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“Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.”
[1]
Isaiah foresaw a day when the Messiah would be seated on the throne of David.
That glorious throne would represent an eternal Kingdom that would never fall.
Study of the “Throne of David” does not lead us to a series of disconnected events, but rather the history of the Faith is a continuum, interweaving past and future in such a way that the present is also effected.
Therefore, understand what Isaiah meant when he spoke of the “Throne of David” and understanding what is yet future benefits us now.
The Kingdom of David will be established on earth and Isaiah was quite definite in stating that when it has come it will increase.
The reign of Messiah will at some point in history extend over all the earth.
That day is not now.
The focal point of Messiah’s reign will be the Throne of David.
That focus is the subject of our considerations during the message for this Sunday immediately preceding the celebration of Messiah’s birth.
*THE THRONE OF DAVID IN HISTORY* — David was the greatest of all Israel’s Kings.
Without question, the Jewish people to this day look back with longing to his reign.
Though liberal theologians have denigrated the biblical account of a Hebrew King named David reigning in Jerusalem, the Bible assumes the historicity of David’s wise rule.
Though revisionist historians have attempted to reconstruct the biblical account of David’s reign, the Word of God stands firm in its insistence upon the Davidic kingdom.
Moreover, the history of salvation seamlessly weaves the life of David and especially the import of his lineage throughout the divine account.
Isaiah clearly associates the “throne of David” and the Kingdom of Messiah.
Therefore, we are justified in asking what is meant by his reference to “the throne of David?” Otto Schmitz states of the throne that “In the Old Testament the throne is the privilege of the king [GENESIS 41:40]… The throne of Solomon is [referred to as] the throne of his father David [1 Kings 1:13, 35, 46; 2:12, 24, 33, 45; though cf. also 1 KINGS 1:37].
But the reference here is not so much to the actual throne constructed by Solomon with unparalleled magnificence [1 KINGS 10:18–20; 2 CHRONICLES 9:17–19; cf. also 1 KINGS 7:7] as to the throne as a symbol of government [2 SAMUEL 3:10; cf. also ISAIAH 14:13] which transcends the present occupant of the throne.
Thus, there are many references to the throne of David in the sense of the eternal duration of his dynasty promised in 2 SAMUEL 7:12 ff.
[1 CHRONICLES 17:11 ff.; cf. 1 MACCABEES 2:57; cf. also 2 SAMUEL 7:16; JEREMIAH 13:13; 17:25; 22:30; 36:30; PSALM 89:4, 29, 36; 132:11–12]… It is in similar terms that the throne of David is called the throne of the Messiah in ISAIAH 9:6.
This throne is distinguished not merely by power but also by justice [ISAIAH 16:5; PSALM 122:5].”
[2, 3]
Looking back to the reign of David, the second King of the United Kingdom of Israel, will prove to be of but limited value for the purpose of the message this day.
However, the continuation of David’s rule through his descendants is what is in view whenever the Bible refers to “the throne of David.”
As an example of this particular usage, consider the message that the angel Gabriel brought to a young Jewish virgin.
Mary, the mother of Jesus our Lord, appears to have lived in anticipation of the establishment of David’s throne in Jerusalem.
When the angel whom God sent, Gabriel, announced the birth of the Christ to her, you will recall that he included this particular promise.
“[The child whom Mary was to bear] will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” [LUKE 1:32, 33].
The son that would be born was destined to reign on David’s throne—He is appointed to reign.
John the Baptist, the forerunner of Messiah’s First Advent, preached a message that generated great anticipation in Judea.
Levi relates John’s message in these words, “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’” [MATTHEW 3:1, 2].
Thus, John had preached that the Kingdom was drawing near; nevertheless, he never witnessed initiation of that kingdom.
Rather than witnessing the establishment of the Kingdom, John was imprisoned and his life was threatened!
Here is the pertinent account.
“Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another’” [MATTHEW 11:2, 3]? William Barclay relates that, “In Carlisle Castle there is a little cell.
Once long ago they put a border chieftain in that cell and left him for years.
In that cell there is one little window, which is placed too high for a man to look out of when he is standing on the floor.
On the ledge of the window there are two depressions worn away in the stone.
They are the marks of the hands of that border chieftain, the places where, day after day, he lifted himself up by his hands to look out on the green dales across which he would never ride again.”
[4]
That is John.
He faces his own mortality and he is questioning whether the Kingdom he had declared would be ushered in.
The Romans were still in control.
The One he thought would sit on David’s throne appeared content to preach an ethical message without immediate fulfillment.
What was happening?
The disciples, also, when they were sent forth were charged with the responsibility of declaring, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand” [MATTHEW 10:7].
The One of whom they spoke and in whom they had trusted was betrayed into the hands of the Jewish religious leaders and crucified by the Romans.
However, He had risen from the dead.
Now, forty days following His conquest of death, the disciples were assembled together with Him on a hill outside of Jerusalem.
They had one question in mind, “Lord, will You at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel” [ACTS 1:6].
Clearly, the understanding of these stalwarts of our Faith was that the kingdom of heaven was the kingdom of David—a political entity established on earth.
Therefore, we are obligated to understand what Isaiah means, or what any prophet or what any preacher in the Word, means when speaking of Messiah seated on the throne of David.
The throne of David is not the throne of God.
Some contemporary theologians claim that Jesus is now seated on the throne of David at the right hand of God, but they could not be more wrong.
Our Saviour is indeed seated at the right hand of God [COLOSSIANS 3:1].
However, the throne of God is distinct from the throne of David.
To explain this distinction, remember that God established several important covenants, the most important of which was His covenant with David.
It will prove beneficial for us to establish these covenants, gaining at the least a basic understanding of God’s promises registered in the pages of the Old Covenant.
God established a Covenant with Noah when He promised that He would not ever again destroy the earth by flood.
/The Noahic Covenant/ is found in GENESIS 9:8-17.
“God said to Noah and to his sons with him, ‘Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth.
I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.’
And God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh.
And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.’
God said to Noah, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.’”
A second great covenant is /the Abrahamic Covenant/.
As the name implies, God established this covenant was with the patriarch Abraham.
This covenant is recorded in GENESIS 17:7, 9, 13.
“I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you… As for you, you shall keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you throughout their generations… Both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised.
So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant.”
Another of the divine covenants is commonly referred to as /the New Covenant/ [JEREMIAH 31:31-34].
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.
And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD.
For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
The last Covenant to consider during this message is /the Davidic Covenant/, which is recorded in 2 SAMUEL 7:9-16.
“I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth.
And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more.
And violent men shall afflict them no more… The LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house.
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.
He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.
When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.
And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me.
Your throne shall be established forever.”
In 1 CHRONICLES 17:10-14 the Covenant is restated.
“I declare to you that the LORD will build you a house.
When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom.
He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever.
I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.
I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.”
The aforementioned covenants all share two primary features.
Each covenant is a demonstration of God’s character, especially as an expression of His grace, and none of the covenants depend on man or man’s effort in order to be fulfilled.
God is the author of each of the covenants; mankind is the beneficiary in each instance.
The recipients of each of these covenants are progressively defined as each is declared in their appropriate order.
The Noahic Covenant is made with all mankind.
The Abrahamic Covenant, however, is restricted to descendants of Abraham, or in other words, the beneficiaries are the Jewish people.
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