What in the world is a dynasty and where did the idea come from?
Dynasty: “a race or succession of kings of the same line or family, who govern a particular country.” -Webster’s 1828 dictionary
The United States of America is the first country to make a major break from the dynastic system, which had been in place for four thousand years. Every year, we elect a new president; only the court system has life tenure. King George III, who ruled over the American colonies at the time of their independence, was on the throne for 59 years, even though he was insane and unqualified to rule near the end. George III took the throne after his grandfather George II died. He was one of five kings who ruled during the Georgian era, which lasted 116 years. These all received their authority to rule from the Electorate of Hanover in Germany, which was part of the Holy Roman Empire. It was definitely a top down hierarchy, with the Vatican claiming ultimate authority over the Holy Roman Empire.
“And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal” -2 Kings 11:1
This story from the Old Testament illustrates how deeply the idea of dynasty was accepted by Jews as well as gentiles. The Davidic covenant, in 2 Samuel 7:11-16, was the promise of a dynasty: “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.” (vs 12) Good kings reigned in Jerusalem for 162 years, from the time of David until Jehoram married the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, Athaliah. Her son then ruled for one year, until he died without children. She thought that she had killed all the other royal descendants of David when she took over the throne herself.
“And he brought forth the king’s son [Joash], and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king.” -2 Kings 11:12
Faithful people, however, saved alive Joash, the last remaining descendant of David, who was able to regain the dynasty for the Lord. So we see that God can work through a godly dynasty, but the danger of its corruption is great, and it’s almost impossible to restore goodness to an evil dynasty.
Ungodly, pagan dynasties have assured the continuation of evil for most of history. Egyptian history is divided into 31 dynasties that were ruled by pharaohs. Eleven pharaohs, for instance, bore the family name of Ramesses. Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece (after Alexander the Great), and Rome were all dynastic for the most part. As we saw in article 40, twenty dynasties are supposed to have existed before the first dynasty of Babylon. The first of all these dynasties was Eridu (Babel), ruled by Gilgamesh (Nimrod). The fact that the Sumerian King List is divided into dynasties shows that the dynastic concept was strong, even at the time that Abraham left Ur of the Chaldees.
I must ask the question, “Why would the first king think it religiously important to pass the throne to his son?” A king could very well reign without setting up the next generation. Dynasty became an institution at Babel. I can guess two reasons why it was established. First, it grew out of the profound respect for ancestors. Genesis 5 gives a lineage of ten ancestors from Adam to Noah. Since these patriarchs where highly respected, Ham, being rejected by his father, probably had a strong motivation to make his lineage successful and famous. Secondly, Satan has used the dynastic practice to keep evil rulers in power for as long as possible.
The term Lord of lords, referring to Jesus Christ, has even more meaning when we consider the dynastic system. Satan has attempted to assure the permanence of his rule through kings, tyrants, and dictators. Even today, repressive regimes, such as North Korea, Iran, China, Russia, and many Muslim countries are anti-Christian. That will soon end. It is interesting that in the Book of the Revelation that the appearance of Babylon precedes that of Jesus Christ. In Revelation 17:5, we see a woman with words “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” written on her forehead. This represents the long-enduring institution of human kingdoms. In Revelation 19:16, we see Jesus Christ returning on a white horse, with the words “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” written on his thigh. In Revelation 19:19, the kings of the earth make war against our Lord, and He defeats them. Unlike the kingdoms of this world, Jesus will continue the dynasty of David and “of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33, Isaiah 9:7).