept the oath of the LORD and the commandment that I gave you?” 44. The king said moreover to Shimei, “You know, as your heart acknowledges, all the wickedness that you did to my father David; therefore the LORD will return your wickedness on your own head. 45. But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever.”
Solomon receives the report that Shimei has done this. He calls for him, and accuses him of deliberately violating his agreement with the king. It is clear that he had no intention of keeping his word or the king’s law, but rather had despised Solomon and his government. His rebellious heart has been revealed in all this. Solomon accuses him of knowing very well the wickedness he had done to his father David, and that this defiance of Solomon is just more of the same. Thus, his wickedness will be returned on his own head by his execution, and Solomon’s government on David’s throne will be established.
46. So the king commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he went out and struck him down, and he died. Thus the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.
Solomon gives the command to his executioner Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Shimei is executed. Thus the chapter concludes by assuring us that now, with these rebellious elements removed, Solomon’s kingdom is established and stable in a way it never could have been as long as these men, dead set in their hearts against it, were alive.
This is what we read in I Kings 2. Yet in returning to the idea of this possibly foreshadowing the Manifest Kingdom of God, could it be that sinners will be removed from the Kingdom of God in much the same way as Solomon removed the undesirable elements from his kingdom? After all, God’s kingdom when it comes will not immediately remove all the wicked from the earth. God’s kingdom will take in all, even undesirables. We read this truth in Matthew 13:47-48.
47. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, 48. which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.
Thus the kingdom of heaven is much like the kingdom of Solomon. When it comes, it takes in all men, including some who are bad and will be a detriment, not a benefit, to it. Yet afterwards at His leisure the Lord will go through these undesirables and remove them from His kingdom. Thus as the Manifest Kingdom begins, the wicked for a time dwell in the land, but every day they will be cut off, as we read in Psalm 101:8.
8. Early I will destroy all the wicked of the land,
That I may cut off all the evildoers from the city of the LORD.
In this case, it will be David himself cutting off the wicked, rather than his son Solomon, but the reality is the same: the wicked being cut off. Might it be that they will be cut off as their wickedness is revealed for all to see, just like the undesirable elements in Solomon’s day? Moreover, the LORD will set up everything as He sees fit. The result will be that the last shall be first, and the first last, as we read in Matthew 19:30.
30. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Just as we see Joab admitting that he deserved death, so in the Manifest Kingdom the wicked will admit their own guilt and unworthiness. We read of this in Psalm 64:7-10.
7. But God shall shoot at them with an arrow;
Suddenly they shall be wounded.
8. So He will make them stumble over their own tongue;
All who see them shall flee away.
9. All men shall fear,
And shall declare the work of God;
For they shall wisely consider His doing.
10. The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and trust in Him.
And all the upright in heart shall glory.
The phrase the New King James Version has translated “stumble over their own tongue” might better be translated that they will give themselves a tongue-lashing. They will admit to their own guilt, and so all other men cannot help but fear and admit that God is just when He cuts them off.
Yet the LORD certainly does not cut off all the wicked from His kingdom. In bringing Israel into His kindom, He pleads with them, as we read in Ezekiel 20:35-36.
35. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. 36. Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you,” says the Lord GOD.
The Lord GOD will present His case to the Israelites, seeking to make them His people, just as He did in the wilderness of the land of Egypt. The result is that the hearts of many of them are won over, and they become at last His people, willing and ready to serve and obey Him. Yet not all are won over by His words of love. Some remain as rebels. Yet these are not allowed to remain among the people and drag down the rest of them by their iniquity. Instead, He purges out these rebels, as we read in Ezekiel 20:37-38.
37. “I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; 38. I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD.
Just as Solomon purged the rebels out of Israel at the start of his reign, so the LORD will purge out the rebels at the beginning of His kingdom. Yet need he necessarily do it at just that time, on that very day? Or might He wait, even allowing some of them into the land of Israel, and working cleverly to cause them to reveal their rebellious hearts to all, even as Solomon did? Then, no one could accuse the LORD of bringing in His kingdom with a massive extinction of many individuals. Instead, since they were purged out one-by-one and as they had proven to all their wicked intentions, no one could question the justice and rightness of their removal, not even the rebels themselves.
Such a view of God’s actions in removing the rebels fits with other things we read about the start of God’s kingdom as well. We see that the other nations come into God’s Kingdom because they see it as desirable and want to join. This is clear from Isaiah 2:3-4.
3. Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4. He shall judge between the nations,
And rebuke many people;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.
Here we see a picture of the nations coming willingly into God’s kingdom, seeking to know Him, His ways, and His paths. Why is it that so many nations want so little to do with God today? There are probably many reasons for this, but one clearly is the many, false views of God that prevail in this world. Few believe that God really is as loving, as good, as gracious, as generous and kind, and as fair and just as He really is. They look at Him as self-centered and capricious, or vengeful and vindictive, or as a tormenter of all who refuse to bow slavishly to Him. Yet the bursting forth of God’s light on the world at the start of the kingdom will convince men that the real God is far different than they have been led to believe. The result is that they will seek Him and desire to be a part of His kingdom. Yet this seems unlikely if it begins with wholesale slaughter of all the wicked and rebellious. Would not a mass extinction of all rebels do much to convince the nations of the world that God really is the violent, cruel God that they had before been led to believe? Yet the slow and methodical removal of the wicked as they each one revealed themselves and their rebellious hearts could not be misconstrued by anyone who looked at things honestly.
So could it be that God will deal with people He wants removed from His kingdom much the same way Solomon dealt with the wicked and rebels in his kingdom? That He will allow them to continue in His kingdom for a time, only removing them from it by death once they have come into the open and revealed to all their rebellious spirit? I tend to think so. Thus, I believe that the beginning of Solomon’s reign is indeed a foreshadowing of the way things will be at the beginning of the Manifest Kingdom of God.
Thus we can conclude that there are lessons about the way the future Manifest Kingdom of God is to be in the future, not just in the plain statements of the Word of God regarding that coming kingdom, but also in various events in Scripture that foreshadow the kingdom and the way it will be when it comes. This is especially true of the book of Acts, which actually was an early stage of the kingdom and thus foreshadowed many of the things that will be true in the kingdom, yet only in part. But such foreshadowing is not limited to just the New Testament, for the kingdom of Israel in the Old Testament also offers parallels with the kingdom to come. The way Solomon’s reign began might even teach us some things about the way the very start of that kingdom might play out when it comes regarding God’s method of removing the wicked. Yet however it might begin, we will conclude by saying of that kingdom: may it come soon!