Messiah’s Return – Psalm 72

King Solomon, David’s son, was next in line in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.  Solomon is famous for his divine gift of wisdom, and for building the first great temple in Jerusalem.  He had vast riches, and his reign marked the high point of Israel’s kingdom age, with great power and at peace with all around her.

Solomon is also known for his writings – three books of the Bible – Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon, and two of the 150 Psalms.  The first of his psalms, Psalm 72, includes a prophecy about Messiah’s return.  It tells us that when the Messiah, or Christ in Greek, comes back, He will rule and reign over all the “kings” or leaders of the earth.

He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the River (Euphrates) to the ends of the earth. Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, and His enemies will lick the dust. 11 Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall serve Him. Psalm 72:1-2,8-9, 11 NKJV

As Jesus’ followers came to understand that He was the Messiah, they naturally assumed He would immediately begin to take over the world government, beginning with the oppressive Roman Empire.  But His followers misunderstood the timing and missed the prophecies about the need for Messiah to first suffer before His coming reign.

When Christ came the first time, He came as a humble sacrifice for the sins of the world.  He was then resurrected and ascended into heaven.

When Jesus returns from heaven, He will come in power and glory, and have full authority over all the nations on the earth.

In Matthew 24, Jesus spoke about the future with His disciples. As they were gathered near the temple in Jerusalem, admiring its great architecture, He warned them that the temple would be destroyed, and that every stone would be overturned.  This happened around forty years later under the Roman Army of Titus in 70 AD.  Evidence of these giant temple stones being thrown down has been unearthed and can be seen in Jerusalem today. 

After Jesus’ divine sacrifice of Himself on the cross, there was no longer a need for daily temple sacrifices.  His blood provides eternal atonement once and for all, and His cleansing and forgiveness of sins is available to all who seek Him.

Jesus also spoke to His disciples about His return at the end of the age, which will be at a time of great tribulation for the world.

29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.  Matthew 24:29-31 NKJV

This new heavenly kingdom will be the final one, replacing all the great empires of history.  God had first revealed this plan hundreds of years before Christ, through the prophet Daniel to King Nebuchadnezzar, absolute ruler of the mighty Babylonian Empire.

King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that greatly troubled him.  He wanted to learn the truth about its meaning from his advisors, but he did not fully trust them to be correct. These elite Babylonian advisors specialized in the science of astronomy as well as demonic arts such as astrology, magic, and sorcery.  But the King wanted to be sure, so he did not just allow them to explain his dream – he demanded that they also tell him the content of the dream itself, or face death.

Of course, it was impossible for any man or created spirit to know the dreams of another.  But God revealed both the dream and its meaning to the prophet Daniel, declaring God’s superiority in the spirit world and laying out His plan for the future of mankind.  Daniel was hurriedly taken before the king to share this information.

28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Daniel 2:28 NKJV  

In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, God revealed that, from that time forward, there will be four great Empires in human history, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon.  (Prior to Daniel, two great world empires had already come and gone, Egypt and Assyria.)

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was of a giant image or statue.  The head was of gold and represented Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon. The chest and arms were silver, representing the next great kingdom, the Medo-Persian Empire.  The image’s belly and thighs were bronze, representing Alexander the Great’s Greece.  Finally, the legs of iron – Rome – gave way to feet partly of iron, partly clay – a future world empire that we await today, a partly strong and partly fragile re-creation of Rome’s Empire. 

After this, a stone was cut out without human hands and struck the image on its feet, breaking it in pieces. All the earthly empires were blown away as chaff as this stone became a mountain which filled the whole earth.  It represents the eternal Kingdom of Jesus Christ, which will encompass the earth, and will never be destroyed or replaced by another.

44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.  Daniel 2:44 NKJV

Messiah Jesus will return and set up His eternal kingdom over all peoples.  It will be the final great kingdom of human history, bringing justice and peace to all who believe and choose to follow the King.

Reflection

In the Lord’s prayer, we pray Christ’s words, “Thy kingdom come”.

We know from prophecy that His kingdom will come.  Help us, Lord, to live in faith, to grow in goodness and to be ready when You come.  Amen.

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