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Thy Kingdom Come (4): The Curse and the Covenants

J Griffiths, Port Talbot

The removal of the curse

The kingdoms of zoology, botany, and astronomy

"Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom 8.21). The effects of Calvary are not limited to persons. The creation itself will be affected. Paul, in his epistle to the Colossians, writes of the reconciliation of all things unto Christ whether in earth or in heaven (Col 1.20). The lifting of the curse, partially if not completely, has a tremendous impact on the world order of things. Sin and death remain.

The zoological world

A covenant is to be made with the animal kingdom (Hosea 2.18). "And I will make with them a covenant of peace and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods" (Ezek 34.25). The very nature of the wild beasts will be changed. No zoological gardens are necessary in this environment! The wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid, the calf and the lion, the cow and the bear all live harmoniously together. The lion feeds on straw like the ox. The once poisonous asp and cockatrice (adder) are become harmless even to a little child (Is 11.6-8). What a supernatural transformation!

The botanical world

"Then shall the earth yield her increase" (Ps. 67.6). "The plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt…and they shall plant vineyards…they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them" (Amos 9.13-14).

How luxuriant the earth, especially Palestine, will be. The desert blossoms as the rose for there will be streams in the desert and water shall "break out" in the wilderness (Is 35). The prophets tell us of flowering gardens, fruitful fields, flowing mountains, frequent rains and flourishing harvests. There will be no thorns or briars, and weeding will be a thing of the past. Just a handful of corn will produce a harvest! The water that issues out of the sanctuary on Mount Zion irrigates trees that give different principal fruits each month and the leaves are medicinal ("for bruises and sores", AV margin) (Ezek 47.12).

"O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph…Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises" (Ps 47.1,6).

The astronomical world

"The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light." All this transpires, continues Isaiah, "that I may be glorified" (Is 60.19-21). The glory of God is the outcome of all these marvellous works.

The realisation of the covenants—Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic and New

The Abrahamic covenant (Gen 12.1-3; 13.14-17; 15.1-21; 17.1-22; 22.15-18

The Abrahamic covenant preceded the Mosaic covenant and was made unconditionally with Abraham and his seed. Based on God’s promise, it does not depend on man to uphold it. It was confirmed to Isaac (Gen 26.2-5) and to Jacob (Gen 28.10-15). The covenant had implications for Abraham personally, Israel nationally, and mankind globally. The breadth of blessing was to incorporate Gentiles as well as Israelites. The land was to reach boundaries that today still demand territorial expansion.

The covenant is of everlasting significance. Israel’s perpetuity, possession of the land, and population explosion will be fulfilled in the Millennium. "Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old" (Micah 7.20). "And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains: and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there" (Is 65.9).

The Palestinian covenant (Deut 30.1-10)

This covenant, sometimes referred to as the Moabitic covenant, makes reference to Israel’s repentance, regathering from among the nations, restoration to the land, and regeneration.

Following God’s retribution upon Israel’s enemies, the nation will enjoy the realisation of the full extent of God’s blessings. "And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of sea…(and) from the four corners of the earth" (Is 11.11-12; see also Ezek 39.23-29; Micah 2.12; Zech 10.10).

The Davidic covenant (2 Sam 7.12-17; 1 Chr 17.11-15)

The covenant made with David speaks of his house, throne, and kingdom. Each is said to be eternal as to its duration. If the Abrahamic covenant is expansionist in its breadth, the Davidic covenant is soaring in its height. The one pushes out the circumference, but the other draws us to the hub of the circle and to David’s greatest descendant, Messiah.

"For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward, shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days" (Hos 3.4-5).

The first of these two verses envisages Israel in the present dispensation without a king for "many days". The latter is a reminder of the Millennium and the importance of David once nation status is reclaimed and Messiah is enthroned.

The fulfilment of the Davidic covenant will see great David’s greater Son upon the throne in Zion with His rule extending from shore to shore and sea to sea. "I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David" (Is 55.3).

"Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth…and they shall dwell in their own land" (Jer 23.5,8). Jeremiah tells us that God’s covenant with David is unbreakable and he shall have a son to reign upon his throne (Jer 33.20-26; Ezek 34.23-24).

The New covenant (Ezek 37.26-28; 36.25-28; Jer 31.31-34; Rom 11.25-27)

Paul writes of "my kinsman according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants" (Rom 9.3-4). Covenants do not belong to the Church. Yet, the Church is in the good of the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant before Israel enjoys both the material and spiritual blessings which have been pledged to them. The nation will enjoy the productivity and fertility of the land but, more importantly, a new heart, cleansing, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. "Ye shall be my people and I will be your God" (Ezek 36.27-28). Truly, "The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein" (Ps 24.1). "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev 11.15).

Christ does not cease to reign once the thousand years are completed and the Day of the Lord becomes the Day of God. Rather, His reign continues into eternity but is merged with the Godhead. For it is the triune God who will be sovereign to the ages of ages.

Concluded.

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