I & II CHRONICLES
Sermon notes by Jim Jester
September 4, 2022
SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 89:35-37
35 Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. 36 His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me. 37 It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.
The Chronicles are a continuation of the books of the Kings. Israel had asked Samuel for a king rather than have God as their King (q.v., I Sam. 8:1-9). This would prove to be a disaster, for nearly all the kings of Israel and Judah turned out to be very wicked. Of course, if they had a good and honorable king, one that feared God and ruled by His Law, then things went well for Israel. This same principle follows through today. No matter what form of government of men we have, it can always be perverted and corrupted by a deep state that is almost impossible to defuse. So why need we be sentimental about a particular form of government we have had for a length of time? Our particular constitution even says “the people have the right to alter or abolish it and institute new government” as they see fit “for their future security.” So even if it is true that we seek an insurrection, as the Left claims, then we are in harmony with the Constitution.
We are unsure as to who the author is of the Chronicles. The Chronicler produced what may be called the first commentary on the Scripture. Some of his material reflects sources that are unknown, but much of his work is taken from Samuel and Kings. His purpose may be seen in the episodes that he omits. When discussing David, the author does not mention the affair with Bathsheba, and fails to mention the details of Adonijah’s efforts to usurp the throne of Judah (q.v., I Ki. 1:5 - 2:24). While describing Solomon’s reign, and quoting almost verbatim from his sources in I Kings, he omits entirely any reference to Solomon’s apostasy which is so central in the narrative of Kings (e.g., I Ki. 11:9-13). Tradition says that Ezra was the author, but it is also possible there was an unknown Chronicler of the post-Exile period.
The author’s purpose was to trace the history of faith and salvation. He desired to follow a straight line of trust in God, so he avoided detours that would detract from his larger objective. His readers were already familiar with Samuel and Kings, and were quite aware of the failures of the past. Why beat a dead horse? Their age needed to be reminded of the victories of their heritage and assured of triumphs in the future.
The Chronicler calls his people to return to an absolute abandonment into God’s will through faith and genuine worship. Nowhere is this more eloquently expressed than in the familiar key verse: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (II Chr. 7:14; More on this verse later.)
The first book of Chronicles begins by naming Adam, then his descendants to Noah, then the descendants of Noah through Shem, Ham and Japheth and their descendants, picking up Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Ishmael, then the sons of Israel and their descendants down to the time of King David. This of course is racially significant — why mention genealogies if “it doesn’t matter who you are,” according to certain liberal Christians.
The book then covers David and his plans of gathering products for the building of the Temple by his son, Solomon.
There is little of racial significance in this book, except for the repeated emphasis that David’s throne is established forever, and that God had made the Israel people His own possession forever.
In the previous sermon (R U Woke, part 13) we read from II Samuel 7:8-16, in which we saw four main promises that God had made to David:
- A name - David would be known just as all other great men.
- A place - Israel would be planted permanently in their own land.
- A house - David’s son (Solomon) would rule and build a house for God.
- A throne - David’s kingdom shall be established for ever.
Since there is little of racial significance in the Chronicles, I have decided to bring a study on the monarchy; and another related subject, the doctrine of repentance. [This will also serve as a commentary of previous sermons on the books of Samuel and Kings.]
GOD’S ORIGINAL PLAN FOR MONARCHY
[In part; from “The Long Awaited King” by Fr. Gleason.]
God promised to give His people a godly monarchy.Government by kings was God’s plan from the beginning.God is the first to bring up the subject of Israelite kings, and He promises to bless Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah with royal descendants:
I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. (Genesis 17:6)
Also God said to him:
I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. (Genesis 35:11)
The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people. (Genesis 49:10)
In Deuteronomy, God reveals His plan for the behavior of godly kings. God wanted kings who would read Scripture daily, and who would obediently follow God when ruling the affairs of state. By ruling in a godly way, a king was encouraged to “prolong his days,” both for his own reign, and also for the reigns of his children who would follow him in the royal dynasty:
Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel. (Deut. 17:18-20)
During the time of Eli, one of Israel’s righteous judges, God looks forward to blessing His people with a godly monarchy. God opens the womb of righteous Hannah, causing her to conceive Samuel, a future judge of Israel. In response, Hannah joyfully prophesies of the coming kings, the first of whom would be anointed by Samuel himself:“He will give strength to His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.”(I Samuel 2:10)
In all of these Scriptural contexts, monarchy is presented in a positive light.Godly kings were intended to rule the nation, and to care for God’s people. Monarchy was God’s original plan.
Why Monarchy Is Better For Christians than Democracy
by Ryan Hunter
Democracies and republics are fundamentally only concerned with whatever might be the will of their voters, and therefore, they are not concerned with questions of what constitutes objective Truth, whether such Truth exists, or how to best lead a nation’s people toward that Truth.
…It is worth examining what the Holy Scriptures, the divine books assembled and compiled by the Holy Spirit acting through Christ’s body, the church, have to say about government in general, and kingship in particular. Here are just a few examples from an article writtenby Fr. Joseph Gleason:
Psalm 2:10-12 urges, “Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”
Psalm 24:7 refers to God in the Person of the Holy Spirit as a King: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.”
Romans 13:1 refers to the divine origins of the “powers that be” (originally kings in every country): “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
The Book of Judges repeatedly connects the lack of kingship with the lawlessness and chaos then prevailing in Israel: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 17:5-6). This refrain “in those days there was no king in Israel” and its equation with lawlessness and injustice appears numerous times throughout the Book of Judges.
When the Prophet Samuel was an old man, he prepared to leave his sons after him as judges over the people of Israel, but the people of Israel wanted none of them, reminding the prophet that his sons were not righteous men as he was. Instead, they beseeched him to anoint a king for them (I Samuel 8:1-22).
Proverbs 16:12 warns that kings must act righteously: “It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.”
Proverbs 20:28 prays that “Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.”
Proverbs 29:14 promises an eternal throne to kings who love the poor: “The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established forever.”
As Father Gleason further notes, numerousScriptural passages mark kingship as a special vehicle or mechanism by which God communicates with His people Israel and His prophets:
- In Genesis 17, God promises to bless Abraham with kings for descendants.
- In Genesis 35, God promises to bless Jacob with kings for descendants.
- In Genesis 49, God promises that Israel’s kings will come from the tribe of Judah.
- When Israel’s kings behave righteously, Scripture never suggests that they should have been “good enough to abolish monarchy, and establish some better form of government.”
- Similarly, when Israel’s kings act wickedly, Scripture never suggests that “being a king” was part of their sin.
- In the New Testament, many people spoke Greek, and the entire Roman Empire was deeply influenced by the Greek culture, which had already been aware of democracy for over 500 years. Yet, Jesus and the apostles never suggest that we should replace monarchies with democracies (or with any other form of government). Individual kings are reprimanded, but monarchy itself as a political form is never condemned.
- The apostle Peter tells us to “submit … to the king” and “honor the king.”
- The apostle Paul not only asks us to pray for, but also to give thanks for kings.
- Throughout Scripture, Jesus is referred to as a great King.
- In the book of Revelation, God promises us Christians that we will reign as kings.
From Genesis to Revelation, monarchy is presented in a positive light, as God’s plan from the foundation of the world. Things go well when kingship is practiced in a godly way, and things go poorly when it is practiced in an evil way. But the same goes for any job under the sun. In this particular sense, there is nothing unique about the monarchy.
In summary, here are just a few of the reasons, from both a consideration of political theory and practical application, that monarchy is a more moral, stable, and overall better and ontologically higher form of government than any other system. I will not delve into the debate of whether or not absolute or autocratic monarchy is preferable to constitutional monarchy, but I will simply observe that, whether or not a monarchy exists constitutionally within a democratic political framework, its existence is still of great benefit to the broader political society and culture.
1) Monarchy’s intrinsic end or aim is ontologically higher than the intrinsic end or aim of any other type of political authority. The underlying purpose of monarchy is the rendering to God by each monarch of a successful stewardship on behalf of his or her people. Each monarch is only a temporary steward, but he must give an eternal account of his or her stewardship to the King of Kings…
2) Monarchy is the most natural form of government known to mankind, and the most widely practiced form of political authority throughout history. The fact that monarchies still exist today after thousands of years and numerous political revolutions is remarkable in itself, and more so given that most monarchies in the world today are seen as highly legitimate by most of their populations. History is replete with examples of bad monarchs and good monarchs, as well as bad presidents and good ones, yet the presidential and prime ministerial systems of government are, at most, three hundred years old in any part of the world, and in most countries, far more recent introductions.
3) Monarchy is the only form of political authority which images on a national and societal level the most basic foundational unit: the family. Thus, far more than elected prime ministers or presidents, monarchs and their families are able to set an ideal model for family life, which is the foundation for society.
4) Monarchy is the only form of government which properly and ideally images the highest Christian virtues of service and self-sacrifice. Almost every Christian society was, historically, a monarchy. Similarly, monarchy is the only form of political authority which has at its core the maintenance of Christian faith and virtues, as seen by the coronation oaths, still taken, of British monarchs, and the ones formerly taken by Russian, French, Hungarian, and German sovereigns. Monarchy is the only form of authority which Christian Scripture and tradition praise, defend, and encourage.
5) Monarchy is the only form of government in which the ruler is obliged to defend objective Truth and represent and defend a Christian worldview.
While some might find it strange that I, being an American, should write an essay in defense of monarchy, I would posit that there are many of my fellow Americans who are monarchists. One of the most tragic and disturbing realities of American political history is the forced extrajudicial exiling, immediately after the ratification of the Treaty of Paris in 1783, of hundreds of thousands of American Loyalists from the country; most of them saw themselves as loyal subjects of the King, yet the victorious Patriots viewed them as irredeemable traitors who must be deported.
[End of Article. Portions from, Why Monarchy Is Better For Christians than Democracy, by Ryan Hunter, Russian Faith Christian Renaissance, July 17, 2022]
A king or queen doesn’t have to be a politician or concern himself or herself with popular opinion, therefore he/she can concentrate on what God would like for the kingdom. This, in a nutshell, is why a Monarchy is better for Christians. We need godly rulers. Notice this prayer from a Christian Sovereign of the past:
“Lord Jesus Christ! Omnipotent Master of heaven and earth! To Thee I deliver the nation and people that were entrusted to my care and purchased by Thy Precious Blood, the children whom Thou didst bestow upon me, and to Thee I surrender my soul, O Lord!” (Georgian Queen Tamar the Great’s dying prayer, uttered in 1213.)
The second book of Chronicles begins with King Solomon’s reign and the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. After Solomon’s death, the Israel nation is divided: ten tribes making up the house of Israel, and the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, becoming the house of Judah. There is then a succession of kings in both nations, most of whom did evil in the sight of the Lord. Therefore, Israel is carried away by the Assyrians and Judah is carried off into the Babylonian captivity. At the end of 70 years in Babylon, the captives from Judah were permitted to return to Judah to rebuild the Temple.
There is no significant racial matters to discuss in this book, except the King James Version’s use of the term “Jews, language” instead of the “language of Judah” in 32:18, which was discussed in the previous sermon.
DOCTRINE OF REPENTANCE
As mentioned in the Introduction, the key verse in II Chronicles is well-known but little followed on the large scale of Christian doctrine:
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (II Chr. 7:14)
The part of this verse I want to cover deals with the concept of repentance. The word “repent” means regret or remorse. In the New Testament the Greek word, metanoeōmeans:
1) to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent2) to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins. (Thayer)
Before someone can “turn from their wicked ways” they must first have a change of mind about their sins. Then, if they are sincere, they obviously will turn away from that particular sin and run in the other direction. This is how true Christianity functions — it does not harbor sin. This is true repentance. Repentance is not simply asking forgiveness and then continuing in the sin. It is the definite action of forsaking the wickedness of the past.
Now, I have heard preachers on TV who teach, what I call, easy Christianity. They say the Christian will “always slip up, will commit some sort of sin; but don’t worry, just get up and keep going, we’ll always make mistakes.” And, they will repeat this gobbledygook (equating “sin” with “mistake”)over and over in the same sermon, trying to comfort people in their sins! Instead they ought to call the people to repentance as II Chronicles 7:14, and other Scriptures demand. People ought to be uncomfortable in sin.
Of course, I realize there is a certain amount of truth to such talk of modern pastors, and I allow for that. But let’s be honest with God and ourselves. If as with many Catholics, one has to confess a particular sin every week that he/she is having problems with, then that person is not truly repenting of their sin. Such people are hanging on to their sins, and are being dishonest with God and themselves. Let them be honest and forsake their sins by putting them in the past. The Christian life is not “easy believism,” it is a life of discipline in which tough choices are made.
Someone might ask, “But brother Jester, are you teaching sinless perfection? I would answer as John Wesley did, “I am not so much looking for a term to call it, but I would say that I believe in Christian perfection.” When it comes to discussions along this line we inevitably must define the terms that surround the topic. So how is “perfection” defined? If it is defined as any deviation from the divine, or any error in judgment, then it is true that man cannot live without sin. But if perfection is defined in a limited way, then it is possible to live without willful known sin. So let’s define “perfection” thusly: “a thing is perfect when it accomplishes the purpose for which it is created.” Can a person live up to that? Possibly. Did not God create His children with certain abilities? If your 4 year old child drew you a picture with crayons, you would likely say, “That’s perfect!” But was it really perfect in the ultimate sense of the word? No. But, it was perfect according to the ability of the child.
Let’s use another example. A pencil is a perfect writing instrument — it accomplishes the purpose for which it was created; and it even has an eraser in case I make mistakes. Notice, “mistakes” are not “sins” necessarily, sins are far worse. But whatever have you, if we need to make “corrections” then so be it. That’s what repentance is all about — leaving the old life behind. Can I use a pencil as a screwdriver? No, it is not perfect for that application, but rather, is quite flawed and falls very short in accomplishing the job of a screwdriver.
Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more…” I have to assume He meant what He said; and likewise, she did as she was told.
Like our key verse in Chronicles, here is another verse not brought up by modern pastors; “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.”(Pro. 28:13)
Notice how the verse connects both confessing and forsaking. If you need to confess, then by all means do so, but make sure you have also forsaken the thing you have confessed. If you have not forsaken it, you are still guilty of it, since you still partake of it. If you have only made a mistake, there is no need of repentance, for there is no sin in an honest error. True “sin” (which brings guilt) is outright rebellion against the known will of God.
Another verse supporting the doctrine of repentance:
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.(Isa. 55:7)
Notice there are two kinds of men/women here: the “wicked" and the “unrighteous.” The wicked (or unregenerate) following his own way, rather than honoring God, must forsake such an ungodly way. The unrighteous, which may include the Christian, is not openly wicked as the other man; but such a person has thoughts that may need to be contended with. Thus, both types of men need the mercy of our God, and will receive it upon turning to the Lord. The action of turning (changing direction) is repentance.
By way of example, someone asked Rev. Wesley about the alleged sins of the mind. He said, “You cannot prevent the birds from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair.” His point being, we live in a dirty world, but we do not have to be soiled by it, nor center our affections on thoughts that we would never carry out in actual practice; for to do so would be a willful transgression of the known law of God (sin).
Let it be noted that a kingdom is conditioned upon repentance. No matter what kind of kingdom we expect as Christian people: a literal political entity where God’s Law reigns, a spiritual personal kingdom where Christ rules your life supremely, or both. It all begins with repentance.
But it appears that America, indeed all western nations, is nowhere near a state of repentance. There’s no sorrow over sin, indeed, there is nothing but blatant arrogance against the laws of the Almighty in this country. But maybe that will all change when it gets bad enough. Notice the arrogance and disregard for others on the world stage in this news item.
Russia Warns of Direct Military Clash with US
RT, 16 August 2022
Washington’s behavior on the world stage risks direct conflict between the nuclear states, the Russian embassy in the US has warned.
“Today, the United States continues to act with no regard to other countries’ security and interests, which contributes to an increase in nuclear risks,” the embassy said in a statement on its Telegram channel.
“The [US’] steps to further engage in a hybrid confrontation with Russia in the context of the Ukrainian crisis are fraught with unpredictable escalation and a direct military clash of nuclear powers.”
The embassy noted that Washington has recently withdrawn from two key arms control agreements, the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned certain classes of land-based missiles, and the 1992 Treaty on Open Skies, which allowed for surveillance flights over each other’s territories.
The embassy urged the US to “take a closer look at its own nuclear policy instead of making unfounded accusations against the countries whose world-views do not coincide with the American ones.”
“Our country faithfully fulfills its obligations as a nuclear-weapon state and makes every effort to reduce nuclear risks,” the diplomats said.
[End of article]
No regard to other countries’ security and interests? Hybrid confrontation and unpredictable escalation? Washington has withdrawn from two arms control agreements? Unfounded accusations against other countries? In a word — arrogance! Is this how the kingdom of God acts? No! And America’s population is no different than their government, for there is still a large percentage of those who openly flaunt their respective individual sin, such as, killing babies — yes, “follow the science,” they are babies, not a mass of cells — and other crimes against God. And let’s not forget homosexuality that they have so much pride for. They are not the least repentant, but rather, they clamor in the streets for their “right” (to sin) in prideful arrogance against God.
America is like Judah, of whom Isaiah speaks of just before captivity:
Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged. 5 Why will you still be smitten, that you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. 7 Your country lies desolate, your cities are burned with fire; in your very presence aliens devour your land; it is desolate, as overthrown by aliens. (Isa. 1:4, 5, 7, RSV)
America is a sinful nation, more so than at any time in her history. As long as she is in this state of wickedness, she is asking for God’s punishment. Crime prospers, abortion continues, homosexuals are given privileges, and aliens take over the land. America needs to repent.
If my people, on whom my name is named, make themselves low and come to me in prayer, searching for me and turning from their evil ways[in a word — repent]; then I will give ear from heaven, overlooking their sin, and will give life again to their land. (II Chr. 7:14, BBE)