Advent Reading: Rev. 11:15 (underlined below)

Promise Made | God promised Abraham that He would bless the world through him [1]. God then extended that covenant to Abraham’s son Isaac, then Isaac’s son Jacob, and then Jacob’s son Judah [2]. Nine generations later, in Judah’s line, Jesse of Bethlehem had eight sons, including David. Although David was the youngest, God chose to extend the covenant to him: “I will make for you a great name … I will raise up your offspring after you … and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” [3].

Promise Kept | On the one hand, God kept that promise to David by making his son, Solomon, into a great king. On the other hand, however, the throne of Solomon did not endure forever – he died and, upon his death, civil war broke out and his throne was split into two kingdoms (Israel and Judah). Yet, a thousand years later, an angel announced to a virgin, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David … and of his kingdom there will be no end” [4].

Promise Meant | God called forth Jesus through the line of David because He wanted to show that Jesus was the ultimate and final king. When God promised the kingdom of Israel to David, He had a far greater kingdom in view for his descendant. Jesus is not just king over Israel; he is king over all. As Handel’s Messiah celebrates (quoting John’s Revelation): “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” [5].

Prayer | Lord, As “the founder and perfecter of our faith”, Jesus joyfully “endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” [6]. Today, he reigns over all people – those of Israel and beyond – and we have an advocate in him before the Father [7]. Therefore, let us “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace” [8]. Amen.

What is the non-advent reading for today? 2 Kg. 16 and 2 Chron. 28.
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[1] See 843 Acres, The Messiah Would Have a Particular Lineage (Part 1: A Family), 2 December 2010.  |  [2]   If I don’t know the name of my great grandfather, then how do the gospel writers know the names of the over 65 generations from which Jesus came … or, let’s be honest, is it all fabricated? I asked this question to a scholarly Messianic Jew two years ago. His response was profound. First, he told me that every Jew recorded their genealogy in the Temple so that they could trace their ancestral line back to King David and beyond. Second, he pointed out that, since the Romans destroyed the temple – and its genealogical records within – in 70 AD, no one thereafter could prove their family origin to the specificity that the Messianic prophecies required. Therefore, the last generation that had access to such proof of lineage was the generation of the gospel writers – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Third, by destroying the temple and its records, God was ushering in a new way to become his people – no longer through the recorded ancestral line of Israel, but rather through the line of faith in Jesus Christ himself.  |  [3]  2 Samuel 7:9, 12-13 ESV  |    [4]  Luke 1:31-33 ESV. See also Romans 1:3; Matthew 22:45; Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:25. Note also: The genealogy of Matthew and the genealogy of Luke differ. For some interesting thoughts as to why, see Who Was Jesus’ Grandfather? by John Piper (18 November 1997).  |  [5] Revelation 11:15 ESV. See also James’ argument before the Jerusalem Council, in which he argued that God’s plan was to “rebuild the tabernacle of David” in order that “the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name” (Acts 17, quoting Amos 15:14-18).  |  [6]  Hebrews 12:2 ESV  |  [7]  1 John 2:1-2  |  [8]  Hebrews 4:16