Christ’s Return and Relationship to the Physical Land of Israel

James Johnson to David Ferguson,

Dear brother Ferguson,

>> James said: “Coniah/Jeconiah/Jehoiachin was carried
>> away into Babylonian exile where he remained until his
>> death. However, in the days of the Babylonian king,
>> Evilmerodach, Coniah was restored to a measure of
>> favor and had children in captivity (Jer 52:31, Mt
>> 1:12). How do these two scriptures prove
>> premillennialism to be wrong?”
> Because the prophecy concerns the fact that God
> ordained that no descendent of Jeconiah would sit on
> the throne of David in Jerusalem: “Thus saith Jehovah,
> ‘Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not
> prosper in his days; for no more shall a man of his
> seed prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and
> ruling in Judah.'” (Jeremiah 22:30) God did not say
> Jeconiah would not have children, just that they would
> not prosper, sitting on the throne of David. None
> have. Premillenialists that I have heard teach that
> Jesus will establish an earthly kingdom and sit on a
> physical throne of David in Jerusalem.

There are two genealogies in the NT. One of them you referenced is in Mt
1. It traces the ancestors of Joseph, Jesus’ adoptive father (Mt 1:16).
However, Jesus clearly was not of Joseph seed (Mt 1:19-20). Joseph
genealogy is traced through Solomon and is the lineage of the kings (Mt
1:7). Joseph was apparently the legal heir of the throne of David,
though, as God had promised, the house of David was fallen and breached
(Amos 9:11), and the heir to the throne of David was a laborer in a
despised village in a backwater province (Jn 1:46). Jesus is from the
physical seed (II Sam 7:12) of David through Mary. Jesus’ physical
descent from David is traced through David’s son Nathan (Lk 3:31), a
completely different branch of David’s family. Therefore, in the first
place, Jesus was not of the seed of Coniah, and the scripture you cite
does not apply. While premillennialism is wrong about placing Jesus on
David’s throne in a millennium yet to come, Jer 22:30 does not prohibit
Jesus from returning to earth and ruling on David’s throne as God has
promised Him (Lk 1:32-33).

In the second place Jesus’ future throne is not to be located in Judah.
If you read Rev 22:3 it locates the throne of David for us upon which
Christ rules for ever (Lk 1:32-33). It says that is in New Jerusalem (Rev
21:2). From that location Christ, along with His faithful servants, is
said to “reign for ever and ever” (Rev 22:5). Clearly it is New Jerusalem
from which Jesus rules and not from the old city of Jerusalem (Gal
4:24-26). New Jerusalem is to be “in the top of the mountains” and is to
be “exalted ABOVE the hills” (Micah 4:1). Essentially New Jerusalem is a
floating city reachable only by the highway of holiness (Isa 35:8, cp.
Jacob’s ladder–Gen 28:12), and it remains above the Promised Land and
thus separate from it. Once again the prophecy against Coniah is seen not
to apply, for the eternal reign of Christ is from the city of New
Jerusalem and thus does not fall under the prohibition of Jer 22:30. The
Premillennialists are wrong in placing Christ upon the throne of David for
only 1000 years when the Bible says his rule has no end, but the prophecy
against Coniah does not prevent Jesus from returning to earth and
establishing His rule on the throne of David.

> He does not need to do this, because He already reigns
> as King over the church, which is His kingdom, a
> spiritual kingdom, which is not of this world (John
> 18:36).

Actually, while Christ is head of the church (Col 1:18), He rules over
more than the church. The Bible says that Christ is head over all things
(Eph 1:20-21). God gave Him all power in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18).
It is not merely the church over which He now rules; He is all in all, the
supreme ruler of the universe (Eph 1:22-23) from God’s throne in heaven
(Acts 2:34-35). The position which He now enjoys, however, is a temporary
one (I Cor 15:24, 28). When He returns, raises the dead, and thereby
destroys the last enemy, death, then Christ abdicates the throne of the
universe in favor of His Father. He returns the kingdom of heaven to the
Father (I Cor 15:24) who then resumes His eternal reign as “all in all” (I
Cor 15:28). Christ then assumes His seat on His eternal throne, the
throne of David (Mt 19:28, 25:31), and of this reign there will be no end
(Isa 9:7, Ezek 37:25, Lk 1:32-33).

Along this same vein, the church is not equal to the kingdom. The church
inherits the kingdom (I Cor 6:9, Gal 5:21), and is thus not equal to the
kingdom. The church rules the kingdom (Lk 19:15, Rev 2:26, I Cor 6:2-3)
with Christ (Rev 3:21). The church was purchased by the blood of Christ
(Acts 20:7), and is composed those who have taken citizenship in His
kingdom (Col 1:13) by the naturalization process of faith and baptism
through which His citizens experience the new birth (Rom 6:4, I Pet 1:23).
The church also apparently includes those ancient worthies who have been
found fit to become sons of God (Eph 4:8) to whom the blood of Christ is
also applied (Mt 8:11). Paul styles these who are so washed and
sanctified as “the elect” (Col 3:12). In contrast, while Jesus is head of
the church, He is also “Far above all principality, and power, and might,
and dominion, and every name that is named” as He rules them from His seat
in the heavenly places (Eph 1:20). Thus it is clear that Christ’s kingdom
includes much more than the church and the church is thus not identical to
the kingdom.

In Luke 19:11 Jesus spoke a parable in reference to the expectation among
the Jews that the kingdom of heaven would immediately appear. He compares
Himself to a certain nobleman who went into a far country to receive for
Himself a kingdom and to return. When He returns, having recieved the
kingdom, He calls His servants before Him and distributes His kingdom to
their rule (I Cor 15:17). Certainly that parable gives us every
expectation that Jesus will return to earth and divide the rule of it
among His faithful servants (Rev 3:21, 2:26-27).

In our current state we sojourn as aliens in a far country (I Pet 1:17, I
Pet 2:11). Our bodies are in a hostile land “absent from the Lord” (II
Cor 5:6), but our citizenship is in heaven (Php 3:20). Our King reigns in
a land far away (Lk 19:12). In our current state, we do not enjoy our
inheritance, but we enjoy the benefits of the kingdom of heaven in our
hearts and minds. It is thus a spiritual relationship in our inward man
(II Cor 4:16) that we currently experience the kingdom. However, we are
all aware that our current love-from-afar (I Pet 1:8) relationship will
one day end. At that time Christ will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God (I Thes 4:16).
From then on we will ever be in our new physical bodies with the Lord (I
Thes 4:17).

In Jn 18:36 Jesus admitted that He was a king, but that at that time His
kingdom was not of this world. That is what we are experiencing right now
with respect to His temporary rule. He now rules from far-away heaven.
However, the implication of the phrase “NOW is my kingdom not of this
world” is that a time is coming when His kingdom WILL be of this world.
Ezekiel 37:24-25 makes it crystal clear that Christ will return and rule
over the reunited kingdom of Israel “in the land that I have given unto
Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell
therein, even they, and their children, and their children’s children for
ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.” There is no
room for equivocation on this scripture. Christ will rule over united
Israel when they dwell in the land of promise.

God’s promise in Ezekiel also exactly parallels God’s promise to Abraham
in Gen 17:8. In Gen 17:8 God promises, “And I will give unto thee, and to
thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of
Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” The
physical land promise is thus seen to be an integral part of the promise
to Christ both through the promise made to Abraham and the promise of
David’s throne. Both require possession of the physical land in order for
the promise to be fulfilled.

As a “furthermore”, notice also what Stephen said about Abraham and the
promise God made to him regarding the land.

“And he gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his
foot on” (Acts 7:5)

If God promised Abraham possession of the physical land of Canaan, as He
in fact did, and Abraham did not receive that promise in his lifetime,
then the inescapable conclusion is that Abraham will rise from the dead
and after his resurrection inherit the promised blessing in the land where
he previously was a stranger. The land promised to Abraham is a promise
to be fulfilled in the future. God has promised both Abraham and Israel
an everlasting possession of the land of Canaan. Those promises cannot be
fulfilled in an immaterial, spirit-only future existence.


James J

About James Johnson

Bible student for 60 years. Preacher of the gospel for over 40 years. Author of commentary on Revelation, All Power to the Lamb. Married with children. Worked in aerospace and computer engineering for over 40 years.
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