Many Christians have little to no idea what the Old Testament has to say about the Messiah. According to Jesus Himself, this should not be. Luke 24:27 says, “And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” All the Scriptures point to Jesus, the Messiah. And at the time Luke was writing, this passage primarily referred to the Old Testament.
Kaiser fills in this knowledge gap that many Christians have by looking at the Old Testament passages that point to Messiah’s coming. While there is a lot to be gleaned from this book, what could be most surprising to Christians is how clearly these Old Testament passages point the political nature of the Messiah. To be sure, Christ was not supposed to be a merely political savior, but the nature of his Messiahship necessarily had political implications.
One of the early passages that point to this is Gen. 49:10. “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Kaiser points out that this clearly refers to the Messiah having authority over all the nations (p. 36). It certainly makes sense for this prophecy to apply to the tribe of Judah, as later on in the OT we learn that the Messiah was to come from David’s physical lineage. “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. I will be to him a father and he shall be to me a son.” (2 Sam. 7:12-14) The author of Hebrews interprets this passage to refer to Jesus. (Heb. 1:5)
But what is the nature of this kingdom? We get some information about this from Daniel 2. In this chapter, Daniel discusses the vision of the statue. The head of gold is Babylon (2:38), and the later kingdoms are Medo-Persia (chest of silver), Greece (belly of bronze), and Rome (feet of iron and clay). Daniel says that the kingdom of God will appear during the time of these kings (2:44). This is confirmed in the New Testament when Jesus declares that the kingdom of God is coming upon the generation He was in. “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mark 1:14).
But what does Daniel say will happen with this kingdom? “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to and end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, and the silver and the gold.” (Dan. 2:44-45) “Stone” is a metaphor that many Biblical writers use to refer to Jesus. (Matt. 21:42, Ps. 118:22-23, Rom. 10:11, Is. 28:16) And the stone will grow and fill the whole earth (2:35).
These Old Testament themes are clearly picked up by the New Testament writers. Jesus Himself says that, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.” (Matt. 28:18) But at the beginning of Matthew, Satan offered Jesus the nations if he would only bow down to him. It would be easy to dismiss Satan as simply lying, but other Scriptures point to him as having genuine authority over the nations prior to Jesus. (John 12:31, Luke 10:18, Col. 2:15, Rev. 20:1-3, Acts 26:28) that was yet subject to God. Thus, in the death and resurrection of Jesus, Jesus was rewarded authority over all the nations. (Ps. 2:8, Matt. 28:18)
This means that all areas of life, including the political, are subject to the authority of Jesus, and Christians ought to study their Bibles and preach to all unbelievers that they live in a theocracy, whether they accept it or not, and they must bow allegiance to the King of All Nations. This is not contradicted by Jesus’ statement that His kingdom is not from this world. (John 18:36) To be sure his kingdom is not from this world (“ek” Gr. means “out of, from”); Daniel himself states it is from heaven. Having divine origins though, this kingdom still exercises influence in the entirely of earth. (Dan. 2:35)
There is some eschatological weirdness in the book, e. g. Kaiser assumes without argument that the antichrist shows up in Revelation, but “antichrist” is only mentioned in 1 and 2 John. Despite that, Kaiser’s book is an easily accessible introduction to this topic and is a must read for every Christian who seeks to understand the nature of the Messiah and thus make every thought, including every political thought, captive to Christ.
You can get your own copy of Kaiser’s book at Amazon here.
Five questions I would like to ask Kaiser
1. Will we see in time and in history, prior to the second coming, all nations recognizing and submitting to the law of God?
2. Why do you believe the antiChrist factors into eschatology much at all, when he’s never mentioned in Revelation?
3. Many passages clearly point to Jesus having all authority, even in the political realm. What does that look like, when whole nations submit to Jesus? What difference would it make?
4. In what what sense did Satan have authority over the nations?
5. In what sense does Satan no longer have authority over the nations?