God called the Hebrews out of Egyptian bondage to make them into a holy nation. He told them, "Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Ex 19:6). God led His people to the promised land so that they could have a place on which to build His kingdom, and gave them His laws so that they could learn how to be holy. He promised them a righteous king to rule them in peace and prosperity. Jacob had prophesied, "The septre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come" (Gen 49:10).
Shiloh means "peace." The Hebrews named the place where they assembled after completing the conquest of the promised land, Shiloh. There they celebrated the peace they had just won and finished assigning their inheritances by lot (Jos 18:1; 21:2). It was central to all of Canaan and in the land given the tribe of Joseph. It became the site for the ark during the reign of judges. Eli reared Samuel at Shiloh (1 Sam 1:3; 3:21). Samuel, in turn, anointed David to be king over Israel. David finished subduing the land as commanded by Moses and set his throne in Jerusalem. Jerusalem means "foundation of peace." His son, Solomon, succeeded David. Solomon is derived from "Shalom," meaning "peace." It is related to Shiloh. Solomon built the temple of God as a house for the ark.
The association of Shiloh and its relatives, Jerusalem and Solomon, with the Ark of the Covenant has significant meanings. Christians view the ark as a symbol of Jesus Christ. The ark contained the word of God and its covering, the mercy seat, appeased divine wrath through sacrifices. Jesus is the word of God and his substitutionary sacrifice on the cross extends divine mercy to all believers. His crucifixion made peace between God and man. When Jacob invoked the Savior's name by anointing the rock that had been his pillow (Gen 28:17-19), he called its place "the house of God." Jesus Christ is the tabernacle of God in the flesh. This interpretation is reinforced by the fact that Jacob also called the place where he christened his stone "the gate of heaven." Jesus said, "I am the door" (Jn 10:9). The word of God engraven at Sinai became flesh in a manger so that by sacrifice he could write in men's hearts what he wrote on stony tablets. Atoning for sin on the cross, he leads his disciples as a shepherd leads his flock. Jacob's pillar, which he called the shepherd and stone of Israel (Gen 19:24), was entrusted to the tribe of Joseph, just as its original location, Bethel, was a site in the land given them. That is why the ark remained in the land of Joseph until David brought it to Jerusalem.
When Solomon constructed the temple, its builders rejected the stone of Israel. The Jews, in turn, rejected the Savior, as David foretold (Ps 18:22), and Jesus became the chief cornerstone of the church (Eph 2:20). English tradition says that their throne is founded upon Jacob's pillar. Current Jewish scholarship shows that a significant portion of the tribe of Joseph, particularly Ephraim, migrated to England. There the church was reformed and planted in the wilderness of the New World in the hope of producing a purified church. Just as the ark waited in the land of Joseph until David moved it to Jerusalem, the Shepherd Stone will tarry in a land given the offspring of Joseph until it is moved for Christ, the seed of David, when he descends to the new Jerusalem. When Jesus returns in glory, he will rule upon his throne over a church cleansed from every spot and wrinkle (Eph 5:27). His kingdom, like the stone cut out of the mountain (Dan 2:44-45), will subdue all nations and fill the whole earth.
David, the shepherd boy who became king, foreshadowed the reign of the son of God. Jesus is a descendant of David through both Joseph and Mary. At his conception Gabriel told his mother, "The Lord shall give unto him the throne of his father David" (Lu 1:32). David subdued the enemies of Israel just as Jesus will subdue the enemies of righteousness when he returns. David's son, Solomon, inherited his father's throne. When Jesus, the seed of David descends, he will inherit David's throne. Just as Solomon ruled Israel in peace and prosperity, Jesus will rule the earth in peace and plenty. Isaiah prophesied, "They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the works of their hands" (Is 65:22).
Solomon built the Temple of the Lord in which God came down and communed with his people. When Jesus returns to rule his holy kingdom, the earth will be a temple for the Lord. Its citizens made righteous through faith will themselves be temples of God, for they will all house the Holy Ghost in their bodies. God promised Israel, "I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statues, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them" (Ez 36:27). Although ancient Israel had God's laws, they were unable to obey them all. The law could not make them holy. Their continuing rebellion against God made the establishment of His kingdom among them impossible. Jesus came in his first advent to redeem his people from their sins. Those receiving him are born again. Made holy through the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost, they are prepared for citizenship in God's kingdom. When they embrace the gospel, they cease their rebellion, by submitting themselves in their hearts to the peaceful reign of their Savior. Afterwards, as long as they endure, they remain prepared for his reign when he descends from heaven.
David asked, "Who is the king of glory?" (Ps 24:8). In so doing he prophesied the confusion prevalent just before Jesus descends to occupy his throne. While prophesying his second coming, the Savior said, "If any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there: believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs" (Matt 24:23-24). As the time approaches for Jesus to descend and usher in his millennial reign, would-be leaders are emerging to claim his position. Adolf Hitler has already tried. He taught that after gaining mastery of the world, the Nazis would rule a peaceful and prosperous kingdom for one thousand years. His failure only opened the door for others. Juan Carlos, king of Spain, recently visited Jerusalem. On arriving he claimed the city as "King of kings, Lord of lords, and King of Zion." This title belongs to Jesus Christ, but King Carlos claims it. He believes he is a descent of Jesus. Asserting our Savior never died on the cross, but fled to Gaul with Mary Magdalene where they produced children, he claims descent from that union. Otto Von ____? also claims to be a descendant from the supposed marriage of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. He lives in Brussels and actively promotes the European Economic Community, perhaps because he hopes it will raise him to the throne. Others with no ties to Christ aspire to political and religious supremacy. Vladimir Zhirinovsky promises to lead Russia to world dominance. Advertisements appearing in national papers announce the imminent appearance of some unnamed religious leader. With all the commotion surrounding world leadership, many, like David, may ask, "Who is the king of glory?"
The psalmist also asked, "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord, and against his anointed" (Ps 2:1-2). Today, disbelievers counsel together to control the earth. Politicians want power and corporations want markets. Some of these conspire to make themselves supreme. When they do, they resist the King of heaven, who is supreme. He will come. "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision" (Ps 2:4). This is because God has already given supreme lordship to his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. He will set this king "upon my holy hill of Zion" (Ps 2:6). All other pretenders to his throne will vanish. The wise recognize who the king of glory is and serve him before he descends to his throne. These will participate in the glory that will surround his reign and bask in the light of his government. They will find eternal peace under the sovereignty of their Lord and Savior.