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When Are the Promises To Be Fulfilled?

There remains something to be said in answer to the question posed in the last issue. The question concerned the fulfillment of the OT promises. In the last issue we spoke of how prophecy is to be interpreted. Let us apply that to the specific promises mentioned by our correspondent: the "throne" and "land" promises.

First, then, the promise that Jesus would receive the throne of David. In its original form, that promise was that David's seed would sit on his throne forever (II Sam. 7:16). That promise had a first, typical, earthly, OT fulfillment in Solomon and those who followed him on the throne of the Kingdom of Judah. God fulfilled it by preserving the line and throne of David through many perils - an on-going fulfillment of the promise.

That fulfillment, however, was only typical and incomplete. As became evident in Judah's history, David's descendants did not retain the throne, nor preserve the glory of it. By the time Christ came, the line of David had dwindled to one woman (Luke 1:32-34), so that there was no man left to sit on David's throne, which throne had been usurped by others. Herod sat in Caesar's name where once David and his sons had ruled.

As our correspondent rightly suggests, therefore, Christ was the principle fulfillment of the promise concerning David's throne, but He receives not an earthly typical throne, but the heavenly and everlasting throne of which that earthly throne was but a shadow (Ps. 24:7-10; Acts 2:30; Heb. 1:8).

Nevertheless, even the fulfillment of that promise in Christ has various stages and an on-going fulfillment. That the throne belonged to Christ already at birth as is evident from the worship of the Wise men (Matt. 2:2, 11). Nor do we mean only that He would be a great King, but already then He was directing and controlling the events of history and acting as a great King though He lay (humanly speaking) a helpless baby in Bethlehem.

That He had the throne was evident throughout His ministry in all His acts of power and in every display of His majesty. He acted as King on the mountain with Satan (Matt. 4:8-10), in all His miracles, and in His triumph over His enemies in the garden (Jn. 18:4-9). He, not they, controlled the course of events.

That promise had a fulfillment at the cross when they (in mockery, no doubt) hung the words of truth over His head, "This is the King of the Jews." There He, the King of kings, triumphed gloriously over all enemies. It had a further fulfillment in His ascension and exaltation to God's right hand (Acts 2:30), and will not be completely fulfilled until finally He sits in that throne judging all creatures and delivering up the Kingdom to His Father.

All this is true also of the land promise. There was an earthly and typical fulfillment of that promise to Abraham's descendants (a complete fulfillment, we might note, so that there is nothing left to be fulfilled of that promise as far as the earthly land is concerned - I Kings 8:56). God continued to fulfill that promise typically when He preserved the nation in the land and after the captivity brought them back to it.

Nevertheless, as Abraham himself saw (Acts 7:5; Heb. 11:8-16), the earthly land was not the real or final fulfillment of the promise. That promise ultimately concerned the new heavens and earth and Abraham's spiritualdescendents, and will not be fulfilled completely until the elect take possession of the new heavens and earth when Christ returns. There is, then, an on-going and growing fulfillment of all God's promises!

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Additional Info

  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 9
Hanko, Ronald

Rev. Ronald Hanko (Wife: Nancy)

Ordained: November 1979

Pastorates: Wyckoff, NJ - 1979; Trinity, Houston, TX - 1986; Missionary to N.Ireland - 1993; Lynden, WA - 2002; Emeritus October 15, 2017

Website: www.lyndenprc.org/sermons/

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