Is Jesus Seated On David’s Throne (Part 2)

I thought I would be able to keep this short series to two posts, with the first installment here. But, in an effort to keep articles shorter and much easier to follow, as well as having much more arise on my heart as I read and study Scripture, I think I will have to move this to a multi-part series. How many parts? I don’t know. I was hoping three now, but it might be four or five. We shall see.

Some Recap

As a summary, the question I am particularly looking to answer is this:

Is Christ currently occupying the throne of David in fulfillment of the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7)? If not, in what sense does Christ reign now?

For me, I am convinced the answer to this question is that, yes, Jesus is seated on the throne of David. But I am trying to show how I get there both biblically and theologically.

What’s the difference between the two. Well, I am looking to show from specific Bible passages why I believe Jesus is seated on David’s throne (hence, I will look at Acts 2:22-36 and others). But it’s not always as easy as quoting 1 Thessalippians 4:17 and saying, ‘There, see. The Bible says so.’ You have to kind of connect the dots across varying Bible passages. That’s the theological aspect of it all. I don’t want to complicate things (though I can do that), but it’s not always so simple for modern, 21st century, western Christians to see how the dots connect. Hence, the longer route I am taking in these posts.

[Note: I am aware that there is no book called Thessalippians, as stated above. I was seeing if you were awake.]

Therefore, in the first article, I laid some rather long-winded groundwork as to the Old Testament background in getting to the discussion about the Davidic throne. The framework for the Davidic covenant, and throne, starts back in 2 Samuel 7, the culmination of God’s covenant revelation from an Old Testament perspective.

In this covenant, we see the central promise of a son from David’s line. Specifically, we are told that two things would happen through this son, as outlined in 2 Samuel 7:12-13:

  1. God would establish the throne of this descendant’s kingdom forever.
  2. This son would build a house for Yahweh’s name.

These promises were to ultimately be fulfilled in the Messianic Son of David, He being the great hope of Israel. Jesus was the Messiah, or anointed one, to come. Not only that, but I also took time to demonstrate that David was actually the messiah of his day. How? He, too, was the anointed king called to lead and shepherd God’s people. He was a kind of type and foreshadowing of the great Messiah to come. Quite like the high priest of the Old Testament pointed to the great High Priest to come, Jesus.

Remembering David’s own messianic calling will have implications later on.

So, Jesus arrives on the scene as 1) the Messiah (or Christ), 2) the Son of David, and 3) the Son of Abraham. In Him was wrapped up the hope and expectation of Israel, at least those of Israel who understood God’s promises and did not turn a hard heart to the Messiah. As the divine Messiah, Jesus was here to fulfil the covenant promises of God.

But let’s move on the central discussion of this article, a particular passage.

The Central Passage

Now quite a few might disagree with me that Acts 2:22-36 is the central passage of this discussion. Of course, there are many other Scriptures one could consider, of which I plan to pull in some. But I hope to show why I believe this is one of the central passages in discussing whether Jesus is seated on David’s throne, if not THE central passage.

I know in the blogosphere world, it is not couth to post long passages of Scripture, but I shall do so here for the sake of having the whole text before us. These are Peter’s words at the feast of Pentecost, following the outpouring of God’s Spirit:

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him [quoting Psalm 16],

“‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
my flesh also will dwell in hope.
27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades,
or let your Holy One see corruption.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

29“Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says [quoting Psalm 110],

“‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand,
35 until I make your enemies your footstool.’

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Again, the Spirit had just been poured out on all flesh – old and young, male and female. He was no longer limited to a select few of anointed ones. The Anointed One-Messiah, Jesus, would send this same anointing upon all of His people. And this outpouring, this baptism of God’s Spirit, was now available to all of Messiah’s people because Messiah was now reigning. But I start to get ahead of myself…

Within Peter’s sermon here, we see that he quotes from Psalm 16:8-11. After doing so, he helps his listeners to know that this psalm was not ultimately about that first messiah, David, if you will. Rather these words of David were more about the Messiah, Jesus. Peter then goes on to make this statement, which I believe is central in this central passage:

30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.

Now, there are two possibilities of how to interpret and understand these two verses:

  1. David was a prophet >> Peter then makes somewhat of a parenthetical statement that God made a covenant oath to David that one of his descendants would be set on his throne >> Because David was a prophet, he spoke about the resurrection of the Christ in Psalm 16.
  2. David was a prophet >> Because he was a prophet and knew that God had promised to seat one of his descendants on his throne >> David therefore spoke about the resurrection of Christ [and obviously His subsequent enthronement to the right hand of the Father] as the fulfilment of seating one of his descendant on that Davidic throne.

Obviously, it would be easy to tell where I fall – into the second option. But why?

Well, I believe the second option is what Peter intended, and we can see this from a very slow and careful reading of vs30-31. But I also believe the verses that follow will help enlighten us more on this topic. But first, let’s carefully consider Acts 2:30-31:

30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.

Of course, the first option I posed above is possible. Peter could simply be making three statements: 1) David was a prophet, 2) he knew and remembered God’s promise to him that his descendant would be seated on his throne and 3) being therefore a prophet, he foresaw and spoke about the reality of the resurrection of Christ in Psalm 16.

But, why insert that second statement in there – about the seating of his descendant on the Davidic throne – if Peter did not mean to connect it to the prophetic insight of David as found in the Messianic Psalm 16? It seems quite obvious that Peter is making a connection between God’s promise in 2 Samuel 7 (to seat on of his descendants on David’s throne) and the prophetic words in Psalm 16 (about Christ’s resurrection, which would then obviously lead to his subsequent enthronement). The whole context of vs30 and 31 flow together quite smoothly.

David was a prophet and, as he remembered the faithful covenant promises of God to seat a son of his on his throne, his prophetic insight came forth in Psalm 16 as it spoke about the Messiah’s resurrection and not being abandoned to Hades. Granted, David might not have fully understood all of the implications of such, as many Old Testament prophets would have found themselves in that arena. Still, nonetheless, Peter connects David’s prophetic insight with remembering the promises of God in that covenant in 2 Samuel 7 and prophesying about the Messiah’s resurrection in Psalm 16. Again, the two verses flow together and connect very well.

Peter is saying that Messiah is here, He has been resurrected and He is now seated on David’s throne, just as God had promised and just as David had prophesied.

Moving Along In This Central Passage

But if Peter’s words in vs30-31 are not enough evidence to convince one that Messiah is now presently seated on the Davidic-Messianic throne, then let’s continue to read on to vs33:

Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

Now, how does this prove that Messiah is seated on the specific Davidic-Messianic throne? Well, we must note that, in their expectation of the Messiah, one of the anticipative hopes was that the era in which He would reign would also be an era when the Spirit would be poured out from on high.

Isaiah 32 starts out with these words:

Behold, a king will reign in righteousness…

Is it possible that Jesus is that king, right now, reigning in righteousness? I believe so. And Isaiah 32 goes on to state:

14 For the palace is forsaken,
the populous city deserted;
the hill and the watchtower
will become dens forever,
a joy of wild donkeys,
a pasture of flocks;
15 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. (Isaiah 32:14-15)

The desolation and deserted nature of Jerusalem is prophesied. But what is a sign of its restoration – the pouring out of the Spirit from on high (vs15). And guess what happened at Pentecost? This very thing, which would bring about the restoration of God’s people, God’s city.

Again, in the last days, that being the Messianic Age, there was an expectation that the restorative Spirit would be given. And here was the reality of the Spirit being poured out. This was all connected to Joel’s own prophecy in Joel 2:28-32, as Peter had just expounded on in Acts 2:14-21.

Such was the dawning of a new age, the Messianic Age, the last days in which Messiah would reign and restore the people of Israel. And one of the great evidence pointers to such a Messianic restoration was the enthroning of Messiah, on the Davidic throne, so that He might pour out the Spirit from on high. This is what Peter exclaims has happened in Acts 2:33.

And lastly, the final words given by Peter, before his call to the people to repent and be baptised:

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. (Acts 2:36)

Here it is – Let all the house of Israel know. Peter is talking to His own people, the people for whom Messiah came. And what does He want them to know? That Jesus is both Lord and Messiah (Christ). He is ruling at the Father’s right hand and at the same time seated on David’s Messianic throne. He was right now fulfilling the covenant promises of God spoken long ago to the patriarch, David. Why? Because He was the reigning Messiah.

He has been enthroned as the prophets promised. There is no other Davidic-Messiah that was expected. Of course, this prophecy could be recognised as being fulfilled in a greater way now than was first expected. I bet David didn’t understand this fully, though He prophesied of it (back in both Psalm 16 and 110, as we said). And I don’t negate that all of Israel, in the national-physical sense, were in to recognising that Messiah was reigning. Yet, nevertheless, He was! And we are going to soon find out that Israel and Jerusalem was going to bust out of this land in the middle-east and head out to the ends of the earth.

And this passage in Acts 2:22-36 is a, if not the, central passage in showing that Messiah is reigning on David’s throne. It sits as such an important Scripture because it is centred right at the turning and dawning of the new covenant Messianic Age instituted by Messiah Himself. That is why I spend so much time on this one passage.

Some Concluding Words

Long ago, there was a messiah that lived and reigned on a throne in Jerusalem. His name was David. And this David was promised by God, in covenant, that one of his descendants would reign on his throne, that being the Davidic-Messianic throne.

This man David, being a prophet and carrying prophetic insight as a messiah-type, spoke about this enthroning of his own descendant through the resurrection of Messiah. This prophetic utterance was found in Psalm 16, of which Peter reminds us of such in his first sermon in Acts 2.

And coming to Pentecost, with the dawning of the new age and entrance into the last days, Messiah had now been resurrected from the dead and not left to Hades. Not only that, but He was now seated as both Lord and Messiah at the right hand of the Father, reigning over all Israel, and even all nations. And the great sign of His reign was in the outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh, the sign that the new covenant Messianic Age had truly come for Israel.

Jesus is Messiah. He is seated on the Messianic-Davidic throne. He is reigning over Jerusalem, Israel, and even all nations. Not every knee has bowed or tongue confessed. We await that day to fully and finally come. But we, who have bowed and have confessed, know Messiah is reigning.

Is Jesus Seated On David’s Throne? (Part 1)

I have actually written about this subject before (posted here). But recently a question was posed on Theologica, an online network of theologically minded thinkers and bloggers:

Is Christ currently occupying the throne of David in fulfillment of the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7)? If not, in what sense does Christ reign now?

The Differing Sides

The question usually has two answers, as do most: Yes or No. Those from a more covenantal understanding of Scripture would usually argue in the affirmative that Christ is presently seated on David’s throne reigning over the kingdom, while those of a maybe more dispensational view would typically dispute that claim, saying that this is still a future event to take place in the impending millenial reign of Christ.

Of course there are varying views within each group, but as a whole those are rather accurate summaries of the two sides.

The Passage Up For Discussion

The Old Testament passage of 2 Samuel 7 specifically refers to God’s covenant promises to David. In this covenant, we see the central promise of a descendant, a son of David, who would be raised up and that two things would happen through this descendant:

  1. God would establish the throne of this descendant’s kingdom forever.
  2. This son would build a house for Yahweh’s name.

These promises specifically come in vs12-13:

12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Later on, in the Prophets, we read of prophecies that are connected to these original covenant words spoken to David. We even begin to read from some that David himself would once again rule over the people of Israel:

5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’ (Jeremiah 23:5-6)

23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. 24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken. (Ezekiel 34:23-24; see also Ezekiel 37:24)

Thus, one can see, there is an expectation that not only David’s son would have a kingdom over God’s people, but that this son would be closely connected to David, almost as if David himself would once again rule over God’s people. David had once occupied his throne in Jerusalem and that throne was to one day be taken up by a future messianic-Davidic- kingly-like figure. That was the hope of Israel.

Some Old Testament Background

Most of us will know the story: Starting in Genesis 12, God particularly began to form a people for Himself through Abraham (at that time known as Abram). It had always been God’s desire to have a people for Himself, a people submitted to his rule and committed to filling the earth with God’s rule and purposes (Genesis 1:26-28). So God had definitely been at work in establishing this pre-Genesis 12. But here we find God initiating such a covenant with Abraham. Yeah, God was the initiator as He’s always been.

It was through this covenant with Abraham that we even see God’s heart for a people from the whole world (specifically Genesis 12:3). Though such would commence with Abraham and his descendants, this covenant was to have an affect on all peoples of the earth. The covenant relationship was not formally established until chs. 15 and 17 of Genesis, but the courting had already begun, with the promises even coming in 13:14-18 of both a people and a land.

In spite of an attempt to see the promise of God fulfilled through the flesh (by having Ishmael through Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid), Abraham was graciously given a son of promise, Isaac, to carry on the covenant line. And we know the all-familiar story of the covenant line being continued in Isaac’s son, Jacob. Afterwards, Jacob (who would later be named Israel) would father 12 sons from which the people of Israel would come.

Following the great exodus and redemption of Israel from Egypt, God initiated His covenant relationship with them at the foot of Mt Sinai. Well, again, as with Abraham, something was already going on between Yahweh and the people of Israel (you would at least think such from reading the first 18 chapters of Exodus). But Mt Sinai was the official ratification of the covenant.

This covenant, given by God through Moses, did not negate that which was established with Abraham, as Paul clarifies in Galatians 3:17. But it was rather a necessary unfolding of the redemptive revelation of our God that would one day be summed up in Christ.

Finally, we move to the great culmination in the covenant revelation of God from the perspective of the Old Testament era. This was the covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7, which I referred to above.

Now, I have already noted two of the major characteristics of the Davidic covenant – mainly 1) a son whose kingdom would never end and 2) that this son would build a house for God. Of course, this would have been initially fulfilled in the life and work of Solomon. But all definitely recognise that this prophecy stretches further into the life of the great Messiah to come.

Speaking of Messiah, that is an important word here in the Davidic context. It means ‘anointed one’. Of course we speak of Jesus as the Messiah, the great anointed one. And that He is. But what we don’t usually realise is that David was the messiah of his day as well. Just because Christ was THE Messiah should not make us think that such a statement about David is somewhat heretical or false. Rather, it simply recognises that David was God’s anointed one in his day.

And, rightly so, since he had been anointed to rule over God’s people. But he was only a type of the great anointed one to come, a foreshadowing of another that would rule over God’s people. He was truly anointed, but another anointed one would come. That was the great expectation.

Also worthy of noting is that, in David’s day, his throne was established in the city of Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 5) and it was from there that He would rule over God’s people Israel. God was King of His people, but that rule would be established through the rule of His Davidic anointed one. Not only that, but the ark of the covenant would also be brought into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6) and would later be housed in the temple that would be constructed by Solomon.

Thus, Jerusalem became the centre for God’s people. God ruled from there via His anointed (messianic) king and God’s house was to be situated there as well. Jerusalem became the stamped and sealed place for God’s rule to become a reality amongst His people.

I will revisit Jerusalem’s importance in my next article, but that should be a sufficient summary of some of the major covenant activities of God in the Old Testament.

The Messiah Finally Arrives

Almost 1,000 years following God’s covenant with David, Jesus, the Messiah, arrives on the scene. We don’t usually like to read the genealogies (I admit I don’t usually like them – think Numbers and 1 Chronicles), but Matthew begins His gospel with these words:

The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)

Here we read three important pointers from this verse: 1) Jesus was the anointed one (Christ), 2) Jesus was that descendant of David, and 3) Jesus was also a descendant of Abraham. Matthew is most likely writing to Jews and, so, it is important to note that these are three incredibly significant statements for a Jew in the first century AD. These three statements have huge ramifications for Jesus.

As English speakers, we usually refer to Jesus as Jesus Christ, and that rightly so. The words Christ and Messiah are synonymous, both meaning anointed one. Christ comes from the Greek, Messiah comes from the Hebrew. So Matthew is reminding his readers (and us) that Jesus is the great anointed one that was to come.

But He was also the son of both David and Abraham. That means He was here to fulfil all things promised to both David and Abraham. A Jew would expect nothing less. Or, let me say it this way, a Jew who had good handle and grasp of the promises of God would expect nothing less. The expectation of the Messianic Son of David and Son of Abraham would be that He would faithfully receive and fulfil all the promises given to those two great patriarchs.

But the question remains as first presented: Is Christ currently occupying the throne of David?

No doubt Christ is currently seated at the right hand of God. Such language is given to point to Christ’s reign – see passages like Acts 2:33-35; Acts 5:31; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20-23; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 1:8.

Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). I don’t think one can dispute His reign. Of course not every knee has bowed or every tongue confessed. We await that day! We await the final declaration of righteousness on the justified and condemnation for the wicked, that day being when all is finally and fully made new. But Christ is reigning now, even over all heaven and earth.

But again, how does this relate to David’s throne? Jesus is seated on the throne at the Father’s right hand, but what about the Messianic-Davidic throne that David once occupied in the city of Jerusalem? Does Jesus sit upon that now or is that throne to be occupied in Jerusalem during a future millenial reign?

Of course, you probably can guess that I would affirm that Jesus is currently seated on David’s throne. But how do I get there?

I’m headed there in the next article. Thanks for sticking with me as I lay out what I believe will be important groundwork in establishing the claim that Jesus occupies David’s throne. In the next article I will look to mainly address three points:

  1. Assess what I believe is a central passage to the discussion – Acts 2:22-36.
  2. This will then lead on to show why I believe Jesus is currently reigning over all Jerusalem and Israel, as well as all nations.
  3. Why this all matters, or what it practically means.