"THE END OF THE LINE"
I. THE NATION OF ISRAEL STARTED OUT WITH SUCH HIGH HOPES AND PROMISES OF GLORY.
A. The children of Israel lived in Egypt for 400 years, toward the end of that time, they had become slaves and were treated as sub-humans.
1. Their lives were filled with abject misery.
2. They were slaves and their masters were cruel taskmasters.
3. They were born a slave and figured to die a slave.
4. Between birth and death, they knew nothing but hard labor.
5. There was no hope for any improvement, this was their lot, and they were helpless to do anything to improve it.
B. One day the LORD sent Moses to the pharaoh to demand their release. Moses said to the pharaoh, "Thus saith Yahweh, the God of Israel, let My people go that they might hold a feast unto Me in the wilderness." The Pharaoh answered them saying, "Who is Yaweh that I should let Israel go to worship Him? I do not know Yaweh, neither will I let Israel go."
1. I imagine that pharaoh rued the day he ever asked, "Who is Yaweh?" For he came to know Him and His power, and found the reason he should let them go.
2. Egypt was almost destroyed by the plagues, and there came that time when they were glad to see them go.
C. As they began to journey toward the land of promise, God made a covenant with them. He gave to them the laws which were the rules by which they should live if they wanted Him to be their God and they His people.
1. He promised them untold blessings if they kept His law, and warned them of the calamities that would come upon them if they turned aside from His commandments.
2. The law taught them what was necessary to have a right relationship with God and a right relationship with each other.
3. The law of the Lord was perfect.
4. As a nation they had a hard time remaining true to God.
5. They knew what was right, but there was that desire of their flesh that kept urging them to follow the flesh and break the law.
D. After wandering for forty years in the wilderness because of their sin, Joshua finally led them into the promised land.
1. This was another time of great hopes and expectations.
2. They experienced good times and bad times.
3. In the bad times they would seek the Lord and the Lord would deliver them from their enemies and prosper them.
4. But in their prosperity, they would forget God and turn to other interests until God would forsake them and they would go into bondage again.
5. This period of their history was known as the time of the judges and it lasted about 300 years.
E. There came a day when the people demanded a king to rule over them like the other nations and Saul was anointed as the first king.
1. Saul was a tragic failure, for he rebelled against the authority of God in his life. So God took the kingdom from Saul and gave it to David who God called a man after His own heart.
2. God had made a promise to David that one of David's seed would sit on the throne forever. David understood this promise to refer to to the coming Messiah, that He would come from David's seed.
3. At the death of David, his son Solomon began to reign in his stead. Toward the end of Solomon's life, he began to worship other gods.
4. At the death of Solomon, because of the foolish rashness of his son Rehoboam, the kingdom was divided, and a descendant of David continued to rule in the Southern kingdom of Judah, while the Northern kingdom known as Israel had a series of dynasties all of them bad. They finally were subdued by Assyria, and went into captivity.
5. In time, David's descendants failed to live up to God's standard and Jehoachin became king over Judah.
6. We read of Jehoachin that he did evil in the sight of the Lord and he was taken to Babylon and as a captive, and Nebuchadnezzer king of Babylon appointed his uncle Zedekiah to reign in his stead.
II. THIS IS THE END OF THE LINE.
A. The end of the line for the nation of Judah. They will be captives in Babylon for 70 years.
B. The end of the line for Solomon's descendants sitting on the throne.
C. This is what Jeremiah the prophet said of Jehoiachin who was also called Jehconias, or as Jeremiah shortened it to Coniah.
This man Coniah is a despised broken idol. He is a vessel wherein [is] no pleasure. Therefore they are cast out, he and his descendants, they are cast into a land which they know not.
O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.
Thus saith the LORD, Write this man childless, a man [that] shall not prosper in his days: for none of his descendants shall prosper, or sit upon the throne of David, or rule any more in Judah.
1. By childless he meant, as far as his son sitting on the throne.
D. It is the end of the line for Jehoachin, none of his descendants can sit on the throne of David. The Messiah who will sit on the throne of David forever cannot come through the linage of Jehoachin.
III. TURNING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT AND WE READ OF THE BIRTH OF JESUS, THE SON OF DAVID, WHO IS THE MESSIAH WHICH WILL SIT ON THE THRONE OF DAVID FOREVER.
A. People often wonder why both Matthew and Luke give to us the linage of Jesus, yet they differ from each other.
1. Matthew gives us the linage of Joseph. Matthew says:
And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
2. Luke gives us the linage of Mary, Luke says:
And Jesus himself was about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was the son in law of Heli,
3. It is interesting that Joseph is a descendant of David through Solomon thus a rightful heir to the throne, however his linage goes through Jechonias and thus he was disqualified to reign because of the curse against Jechonias.
B. Luke's gospel gives to us the linage of Mary. It is interesting that Mary was also a descendant of David, only not through Solomon and Jechonias, but through Nathan the son of David. Thus qualified as a seed of David to sit on the throne of David forever.
C. So here at the end of 2 Kings we come to the end of the line not only for Jechonias or his descendants ever reigning on the throne, but the end of line for the nation itself as they will be taken as captives to Babylon.
IV. One day each of us will come to the end of the line.
A. Our pilgrimage on earth will come to an end.
B. It is important to realize that this is the end of the line only of my earthly pilgrimage, but it is the beginning of my eternal destiny.
1. The Bible tells us:
It is appointed unto men once to die, but after that the judgment:
2. Daniel tells us:
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame and contempt.
3. Jesus spoke of that day when He will return to the earth with His church to set up the kingdom of God on the earth.
When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides [his] sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
5. Paul writing on this subject said:
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day.
C. In that day when you come to the end of the line, when you breathe your last breath, where will you go? What will be your eternal destiny? Do you know for sure?
D. You can know for sure. John wrote:
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
E. Some have said, "Chuck you are getting stronger in your preaching lately." Yes that is true, as I see the way things are shaping up in the world and especially in the Middle East, I believe that we are very close to the end of the line, the time has come to become very serious about our eternal destiny.