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'He Must Reign': The Kingdom of God in Scripture

Course Description
The drama in the Gospels turns on a single question: Is Jesus the long awaited Messiah, the son of David come to restore the everlasting monarchy promised to David? Underlying this drama are centuries of rival interpretations of the Jewish Scriptures and competing expectations of who the Messiah was to be, the signs that would accompany his coming, and the shape of the kingdom he would establish.

We explore all these issues in this thematic survey course, which goes to the heart of what the New Testament has to say about the identity of Christ and the Church.

We start with a detailed look at the importance of David in the Old Testament, the shape of the Davidic monarchy, and its historic rise and fall. We examine next the messianic hopes of Israel and the traditions of exile and restoration found in the Old Testament and in Jewish literature written between the Old and New Testaments.

We then make a detailed study of how Jesus is portrayed as the Davidic Messiah in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, as well as in Luke’s second volume, the Acts of the Apostles. We round out our study by exploring the Davidic-kingdom imagery in the remaining New Testament texts, and how the biblical understanding of the Church as the kingdom is reflected in the Catholic Church.

Course Registration
Courses are free! But we do ask that you register. You will be prompted for your E-mail Address and directed to a page where you will be asked for your Name, E-mail Address, Address and Phone Number. This is for our informational purposes only. We will not lend or sell your contact information to anyone else. Thanks for your cooperation. Important Note: You only have to register once. Once you have registered you are registered for all the courses.  Click here to register.. A password is not needed and will not be given to you. Once you have registered return to this page or any of the other courses to begin studying.  The lessons are listed in the column to the right.

Course Objectives:

  1. To understand in a detailed way the Old Testament background of the New Testament - especially God’s covenant with King David and Israel’s hopes for a Messiah who would restore the fallen kingdom of David.
  2. To understand how the New Testament depicts Jesus as the royal Son of David and the Church He establishes as the restored Kingdom of David.
  3. To begin to understand the biblical origin of some of the structures of the Catholic Church as reflecting the biblical understanding of the Church as the kingdom of God.

Course Materials

The primary text will be the Bible. Each lesson will recommend certain passages for reading and study.  In addition, the instructors recommend the following study guides:

The Gospel of Matthew

The Gospel of Luke

Acts of the Apostles



  • Lesson One: A Throne Established Forever

    Lesson Goals:

    1. To begin to appreciate the significance of God’s covenant with David for understanding the content and meaning of the New Testament.

    2. To understand the biblical idea of the monarchy and the Old Testament background for the Davidic covenant.

    3. To understand the basic outlines of the promises made to David and the shape of the Davidic kingdom under both David and Solomon.


  • Lesson Two: Looking for the ‘New David’

    Lesson Goals:

    1. To understand the basic outline of Israel’s history in the centuries between the collapse of the Davidic kingdom and the beginning of the New Testament era.

    2. To appreciate how the collapse and disappearance of the Davidic Kingdom shaped Israel’s hopes and beliefs in the five centuries before Christ.

    3. To understand how God’s covenant promises were interpreted by Israel’s prophets and how those prophecies were understood in the last centuries before Christ.


  • Lesson Three: The Son of David in Matthew’s Gospel

    Lesson Goals:

    1. To understand the symbolism Matthew uses to convey the truth that Jesus Christ is the perfect Son of David.

    2. To see how the baptism of Jesus corresponds to the anointing of the Davidic kings.

    3. To understand how Matthew sees Jesus’ kingdom as the fulfillment of the promises in the prophets.


  • Lesson Four: The Throne of David, His Father

    Lesson Goals:

    1. To see how Luke emphasizes Jesus’ lineage as Son of David in the infancy narrative.

    2. To see how Jesus appears in public as the Son of David throughout Luke’s Gospel.

    3. To understand how, at the climax of Luke’s Gospel, Jesus takes his place as heir to the kingdom of David.


  • Lesson Five: The Spread of the Kingdom in Acts

    Lesson Goals:

    1. To understand how Jesus’ parting words to His disciples form a map of the ideal Davidic kingdom.

    2. To see how the structure of the Acts of the Apostles follows that map.

    3. To see how Luke paints the nascent Church as the Davidic kingdom perfectly restored.


  • Lesson Six: ‘The Key of David’: Church and Kingdom in the New Testament

    Lesson Goals:

    1. To understand the characteristics and identity of the kingdom of God as it is portrayed in the New Testament epistles and the Book of Revelation.

    2. To see how the Church is identified with the kingdom in the New Testament.

    3. To understand how the Church, as it is portrayed in the New Testament, bears the characteristics of the Davidic kingdom.


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