The Old Testament Presents... Reflections of Christ
by Paul R. Van Gorder
The books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles present the history of the Kingdom of Israel. The first four give it from a human standpoint, and in Chronicles, it is seen from God's viewpoint.

The time covered by 1Kings is about 120 years. The book begins with the death of David and closes with the death of Ahab. One Bible scholar has said, ''During this time the nation passes from affluence and influence to poverty and paralysis.'' The tragic note sounded in 1Kings 11:1 marks a turning point in Israel's history. ''But King Solomon loved many foreign women...'' As a result, the flesh prevailed over the Spirit. We therefore read these sad words in 1Kings 11:4, ''When Solomon was old, ...his wives turned away his heart after other gods.''

When 1Kings opens, Samuel is dead and David is dying. Chapter 2 tells how this shepherd, warrior, king, and psalmist went to be with the Lord. Solomon, David's son, then ascended to the throne of all Israel. This book is important because it tells a story of sharp contrast: first, Israel's greatest splendor; second, Israel's tragic downfall. After Solomon's death, there was a rebellion. The nation divided into two kingdoms-- Israel in the north and Judah in the south. King after king led the people into idolatry. It's the old story of sin followed by punishment.

Two men stand out more conspicuously than all the rest named in 1Kings-- Solomon and Elijah. The story really centers upon these two leaders. As we study these men, we fulfill the purpose for this volume-- to see Christ in every book of the Old Testament.

The name Solomon means ''peace.'' His reign is a type or picture of that reign of peace by Him who is greater than Solomon [Luke 1:32; Mat 12:42].
Solomon's reign was notable for five outstanding reasons:
  1. Wisdom (1Kin 3:9-12; 4:29-34).
    Jewish legend says that Solomon could even converse with the beasts of the field. His proverbs, 3,000 of which are recorded, demonstrate the great wisdom that God had given him. What marvelous guidelines they are for the conduct of life even now!
  2. Peace and prosperity (4:25).
    Solomon's reign was an unusual time for Israel. The land had been torn apart by war. Now came a time of calm, of peace. ''And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even unto Beersheba, all the days of Solomon'' (1Kings 4:25).
  3. The building of the temple (chapters 5-7).
    Solomon's temple was unsurpassed in his day for its splendor and luxury. It was the crown jewel of Solomon's reign. Out of Israel came 30,000 men working in relays of 10,000 per month. In addition, 150,000 ''strangers,'' 70,000 of them carriers and 80,000 stone workers, along with 3,300 supervisors, assisted in the work.
  4. God enters the temple (chapter 8).
    When the structure was completed and dedicated, the glory cloud, the shekinah, came down and filled it. This was the visible manifestation of the presence of God in the midst of His people.
  5. The visit of the Queen of Sheba (chapter 10).
    This influential ruler said to Solomon, ''It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom'' (10:6). The wealthy ruler was so impressed with what she had heard and seen that she gave the glory to God, saying, ''Blessed be the LORD thy God, who delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel'' (10:9). A Gentile queen beholding the wealth and beauty of Solomon's reign is a picture of what God has yet in store for this earth.
The gospel according to Matthew begins with the words, ''The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David.'' The designation ''son of David'' immediately brings Solomon to mind, arrayed in all his kingly glory. His reign is a foreview of what will take place when David's greater Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, rules over the earth.

God has decreed that a man is going to rule this world in wisdom. Isaiah wrote, ''And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots; and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD, ...but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked'' (Isa 11:1,2,4).

Our Lord's millennial reign will be a time of peace and prosperity. The prophet Micah declared of Christ, ''And He shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it'' (Mic 4:3,4).

A temple will again stand in old Jerusalem. If you study carefully Ezekiel 40 through 48, you will learn about this magnificent edifice. The glory of the Lord will fill that place, and people of all nations will come to it. Micah predicted,

Many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob (Mic 4:2).

Zechariah delivered this additional prophecy:
And it shall be, in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem;
half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea;
in summer and in winter shall it be.
And the LORD shall be king over all the earth;
in that day shall there be one LORD, and His name one.
And it shall come to pass that everyone that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (Zech 14:8,9,16).

How tragic the change! Chapter 10 tells of Solomon and all his glory. Then chapter 11 tells of Solomon's sin, chronicles the beginning of the rebellion by Jeroboam, and records Solomon's death. The division of the kingdom and fall into idolatry soon followed. We naturally wonder why. The answer, of course, is that fallen man spoils everything he touches.

From this point onward, the Lord God no longer revealed Himself primarily to kings; rather, He turned to the prophets. From 1Kings 11 to the beginning of the New Testament, God spoke to His people primarily through these specially chosen men.

The experiences of Elijah the prophet give us a challenge for today, for he was active in a time of apostasy. The end of our age will also be marked by apostasy, so a study of the evil men of Elijah's day will tell us what may be expected. The same conditions exist now as did then. [King] Ahab had married Jezebel. This wicked woman introduced Baal worship and other forms of idolatry. Ahab was sitting in the place of authority on the throne of Israel, yet he was denying the God of Israel. Similar conditions are sometimes seen in the conduct of the religious leaders of our day.

In 1Kings 18 we read of two prophets, Obadiah and Elijah. Obadiah feared the Lord and fed the prophets of God who were hiding in a cave. But he lived in the house of Ahab, a compromising position! Ahab never spoke a word against Obadiah. But concerning Elijah, the wicked king said, ''Art thou he who troubleth Israel?'' (18:17). Elijah did not shrink from a confrontation with Ahab. God's exoneration of Elijah took place on Mount Carmel, and that prophet became the instrument of God's judgment upon the the prophets of both Baal and the groves [ie., places of worship to multiple idols].

In 1Kings, one truth looms large on the horizon: a government that leaves God out, whether dictatorship or democracy, is doomed to failure. Government by man always ends in disorder. Yet even though the thrones of earth disintegrate, the throne of heaven will abide forever.

Return to table of contents for ''The Old Testament Presents... Reflections of Christ,''
written by Paul R. Van Gorder, Copyright 1982 by RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI.
Used by permission [within The Book from].
Further distribution is not allowed without permission from RBC.

For another brief look at this book of the Bible,
see the related chapter in Christ in All the Scriptures, by A.M. Hodgkin.

Go to The Book opening page.