Traditionally, Christian commentators
have observed an "all nations" emphasis in the Gospel of Luke. For example,
Luke is famous for including the angels declaration: "on earth peace,
goodwill toward [all] men" (Luke 2:14). Only Luke records the
stories of God's favor to the Gentile widow in Zarepath and Naaman the
Syrian (Luke 4:25-27). In contrast to Matthew (The Gospel written to
Messianic Jews), Yeshua's mission statement is cast in universalistic
terms (compare Luke 4:18,19 with Matthew 15:24). I am not disputing what
many keen scholars have observed in Luke's Gospel but it seems to me
that Luke wanted his Gentile audience to know that the savior of the world
is also the King of Israel.
"He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the
Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign
over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no
end" (Luke 1:32,33).
Gabriel's words to Miriam (Mary) are packed with significance for both
Jews and Gentiles. The Savior is a king - not just any king but the
promised descendant of David who will rule over "the House of Jacob
forever". With all the wonderful attributes and qualities of Yeshua we
sometimes overlook His most obvious feature - Yeshua is a King. The word
"Messiah" or Christ is not Yeshua's last name, but the fitting epithet
to His core characteristic. Yeshua is the anointed one, anointed to be
Let's unpack the angel Gabriel's declaration.
"He will be called the Son of the Highest"
In its most immediate sense, this is not a trinitarian formulation but a
hearkening back to God's promise to David regarding his heir:
"I will be His Father, and He shall be my Son" (I Chronicles 17:13).
Psalm two reiterates this same promise, "'I have set My king on My
holy hill of Zion'. I will declare the decree: The Lord said to me,
'You are My Son, today I have begotten you'" (Psalm 2:6,7).
The "decree" in reference here is the word spoken to David of the heir who
would come from his line whose "throne will be established forever"
(I Chronicles 17:14). This is the same promise Gabriel makes to Miriam -
Yeshua is the long awaited king who will sit on David's throne
Before God promised David that the Messiah King would be His son, the Lord
made this declaration regarding the nation: "Thus says the LORD:
'Israel is My son, My firstborn'" (Exodus 4:22). Israel is
God's son, God's chosen, who stands in unique, intimate relation
with Him. But as the representative head of the nation, the Messiah King is
the Son. Kings are not only rulers, they are representatives. A brief
purview of Israel's history reveals an important pattern. When the
king "did what was right in the eyes of the Lord" the nation was
blessed, contrawise, when the king "did what was evil..." the nation
faced the consequences. The hopes and aspirations of Israel were, and are
wrapped up in the fortunes and character of her king.
Why is this important for Gentiles to know?
Yeshua's claim to David's throne was not a temporary office
replaced by His universal lordship. Let's keep in mind that the angel
Gabriel decreed Yeshua would rule over the house of Jacob forever. As
Israel's king, He also has the right to rule over the nations of the
world. It was to David's heir that the Lord promised, "I will give
you the nations for your inheritance" (Psalm 2:8). This same King is to
have dominion from the Mediterranean to the Salt Sea, and north to the
Euphrates (Israel's borders), and also "to the ends of the
earth" (Psalm 72:8). This prophetic psalm also declares: "Yes all
kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him" (Psalm
It is instructive for us to consider that only "the Lion of the tribe of
Judah" (Israel's King, Revelation 5:5) has the authority to
initiate God's final world redemption program. Consider how many
titles Yeshua has in the book of Revelation: "the first and the last", "the
living one", "King of Kings", "lamb who was slain" - just to name a few.
Yet the title that identifies Yeshua as the king of Israel (See, Genesis
49:9,10) is the title that the angel uses to identify Him as the only one
in heaven and earth worthy to "open the scroll" (Revelation 5:3-5).
We cannot separate Yeshua's universal lordship from His identity as
Israel's king. We should not neglect the truth that Yeshua, King of
Kings is still the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Israel's king. As the
world is moving towards that date with destiny when all the seals are
opened and all the decrees determined therein unfold within history, it is
Israel's king who makes it so. It is to Him that the Father has
promised all nations as an inheritance.
Most of us worshipping in churches have a hard time conceiving of "the Lord
Jesus Christ" as the enduring political head of the Jewish nation. We
don't immediately think of Yeshua as Israel's king, guiding the
nation to her God-given destiny. But the Lion of the tribe of Judah is
still on David's throne. Whether Israel knows it or not, her king
still rules over her affairs. If we can see this, then the whole
"replacement" doctrine looses all credence - a king does not forsake his
Likewise, most of us who worship in synagogues cannot conceive of Yeshua of
Nazareth as the long awaited Messiah, the King of Israel. Whenever a Jew
recognizes this truth, his perspective shifts. This means Messiah's
redemption and rule is not only future but present. Yeshua, the Messiah
king, is currently ruling over His people Israel, bringing us back to the
land of promise and back to the Lord our God. He is also presently
fulfilling the universal messianic promise that traditionally we Jews have
anticipated for a future time: He is presently taking from the Gentiles
"a people for His name" (Acts 15:14). For Christians this also means
a perspective shift - no matter what our ethnicity or nationality, we are
deeply connected to Israel's destiny because we are deeply connected
to Israel's king.
The fate of the world and the fate of Israel are linked through
Israel's king. All of history is moving towards that day when Yeshua
returns to Jerusalem to sit on David's throne. In that day, the words
of the prophet will be fulfilled: "And the Lord shall be King over all
the earth. In that day it shall be - "The Lord is one," And His name
one" (Zechariah 14:9).