Setting Forth The Doctrines of Grace In Salvation
The Davidic Covenant
by Doyle Dewberry
Text ---- 2 Samuel 07:12-16
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. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took [it] from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
Have you ever wondered why there was so much preaching on the kingdom? It was so in the Old as well as in the New Testament. It was preached before the cross as well as after. It was first preached by John the Baptist, then Christ, and then by the apostles. It was preached in all four gospels, and Jesus proclaimed the new birth was necessary before anyone could see or enter into it. God's people still enter into it today the same way. It was preached in the book of Acts. It is no where given that the kingdom of the gospels was to be an earthly kingdom. It is of note that in the beginning there was to be no earthly king. When Samuel's sons, who were priests also, became overtly wayward, the people desired a king to judge them as other nations (1 Sam 8:5). Samuel was grieved, but the Lord told him to grant their desire because they had not rejected him, but had rejected the Lord, that he, "should not reign over them" 1 Sam 8:7). Philip Mauro said this:
"..the New Testament Scriptures have made it plain to all Christians that the Kingdom foretold by the prophets of Israel and announced by Christ and His servants, is of a Spiritual character -- 'not eating and drinking,' as the earthly minded Jews supposed (and still do), 'but righteousness, and peace and joy, in the Holy Ghost' (Rom 14:17)". The Gospel of the Kingdom, P 126.
The Pharisees were seeking an earthly kingdom, and ask Jesus, "..when the kingdom of God should come." Luke 17:20. His answer was:
The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold the kingdom of God is within you (i.e. in your midst)" Luke 17:20-21.
Paul said in 1 Corinthians, "Then [cometh] the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power." 1 Cor 15:24. This verse tells us: (1) The present kingdom will be delivered up to the Father, which completes the suretiship of Jesus, and (2) the King has been putting down all rule, authority and power in this day. It is not the end of the kingdom, for it is to be forever and ever.
Paul, when describing our salvation, said this, "(The Father)..hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son." Col 1:13. Notice the translation was in the past tense (Aorist), and it is Christ's kingdom, who fulfills the Davidic Covenant for which we shall see the scripture telling us later. Paul speaks of our present calling unto (or, into) his kingdom.. (1 Thess 2:12), and Hebrews tells us we are "receiving (present tense participle) a kingdom.." (Heb 12:28).
Peter speaks of the 'everlasting kingdom' (2 Pet 1:11). John in the Revelation tells of having present "tribulation .. in the kingdom." (Rev 1:9). John heard the song of Moses sung in heaven which said Jesus was "King of saints (better copies have 'nations')". (Rev 15:3).
Now many have declared the Davidic Covenant was only fulfilled in Solomon. Others have said David will be resurrected and will actually sit on the throne, but it was said of Jesus, ".. the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David.." Luke 1:32-33.
This message seeks to show the Covenant unto David was not fulfilled by Solomon only, for he was 'a' fulfillment but not 'the' ultimate fulfillment (1 Kings 8). Nor was it a resurrected David. When the prophets spoke of David, like the coming of Elijah, they meant Christ. When Jesus ascended into heaven he was seated on the throne of David's promised kingdom where He has been ruling and reigning as the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. It was the fulfillment of the preaching concerning the kingdom that it was near and at hand. Our aim here is to show that the Davidic Covenant was fulfilled by the Lord Jesus Christ, and that He is presently ruling and reigning.
THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS SAID IT WAS JESUS:
Isaiah said, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Isaiah 9:6-7.
This tells us (1) it is Jesus who will be upon the throne of David, not Solomon nor a resurrected David. The prophet said Elijah would come before the Messiah, but in reality meant John the Baptist, who would come in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17), and said of him, "..if ye will receive [it], this is Elias, which was for to come." Matt 11:14. So Christ came in the spirit and power of David, and in like manner, Christ is meant; (2) this King is Divine, the mighty God; (3) there will be no break in the continuity of the kingdom as some have claimed with their 'postponed kingdom' theory. There will be no end to His kingdom, it is from henceforth even for ever; (4) this King is not a mere figurehead as some infer. He rules and reigns, as the government shall be on His shoulders.
We are told the covenant made with David can never be abolished, for it is said, "Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; [Then] may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne.." Jer 33:20-21.
THE ANGEL GABRIEL PROCLAIMED IT WAS JESUS:
Mary was told, "He (Jesus) shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke 1:32-33.
This passage verifies the message of Isaiah 9:6-7. Again it establishes Jesus being given the throne of His father David. Solomon was not the final fulfilment, nor was David. The original promise in 2 Samuel was that the kingdom would be established forever and ever, and of course both David and Solomon died, and as we shall see, David was not to be resurrected and placed on the throne.
Ironically enough, since Jesus descended through Solomon unto Joseph the husband of Mary, it was not possible for Him through this line to become a king. To see this we must first read part of Jesus' genealogy through Solomon as recorded in Matthew, especially 1:11, "And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon." Jeconiah was the king of Judah at the time of the Babylonian captivity. Jeremiah said of him, "Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man [that] shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah." Jer 22:30. With the seed cut off through Solomon, Jesus could not fulfill the covenant as Matthew's line indicates, but only as Luke's which gives us the genealogy of Jesus through Mary. It shows she ascended through Nathan, another son of David (Luke 3:31). Thus Jesus' right to sit on David's throne came through Mary, not Joseph, because Joseph was not his real father. It also shows the other sons of Joseph and Mary had no right to the throne since Joseph was their real father. So of all Mary's children, only Jesus had the divine right to the throne.
We have considered the 'who' was to sit on the throne of David, we will now consider the 'when'.
THE APOSTLE PETER SAID JESUS WAS SEATED ON THE THRONE AT HIS ASCENSION:
We are told by Peter in his sermon on Pentecost, "Men [and] brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:29-36.
We see that (1) David was not meant since he is still in his grave; (2) David was a prophet; (3) The Davidic Covenant is meant by "God had sworn with an oath to him"; (4) Christ was raised up to sit on David's throne; (5) Jesus is presently seated on the right hand of the Father, as with David's co-reign; (6) Jesus is reigning as He sends the Holy Spirit on Pentecost as promised; (7) Peter assures us it is not David on his throne, but Christ; (8) The Father is overcoming Christ's enemies as He did for David. A.W. Pink, after struggling with his previous stand on eschatology, said this concerning Acts 2:30:
"..God swore to David that Christ should sit on his throne. Let us consider the negative side first: there is not a hint or a word in Peter's comments that Christ would ascend David's throne in the future, and when in verse 34 he quoted Psalm 110:1 in fulfillment of Christ's ascension-"The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand" he did not add "until thou assume the throne of David, but "until I make thy foes thy footstool"! Coming now to the positive side, we have seen that the scope of the apostle's argument was to show that Jesus of Nazareth was the promised Messiah, and that He was risen from the dead, had ascended to heaven, and we now add, was seated upon David's throne." The Divine Covenants, P 253.
A.W. Pink, known for his adherence to scriptural accuracy, formerly saw the ascension of Christ to David's throne as future, acknowledging that he had taught what men said rather than what the scripture said concerning the matter. It is an occurence that has happened to many others as well as to this writer. A.W. Pink gives further evidence to the truth taught in Acts 2:
"That which clinches the last-made statement is the "therefore" of verse 36. The apostle there draws a conclusion, and unless his logic was faulty (which it would be blasphemy to affirm), then it must cohere with his premise, namely, Christ's present possession of the throne of David in fulfillment of the oath God had sworn to the patriarch. For the purpose of clarity we paraphrase: the premise was that Christ should sit on David's throne (v. 30): the conclusion is that God hath made Jesus "both Lord and Christ" (v. 36). None but those whose eyes are closed by prejudice can fail to see that in such a connection, being "made Lord and Christ" can mean nothing else than that He is now seated on David's throne." The Divine Covenants, P 253.
In conclusion, we have given the 'who' of the fulfilment of the Davidic Covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ; and we have given the "when'; at the ascension of Jesus into heaven after His resurrection when seated at the right hand of the Father. All those who preached the 'kingdom of heaven is at hand, including our Savior, were not errant, but completely truthful.
Doyle Dewberry, formerly of Alameda, California,
is a retired Pastor and author of Sovereign Grace Baptist Proclaimer.