THE DAVIDIC KINGDOM
Sefer Shoftim (the book of Judges)
The book of Judges repeatedly teaches that the lack of a king, enabling everyone to do whatever was right in their eyes, is the preeminent problem of this era.
According to the Bible, the king should not be responsible only for the legal, military and economic affairs of the nation. He should also be responsible for ensuring that the society is moral and follows Hashem’s Torah.
Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice.
In 2 Samuel 7, God instructs to build a Sanctuary for His Presence to dwell in this midst of His people in Jerusalem. And then, HaShem makes this promise to David:
2 Samuel 7:11-14
Moreover, Adonai declares to you that Adonai will make a house for you. When your days are done and you sleep with your fathers, I will raise up your seed, who will come forth from you after you, and I will establish his kingdom. He will build a house for My Name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. I will be a father to him, and he will be a son to Me.
The promise given to David includes the following provisions:
(1) David is promised a child who would succeed him on the throne.
(2) The temple which David desired to build would be constructed by this
(3) The throne of his kingdom would be continued forever and would not be
taken away from David’s son even if he committed iniquity.
(4) In summary, the prophet declared that David’s house, kingdom, and
throne would be established forever.
Part of these promises were fulfilled in Solomon in that Solomon was later born and ultimately built the temple. But, the promise goes far beyond Solomon in that the kingdom, throne, and David’s house itself were established forever.
The covenant with David is not only given twice in its major content— namely, 2 Samuel 7 and I Chronicles 17 — but it is also confirmed in Psalm 89. In this and other Old Testament references there is NO allusion anywhere to the idea that these promises are to be understood in a spiritualized sense as referring to the the reign of God in heaven. Rather, it is linked to the earth and to the seed of Israel, and to the land.
According to Psalm 89:3, 4, God declares: “I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant: Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations.” This concept is declared again later in the same psalm beginning in verse 29 where it is promised that the seed will endure forever in spite of the specific problem of Israel’s sins and departure from God. It is affirmed unalterably that God is going to fulfil His Word to David regardless of what his seed does.
This promise is confirmed in Luke 1:30-33
The angel spoke to her, "Do not be afraid, Miriam, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you shall call His name Yeshua. He will be great and will be called Ben-Elyon. Adonai Elohim will give Him the throne of David, His father. He shall reign over the house of Jacob for all eternity, and His kingdom will be without end."
We see this also alluded to in Acts 1, where the disciples asked Yeshua: “is this the time that You will restore the kingdom to Israel.” Clearly, this was the expectation of the early followers of Messiah!
"In that day I will raise up David's fallen sukkah. I will restore its breaches, raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in days of old —so they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations called by My Name." It is a declaration of Adonai, the One who will do this.
“Probably the leading question in the entire argument is whether a literal fulfillment of these promises is to be expected. This of course faces frontally the whole premillennial/amillennial argument which can only be resolved on the relative cogency of the results of the method. Amilleniasts, generally speaking, tend to spiritualize promises which would teach a future millennium, though they interpret literally prophecies which do not interfere with their system.
Pre-milleniasts, on the other hand, believe that prophecy is not a special case requiring spiritualization any more than any other area of divine revelation and they believe also that prophecy should be interpreted normally—that is, in an ordinary, grammatical and literal sense unless the context or theology as a whole plainly indicates to the contrary. Pre-milleniasts do not find the amillennial charge—that the premillennial position is untenable, self-contradictory, and hopelessly confused—is sustained.
While obviously the premillennial system of interpretation has much more detail than the amillennial denial, and even though there are countless minor problems, the major elements of the premillennial system have seemed quite cogent to thousands of careful Bible students and scholars. The question of literal interpretation therefore cannot be brushed aside a priori as if the literal interpretation of prophecy is impossible. Rather, there are sound and good arguments to the contrary.
George N. H. Peters in his Theocratic Kingdom provides a masterly summary of the arguments in favor of literal interpretation. In his proposition 52, he lists 21 arguments in favor of literal interpretation and includes other collateral material.
These can be summarized under ten arguments for literal interpretation:
(1) The solemn character of the covenant which was confirmed by an oath.
(2) A spiritual fulfillment would not be becoming to a solemn covenant.
(3) Both David and Solomon apparently understood it to be literal (II Samuel
(4) The language used, which is also used by the prophets, denotes a literal
throne and kingdom.
5) The Jews plainly expected a literal fulfillment.
(6) The throne and kingdom as a promise and inheritance belong to the
humanity of Christ as the seed of David rather than belong to His deity.
(7) There is no ground for identifying David’s throne and the Father’s throne.
(8) A symbolical interpretation of the covenant leaves its interpretation to
(9) The literal fulfillment is requisite to the display of God’s government in the
earth, necessary to the restoration and exaltation of the Jewish nation
and deliverance of the earth from the curse.
(10) Literal fulfillment is necessary to preserve the Divine unity of purpose”
(cf., Millennial Kingdom, by the writer, p. 199).
These arguments, usually ignored by amillenarians, have great weight and seem to provide a reasonable approach to the Davidic covenant and the promise of the kingdom.
The matter of literal fulfillment of the promises is confirmed also by the fact that certain portions of it have been literally fulfilled. One of these is in the birth of Christ Himself who literally fulfilled many promises pertaining to David’s seed. Here the meticulous accuracy of the promises given to David and Solomon is illustrated. In the covenant as originally given, there is a careful distinction between the seed of David, the seed of Solomon, and their respective thrones.
In the covenant David is assured that his seed will reign forever, while Solomon is only promised that his throne will continue forever. In this fine point is an illustration not only of the literalness of the prophecy, but of God’s intention to cut off Solomon’s line at the time of the captivity of Judah embodied in the declarations in Jeremiah 22:20 and 36:30.
In the New Testament in the lineage of Christ as recorded in Matthew 1 and Luke 3, it seems to be made evident that Joseph descended from Solomon, which line was cut off, while Mary descended from Nathan, another son of David, rather than from Solomon. This point of view not only confirms the necessity of the virgin birth, that is, that Joseph could not be the father of Christ, but also supports the idea that God intended the prophecy embodied in the covenant with David to be taken literally even to such a fine distinction.
This literal interpretation and expected fulfillment of the Davidic covenant is of course in keeping with the other covenants previously studied. Certainly, it fits in beautifully with the idea that the Abrahamic covenant anticipates Israel continuing eternally as a nation and possessing the land forever. The possession of the land is limited by the continuance of the earth itself and terminates with the destruction of the heavens and the earth at the end of the millennium. The force of the Hebrew, however, is that Israel will continue to possess the land perpetually, that is, until eternity begins.
The assertion of amilleniasts is that the Davidic throne is simply a reference to God’s throne in heaven is not supported by either the Old or the New Testament prophecies relating to the future of Israel. Of the 59 references to David in the New Testament, there is not one connecting the Davidic throne with the present session of Christ. Such an inference could be established only by spiritualizing many prophecies both in the Old and New Testaments.
Samuel H. Wilkinson, in his book, The Israel Promises and Their Fulfillment, pp. 56, 57, has given a forceful summary of this point.
“Nevertheless, facts are stubborn things. It is a fact that God has declared that Israel is not to cease from being a nation before Him for ever. It is a fact that the Jewish nation, still in unbelief, survivor of all others, alone retains its national identity…It is a fact that the promise of a land (the territorial limits of which were defined) to the posterity of Abraham, as also the promise of a son of David’s own line to occupy David’s throne for ever, were unconditional promises, ratified by covenant and oath. It is a fact that the posterity of Abraham has never yet fully possessed and enjoyed the whole of the land so granted and that no son of David occupies David’s throne…The O. T. promises are all as certain of fulfillment in their O. T. sense and meaning and purpose to Israel, as are the N. T. promises certain of fulfillment to the Church.”
Having THE righteous King Messiah sitting on His Throne in Yerushalayim, will be part of the complete redemption.
May Yeshua come quickly, even in our day!