Author: Rev Dr Peter Poon
Perhaps you may not know that amongst the 42 rulers of ancient Israel, one was actually a queen. Her name was Athaliah who ruled for only 6 years. Still, arguably, the most famous of them all was David who ruled for 40 years during the united kingdom period. In all, only 3 kings ruled over the united kingdoms and for the rest of the time, a total of 19 kings ruled over the north and 20 ruled over the south.
It was also established that all of the kings who ruled over the northern kingdom of Israel were evil. And only eight in the southern kingdom of Judah were considered good kings. Given this, the prophecy that Samuel gave, even before the first king was anointed, came through. When the people came to Samuel for a king, God specifically warned them that Yahweh is the only king.
They were also warned that a human king would tax his people and conscript the males to war and the girls as servants. However, the people only wanted a king “just like all other nations have kings.”
At Mount Sinai, God told Moses that His people should only follow Him as king and they would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exodus 19:6). When they serve the one true king, God the King will protect and provide for them. From Moses to Joshua, the people of Israel were ruled by judges. These became the mediators between God and the people of the kingdom.
So when the people approached Samuel to anoint a king for them, God was disappointed at their lack of trust in Him as their king. Still, God relented for Samuel to anoint the first king of Israel. A young man from the tribe of Benjamin named Saul was chosen. He was followed by David and Solomon, The people of Israel had peace as one united kingdom for about 120 years. That was not to last.
At the end of Solomon’s reign, who was supposedly the wisest king ever lived, the kingdom was torn apart. Just like his divided hearts between serving God and the idols brought into the palace by his many wives and concubines, the kingdom of Israel was also divided. The rest was history.
The people of God would not learn their lesson. They continued to try to keep the kingdom together by their own strength. The dispersion by the Assyrians and the exile by the conquest of Mesopotamia came after the Romans finally came and put their stamp over Israel. They were totally humiliated and subjugated. Rebellions came and went but they never gotten themselves out of servitude under foreign powers.
They longed for freedom from political oppression. They cried out again for God to free them. Yet, it was only for freedom from political and physical oppression and not the total freedom that only Yahweh may give.
When Christ came and pointed them to the prophecy of the Scriptures, the people of God would not accept and recognise the Messiah. In the Legacy of the Kings tour, you will follow the legacy of some of these earthly kings and how these remind us of the temporal and short-sighted understanding of God’s vision of kingship. In the itinerary, you will witness how Christ, who is considered the King that God has given to His people, establishes the one and only true Kingdom that lasts forever.
Along the route, you will also see the legacy of another “king” — king Herod who lived just prior to the coming of Jesus Christ and who was responsible for building the Second Temple on Mount Zion. His architectural remains enable us to see some of the glorious legacy that authenticated history.
All these did not just happen to be historical but to put a stamp on the historicity of the Messiah, the King of history and of humankind.