Divine Covenants… the King

A Series on Divine Covenants: Part 4

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Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative | Inclination: promise | Seminary: none

1. God made personal promises to two men: Abraham and David. What did characteristics did they have in common?

Abraham is lauded for his faith in God, and his obedience to teach the "way of the Lord" to the next generation:

God said further to Abraham, "Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. (Gen 17:9)

The Lord said, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, since Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and in him all the nations of the earth will be blessed? For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him." (Gen 18:19)

Abraham's fear of disobeying God's word was exceptional, and his great faith was demonstrated in God when he was tested (Gen 22:9-19).

Like Abraham, David shared a similar faith in God – a faith that engenders obedience.

But Samuel said to Saul, "You have acted foolishly! You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, for the Lord would now have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom shall not endure. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the Lord has appointed him ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you." (1 Sam 17:13-14)

Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, 'I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.' From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, (Acts 13:21-23)

A man after God's heart is one who will do ALL of God's will.

Both Abraham and David are the closest human examples to Jesus Christ as a man after God's heart who will do ALL of God's will:

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 6:38)

For I did not speak on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. And I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me. (John 12:49-50)

2. Read 2 Samuel 7:8-17 and 1 Chronicles 17:8-15. What did God promise to King David?

"I will make you a great name..." God promised that David will have a name of renown (2 Sam 7:9; 1 Chron 17:8)

House / Throne of David

Not only was David recognized for his achievements which established his line (1 Sam 20:16); but, he was recognized as being the royal king over the Houses of Israel and Judah (2 Sam 2:10-11; 3:10).

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is informed by an angel that her son will receive "the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:32), and Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, would mention that the Savior would come of the House of David (Luke 1:69). Jesus Christ would be known as the Son of David (Matt 1:1; 9:27; 21:9; Rom 1:1-4), and declared that He was the descendant of David (Rev 22:6).

City of David

While David named Jerusalem as the City of David (2 Sam 5:7-9), 500-600 years later when the Jews return to the land from exile, it was still known as the City of David (Neh 12:37), and today the Old City within Jerusalem is known as the City of David.

A thousand years later, David was still revered and his birthplace Bethlehem (1 Sam 17:12) was also known as the City of David (Luke 2:4-11).

"I will also give you rest from all your enemies. The Lord declares to you that the Lord himself will establish a house for you." After the completion of David's palace and with peace relatively established, God promised to make a house for David and rest from his enemies (2 Sam 7:11; 1 Chron 17:10). The promise, on the surface, appears to be a paradox; however, God's promise to David was with a view towards the eschatology which is seen in Amos. Like Abraham, David would not live to see some of their promises fulfilled.

The Tel Dan Inscription is housed at the Israel National Museum

Learn what the Tel Dan Inscription
tells us about David

On that day I will raise up the fallen shelter of David,
And wall up its gaps;
I will also raise up its ruins
And rebuild it as in the days of old;
So that they may possess the remnant of Edom
And all the nations who are called by My name,"
Declares the Lord who does this.

"Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord,
"When the plowman will overtake the reaper,
And the one who treads grapes will overtake him who sows the seed;
When the mountains will drip grape juice,
And all the hills will come apart." (Amos 9:11-13)

At the Jerusalem council, James would refer to Amos' prophecy of the "fallen shelter of David" as the "fallen tabernacle of David" that will be rebuilt and restored after the return of Jesus Christ (Acts 15:16).

God rebuilds the House of David with all of his enemies eternally absent. When God declares that He will make "all things new," the description of a completely constructed New Jerusalem implies the new rebuilding of David's house (Rev 21:10-27).

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." (Rev 21:1-4)

"I Will Establish a Place For My People Israel, and Will Plant Them, So That They May Live in Their Own Place and Not Be Disturbed Again." Just like God's promise to make a house for David and rest from his enemies, God promises He will plant His people in the land with no further risk of enemies (2 Sam 7:10; 1 Chron 17:9). In the same prophecy, Amos provides some clarity to this promise with a view towards eschatology (Amos 9:14-15). However, the New Covenant, revealed earlier by Jeremiah and Ezekiel (Jer 31:27-38; 32:36-41; Ezek 34:25-29), is the basis of Amos' prophecy, which provides a clearer understanding.

For I will set My eyes on them for good, and I will bring them back to this land; and I will build them up and not overthrow them, and I will plant them and not uproot them. I will also give them a heart to know Me, for I am the Lord; and they will be My people, and I will be their God, for they will return to Me wholeheartedly. (Jer 24:6-7)

In contrast to the circumcision in the flesh in accordance to the Abrahamic Covenant as a sign of the covenant between God and the Believer, the New Covenant establishes the circumcision of the heart, when God will put His law on the mind of the Believer and writes it on his heart (Jer 31:33; Rom 2:15; Heb 8:10; 10:16).

God's promise of planting His people in the land is with a view towards the future when the New Covenant is in force.

For those who listen and obey God's commands, they will be His own possession among all the peoples:

Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' (Ex 19:5-6)

All that God the Father has is in possession of Jesus Christ His Son:

I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but on the behalf of those whom You have given Me, because they are Yours; and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. (John 17:9-10)

Through faith in Jesus Christ, Believers become a people for God's possession and royal priesthood:

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Pet 2:9-10)

As ruler of the earth, Jesus Christ has made Believers into a kingdom of priests to His God and Father:

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—and He made us into a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Rev 1:5-6)

"When your days are over and you rest with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, your own flesh and blood, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever." In concluding His promise of making David's name great, God a) commands that David's descendant builds His house, and b) promises that his kingdom will last forever (2 Sam 7:12-16; 1 Chron 17:11-14).

While Solomon built the First Temple, it was destroyed later by Nebuchadnezzar. Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets and using Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone, the house that Jesus Christ builds is a living spiritual house that is being fitted into a holy temple in the Lord that lasts forever:

So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Eph 2:19-22)

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by people, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Pet 2:4-5)

"I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, but My loving kindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you." (2 Sam 7:15-16)

David is promised that God will love his descendant as a son, disciplining and maintaining loving commitment to His covenant, which was done for each king of Israel through the divided monarchy until complete apostasy caused their expulsion from the land.

Historically no kingdom has lasted forever, so God's promise is with a view towards the future, and it is repeated elsewhere in the Bible (Ps 89:3-4, 29).

However, before Jesus was conceived, the angel Gabriel tells Mary that her son will be "great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end" (Luke 1:31-33).

But I will settle him in My house and in My kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever." When God promises David that his descendant will be settled "in My house and in My kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever" (1 Chron 17:14), God meant it literally.

At the end of time, Jesus Christ hands back the Kingdom that He received from His Father (1 Cor 15:24-28).

New Jerusalem has no temple. Instead, God and Jesus Christ are united as its temple (Rev 21:22-23).

Prior to the new heaven and new earth, the throne of God was occupied singularly by God (Rev 1:4-8; 4:5-11; 7:9-17; 19:4; 20:11-12).

In the new Jerusalem, the throne of God is identified as "the throne of God and of the Lamb" (Rev 22:3), and Jesus identifies Himself with the same title that His Father uses of Himself (Rev 1:8; 21:6-7).

3. What is the significance of the Davidic Covenant?

The Covenant God makes with David expands on certain promises He made to Abraham. As the last covenant God makes specifically to a man, it provides a view towards how the Abrahamic Covenant is ultimately fulfilled.

Like the Land Covenant expanding on the promise of land, the Davidic Covenant expands on the king aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant. The Abrahamic Covenant promises that the king will be a descendant of Abraham (Gen 17:6-7). Jacob, in passing out his inheritance, indicates Judah as the receiver of the kingly line (Gen 49:8-10). The Davidic Covenant reveals that the King with the everlasting kingdom will come from the House of David.

In the end, after everything is said and done, Jesus Christ declares:

"I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you of these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star." (Rev 22:6)

"A text cannot mean what it never could have meant to its author or his or her readers."

Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart (1981)

Series: Understanding God's Covenants With Man
Part 3: Divine Covenants… the Land

Series: Understanding God's Covenants With Man
Part 5: Divine Covenants… the New Covenant

Return to Systematic Study: Theology Proper

Providing His Son to Atone for Mankind's Sins

Related subject:

Topical Index: God>Works of God>His Covenants

Related verses:

Scripture Index: History of Israel>2 Samuel

Scripture Index: History of Israel>1 Chronicles

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