It is remarkable to read the psalms and see how the hope of the Kingdom of Christ continues to be a major topic. We can scarcely believe the Kingdom is a myth or that it is purely mystical or that the references to it are simply metaphors for spiritual blessings. It is readily apparent that both the authors of the psalms and the prophets fully expected God would do precisely as He said and establish a kingdom on earth in which the coming Christ would be its glorious monarch. A most enlightening proof of the literal reality of this kingdom is found in verses 5 and 17 of the 72nd psalm: “They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations…His name shall endure forever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.” The first phrase of verse 17 says, “His name shall endure forever,” while the second says, “His name shall be continued as long as the sun.” These two phrases cannot speak of the same manifestation of God’s kingdom since one is eternal and the other temporal.
The first phase of God’s kingdom is earthly. It is a time sensitive rule which lasts only as long as the current universe exists. We know the cursed creation has a short shelf life as God intends to destroy it and begin anew. Second Peter tells us, “The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). This will, of course, end the existence of the sun and all other heavenly bodies.
We can see how this corresponds to the end of the Millennial Kingdom. It will last until this great cataclysmic event occurs, and at this point Christ’s kingdom on earth will end. However, this is not the end of the kingdom altogether. It is only the end of the temporal form as the kingdom will be transitioned into its eternal form. Thus, the first and second phrases of verse 17 are both wondrously true.
In addition to this noteworthy proof, there are references in the psalm to the dominion of Christ, the servitude of all nations, the righteous character of the government, the economic prosperity, and the abundant provision of food. Each of these are repeated promises in multiple passages of scripture. In none of these is any indication they are purely symbolic.
The last verse of the psalm says, “The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.” This psalm must have been written near the end of David’s life, as the beginning of the psalm says it was written for Solomon. David was relying on the promise God gave him years before that his throne would be established as an everlasting throne. David knew Solomon’s rule would not be everlasting, so we see how the psalm quickly moves from Solomon to another King who has the power of endless life. The final King is the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The kingdom of Christ on earth is a real unmistakable event. Its focus is Israel as the fulfillment of the promise made to them. However, it is also a promise for Christians today. We will rule with Christ in this kingdom. The church is not a replacement for Israel—we do not take over their promises. Instead, we will stand side by side with her and praise the glorious King forever and ever!
Pastor V. Mark Smith