Christ in All the Scriptures
by A.M. Hodgkin
- III. Christ in the Historical Books
7. 1Kings --
- We need the magnificent reign of Solomon, the Prince of Peace, to complete the picture of Christ our King. The Lord said to David: ''Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about; for his name shall be Peaceable, and I will give peace and quietness in Israel all his days.'' Solomon's peaceable kingdom was the result of the victories David had obtained. [Likewise,] it is because Christ has fought and conquered our enemies that we can enjoy the peace of His glorious reign in our hearts. The Kingdom of God is ''righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost'' (1Chron 22:9, margin; Rom 14:17).
- The Temple. [1Kings ch. 5 - 8]
- The glory of Solomon's reign was the building of the Temple. He seems to have been raised up specially for this purpose, for David says: ''He hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. And He said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build My house and My courts... Take heed now, for the Lord hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it'' (1Chr 28:5-10). But for the account of the Temple, we will wait till we come to the Book of Chronicles.
- ''Solomon in All his Glory.'' [cp. Mat 6:28,29]
- The wisdom of Solomon is a foreshadowing of the wisdom of Christ, in ''whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge'' [Col 2:3].
Psalm 72 is a ''Psalm for Solomon.'' It describes the glory of his kingdom, but it finds its perfect fulfillment only in the reign of One greater than Solomon, who shall indeed one day ''have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.'' But though the millennial fulfillment of this Psalm is yet to come, it has a fulfillment already in those hearts where the King is reigning in righteousness. Solomon said to Hiram, King of Tyre, ''The Lord my God hath given me rest on every side, so that there is neither adversary nor evil occurrent'' (1King 5:4). The magnificence of his kingdom is described in 1Kings 4:21-34: ''And Solomon reigned over all the kingdoms, from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life... And he had peace on all sides round about him. And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree.''
- The Queen of Sheba. [1Kings 10:1-13; 2Chr 9:1-12]
- Our Lord Himself draws the contrast between the Queen of Sheba, who ''came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon,'' and the men of His generation, who were so indifferent though ''a Greater than Solomon'' was among them [Mat 12:42]. Following the same line of thought, the visit of the Queen is a beautiful picture of a soul coming to the Saviour and finding full satisfaction in Him.
- She came from afar off, and we ''who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.'' [Eph 2:13]
- She brought all her hard questions to Solomon, and communed with him of all that was in her heart. We may bring all our difficulties to the Lord, and we shall find, as she did, that ''there is not anything hid from the King'' which He cannot solve for us. We, too, shall find that He is ''made unto us wisdom'' [1Cor 1:30].
- And when she had seen all his wisdom, and riches, and the appointments of his kingdom, and his marvellous buildings, there was no more spirit in her. And she said: ''It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts, and of thy wisdom. Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame that I heard. Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made He thee king, to do judgment and justice'' (1Kin 10:6-9). [cp. 1Cor 2:9; 1Joh 3:2]
- The Kingdom Divided. [1Kings 12 and onward]
- Then follows the history of the divided kingdom-- a picture of the divided heart and of the impossibility of serving two masters. The kings of Israel [the northern kingdom] followed the example of ''Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin,'' by setting up the worship of the golden calves, and all their kings were given to idolatry. The history of the Kingdom of Israel is an almost unbroken story of wickedness, king after king coming to the throne through the murder of his predecessor.
2Kings 17 gives us the account of the Captivity of Israel, and goes fully into the reason of this punishment. They had descended to the very level of the nations whom God had [commanded] His people [to] drive out of the land-- exactly what He had predicted, as the result of their disobedience, had come to pass. They forsook the Lord, and served the gods of the heathen, and walked in their ways, and wrought according to their wickedness, and therefore God permitted the King of Assyria to carry Israel away captive into Assyria, according to His warning, given by Moses in Deu 29:24-28. ''And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until He had cast them out of His sight'' (2Kin 17:20).
- The Prophets.
- Long before the outward semblance of royalty had disappeared, God had transferred the power from the kings to the prophets. Out of the darkness of this evil time, two figures stand forth as His witnesses, showing us that through all the failure, God was quietly working onwards towards His eternal Kingdom of Righteousness.
Elijah and Elisha, in the contrast of their characters and of their mission, remind us of John the Baptist and of our Saviour. Our Lord Himself referred to John the Baptist as fulfilling the prophecy that Elijah must first come before the coming of the Son of Man. ''Elias verily has come,'' He said [Mat 17:10-13]. Elijah the rugged prophet of the wilderness, clad in his mantle and leathern girdle-- the ordinary dress of the Fellaheen [ie., Arab peasant laborer or farmer], which every prophet wore-- suddenly bursts upon the scene in the court of Ahab, and pronounces the judgment of the Lord. ''As the Lord liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be night-mist, nor rain these years, but according to my word'' [1Kin 17]. [Note: ''The matar or 'rain' falls at all hours during the winter, while the tal or 'night-mist' falls in the night in summer and autumn.'' (Rev. J. Neil)]. The secret of his power lay in those few words ''before whom I stand.'' He knew what it was to have power with God, and therefore, he had power with man. He reminds us of John, clad in the same manner, at the court of Herod, denouncing, as fearlessly, the sins of that king [Mar 6:17,18].
On Mount Carmel [1Kin 18], it was ''at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice'' that God sent the fire from heaven. We have several instances of deliverance coming at the time of the morning or evening sacrifice, reminding us of the power of the Cross which those sacrifices foreshadowed.
- The Forerunner.
- When God was about to send the rain in answer to Elijah's prayer, Elijah sent Ahab the message, ''Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.'' [1Kin 18:44]. And then it appears that Elijah acted the part of sais to Ahab. The modern sais of Egypt is the ''runner'' attached to the household of kings and nobles. The same custom was in vogue in Israel, for Samuel warned the people that the king they so eagerly desired would exact this oppressive custom of his subjects: ''He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots'' [1Sam 8:11]. ''These facts lend great force to the act of Elijah, who, in an ecstasy of joy and zeal at the triumph of Jehovah, and desirous to 'honour the King' who for a brief moment had honoured God, when the hand of the Lord came upon him, girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel-- that is, for a distance of some twenty miles or more across the plain of Esdraelon the man of God acted as the sais or runner of the King, clearing the way for his chariot and announcing his arrival!'' [Palestine Explored, Rev. J. Neil]. Does not this office of outrunner explain the figure of Hebrews 6:20: ''whither Jesus entered for us as a forerunner''? He who, in His condescension, has said that in heaven ''He will gird Himself and make (His people) sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them,'' is pictured here as having entered only a brief moment earlier to announce their arrival and to be prepared to receive them there [Luke 12:37].
- Elisha. [His call is recorded in 1Kin 19.]
- Elisha's was a ministry of blessing and healing. In this he was a type of Christ. We have, moreover, in the life and miracles of Elisha a series of most beautiful lessons on Christian life and service. ''Ploughing one day with his father's oxen and servants, in the open country, he saw the outlawed prophet of Gilead coming towards him. Passing by, he cast his mantle upon him. Elisha knew what the sign meant. He was a wealthy man. The call was to follow Elijah as a servant, pour water on his hands, perhaps to die with him. There was no time to think, the decision had to be made in a moment. The call of God in his heart was at once responded to. Obtaining leave to say farewell to his parents, he kills the oxen, smashes up the implements, and shows to all his companions that he has no more to do with his former life. God is calling each one of us, let us follow at whatever cost'' (W.H. Wilson).