3:16 – The Rest of the Story – God Reveals His Plan 9: 1 Chronicles

A Bible Study exploring all the 3:16s in the Bible as they illuminate

  • the Human Condition
  • God’s Revelation of His Plan (Current location of study)
  • God’s Fulfillment of His Plan
  • Our Response

“The descendants of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son;” – 1 Chronicles 3:16

Last time we explored God’s revelation of His plan through the designs of the tabernacle and temple. After the temple was completed and consecrated, God made a promise to Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:15-18 saying, “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayer that is made in this place. For now I have chosen and consecrated this house that my name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time. And as for you, if you will walk before me as David your father walked, doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules, then I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father, saying, ‘You shall not lack a man to rule Israel.’” In this promise, God also reminded Solomon of the promise He had made to his father David.

Covenants between God and man in the Bible sometimes were framed in such a way that the continuation of the covenant depended on fulfillment or obedience of some stipulation. For example, the fellowship relationship between God and Adam and God and the Israelite nation both were contingent on the obedience of the people to God’s commands, as explained in Hosea 6:6-7For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. But like Adam they [the nation of Israel] transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.

Other covenants between God and man were stated unconditionally. For example, after God destroyed the population of the Earth with a flood in Genesis, he made a covenant with humankind (spoken to Noah) that “When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. (Genesis 9:14-15)” There was no response demanded in this covenant. God simply promised never to destroy all life with a flood again.

Now the covenant that God made with David and his son Solomon had both conditional and unconditional elements to it. Regarding the temple, God promised to consecrate his house that His “name may be there forever (2 Chronicles 7:16).” That forever part is the unconditional portion. There’s no human action attached to it.

However, just a few verses later (2 Chronicles 7:19-22) God says, “But if you turn aside and forsake my statutes and my commandments that I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will pluck you up from my land that I have given you, and this house that I have consecrated for my name, I will cast out of my sight, and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples. And at this house, which was exalted, everyone passing by will be astonished and say, ‘Why has the LORD done thus to this land and to this house?’ Then they will say, ‘Because they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods and worshiped them and served them. Therefore he has brought all this disaster on them.’” If the people disobey, God would “suspend” the covenant that He made with them. Even though the temple represents God’s presence forever, it can be temporarily destroyed. The temple, of course, was destroyed – several times – and the temple that God has established now is the Church (1 Peter 2:4). Eventually, the temple will exist as the New Jerusalem because God’s presence will be physically there among all His people (Revelation 21:22).

Today’s 3:16 verse brings me to a discussion of the covenant God made with David.

The descendants of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son; – 1 Chronicles 3:16

1 Chronicles 3 is a list of descendants of David. It lists all of the male children (and one listed daughter) born to him (and his multiple wives). Then it focuses on the descendants who became kings of Israel, ending in verse 16 with those final three kings during which Israel was conquered and exiled.

God had promised David (conditionally) that “you shall not lack a man to rule Israel (2 Chronicles 7:18)”. The condition, though, was “doing according to all that I have commanded you and keeping my statutes and my rules (2 Chronicles 7:17)”. Jehoiakim, Jeconiah, and Zedekiah were the last kings to sit on the throne of Israel. After them, the nation was conquered and dissolved because of their disobedience and did not have a king any longer, even though they eventually were allowed to return to Jerusalem later – the political nation and therefore the kingship was dissolved.

However, God’s covenant with David also had an unconditional element to it. God promised,

“When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.’” (2 Samuel 7:12-17)

I mentioned this covenant last week. It is a dual prophecy, referencing the fact that Solomon would be born and would build the temple, follow God, and be punished for his own sins. It also references the coming Messiah (Jesus) who would build and everlasting temple (the Church), would be punished for sin (although he himself was sinless), and would have an eternal kingship afterwards. There is no action required of David or his descendants for the continuation of this part of the covenant. It uses eternal language and points to a single individual who would come and be God’s son and rule on David’s throne forever. The New Testament clearly points to the man, Jesus, as being the fulfillment of this covenant.

Next week we’ll continue our journey through God’s revelation of His plan in scripture by looking at 2 Kings 3:16.

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