I. THE INTRINSIC REVELATION
OF THE BOOKS OF HISTORY IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
FROM JOSHUA TO ESTHER
This introductory word to the life-study of 1 and 2 Kings presents the intrinsic revelation of the books of history in the Old Testament. Such a revelation is necessary to get into the real significance of these books. Otherwise, we may regard these books merely as story books.
God promised Abraham that He would give him and his descendants Canaan as the good land. Through Moses He brought Israel as a people, the descendants of Abraham, out of Egypt through the wilderness to the border of the good land. After Moses, Joshua was used by God to bring His elect into the good land He had promised to them.
The intrinsic revelation of the history according to the record from Joshua to Esther is to unveil to us how the eternal economy of God was carried out by His elect on the earth. The eternal economy of God is altogether concerning Christ and for Christ, mainly in the person of Christ and the kingdom of Christ. Regarding the person of Christ, the record of history in the Old Testament keeps a lineage of the genealogy of Christ for His coming through His incarnation to be a man. Regarding the kingdom of Christ, the Old Testament history keeps a line on the kingdom of God for Christ to establish His divine kingdom on the earth. These two items form the governing line of the divine revelation in the books of the history of Israel. Now in 1 and 2 Kings this governing line must be realized by us for our study and understanding of these two books.
For the carrying out of His economy, God needs a people and a land. For Christ’s person, there is the need of a people to be the lineage of His genealogy to bring Him into humanity. For Christ’s kingdom, there is the need of a land. Although the earth was created by God, it has been usurped by Satan. Thus, God uses His people to gain a part of the Satan-usurped earth to serve as a "beachhead" for Him to set up His kingdom.
The Bible is not a book of history. The Bible is the record of the divine revelation concerning God’s eternal economy, of which Christ is the center and reality. Christ is the embodiment of the Triune God, and the church is the organic Body of Christ. These two items are the basic structure of the Bible. So, in understanding any book of the Bible, we should hold this point of view, especially in the life-study of the books of Kings. Apparently, these two books are the history of the kings of Israel. Actually, they are books written in the inspiration of the Spirit of God in the way of being related to God’s eternal economy.
The first two kings, David and Solomon, are important types of Christ in two aspects. The first aspect is that of His suffering on earth, before His resurrection. From the time of His birth, He suffered. His life began in a manger in the lowest estate and ended in His being crucified on the cross. The manger and the cross were the two ends of His suffering life. David typifies this suffering Christ. David also suffered from his youth. Yet his suffering was for the conquering of the usurping enemies and the gaining of the good land, the ground for God’s building. Solomon typifies the Christ glorified in the kingdom of God and its splendor. Solomon was glorified in the kingdom of Israel with the splendor of that kingdom. This is a prefigure of Christ in the millennium. These two types are strong evidences that the history of the kings of Israel is related to God’s eternal economy, which concerns Christ as the embodiment of God and the church as the organic Body of Christ.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Kings, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)